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iPhone and iPad Application Development Guidelines

With experience in developing utility applications, games and more for the Android platform.

With this information at hand, it is no surprise that people are turning towards developing iPhone and iPad applications for a variety of purposes ranging from monetization of new products to augmenting existing products, applications or services by having a presence on the most dominant mobile platform in the world.

Here are some statistics with regards to the iOS platform (as of June 2011):

  • 200 million iOS devices sold.
  • First 14 months – 25 million iPads sold.
  • 425,000 apps in the App Store.
  • 90,000 just for the iPad.
  • More than $2.5 billion paid out to developers.

But what are the intricacies involved with the development of an iPad and iPhone applications? Let’s take a look at some of the aspects, which require attention.

Frameworks

This applies especially to games (which incidentally make up a large chunk of the market). The barrier for entry with regards to game development for the iOS platform is quite high, especially considering how much competition there is out there. There are a lot of frameworks available that can help make this process easier and less painful. Some frameworks of course are quite detailed and require a lot of programming knowledge while others can be more user-friendly and geared towards beginners. Either way, it is important to know what all is out there to help make your life a little easier. Some frameworks available are:

  • Cocos 2D
  • Unity
  • Game Salad
  • Torque
  • Marmalade
  • UDK

Using frameworks will allow developers to focus on actual game mechanics and engagement points, which are what drive user retention in the first place.

Develop a user experience based on the audience

It is important to know your target audience and develop for them. The approach one would take towards developing an interactive children’s book versus how you would design an application for tech savvy entrepreneurs looking for freelancer developers would be completely different.

In mobile applications the user experience is especially complex to define. With a lot of animations, transitions and flashy effects available with relative ease it is easy to get carried away and over-do it. It is important to know your audience well and determine what level of bells and whistles are required and to know when to keep it subtle and tasteful.

Test for all possible versions

Developing for the iOS, people often tend to fall under the impression that you only need to develop for the latest piece of hardware and OS version. This is a one-way ticket to 1-star reviews which will hurt your overall downloads for no reason.

It is important to test on an (at least one generation) older device for inferior hardware and at least 3 prior versions of the OS. There are people out there with all sorts of combinations of devices and OSes and when they run your application and find that it crashes due to memory leaks, they don’t care that those memory leaks don’t occur on the iPad 2 running iOS 4.3.3. They only care that it didn’t work on their iPad when they paid $0.99 for it and there is no excuse for that in their eyes. And of course, the customer is always right.

The fact of the matter is, all of this can be avoided by just testing thoroughly for these issues beforehand and spending a bit of time resolving them so that your customers running prehistoric versions of the iOS can happily enjoy your product as well.