When smartphones first appeared, most of the software applications were part of the operating system itself. But with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad shortly thereafter, add-on apps opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Today, in 2018, a successful app can make or break a company, but you can’t just build it and forget it. Developers must update their apps on a regular basis.
Important Points About iOS
From a developer’s standpoint, the arrival of iOS on the scene was a major event. Many companies realized the unparalleled business opportunities that apps could offer. Since the very dawn of iPhone apps, virtually every qualified iOS app developer has had plenty of exciting projects to work on. Although there were only 500 apps at first on the App Store, this number grew quickly with iOS updates.
Over time, iOS apps generated $4.9 billion in revenue with 70 percent of that profit going to developers. While Android apps generated almost as much, apps for the iPhone and iPad offered seemingly unlimited earning potential. Consequently, companies quickly saw the benefits of apps, such as learning what consumers liked or disliked in real time and linking to them directly.
What Makes a Successful App
Releasing an app via the App Store or Google Play and then ignoring it spells disaster for the product, even if it garners lots of downloads. When you think about the amount of time it takes to create a complex app (four to six months), it just makes sense to view every app as a work in progress.
In order for an app to be successful, iOS app development must be an ongoing process. Once an app is released, that’s when the real work begins. That said, here a few major points developers need to keep in mind:
- Developers should shoot for one to four updates monthly.
- Every two weeks is a good plan for updating, but this may be dependent on the demand for the app and the team supporting it.
- Bug fixes and major updates should be planned in advance, if possible.
iOS App Development Updates Mean Success
Both Apple and Google prefer that updates occur in their app stores. This action validates the release of new versions of their operating systems on a regular basis.
Showing up on a consistent basis in the update list keeps the app on a user’s radar. It also shows the company cares about the product it is producing and, more importantly, that it is listening to the wants, complaints and desires of consumers.
Consistently updated apps can build a loyal following among users. In the end, what a company hopes will happen is that an app essentially markets itself via users who suggest the app to other users.
Dedicated Development Teams
An iOS app development team can focus on listening and responding to user feedback, sorting through qualitative data, and understanding the market. You can’t expect a developer to write the app and maintain it on his own. The development cycle can run two weeks or more along with testing older, newer and upcoming versions of iOS and the iPhone and iPad themselves. Then there is the matter of App Store approval before the app is even released, which could take an additional two to three weeks.
What App Updates Should Include
Once an app has been released into the App Store or Google Play, the job of the developer shifts. He starts to make improvements so the app will run faster and with better security. A developer also knows that iOS app development is an imperfect process. Bugs can slip by and end up in a released version.
As a result, an app developer is always trying to break his own app. If he can, he will patch it in a follow-up release, maybe as quickly as within the next week if it is a serious problem. Improvements, security and stability are areas a developer must continually address over the course of an app’s lifetime.
Update Schedule for Apps
If developers make the effort to learn how their release schedule compares to other apps in the App Store, it can help them understand their own iOS app development cycle and whether they should be updating their apps more or less frequently.
These kinds of stats can make or break the success of an app. Looking at how other apps perform can help companies understand demand and market share.
Based on a small segment of apps from the App Store in 2017 (about 200 of them), here are the most essential facts:
- 22 days since the last app update
- 84 percent of apps were updated in the past month
- 75 percent of apps had been updated 25 or more times
- Updates for free apps occurred every 18 days on average
- Some apps had updates every 3.5 days whereas some apps maintained their high rank with years between releases
- Paid apps are updated three times less often than free apps
Obviously, updating your app is a significant part of the iOS app development process. Without a doubt, it can put your company in front of more people who will hopefully spread the word about the great product you have created. In 2018, when so much is spent on marketing that people mostly ignore, creating and continually updating a successful app can be a game changer.