Atul Phadnis | Senior Product Manager
July 03, 2014

Apple WWDC Recap – the Application Developer Perspective


WWDC Entryway This post is the 1st post in a 2-part series dedicated to the Apple World Wide Developers Conference. Be sure to check the Mashery blog in the coming weeks for the rest of the series.

For five days in June, I had the pleasure of attending the Apple World Wide Developers Conference held here in San Francisco and I could not be more excited about the announcements of iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite, both coming this fall.

Approximately 5,000 iOS and Mac application developers descended on Moscone West to rub elbows with nearly 1,500 Apple representatives to learn more about the new features and downstream customer-facing capabilities that they can now be integrated with to create amazing products.

I’d like to focus my recap today on two of these features: App Analytics and TestFlight Beta Testing.

App Analytics

App Analytics Highlights

  • Built into the App Store and iOS 8
  • No code changes needed by Mobile App Developers
  • Deep visibility into customer lifecycle

The elite mobile app developers know that producing a great app is not the end of the journey to success; time must also be spent formulating a strategy for app distribution.

Now, with App Analytics, app developers can enjoy unprecedented visibility into the customer lifecycle and identify opportunities to satisfy new audiences that may have gone unnoticed. This great feature is built directly into iTunes Connect so existing business and development workflows can remain unchanged.

App developers should think about their downstream users as existing within this customer lifecycle funnel, which consists of:

  • App Store View – number of people viewing the app
  • App Units – number of purchases or downloads of the app
  • Active Devices – number of devices where the app is running
  • Retention – number of active devices still in use after some time
  • In-App purchase – number of engagement-to-sales conversions

Naturally this funnel is declining over time. The question one should be asking is, “how can I minimize the loss experienced as users transition from one stage in the funnel to the next?”

Developers can make use of a beautiful set of reports designed to trend these critical metrics (and more!). The metrics show the sources directing traffic to a specific app store page and the app's retention performance. Additionally, with the power of filters, one has the option to compare metrics directly over the specified time period.

Anyone serious about mobile app development on iOS should be sure to take time to dive into App Analytics. They will be happy they did!

TestFlight Beta Testing

Beta Testing Highlights

  • Email invitation to participate in App beta testing
  • No UDID or provisioning profile exchanges
  • Use AppleID for sign-in
  • Centralized communication via the TestFlight Mobile App

The announcement of TestFlight Beta Testing is the latest way that Apple is supporting the iOS app developer and testing community.

With TestFlight Beta Testing, app developers can now upload “builds” into iTunes Connect and invite anyone to join as a beta tester. Once the email invitation is accepted, the beta tester is asked to download the companion TestFlight mobile application where the app build can be delivered along with instructions on areas of the app to test. All downloads of builds for beta testing automatically expire after 30 days.

Beta testing

Now with the ease of sending an email, app developers can quickly invite business executives, media representatives, and other stakeholders to use beta version of the mobile application. Beta testers only need to use their AppleIDs to log into the beta app and the testing can begin! Feedback can be sent directly within the TestFlight companion mobile app.

Developers no longer need to worry about struggling to configure a new staff member for beta testing, which previously required: manually managing and exchanging Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs), installing provisioning profiles, and requesting physical access to the testing devices.

This radically reduces the required steps for creating a robust testing environment to identify app performance issues and/or bugs BEFORE the app is published. This will help improve the probability of receiving a high app store rating from delighted users! 

Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for the next installment in the series!