Tuesday, May 20, 2014

1704 x 960

I'd read on one of the many Apple rumor sites that the next bigger iPhone might have that new resolution of 1704x960.

History stuff that developers can skip...
The original iPhones had a resolution of 480x320.  Going to the iPhone 4 got 4 times as many pixels, but kept the same "logical" resolution, just going to half sizes for a new physical resolution of 960x640.  Buttons and everything else would be the same sizes and positions, so apps didn't have to change to work.  Developers could give a  new image with a bigger size and @2x as part of the name, and everything magically worked to use the higher resolution image.
iPhone 5 got a little taller screen and has a logical size of 568x320, with a corresponding physical resolution of 1136x640.

The rumored 1704x960 continues Apple's retina trend and is 3 times the size of the iPhone 5's logical pixels of 568x320. Existing apps would be slightly stretched, but would all work exactly the same.  I'm sure developers can have new images named @3x to get extra sharpness at that new screen size.

If 1704x960 the new size, and I'd bet a lot that it is, I'm sure Apple will do all that.  Easy and straightforward, same sort of transition and image resolution updates everyone has gotten used to with Retina screens.  Everything works as-is.

But what if they also add a new option developers can set to say "I want a new Logical size of 852x480"?  

Instead of simply being stretched to use the new bigger screen, it would give a new logical size to work with. That seems it would be a cool additional way to take advantage of the new bigger screen.  Especially for things that deal with text like web browsers and especially web pages.

HTML, CSS, and Javascript seems much easier to update and format with a 1/2 point logical resolution than 1/3 point ones.  (Since those third point fractions are endless .333333333333 and 0.666666666 )

And has an additional advantage that an app wouldn't need 3 sized copies of the same image 1x, 2x, 3x.  Just 1x and 2x.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

APPocalypse: What an Awesome review gets you

Among the first in what I bet will be a bunch of posts about the sad state of selling Apps in the App Store.  Pete's excellent one here as well.

Our game bloc'd that came out the end of March got an awesome review, better than anything I could have written myself.


Tuaw.com is one of the best known Apple blog websites, so we thought "Great!  Other sites will see it, maybe even somebody at Apple will see it and like the game."

Not so much. The blog article itself got ripped off linked to, but no other sites did a review.

But how did that really convert into sales?  Here's actual numbers from AppViz.

It had dropped from some higher peaks in the first day after it was released.  The blog post got a nice spike in downloads, but it only lasted a few days.

Counting the days of the post and a week after, we made $27.17 in that time.  Which while a pathetically sad number, does compare favorably to the TOTAL of $37.12 that the app has made as of today.  The green lines are the free download numbers.  The little blue bits on top are the In-App purchases that make some money.

Part of the Plan B was to do some other rule variations with the same gameplay.  We did that and released it as a separate game.  Bloc3d.  It's strictly a paid $1 game.  I'll post some stats for that one after it has been out for a bit longer...

Update:  Pete's Skype comments were worth adding:
Read your blog post in the middle of the night, more sad truths.  That one really shows the non-discoverability.  When you're promoted you get downloads.  When the promotion stops, the downloads stop immediately.  No long tail anymore, just switch off.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

+1 for Apple

No more original title needed: Damn you Ellen DeGeneres*

We have made a number of poker games, first coming out in March 2009.

Heads Up: Hold'em was the first, using the common poker term in the name, Heads Up.

In April 2013, Ellen DeGeneres' Heads Up! game came out.  There was a small bump when their app came out.  That spike is a hundred or so people who maybe downloaded the wrong app.  But overall, our poker games sales are considerably lower now then they were before Heads Up! came out.

We've been happily co-existing for a year now.  Until we submitted a new game, using our existing branding scheme.  Heads Up: All In.  And Apple rejected it...


We found that your app, and its metadata, contains content that could be misleading to users, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines. 
If your iTunes Connect Application State is Rejected, a new binary will be required. Make the desired metadata changes when you upload the new binary.
Specifically, your app name leverages a popular app on the App Store which could be misleading to users.  
It would be appropriate to remove or revise any misleading content from your app name.

We've resubmitted it with a bug fix (some mixed up GameCenter stuff), and a set of reasons why I think we should be able to use the name.

This app was rejected for using the "Heads Up" as part of the name.  There are a few reasons I think we should still be allowed to use this name.   
1)   Our use of "Heads Up: Xyz" naming of poker games pre-dates the newer popular game by 4 years.  Our game https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/heads-up-holdem-1-on-1-poker/id307290392?mt=8 first used this name in March 2009.  The other "Heads Up!" game first came out in April 2013.   
2)  "Heads Up" is a common poker term.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heads_up_poker  
3)  I can sadly confirm we've gotten no benefit of their using a similar name to our existing apps.  http://headlightinc.com/headsup-sales.png shows a small spike in one of our poker apps around the time their game first came out.  But overall the downloads are significantly lower than before their "Heads Up!" came out. 
It got rejected again, for the same naming reason.  This time, I submitted much the same message to the App Review Board, a higher level appeal.  And they OK'd it and accepted the app!  Thanks, Apple!

Heads Up: All In is available in the App Store now.

* I knew posting a complaint about Apple will get nothing as a response from Apple.  But maybe Ellen has people out looking for blog posts damning her.  That was a hope that it would make a few minutes of good TV :)