April 15th, 2009

What’s it like to submit an application to the iPhone App Store?


FastFiguresEver wondered what it’s like to submit an iPhone application to the Apple App Store? Now, Beaverton-based FastFigures provides some much needed insight into the whole process with the lessons they learned after one month in the iPhone App Store.

The post provides a fascinating look into the planning of the launch, including struggling with issues like pricing:

The price sensitivity data showed a starting price of $9.99 maximized revenue but I was concerned that these customers were too familiar with our products and wouldn’t represent the broader world of iPhone users. After agonizing over this for over a week, I decided to adjust the pricing based on some additional factors and settled on $5.99. This decision is proving to be both a good one and a bad one, and I struggle with selling our applications so inexpensively to this day.

Mistakes made:

And this is where not understanding the process hurt us. First, I didn’t realize that there was some additional paperwork that needed to be completed. That was completed on the 23rd. Then, once everything is signed off, it takes 24 hours to show up in the AppStore. Finally on the 24th, I’m looking for the application in What’s New and can’t find it!

And valuable lessons learned:

Two things happened around March 19th that changed our fortunes. For one, we hit that magical 20 review level I’ve talked about before. Second, one of the products in the Finance category most similar to ours went free. There has been a lot of discussion on the web about free applications versus paid applications and that the two customers aren’t the same. And this competitive application proved that.

Plus, some insightful suggestions:

Can you make money in the AppStore? Yes. But the competition is fierce and it’s very hard to differentiate your product from others. My suggestion: Spend plenty of time up-front figuring out how to get above the noise with factors you can control.

Long story short, if you’ve even remotely entertained the idea of building an iPhone app, this post is a must read.

Thanks to the folks at FastFigures for opening up and providing this valuable insight into the process.

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