April 23, 2010

Macintosh Horn

...because sometimes you just need an Air Horn for the Mac!

It doesn’t make as much sense to have Horn on the Mac as it does on the always-in-your-pocket-and-ready-for-action Horn on the iPhone.  But the recent actions from Apple in disallowing Horn for the iPad made me want to rebel against “The Man.”  You see, Apple has absolutely no influence over what I can or cannot make for the Mac.  So, even though it isn’t the world’s greatest Mac software, the point is that I can do it.  And it’s even a bit of fun.

So go out an enjoy the Mac version of Horn.  For free!  Yes, I’m gladly giving away the Mac version.  Perhaps it will drum up some iPhone / iPod Touch sales along the way.  (I wish I could include iPad in the list, but, alas, yeah, um, “The Man” is keeping me down.)


P.S. I almost worked on a Mac version of Slasher too since it’s also not allowed on the iPad.  However I didn’t have a decent solution for the lack of an accelerometer, which is the whole point of the App.  Somehow clicking on the knife just doesn’t have quite the same feel as shaking the phone.

April 12, 2010

Unworthy

I just received an interesting phone call from Apple.  (…that my iPhone kept dropping the call, thanks AT&T, is a different matter entirely…)  It turns out that Horn and Slasher are not going to be approved as Universal builds for the iPad.  Apparently there is a higher bar for entry when targeting the iPad.

The Apple representative was very nice and pleasant to converse with, so I enjoyed the call.  He gave some reasons why the new level of entry is being required, one of them citing that some people have a business model of making simple do-nothing apps and hoping that enough people will spend $0.99 to rake in the dough.

Once again, Apple has shown how unfriendly it is toward developers.  Why should Apple care what someone else’s business model is?

I’ve been debating this for a while now.  I actually almost talked myself out of it since the iPad launch went mostly without a hitch and I was happy.  But the phone call stopped me in my tracks and pushed me over the ledge the other way.  Going forward, I refuse to develop any more apps for the iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad.  As fun as the platform is, I just cannot bring myself to support a model where my work never sees the light of day due to the fanciful whim of Apple.

I won’t pull my existing Apps down from the store, but neither will I enhance them or create new ones.

That’s it.  Game over.  I’m done.  Who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind one day, but it’d have to take a really amazing App idea.  Or it’d take Apple changing their mind.  Yeah, I know, don’t hold my breath on that one…

April 4, 2010

The Meteorology Arriveth

Quick update:  I rebuilt and resubmitted Meteorology with zero changes to the priorly twice-rejected code after testing it on the iPad.  I guess it found a different reviewer who had a clue this time around because by the end of the day, you guessed it, it was approved available on the App Store.

(Horn and Slasher are still in review…)

April 3, 2010

The iPad Arriveth

Early this morning I went down to the local Apple Store to pick up my iPad.  Nifty.  Even if I didn’t need one to support my existing Apps, I’d be happy with it.  Countless others have described the iPad so I have no need to pile on that cart.  Instead…

I renovated some of my more popular Apps to work with the iPad:  Ball, Circle Theory, DatesHorn, Meteorology, Mystery House, and of course Slasher.  For the most part the conversion process was straightforward.  Luckily the user interfaces were already simple enough that all I really had to do was scale it all up and use higher resolution graphics.  (Luckily I had the foresight to start with huge images for most items in the first place as just such a contingency.)  The one exception is Circle Theory, where I had to slightly redesign the interface a bit to accommodate the larger screen size and support all device orientations.

All in all it was a painless process.  Until… of course… submission for approval to the App Store.  The final beta release of the development tools arrived and I rebuilt everything with the beta tools and sent things off for submission.  I received some feedback on Meteorology for suggested, but not necessary, changes.  They said if I left it alone it would still be accepted but the improvements would be welcomed on the iPad.  I think having something that works up there at launch time, even if not picture-perfect, is better than nothing at all.  So I filed the suggestion away for a future revision and moved on.  Hey, so far not too bad, right?

The final tools build arrived, and with it came a rush of acceptance emails for all my other App submissions.  Cool.  I rebuilt with the latest tools and resubmitted everything for final approval.  First rejection:  Meteorology.  Say what???  They already approved it!  I made no changes whatsoever between the build with the beta tools and the build with the final tools.  It was rejected because they said, essentially, it didn’t work.  Riiiight.  Then why was it approved before, and why is the existing version on the store working, and why is the build working on my equipment?  There was no way to test on an iPad since I didn’t have one yet, so it missed the opening launch party.  What a stupid crazy haphazard approval system.  I’m extremely disappointed.  When I got my brand new iPad home I did a build for the device and what do you know:  it worked.  Just fine.  No problems.  Grrrrr!  Resubmit the thing again.  This time if it gets rejected once more I’ll… um… well what can ya do?  Nothing.  Just keep trying I suppose, perhaps an exercise in futility.

Then another strange thing happened.  Ball was rejected for a valid iPad UI reason.  Why did it make it through the approval process the first time?  I only had a few hours available to make the necessary changes and resubmit to make the iPad launch deadline.  Fortunately the changes were not difficult and I was able to build a revised version and resubmit it just under the wire.  But if it had been anything involved, or if my schedule had been a bit less free, I would have been in a very unfortunate situation with Ball too.

After an excruciating (at least to me) wait of a couple days my Apps finally received approval and went live on the store.  Well… except for Horn and Slasher!  They still sit in “In Review” stasis.  Aggravating!  Those two Apps are perhaps the most simple.  How much does a reviewer have to test?  In five seconds you’ve seen everything the Apps can do.  However Apps like Circle Theory or Mystery House are way more involved — and they sailed right through the approval process.  All my effort to revise perhaps my most popular two Apps of the bunch were for naught.  They missed the iPad launch and there was nothing I could do about it.

So, to sum it all up, I’m both happy and sad.  Overjoyed with the iPad and underwhelmed yet again by the App Store red tape.