Entries in iPad (6)


Photo direction

A less known new feature in iOS 6 is that photos taken with an iPhone contain photo direction information. On top of the geotagging capabilities introduced long time ago with the iPhone 3G, your iPhone photos now also contain metadata about the direction the iPhone camera was pointing at the moment the shot was made.

Before iOS 6 became available, putting direction metadata into photos was a feature that required a DSLR in combination with a pricey hotshoe mount like the Solmeta Geotagger N3.
My PhotoMeta iPad app visually displays that photo direction on a map as you can see on the following PhotoMeta screenshot:

The photo is taken with an iPhone 5 and besides the location of the photographer (the red pin), PhotoMeta uses a yellow sector to indicate the photo direction. The red ellips shows the location of the cathedral and is not part of the app. It was added later on to make clear where the cathedral is located. 

Keep in mind that the direction info is only available in photos taken with the standard Camera app. If you use other popular camera apps like Camera+ or Camera Awesome, the photo will not contain direction info. As soon as you start editing the photo, there's also the possibility that the direction info gets lost. This totally depends on the photo editing app(lication). 

I'm not sure it works with all iPhone models. I took test photos with an iPhone 5 and 4S and both contained the direction info. I don't have an iPhone 4 or 3GS running iOS 6 though.

UPDATE: Glyn Evans from iPhoneography confirmed that it also works with an iPhone 4.


App sales revisited

About a year ago I posted detailed app sales. Let's see how things evolved in the last 12 months.

GeoTagr (blue)

Spikes are no longer caused by major new releases. The biggest spike in the last months came from the Aperture Expert Live Training 017. It's too early to see where the downward trend after the April ad campaign will stop. But the slow decline in sales that lasted for about 18 months was stopped with a big spike. 

Scotty (green)

In the fall of last year the price went from $1.99 to $2.99, but probably the major cause of the downward trend from June 2011 until March 2012 was the announcement and introduction of the Photo Stream feature in iOS 5.
Just as in the past, Scotty sales are subject to huge spikes. Example: The latest mention on resulted in 100 downloads in just 2 days. Scotty seems to have the biggest potential but how do I give it traction? The fear I had that the introduction of Photo Stream in iOS 5 would make Scotty totally obsolete was wrong. Overall promotion and the ad campaign in March have given it some new oxygen.

WiiPhoto (yellow)

A sleeping app. I don't expect major sales bumps. But with approx. 1 download per day, it still makes a couple hundred dollars a year.

2 new apps introduced: PhotoMeta (red) and Visage (purple)

PhotoMeta was initially free with a $2.99 in-app purchase but became a paid app (also $2.99) in January. The graph shows the number of paid downloads (in-app purchases before January). The ad campaign in April certainly had its effect and May was even a better month. There is a pretty significant PhotoMeta update in the makes which will make the app interesting for a larger audience.

Visage sales numbers are very disappointing (32 downloads in 3 months), but hopefully this will change after today. Visage is part of the June 2012 AppEvent and is free just for today. Hopefully that will give it a significant boost.

Lessons learned

The lessons learned from my year-ago post are still valid, but there are some new ones.

Adding features is no longer enough. I worked full time on my apps for 4 months with several app updates going live. There was no impact on downloads whatsoever. That changed a lot once I started promoting the apps. The golden rule that you need a good app in the first place is still true. But promotion/marketing (in whatever form) is also essential.



My favorite iPhone and iPad apps

It would be rather silly to put my own apps or wildly popular apps in the list, so I limit my choice to third party apps I like a lot and that deserve a bit of extra attention.

Easy Calendar (iPhone) - $1.99

Without a doubt the most used app on my iPhone. A calendar app on steroids. The main focus of the app is to get a task done in as little taps as possible. Solid as a rock and regular useful updates. I can't imagine ever going back to the default Calendar app.

Articles (iPhone) - $2.99

Wikipedia in your pocket with a beautifully designed interface. The developer of this app won a well-deserved Apple Design Award for Articles. Haven't tried the iPad app yet, but it's probably as awesome as the iPhone one.

Snapseed (iPhone & iPad) - Currently free but be fast

There are a gazillion photo editing apps available, but Snapseed is certainly one of the most intuitive. It features a minimalistic, touch-oriented interface. Personally I favor the iPad version. In the first place because that's where I import my photos (via the Camera Connection Kit).

Trainyard (iPhone & iPad) - $0.99

The only game in the list. I'm not into gaming at all, but this one caught my attention when I saw my children play with it. It's a highly addictive puzzle app that does a great job in the learn-as-you-go section.

Shazam (iPhone) - Free

Amazing piece of technology that recognizes any song you hear on the radio in a couple of seconds. With a useful link to the iTunes Store if you're interested in buying the song. Free with ads. Also available for iPad, but I haven't used that version yet.

Lonely Planet Guides (iPhone) - $5.99 a piece

Not really one app, but a huge collection of apps. The perfect travel companion. If you are into traveling certainly check them out. 

FreezePaint (iPhone) - $0.99

Only available since a couple of weeks but I beta tested this app and had a lot of fun with it. It's hard to describe FreezePaint, you have to see it. It's a one of a kind app that's only limited by your imagination. 

Remote (iPhone & iPad) - Free

This one's made by Apple, but doesn't ship with an iPhone or iPad by default. If you hate cables like me, you're going to love Remote. Browse your iTunes library from anywhere in the house. With the built-in AirPlay support the possibilities are endless if you have an Apple TV or any other AirPlay enabled device.


Ad impact

About 2 years ago I promoted my apps with ad banners on some websites and my conclusion was that it doesn't work that way. So why did I do it again?

In January, after working full time on my apps for about 4 months, app sales remained flat despite multiple major app upgrades. I decided to give online ads another try.

What did I do differently?
1. I carefully selected just 2 sites with a specific target audience in mind.
2. A friend of mine (a marketing guru) helped in determining the ad content
3. I hired a designer to make the ads
4. Each ad promoted 2 apps (using animated GIFs) instead of 1
5. Ads were only shown to people who own at least 1 iOS device

For a period of 6 months, Scotty and GeoTagr are promoted on iPhoneography, the no. 1 site for iPhone users interested in photography. In April, PhotoMeta and GeoTagr were promoted on Digital Photography School (DPS), a wildly popular site targeting advanced amateur photographers. Ads on DPS (250 000 impressions) were only displayed on iOS devices.
Both ads had a clear impact on app sales, but not the huge spike I was hoping for. I spent about 3000$ on the ads (that includes the designer) and that's roughly what I made on my apps the past 2 months. It's impossible to measure what percentage of those sales are a direct result of the ads, but I assume that in the long term the ads will have a slight positive effect on sales.



4 months ago I decided to go ahead as a full time iOS developer. I had a simple plan. In order for my apps to be successful enough to pay the bills, they needed some major improvements: a more compelling UI, intuitive new features, attractive for a larger audience. Part 2 of the plan was to invest in app promotion, but only after the first part was successfully and completely finished. There is nothing original about that plan, it's what I learned from following Apple closely all those years. It all starts with great products.

Since PhotoMeta already had a nice UI, I improved it by adding some cool features. The reactions from existing users were very positive. App sales stayed unchanged though. But that's ok, I'm convinced that PhotoMeta is now a unique photo metadata app with real added value for professional and advanced amateur photographers.  

Next in the list is GeoLogTag. The app underwent a real metamorphosis. The UI is completely redesigned, numerous features were added to make it a really versatile geotagging app and it has a new, professionally designed app icon. And last but not least, it's now a universal app.
While I worked on the GeoLogTag iPad app, it became clear to me that no other geotagging app in the App Store is so versatile and above all no other app offers the possibility to geotag iPad photos. On top of that the iPhone and iPad app work seamlessly together.
When I submitted GeoLogTag to Apple 3 weeks ago, I was convinced that it was a valid candidate for the "New & Noteworthy" section in the App Store. Appearing in that section is tremendous promotion. But nothing happened. App sales stayed at the same level as before. But that's ok. GeoLogTag is now a unique solution for anyone interested in geotagging photos.

Currently I'm working on a brand new universal app that will go to beta testers next week. It's also a photography related app with a potentially very large audience.

Next app in the list is Scotty. I'm going to make an iPad version and add some really cool features. 

Part 1 of the plan will be finished around mid-March. Part 2, app promotion, is something I'm preparing right now. If you have experience with app promotion, tips or advice is highly appreciated.

I'll certainly keep you up-to-date in the coming months. Exciting times!