iPhone and iPad Application Guidelines
As you prepare to hire an iOS developer to create your first iPhone/iPad application, there are a range of things to consider. This brief guide will help you understand what is involved with the creation of an iPhone application. Ready to make your iPhone and iPad app? Contact me!
What do I want the application to do?
This is the most important decision in the creation of an app. Nowadays there are tons of applications available for download; for your app to be successful, you need a great concept or unique service that makes it stand out from the rest. Never lose sight of the app’s function from the final users’ point of view.
Do you need external support to do it (servers etc)?
Depending upon what you aim to deliver to the target user you may need support; be prepared to “back up” your project if needed. Often apps which rely solely on web content are not approved by Apple; the app must serve a purpose.
Which app style/structure best suits your app?
If you’ve ever browsed the AppStore you will have noticed that there are different “styles” of apps, the two main categories being navigation-based and view-based. Navigation-based apps are ideal for large amounts of organized data, while view-based apps are much more flexible and easier on the eyes.
Do you have a designer?
Although it’s important to communicate your aesthetic vision to a developer, his or her real work starts when the designer has finished. For this reason, make sure you have every single “view” in the app laid out by a designer who can then provide the developer with the layered PSD files necessary to recreate them. It’s in everyone’s interest to avoid going back and forth over every little design-related detail.
Do you wish to publish on the AppStore using your own company name?
Depending on the app, it might be important for you to have your company name as the developer entity (especially for marketing/corporate apps). In order to do so you will have to file for an Apple developer account and then obtain the necessary certificates and provisioning profiles to “sign” and publish applications. If, however, this isn’t important to you, you can certainly make the app available under the entity of whatever developer you contract (thereby saving yourself money, time and paperwork).
Will it be free, paid or both?
Another big decision when creating your iOS application is pricing. Although everyone wants to make a profit, the free applications often attract the most attention. If you’re convinced that your app will be valuable enough to the target user that he or she will be willing to pay for it, it is common practice to distribute two versions: a free, limited “lite” version and a full, paid version. This strategy ensures the best of both worlds.
Having a free application accompany the premium one is just a “towing” strategy. If you have other means of advertising your premium app, there may be no need for this.
On another note, you may also want to explore advertising in your apps or commission-based revenue by sales made through the app. Remember: you can’t assign your application any price; there are tiers for you to choose from, which start at 0.99 (USD/EUR/GBP etc.) and go up in increments of 1.00.
iPhone, iPad or Universal?
The vast majority of apps are for iPhone. Since the arrival of the iPad, two other formats have also become common: iPad-only and universal. If an application is iPhone only, it will still run on iPad but with limited viewing size (iPhone dimensions). Alternatively, you can build a universal application that will run “fully” on both devices, while still having a different layout. The last option is to have an iPad-only version to maximize the device’s capabilities and keep the app stable. In the case that you want to cater to iPad users in addition to iPhone users, talk to your developer about how much difference there is between the two desired layouts. Usually universal apps are the way to go since they also avoid the hassle of submitting the build, metadata and screenshots twice.
Publishing on the AppStore
Unless you’re a big corporation, the only way to distribute an application is in the AppStore. Apple requires developers to submit a fixed set of information to be displayed on the download page. While the developer is doing his or her part, you may want to start getting this information ready so you can publish as soon as your app is finished.
Application Name – This is the full name that will be displayed in the AppStore. Tip: to gain visibility, include words people might use when searching for an app with the type of function yours provides.
Application Display Name – This is the name of the app that will be displayed once it’s installed on the SpringBoard of any given device; it can’t be changed without an update.
Ratings – Will there be any adult (violent/sexually explicit/vulgar, etc.) content?
Description – Self-explanatory (4000bytes max).
Primary and secondary category – Pick the categories in the store (books, reference, lifestyle, productivity etc).
Keywords – Self-explanatory (100bytes max). Can’t be changed.
Copyright – Self-explanatory.
Contact email address – Self-explanatory.
Support Url – Self-explanatory.
App Url – Self-explanatory. Not mandatory, can be the same as above.
Large icon – 512×512 px. Must be the same as the one included in the app (57×57 for iPhone, 72×72 for iPad and 114×114 for retina). PNG format.
Price Tier – starting at 0.99 with increments of 1.00 in any currency.
Availability date – Upon approval of application, or any specified date after approval (ex: for seasonal apps).
Want further info regarding Apple’s review process and criteria? Check this out.