Apple Leaves Finger Print Scanner, TouchID Untouchable To Developer’s And Startups

Apple, iPhone 5S, TouchID, developers, startups, mobile wallet


Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, alongside executives Jony Ive and Phil Schiller, took to the stage today at their Cupertino headquarters to unveil the new iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s. If you’re a frequent reader of technology blogs, you’ll notice that most of the leaked specs actually came to fruition.

Normally when we are building up to an Apple product release there are several “features” that may seem a little outlandish. Often times they don’t actually pan out. In fact there were 127 rumors of Apple changing phone sizes over the years. Only one time were they actually correct.

One of those rumors this year was a “finger print scanner” that would somehow be baked into the new iPhone. Many pundits said no-way was Apple going to put a finger print scanner on their phone. Well they have. Which actually makes a whole lot of sense after seeing leaked photos of a new home button.

As you can see from TheVerge’s photo above the home button now dubs as a fingerprint scanner. When talking about it on stage, Apple execs said that it provides a new layer of security for those who feel a 4 digit code is too “cumbersome”. Of course a finger print scanner also provides an extra layer of security for people who typically use easy to guess four digit codes.

The finger print scanner, dubbed “touch ID,” can work with multiple finger prints, and with any kind of human finger print it takes into account arches, loops, and whorls. CSI Las Vegas fans, you know  what I’m talking about.

In this generation of the iPhone, the TouchID is seen strictly as a security layer for the walled garden within your iPhone. Apple did say you will be able to use your finger print to authorize purchases from the iTunes store. They didn’t say whether you would be able to use it to validate in store purchases with the Apple store app, but that is very possible.

What Schiller was very specific about, though, was that the TouchID information would not be available to other software. Period.  It’s never uploaded to Apple’s servers or backed up to iCloud. The Verge’s Dieter Bohn reported in their live blog.

What is possible is that Apple’s Passbook and future apps designed around security and purchasing will most likely benefit from access to the TouchID, but for now startups hoping to disrupt the mobile wallet with a tie-in to Apple’s Touch ID will find it, well, untouchable.


The pivoting features when creating the next rockstar mobile app

Appscend, Developer's Corner, Guest Post, startup devs,mobileOr if we’d rephrase it, how long would it take before a user would give you a hug because he had a good experience with your app? Why? Besides having a great app in terms of users and success, hugs are less expensive than bandages.

We talked about what mistakes you can make when developing a mobile application. But it would be presumptuous to just point out mistakes. Now we’re going to focus on what you should never loose sight of if you want your mobile app to become the next app rockstar.

We’re going to highlight on what makes an app a great mobile app that people actually like, what can make it a viral app, what features are sine qua non and how it can grow beyond its limitations and get a lot of users patting you on the back.

1. This cannot be stated enough….UX, user experience, la experiencia del usuario, you get the picture

Think about Angry Birds. Yes , I know, everybody keeps beating the drum on how that game took over the world.

Even so, whether intentional or no, it really hit the nail in the head when it came to psychological impact and reasons. Why do people play that game? Let’s analyze it for a moment.

As people, we like to destroy things in games, and it’s no wonder why games in which you throw birds at entrenched nasty pigs ( and scream evilly and cute) would be addictive. The micro-physics in Angry Birds creates a unique user experience each time you catapult those frowny birds into everything. What mobile app mechanic can we learn from this example?

Simply put, when developing an app, create the possibility for the user to customize his own experience as much as possible. If it’s a social app, then let them customize colors, icon sizes, buttons, etc. If you’re gunning for a business app, then you should focus on what content the user deems to be relevant : such as choosing preferences over certain information providers (like newspapers, business blogs, etc.) so they won’t have to check each bit of info one at a time. ”

Make a user feel like he can play with the app in more ways than just tapping a few buttons and closing it. In doing so, you gain a greater level of user engagement and retention. Make it fun and easy or in other words, make creation a part of the user experience. It’s their app at the end of the day and making it feel even more personalized will go a long way for them to remember you.

2. Push notifications = a light tap on your shoulder to improve the day

Push notifications. They can mean anything from alerts, products, offers, updates, beeps, images, anything.

They are essential to the success and survival of a mobile application. From getting certain discounts or new updates on an app, PN’s can remind your users that your app either is still there or that you can ease their day.

For example, a way Foursquare created and maintained user loyalty was through push alerts. When a user was 10 check-ins away from becoming mayor of a certain location, it would provide an incentive to continue using the app.

The key words of push alerts are : targeted, context, geo-points, geo-location, timezones. Unlike ads where often you can shoot blindly and hope for a catch, push notifications mean you know your niche and if you do it right, you’re going to expand it.

3. Contact points, friend invite, developer and customer feedback = visibility and friendliness

In the App Store or Play Store, you’re going to find apps by the bucket. So how exactly is that shiny piece of code you wrote going to attract any attention?

Simple. The user knows who developed it, who published it and what to expect. Reviews are golden. This should be done with simplicity unlike web browsers, where you have to create an account (a uselessly tedious business) to post a comment or a review. A one tap, one touch contact point (i.e. address, mail, phone number, forum) where you tell the developer or the company of that specific app what it’s all about.

Without contact points, the user will feel isolated with his app, which is quite the opposite of what a mobile phone means. Your app philosophy should emulate this concept.

Also, don’t forget about social one touch sharing, like Facebook, where you like the app and want to share it with your friends or invite them.  Another useful trait is bug reporting from users. Although the chances of encountering a bug on a mobile app is rarer than a few years ago, it’s a great way to quickly correct mistakes through on time feedback.

4. Social integration – if you want your app to be known it has to support social interaction

People like to talk about their mobile phones, that’s a given. What they can do, how they pay their bills and don’t have to wait in line, how they filmed their cat doing a back flip and so on.

We’re going back to the Angry Birds analogy. So what was one of the leading causes for the proliferation of this game? Social interaction.

Among many other of its traits, one of the things that made the game such an immersive experience was interaction and competition. You could play the game and see the ranking of your friends on Facebook for example. And that really made users want reach the top rankings and use the app more

Gamifying your app is a must. If you make it fun for users then you’ll set the stage for a memorable experience. Monetizing an app is nearly impossible if the app is a headache to use or it’s simply too complex without any reason. It’s all about psychology and the things we tend to remember were those bits of info encapsulated in fun emotions.

Again, it’s about simplicity that has infinite ramifications. One tap sharing and fun comments from users to their social companions is the most powerful form of communication that leads to brand visibility and retention.

,,Extremely useful for understanding user experience : 48 psychological facts you should know”

According to Susan Weinschenk, synchronous activity bonds the group. Your mobile app will be popular if it supports features such as interactive ratings or reviews (either through smart push notifications or an easy to scroll comment bar, either from friends or experts). Buzzword: Interactivity = popularity.

5. Cross-platform compatibility

Or one code to rule them all.  It means that a program developed as cross-platform is fully capable of operating on any mobile phone regardless of what operating system that phone is running.

Application development frameworks offer the beauty of code reusability. A magnificent and useful app such as Google Maps would have been a hell to program for one OS at time.

They don’t just cut down development costs and time pressing situations, but they offer the advantage of updating the app as quick as possible. Thus you can ensure you can deliver content /updates to your app faster and users will have higher retention and appreciation. If the app you’re going for is a native one, then having cross platform tools will give you a boost in ensuring fast delivery for updates and changes.

6. If less is more, then great apps mean a dialectic of simple and brilliant implementations

Great mobile apps are very task-focused. A nice analogy would be the classical saying ,,Do you want the short version or the long version of the story?”. With mobile apps the same truth applies. The hardest part in any area is to make something simple.

It’s quite easy and tempting to fall into the mindset of ,,Yeah, we need a button for that, and a scroll for that one, 50 side scrolling screens and so on.” But tablets and smartphones aren’t desktops. Quite the opposite of what people were saying at the dawn of smartphones, which was ,, A computer in the palm of your hand”. It’s a little more than that.

Because the screens are small , you need clear buttons and a precise functionality. Here’s a good example of rules for a clean and simple design.

A stunning app is one that incorporates complex ramifications in a few simple buttons and touches and not dozens of buttons for just one thing. Don’t rush when mulling over complexity and needs. Think about the old military saying. ,,Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”. Just what do we mean with it? Well, the nature of mobile, being on the run and everything. Even though people spend more time on their mobile than on their desktops, one of the reasons for this is clever and fluid simplicity.

7. Analytics are the backbone of where your app is going

Besides finding out how many users actively use your apps, other bits of info can be the turnpoint in knowing what to add or what to cut out in your app. Analytics can be combined with smart push notifications to deliver the most relevant content where it matters and when it matters.

They are also a boon when taking the pulse of in-app purchases and polishing monetization strategies.

The key traits of mobile app analytics are:

  •   Acquisition and user metrics such as downloads and new user   
  •   Engagement metrics such as retention, crashes and conversions     
  •   Outcome metrics such as app sales and in-app purchases

We could mention other traits a great mobile app should have but that is dependent on the nature of the app itself. QR code scanners are useful in retail and shopping. In-app ads are starting to become a little more refined but then again, this is solely linked to what you want to do with your app and if ads are going to be your main monetization plan. Other things we could highlight would be GPS coupons (repeated visits to a certain place give customers a bonus or discount), loyalty points and promotions.

A viral app has the possibility of creating an online community by itself if it’s done right.

And there we have it. Now these are just the main elements when designing an app that has the possibility of becoming viral. In the end it comes down to basic psychology and user experience. The pivotal features you need to always consider is how your app can spread through social media. To give a soul to an app means to make it interactive and unbound.

And the most coolest trait is that your app will do most of the heavy lifting and actually market itself, leaving you with a lot of monetization options rather than picking a niche and crossing your fingers. Elements such as customer points, badges, in-app money, rewards, they all gamify and create more engagement, fun experience and all round good user reaction.

Unless you’re putting one time apps intentionally, all of these will lead to your own app success story.

This is a guest post by Appscend ( — the all-in-one cross-mobile performance based application platform. Appscend offers its customers the fastest cross platform development technology available on the market today together with a complete list of backend technologies that ensure application & user management, a powerful push notifications platform as well as app analytics, ad-integration, in-app purchases and over-the-air distribution services.

Top 10 blunders when developing and managing mobile apps…from a puppy

Appscend,Mobile apps, developers, startups,nibletz, guest post“As long as the world is turning and spinning, we’re gonna be dizzy and we’re gonna make mistakes.” – Mel

This is Devie. Besides being the avatar of cuteness he’s an eccentric mobile app developer. Devie is quite
skilled when it comes to the mobile landscape in general and as such it would be wise to pay attention to
what he says.

The mobile app world has passed its infant phase but it hasn’t quite reached full maturity yet and many
developers and companies still make mistakes when it comes to putting out apps on the market.

To this end, Devie has helped us in making a list of the top 10 overlooked mistakes when developing and
managing apps. Heed his words carefully, otherwise, you will make the same face when disappointing your
clients and users, the same face Devie makes when he tips over the coffee cup (which happens roughly twice
a day).

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 10 mistakes:

# 1 Forgetting that you’re developing for real people

Apps are built for real people and not ,,the idea of people”. In other words UX or user experience. User
experience doesn’t mean just the interface. The UI is just a part of it. UX is everything from the moment
when the user finds out about the app, reads the description, installs it, sees how it works, when he needs
it, if he smiles, if he frowns in confusion, etc. When designing an app, think about how your regular user will
react to it.

Your app should have a precise functionality in mind, a natural flow like opening a book and an intuitive
design. A user shouldn’t be forced to study an app manual to use a mobile application. Especially if he pays
for it. Always remember : the end user experience is your primary goal.

# 2 Your mobile app looks like a quantum mechanics diagram

In other words, complexity doesn’t necessarily imply cool design no more than simplicity means the absence
of it.

In the case of smartphones, think about the iPhone for example. Do you really want to put 20 buttons and
features on a small screen? Just because you can code your app to do anything you’d like, doesn’t mean
you should. Unless you need an app with a lot of details (such as a media and entertainment app), your
app will take time away from a user instead saving time. Often times, simplicity wins 9/10 over complexity.
App functionality and design shouldn’t be drowned in useless buttons, unnecessary scrolling and being so
complicated that it makes you forget how you got to a certain section within the app.

# 3 Don’t make people squint, the screens are small

So you have a brilliant idea about creating an app. You’re going to corner the market. People will praise you
and cheer you on the streets. You’re the new Michelangelo. You might have created the new Sistine Chapel,
but unless you find a way to put it on a 3,5 inch screen you’re just going to let all that work go to waste.
Instead of trying to paint as many details into your app as possible, let them appear one at a time so your
users aren’t faced with a maze of buttons and too much detail. Let them savor the experience.

# 4 No app scalability

There are a lot of apps out there that have the potential of growing but they were built with only a few users
in mind. Unless you’re intentionally putting out one time apps, you should take into consideration that one
of the reasons you are developing mobile apps, is because you want to reach as many people as possible.

Think about this one. What would have happened if the moment when Angry Birds really got popular,
the app was only designed with limited playability and only for a few thousand users? it would have
become ,,One of those games I played for a couple of days and that’s all“. ,,That’s all” isn’t the phrase you
want to hear when your app is reviewed.

# 5 The app itself isn’t your main source of revenue

The main source of profits isn’t the mobile app. In-app purchases and in-app advertising are. In 2012, more
than 3/4 of the global app revenues came out of in-app purchases. Don’t forget the interactive feature of in-
app currency, for example customer points when shopping. Most apps are sold for 99 cents or $3. You might
reach 2000 users, but your only going to make $2000-$6000.

Developers aren’t different from rockstars. No, developers, you’re not the next Jimi Hendrix…yet. We’re
talking about the fact that most money rockstars make isn’t from cd’s and songs (especially with torrents
nowadays) but from concerts. They make their daily bread from offering interactivity and memorable

,,Fact : Apps don’t make a lot of money. The content they deliver does.” – Devie

Such as it is, most apps are free anyway and all apps should be free. Why? Because psychologically speaking,
why would someone buy a product they haven’t even tested based on a 3 line description of how awesome
it is. If it isn’t free, then a free trial should be implemented so customers can know what to expect.
Monetizing mobile apps isn’t about selling the app. The app is a medium for revenue and not the end goal.

# 6 Ads can make or break an app

Not all mobile apps are madefor mobile ads. First of all, the smartphone or tablet is not a desktop pc. When
building an app, say for a restaurant chain, an ad that offers coupons or discounts might work. But right now,
banners and spray and pray ads are most likely to backfire on your user experience.

Another thing you should never do is integrate ads that have buttons looking like a natural extension of
the app. Spammy and intrusive ads that gobble up the screen when the user is in mid-use of the app often
begets negative reviews and complaints. Mobile ads are a tricky business. The question you should ask
yourself is :,,Will the ads cut into the user experience and make monetization impossible or not?”

Mobile app success stems in the first place from the user reaction and not just from the fact that your app
was downloaded – Devie

# 7 No points of contact, no user feedback, no improvements = no cookies for developers and companies

There are a lot of apps out there that stand only to gain from updates and improvements that never seem to
arrive. Not all apps have to implement points of contact for developers /companies (such as a mail address
or forum), but it doesn’t hurt when you want to ,,actually!” see how your app is perceived and how it can
be improved from the users themselves. No points of contact sometimes means that you’re telling the
users ,,That’s all we offer and nothing more, so don’t bother us”.

# 8 Poor push notifications pushes users away

Or even the very lack of push notifications for that matter. Apps such as news apps stand only to benefit
from the smart integration of PN’s and they keep users retention at good levels. However, poor PN planning
can ruin your app. PN’s should be relaxed like when a friend calls you and tells you about a good movie that
just came out. But if he’d call you every 5 seconds to tell you about every TV channel, you’d think about
choosing your friends more wisely wouldn’t you?

There are apps for example, that help you find coffee shops on the map. A badly planned PN would be when
every 2 minutes when a user walks an extra 600 ft, an annoying update about a coffee shop a few streets
away suddenly breaks his train of thought. Or if even disturbing users while sleeping is a guaranteed way

to screw up your app. For more details on what you should and shouldn’t do with push notifications, check
out Push notifications, the do’s and don’ts.

# 9 No analytics and no idea what your app is doing on a saturday night at 3:00 a.m.

Analytics or another way of saying app behaviour and user behaviour is a must when you want to understand
what’s happening when your app is ready to grow u p and see the world. The ability to monitor and study
app usage, users characteristics, how long do they use the app, how many times and so on is vital.

Without analytics an app faces fully fledged uncertainty on the part of developers. Not knowing whether
your app really becomes popular or it has been slowly dying leaves you with a blindspot that’s going to affect
investment and results.

# 10 Targeting too many platforms or too few

Apps are fickle children and sometimes they want all flavors of the ice cream or other times just one.
Consider the value proposition of your mobile app. If you’re going for native on multiple platforms, then
really really take a few steps back and consider if it’s worth it. A lot of business /enterprise apps are
preferred to be on tablets due to the wide screen that allows presentations, pitches, reports and getting
quick news from business blogs and magazines.

Rather than developing for 3-4 mobile platforms, such as iPhone, Android, Windows Phone or Blackerry,
make careful considerations about this next question : Can I waste valuable resources such as time and
money developing for multiple platforms while my competition puts out an app before me?

Going for a one size fits all is good in a lot of businesses but the technology for doing this in mobile apps isn’t
here yet. Rather than targeting a lot of platforms, develop an good and polished app for one or two main
platforms such as iOS and Android.

Conclusions : These are just a part of the big questions and mistakes you can make when developing and
managing mobile apps. Other things we could highlight would be : little or no integration with the device’s
native features, apps that are developed requiring user immobility which is the exact opposite of ,,being
mobile”, lack of social network implementations and so on.

The main key ideas you have to keep in mind is UX and targeted needs. Like Rebecca Flavin , CEO of Denver-
based Effective UI said some of the elements of UX: usable, useful and enjoyable. The three cherries of
creating an interactive and engaging user experience.

Take heed of what Devie said and as a company or developer you’ll be able to brag to your friends that you
saved thousands of dollars and created stunning apps because you listened to a puppy.

P.S. – We wanted to put the cherries on top but Devie would have ate them before we got to the end.

This is a guest post by Appscend ( — the all-in-one cross-mobile performance based
application platform. Appscend offers its customers the fastest cross platform development technology
available on the market today together with a complete list of backend technologies that ensure application
& user management, a powerful push notifications platform as well as app analytics, ad-integration, in-app
purchases and over-the-air distribution services.