My first public iOS app is now available

Soundproof App Icon

I am very pleased to be able to say that my first iOS app Soundproof is now available in the App Store. It is a music player designed for people who need to repeat any kind of audio track for practice.

Our designer Adam and I worked together on the product design. He produced a great icon and clean look & feel. Here are some screenshots of it in action, but you need to try it to see the little animation touches we put in there.

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We worked very hard on the design to reduce a repeating music player to its fundamentals, while retaining some pleasing flourishes. For us the most important thing is that the app is easy to use while you are playing an instrument, without mis-hitting controls and getting frustrated. Learning is hard enough… things that add to the difficulty are useless.

It has been a very challenging and interesting process to get the app into the store. Doing adequate internal testing of the app across all the devices and changing iOS releases during the period was hard enough. We had to change our In-App Purchase mechanism after we had successfully passed App Review first time, because we offered a transparent “upgrade from basic to advanced” mechanism that gave the users a fair incremental upgrade cost using a hidden IAP that was used automatically if “basic” had already been purchased.

It turns out that only works in some countries, as Apple’s IAP pricing tiers do not have the correct relationship to each other in all territories. So we went with “Unlock unlimited practice” and “Pro features” as two separate purchases that are not mutually exclusive. It’s not perfect — why you would buy Pro Features without unlocking unlimited practice is beyond me, but there was no way to offer the entry-level pricing tier while not having a conflicting price based on which you bought first.

Having done plenty of product releases and open source “product” for years it was still a struggle to get all of the marketing copy and assets together. So many decisions to make, and writing copy is hard. There’s the landing page separate from the press kit which is separate from the press release, which is of course separate from the App Store description.

Ultimately this first app release is the culmination of 6 years or so study of iOS development and business models, while I continued with my former Java/Groovy work. I must have listened to at least a thousand hours of iOS app dev podcasts. This app was however only a few months in the making, but there’s a lot of code on the cutting room floor, and another app is already far along the pipeline. Yes, I do wish I did this five years ago when perhaps the market was a bit easier to get in to, but what can you do?

We have lots of plans for Soundproof which are somewhat contingent on how much interest there is. We are already working on the 1.0.1 release with bug fixes and improvements to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screen layout. Please give the app a try and rate and/or review it if you can. There is a bug whereby if you have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus it will falsely tell you that your phone is an iPhone 4 and won’t get future updates — but the bright side to this is that you get to use the app fully unlocked until the next update which will fix this. This release was submitted before we had an iPhone 6 to test you see…

Soundproof — Music Player for Practice is available to download for free from the App Store

Finally, if you want a great small team who can design and build you a great little iOS app please get in touch with us at Montana Floss Co.

About

Marc Palmer (@marcpalmerdev) is a consultant and software engineer specialising in Apple platforms. He currently works on the iOS team of Concepts sketching app, as well as his own apps like Captionista. He created the Flint open source framework. He can also do a pretty good job of designing app products. Don't ask him to draw anything, because that's really embarrassing. You can find out more here.

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