As 2014 comes to a close, many app developers are starting to think about what’s in store for the New Year. Are we really already talking about new software and devices? I feel like I JUST got used to working with iOS 8 and the new iPhone 6.
Now you’re telling me that I have to prep for another wave of Apple development tools and devices? It’s easy to feel like you’re getting behind. Sometimes it seems impossible to keep up with the app development rollercoaster ride.
But, that’s just the nature of the biz – you have to stay on top of your game. When you think about it, is Apple really that hard on us? This stuff follows a pretty consistent pattern. If you don't know the fundamentals (or just want a refresher), you should definitely download the Bluecloud ebooks (they're free). We'll update them often to keep you in the loop, but it's a great place to start.
Basically, it goes like this – A new device and iOS are released 1-2 times per year. The first couple of months are shaky, then its smooth sailing… until the next transition. The biggest hardship is integrating a new iOS SDK – pretty harmless really. Then we just chuckle our way through the review process once again.
It’s hard to complain in an industry that offers so much freedom. When it boils down to it, a fast evolving market is EXACTLY where you want to be. I'm truly blessed to work in an industry that keeps me on my toes, allows me to have the lifestyle I want, and challenges me everyday. This is still a frontier market. There are TONS of untouched resources just waiting to be explored and mined.
The opportunity is out there – you just have to go get it. Now is the perfect time to get your game plan together so you can hit the ground running in 2015. Here's a taste of what I'm prepping for:
1. Niche Apps & Bundles Galore
Yes, the market is continuously growing and app volume is increasing exponentially. There are over 1.2 million apps in the App Store. Does that mean the market is already saturated? Not at all. Do smaller developers still have a chance to make it big? Most definitely!
Look at it this way – there are 500 million iPhones out there and users have downloaded over 75 BILLION apps! Does 1.2 million sound so big now?
But, there’s a catch. You have to find the best way to capture your audience and compete with other mobile developers. That’s why I'm focusing on niche markets and bundle sales.
When you release a specialized “niche” app, you face less competition. Don't develop your dream app with all the bells and whistles you can imagine. Instead, try developing an app with 1-2 specific features and target a narrow market. In the end, you’ll have a network of apps that flow together.
The photo/video category is a perfect example. There are endless filters, stickers, and effects you can apply to images and videos. Develop an app for 1-2 features and promote other similar apps in your network. Find another niche idea, rinse and repeat. You see where I’m going here.
Now let’s talk about bundle sales. With the release of iOS 8, Apple allowed developers to bundle apps at a reduced price. As developers, we couldn't have asked for a better way to connect and sell our apps. A discount approach is always going to beat an individually placed product. Why? Because people love getting more for less.
For strong sales in 2015, target a niche market, release a series of related apps, and bundle them accordingly.
2. New ASO Vision: Less Organic, More Paid Campaigns
Have you noticed a huge lag in your App Store Optimization recently? It feels like there's a 2-week delay between when your app is released and when it populates your ASO. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. I’ve gotten too many headaches spending 5+ hours on the perfect title and keywords. Plus, the Apple Algorithm is constantly changing. I practically need a statistician team to keep me up to date.
I still believe in organic traffic. But, I’m shifting my focus to an app monetization system and RPU. Instead of doing heaps of updates with new ASO, I'll be running CPC and CPI campaigns, re-assessing, and updating. No more headaches for me.
How does this affect reskinning? Click here and get the latest information on all reskinning/source code related changes.
3. New iPhone 7? Maybe Not.
Apple released two new iPhone devices in 2014, so I'm not expecting to see the iPhone 7 next year. What I’m betting on is a new iPhone 6S. Just like the successful release of the iPhone 5S, I think Apple will unveil a similar product for the iPhone 6. We will most likely see a better camera, slightly faster chip, and lower price.
What does this mean for app developers? There will be more iPhone 6 users running iOS 8 in 2015. That’s why I'm updating my network to be iPhone 6 compatible with iOS 8 SDK integrated. Moving forward, I'm going to focus on higher resolution resources geared towards the iPhone 6.
4. iOS 9
There’s no doubt that iOS 8 brought a ton of new features to app development. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing what iOS 9 will bring. The hardware in the iPhone and iPad is powerful, but the software hasn’t completely caught up… yet. I can’t wait to see split-screen in iOS 9. There's also buzz around HealthKit, family sharing functionality, and multiple profiles on a single device.
Perhaps the biggest new feature is Apple Pay, which has already been a great success. Practically every major bank is transitioning to Apple Pay, so I'm anticipating a HUGE increase in merchant apps with Apple Pay checkout. No more entering credit card information or even PayPal. With Apply Pay, you can buy all your goods with the scan of a finger.
If you know any vendors looking to sell their products in a new market, I highly recommend reaching out to develop their apps and take a rev share on sales.
5. Is the Skin Game Finally Over?
Every year people ask me, “does Skinning still work?” The short answer is YES! I was skeptical when Apple did a facelift to iTunesConnect and released iOS 8. But releasing skins is as easy as ever. In fact, it’s even easier! My approval and skin volume has been higher over the last 6 months than any other time I can remember.
It seems like Apple is more concerned with controlling and limiting Ad Networks than skins. My app development skin agenda is set to increase in 2015, as it continues to be my greatest source of revenue. By reskinning apps, I can bring in consistent money that allows me to fund bigger projects.
Now you know my top 5 moves for 2015.
As we roll into the New Year, I'm sticking to what I know while making important changes. I'm preparing my networks and apps for niche markets and bundle sales. My dev team is finishing the iOS 8 SDK updates, and we're set to follow the same skin model that has worked consistently for years.
Apple continues to impress us and is showing no sign of slowing down. To paraphrase Tim Cook, the hard part is deciding what NOT to work on. There will be many developments in 2015, and any of them could be game changers. Are we going to see a 12.9″ iPad this year? Is the iWatch going to bomb, or explode in popularity?
As a developer, I'm more excited than ever for 2015 – and you should be too. This could be YOUR year to find the success you’ve always imagined. Get pumped up! Get a game plan! Remember why you're in this business. Is it your creative ability? Is it the lifestyle that allows you to travel around the globe with passive income? Whatever the reason, find your motivation, set your goals, and make it happen.
Are you looking to bulldoze 2015? Checkout the exclusive Bluecloud area for reskinners by clicking here.
What are your assumptions for the new year? Leave your comments and predictions below.