Yes that’s correct, Apple’s Developer Program where anyone can create and publish iOS, Apple TV/Watch, and Mac apps across Apple’s App Stores is now free. They waived the annual $99 plus tax requirement for having your own apps available on the app store(s). 

There’s A Catch Though

The only catch is this only applies to nonprofit organizations, schools, and government entities.

What About Indie Developers?

Nope, we still have to pay up the annual fee. When it comes down to it, that $99 annual fee is nothing, because sales are booming every single month anyways. It doesn’t take much to earn a few bucks, then after publishing some apps that have value, overtime sales eventually pick up and provide a nice flow of extra income.

How To Sign Up?

If your a nonprofit, school, or government entity: simply enroll in the program here and after getting an “enrollment id” request to have the fee waived here. Done.

What If I Don’t Qualify?

Then pay up, son! It’s only $99 a year, which brings me to my next question… If an organization cannot afford $99 a year, then how on earth are they still in business? Sounds more like a priority problem than a money problem to me. 

Anyways good for Apple for helping these entities. Let’s just hope they can afford good developers which are 100x more expensive than a yearly fee though.

 

 

News Source: https://developer.apple.com/support/membership-fee-waiver/

The beautiful thing about the App Store is that anyone can publish an app or game from almost anywhere in the world. The hot topic in the developer community is how app developers can use these cross platform tools to build an app once and be available for all platforms and also with drag and drop template app generators. These are all great for non coders who want to instantly create mobile apps on the spot that comes with a monthly expense. Is it worth it in the end? Let’s cover what’s going on and some risks. 

Will Your App Template Be Banned?

Tech Crunch covers the details of the updated App Store guidelines where Apple is stating the rules and is taking action against template apps now. For details go here

The Argument: Small Businesses Can’t Afford To Hire Developers

This argument is being thrown around as it can be very expensive to hire app developers to build that app. However there are cheaper alternatives that can help such as freelancers, which could actually be cheaper than a monthly templated app. Other benefits include higher app quality and additional features that no template generator can include.

Small businesses are just a Google search away from finding the best solution to fit their app needs. Also we need to remember, if you’re a small business owner, you know advertising and marketing costs money and is vital to your business right? That alone can costs thousands of dollars. So, what makes mobile apps less vital to your business goals in this mobile world? If apps pose such an important role, then wouldn’t it make sense to invest in it? I think it’s not that small businesses can’t afford it, they choose other priorities over making apps. Whatever the purpose of this thinking is, maybe they don’t see the potential business exposure it can give or whatever the reasoning is behind it. If a small business doesn’t have creative outlets or have enough capital, it is either too early in its startup phase, or won’t last and will be out of business anyways. 

Creating apps can be learned, so my advice is to either learn it yourself, hire freelance developers, or hire locally in office. It’s not that hard to build a simple template app and I could do it for you for half the price if you really want one. This should only take a good 2 days or less to build natively without additional monthly expenses.

Stay Away From Templated Apps and Hybrid Apps

This is just my opinion as templated apps and hybrid apps both can have a monthly fee depending on the tool used to create the apps. I like to control my business expenses and this is why I stay away from these services. Other aspects to consider is the quality and experience the app is delivering to your users. Most hybrid and template apps are sluggish and I tend to always uninstall them after a few seconds because of this. I don’t blame Apple for wanting to have higher quality apps, and apps that are unique from each other. I’d say create an app from scratch and throw in your own creative uniqueness to it. This is what makes apps come alive, in my opinion at least.

Facebook’s iOS app was a hybrid but they realized that was a mistake because of how slow it was. According to this they had to rebuild it utilizing Apples native code as the base. They also have an amazing technology on top of it but the base of the app is native.

“So while utilizing web technology has allowed us to support more than 500 million people using Facebook on more than 7000 supported devices, we realized that when it comes to platforms like iOS, people expect a fast, reliable experience and our iOS app was falling short. Now that our mobile services had breadth, we wanted depth. So, we rewrote Facebook for iOS from the ground up (I really did open up Xcode and click “New Project”) with a focus on quality and leveraging the advances that have been made in iOS development.”

Source here.

Lastly, with just a simple policy change, as Apple has already done, this can wipe your apps off the market without notice. You have no control in this scenario and I agree this is very risky to be in this position. Any app or game published on the App Store is at risk of being removed without notice. As the way things go, there is always a solution we can go from here. I don’t see why anyone can’t host their own apps on their own website alternatively. Small businesses might want to look into that if they still pursue templated apps. I wish you best of luck with which ever route you go.

Good idea
Before I started making mobile apps I was known as the computer guy who friends and family automatically volunteered my time freely to help everyone with their tech gadgets. While I do love helping people, it was getting a little out of hand and had to put an end to that. Since I’ve evolved into creating apps everyone tells me their “million dollar app ideas” and how I should make it for them and we could split the profits solely based on them giving me an idea. Needless to say I do all the work while they wait until I publish and they collect their share right? Nope sorry! That’s not how I work around here. The thing is, everyone has some app idea that they believe is worth a million dollars. While I can agree some ideas probably are, the factor that determines if an app is successful isn’t how pretty it is but how the market responds to it. It also takes quite a lot of hard work and patience. Some apps don’t hit big downloads its first month or even 5th, I’ve seen some hit a year later.

I have tons of app ideas written down all around my office but only a few ever get chosen. The thing for me is I have to have the passion for the idea to work, this passion is what I need to fuel my drive to finish the app all the way through. The process of creating an app, as simple as it sounds can reach complexities in the backend code that not even the best software engineers can predict or fully know until we dive in. It’s not uncommon to have to change the look and feel of software based on limitations or certain features allowed per device. Being an app developer is very rewarding but also has it’s challenges where the coder has to make the best decision for the circumstances given.

Ideas are a dime a dozen but, execution is how you get it done.

When I first had inspiration to create apps, all I had was an idea. I took that idea, laid out plans on how to make it happen and did it! My advice to you is if you have a burning desire for that app idea then make it today. The only person stopping your progress is you. If you don’t know how to create an app, find out how, look it up on the internet, its all freely available. What are you waiting for? If there’s no burning desire then you don’t have enough fuel to pursue it. At this point just forget about it and move on with life.

Should I make someone sign an non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for my app idea?

Are you serious? The likelihood of someone stealing your idea is slim to none. Even if they do pursue it their version will be completely different than yours. You came up with the idea, you possess the creativity that the other person lacks so you will be ahead of them anyways.

Someone stole my app idea, now what?

Great! This just verifies that your heading the right path or at least there’s opportunities awaiting. Just because someone has same app idea doesn’t mean you can’t create your own unique version of it. Don’t copy it though, make it unique with your own features that drive value.

I have a few competitors who offer free versions of similar app features mine possess. Since they hit the app store I’ve noticed my sales increase. I might send a thank you letter to my competitors one day 🙂

My perspective on receiving app ideas almost every week.

I love talking to enthusiastic people! I try to network with others as much as possible and when I talk about apps I seem to always get some kind of app idea. I’ll try to give my honest feedback but I tell everyone the same thing: if you want to create an app, then do it yourself! Unless you have money to invest with but honestly you’ll gain more by learning the process and creating the app yourself. It’s not uncommon to hear how their app idea is better than X company and is worth a trillion dollars. That’s all great but until action has been taken anyone can exaggerate. Some of my apps that I thought would succeed actually failed while others that I didn’t have high hopes for is doing pretty good.

Should you Share your app idea with friends and family?

My answer is no! The reason behind this is they are too afraid to be honest with you. Also because depending on how your app performs isn’t what your friends or family thinks, it’s how the market responds to it. Is it in high demand? Does it solve a problem? Market research is a valuable thing to do prior to execution of your app idea.

Closing

So you have an app idea, the first thing to do is Google up on how to make apps. Learn how to code, publish to app stores, and make it happen!

Let me know how it turns out. If all else fails you can always hire developers too. Maybe I’ll lend a hand for you. Good luck!

Cheers!

workstation

Which is it, are Macs better than PC’s or are PC’s better than Macs? Well that all depends on how you look at it. I grew up as a PC guy since Windows 98. I built a few custom PC’s back in my high school years and loved the freedom to customize it the way I want it, using the software that I want, be it Linux or Windows operating systems.

Fast forward to starting my app business 2012 with only a PC laptop I was set out to make my first app for Android. During the learning curve of using Eclipse IDE editor and Gimp for editing photos I’ve ran into quite a few problems with my PC. These weren’t uncommon to me since I am considered a “power user” meaning my machine gets used daily, hours on end. I had to replace my hard drive once a year, and reformat Windows once every other month it seemed. Blue screen of death was common, especially when running java compilers such as Eclipse. I pushed my machine to its limit every day I could. In doing so, I lost precious time of hours, even 2 days before I could fully reformat, do all Windows updates and install all software needed. While I was used to dealing with down time on a PC I didn’t think any other computer could be better, I mean c’mon, PC’s are better than Macs right?

My apps were published on Android and sales were starting to come in, it wasn’t much but it was something to make me say I’m on to something here. During this time all the talk was about how iPhone’s are better than Android devices. Yes, you guessed it, I was an Android fan as well who knew iPhone’s are not better! Time went by, it wasn’t until around 2013 that I finally went for it, I bought a iMac and an iPad to set out to port my apps. I told myself I’m only using this Mac for programming, nothing else!

Well, I am writing this article in 2016 and have gone through some changes. PC’s are no longer my primary devices, Androids are not either, I’m an hardcore Mac and iPhone user today. The reasons for this is for one reason, and that is how much time it saves me by being reliable and not crash on me every month! Since owning this mac back in 2013 I have only witnessed 2 crashes. For my Windows development PC I still struggle with all the long updates and glitches, its even updating right now as I type up this article. The mac has freed me from the slow unreliability PC’s have. So there you have it! Time is everything. I do however have to give credit for the newer versions of Windows and how much faster they are booting up but that’s about it.

In closing, this article isn’t meant to bash one technology over the other but to help explore and try to open the minds of the denial. For if I never experienced a Mac for myself I wouldn’t of known this. Time is ticking no matter what we do, just make sure your benefiting from using the right tools to push you forward in life.

Cheers!

Back To School

It’s that time of year again where students prepare for back to school! Before you send off the kiddos, make sure they grab a few of these apps to have them be more organized and prepared for school.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links.

 

  1. Citation Generator by JG

When it comes to APA format essays, this app is your best friend! Citation Generator creates the in-text citations and references for your APA format essays. It features over 25 sources to choose from, tutorials, and template of an APA format sample document that’s already configured to meet all APA format document requirements.

iTunes App Store Windows App Store Play Store
  1. Thesis Generator by JG

This app goes hand in hand with APA Citation Generator as it helps speed up your thinking process and get the essay started. Ever get stuck trying to know what to say in your essay or how to start it? Then this is the app for you! It takes in your opinions and spits out a thesis statement, over 9 to choose from with essay outline guidelines. This is a must have for any essay writer!

iTunes App Store Mac App Store Windows App Store Play Store App Store
  1. MLA Citation Generator by JG

For those pesky MLA format essay requirements, we have MLA Citation Generator! Not all school use MLA format but if they do, make sure to download MLA Citation Generator to help you generate in-text citations and references! Same features as APA Citation Generator with a template sample document to download. Very useful app to have.

iTunes App Store Windows App Store Play Store App Store
  1. iHomework 2 by Paul Pilone

This app is great at keeping you organized. Track your classes, teachers, and projects. Available on iPhone and Apple Watch. Give it a try, it might be a great solution for you.

iTunes App Store
  1. Flashcard Hero by Kitestack Software

The good old days have making flash cards on index cards are long gone. Flashcard Hero let’s you easily create cards and quizzes by syncing between Mac and iPhone.

iTunes App Store
  1. WiFi Scanner by AccessAgility

Nice app for the Mac that let’s you scan Wifi signals and can access all kinds of information. This app isn’t just great for trying to find wifi access at school but also for around town such as coffee shops.

  1. My Grades & Homework by Roxanne Brittain

Cool grade tracking app for your iPhone!

iTunes App Store
  1. StudyBlue by StudyBlue Inc

This app does it all! Create flash cards, take quizzes, write and view class notes from other students.

iTunes App Store
  1. Notability by Ginger Labs

Notes galore! Very cool app that lets you write notes and be creative, check it out!

iTunes App Store
  1. Scanner Pro 7 by Riddle

Forget about this big machines that scan your documents, with Scanner Pro 7 you can scan any document and edit the text from your iPhone!

iTunes App Store

Welcome!

My name is Jonathan Gillman (JG) and have been making apps since early 2012. As of today I have over 32 apps available on 5 different app stores be sure to check them out and share with your friends.

Topics I will be blogging about:

  • What its like to have an app business.
  • How to stay motivated and hustle every single day.
  • How long it really takes to be an “overnight success story”.
  • The reality of being an indie app developer. It’s not what you expect.
  • How to deal with app competitors.
  • And more!

So, what’s next?

  • Download my apps and share them! I make these apps to help people but to also put food on the table for my wife and kids.
  • Tell me what you want to know in comments below!

Cheers!