★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

iphone and ipad app vs universal app?

06-02-2010, 06:37 PM
#1
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Atlanta GA
Posts: 1,224
iphone and ipad app vs universal app?

Is is that hard to code universal apps compare to separate versions? I'd think the iphone app uses mostly compressed assets from the ipad version. The UI will probably be a little different but it shouldn't affect the app size much. It might be harder to debug or so.

How do you dev's decide to make separate apps or a single universal app?
06-03-2010, 01:52 AM
#2
Joined: May 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 741
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickdigger802 View Post
Is is that hard to code universal apps compare to separate versions? I'd think the iphone app uses mostly compressed assets from the ipad version. The UI will probably be a little different but it shouldn't affect the app size much. It might be harder to debug or so.

How do you dev's decide to make separate apps or a single universal app?
I have a universal version of Ground Effect almost finished. It's actually very easy to convert an app (or at least a 3D app) into a universal. There are a couple of issues though.

Firstly, I can't support right down to OS 2.2.1 on a universal app even though it's perfectly possible in XCode. Apparently iTunes Connect rejects it when you try to submit. I have no idea how many of my users are on 2.2.1 but upping the minimum on an update seems unfair.

The other issue is the charts. It seems that if you buy a universal app in iTunes on you computer it counts in the normal iPhone chart. This means that a universal app is much less likely to chart on iPad than an iPad only version.

-=< Fat Owl With A Jetpack >=-
-=< Topia World Builder >=-
-=< Twitter >=-
-=< Blog >=-

06-03-2010, 07:55 AM
#3
There's been some discussion on here from players that they feel making an iPad only version with no additional features except enhanced graphics is a bit of a rip-off - i.e. you're making the customer pay for a game they already own again, just for better graphics. Of course, the counter arguments are that no-one makes them buy the iPad version, and they can play their iPhone version in 2x mode, but it can create some bad feeling so it's a point worth considering.

If you're adding extra modes or features, then it seems there's better justification for making a whole new app.

If you have any analytics in your app, you should be able to check how many users are still on 2.x OS. In our experience, it's a very small percentage, if any. Most of our games have been 3.x and above for a while now.
06-03-2010, 09:20 AM
#4
Joined: May 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 741
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astraware View Post
There's been some discussion on here from players that they feel making an iPad only version with no additional features except enhanced graphics is a bit of a rip-off - i.e. you're making the customer pay for a game they already own again, just for better graphics. Of course, the counter arguments are that no-one makes them buy the iPad version, and they can play their iPhone version in 2x mode, but it can create some bad feeling so it's a point worth considering.

If you're adding extra modes or features, then it seems there's better justification for making a whole new app.

If you have any analytics in your app, you should be able to check how many users are still on 2.x OS. In our experience, it's a very small percentage, if any. Most of our games have been 3.x and above for a while now.
So the answer is just to forget about letting anyone running 2.2.1 update?

Also, the iPad charts are completely dominated by non-universal apps.

I think it's a hard call to make. Personally, I'd kind of like to have two versions but make them the 'standard' (for iPhone 2g, 3g, old Touches and cheapskates) and the other a 'universal' app for compiled for ARM7 and utilising GLES2.0 features and compatible with 3gs, iPad and 3g iPod Touches but Apple discourages that with the way the chart works.

-=< Fat Owl With A Jetpack >=-
-=< Topia World Builder >=-
-=< Twitter >=-
-=< Blog >=-
06-03-2010, 09:28 AM
#5
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
My two cents: it's a bit complex, and I don't think there's enough data out there to know which technique has a better bottom line. The fact that apple treats the ranking contribution differently depending on where a universal app was purchased is something I find a bit strange, in that all things being equal, it would seem to discourage and unfairly punish universal apps.

One thing to consider: I suspect that most people that have an iPad will also have an iPhone or iPod. Given the way the iPad appstore works, if your app doesn't get featured by Apple, people are far more likely to learn about it while browsing the iPhone appstore, which has easily accessible category and new release browsing support. But your iPad-enhanced app will only show up there if it's a universal build. If you release an iPad only app, and don't get featured, good luck with that. The majority of users only use the iDevice for app shopping, and only search if they're looking for something very specific. Another nice thing about universal apps is that in search results on iPad, they can show up in both the iPad and iPhone results.

I've done both the simple cosmetic upgrade as separate iPad app (Xiangqi Chinese Chess HD) and a universal upgrade to an existing and highly visible iPhone app (Card Shark Collection Deluxe).

Xiangqi Chinese Chess HD sold double digits for many weeks and I never received any complaints from people thinking I was trying to "rip them off" perhaps because both versions were already priced to the bone at 0.99 cents.

I did receive some good will from giving away iPad support in Card Shark, and picked up a lot of users that might never have bought the game otherwise, but there have also been a sprinkling of people complaining about the quality of the iPad version - due to time/costs pressures, I had not yet added support for all the card face variations in HD. And the options screen is a bit ugly in the iPad port. Both are things that I'll be addressing in the next update (I've got a pile of new, gorgeous high res assets being commissioned).

Agreed that there's not much reason to support anything below 3.1. I switched from 2.2 to 3.1 months ago and saw no effect on sales whatsoever.
06-03-2010, 09:35 AM
#6
Joined: May 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 741
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroffolino View Post
Agreed that there's not much reason to support anything below 3.1. I switched from 2.2 to 3.1 months ago and saw no effect on sales whatsoever.
Did you up the minimum requirement for any existing apps on an update though? I have no idea how many 2.2.1 users I have but if it's more than a few, I wouldn't want to leave them unable to update.

-=< Fat Owl With A Jetpack >=-
-=< Topia World Builder >=-
-=< Twitter >=-
-=< Blog >=-
06-03-2010, 10:26 AM
#7
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,006
Yes, I'd updated Card Shark from 2.2 to 3.1 last summer, and got exactly one complaint. The user wasn't aware they could just update their OS for free - 3.x updates are currently free for iPod, and were happy when I told them how to do it. Supporting 2.x was far more important back when Apple charged iPod users for major OS upgrades.

In contrast, when I went universal, the initial update raised the minimum requirement to 3.2. I was emailed 5 complaints, all from jailbreakers, and saw two nasty AppStore reviews complaining about the 3.2 requirement (again, from jailbreakers). The subsequant update made 3.1 the required version, and I haven't gotten a complaint since, even with tens of thousands of user updates of the app.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennX View Post
Did you up the minimum requirement for any existing apps on an update though? I have no idea how many 2.2.1 users I have but if it's more than a few, I wouldn't want to leave them unable to update.
06-03-2010, 11:54 AM
#8
As Phil says, now the 2.x to 3.x update is free for iPod touch users, there's really no reason for people not to do it. Even before the update was free, the number of people playing our games on 2.x was a couple of percent maximum, and coupled with a number of issues we had getting updated games to run on older devices, that is why we opted to go 3.x and upward with a round of updates.

Last edited by Astraware; 06-03-2010 at 11:58 AM.
06-03-2010, 11:59 AM
#9
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: California
Posts: 2,348
I'm glad developers are making universal builds but I have double dipped on quite a few apps. I'm not fan of using 2x mode, I mean I just spent $600 on an iPad I might as well get HD games right?

I was hesitant to make purchases of the same games that are just better graphics but I'm glad I did. It's much more fun to play them on a bigger screen with perfect clarity instead of being zoomed in.
06-03-2010, 01:32 PM
#10
Joined: May 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 741
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroffolino View Post
Yes, I'd updated Card Shark from 2.2 to 3.1 last summer, and got exactly one complaint.
Thanks, that's really good to know. There is still one other reason not to go universal that I can think of though: All those iPhone owners wasting all those precious megabytes on hi-res graphics they will never see...

-=< Fat Owl With A Jetpack >=-
-=< Topia World Builder >=-
-=< Twitter >=-
-=< Blog >=-