iTunes Connect’s Annual Break Starts 12/22

It’s that time again folks, 2014 is coming to an end, bringing a fresh new holiday season upon us. As per tradition, Apple will be shutting down iTunes Connect between December 22nd and the 29th. During the shutdown iTunes Connect will not be accessible, so you won’t be able to submit new apps or update existing ones.

One thing Apple says we will be able to do this year, that we didn’t in previous ones, is change prices mid-break.

Will the App Store freeze this year?

Going off of what we’ve seen in the last few years we believe ranks won’t freeze this year at all. While the added volume of downloads during the holiday season may slow down how often top charts change, we believe they will continue to update.

Will downloads and revenue reports continue to update?

Yes. Sales and downloads data for iOS and Mac apps will continue to update throughout the break, which means the site, API, and email reports will continue to work as expected.

Since iTunes Connect will be offline, however, you won’t be able to link any new iTunes Connect accounts during the break.

Happy Holidays!

Incomplete Daily Reports From Apple for 8/9

Earlier today we started receiving reports from members stating that their figures for yesterday (8/9) are incorrect. Upon further examination it seems that for some developers, the raw reports we receive from Apple are missing some regions, and that for some developers reports are simply unavailable for us to import.

This has happened before with Apple but it’s pretty rare and is usually resolved within a few hours with a new set of reports. Today, as of 6:30pm EST, there have not been any new reports from Apple nor any sort of explanation.

If your downloads look off today or are not there at all it’s most likely due to an incomplete or missing report.

We’ve contacted Apple about the missing data and are continuing to check for updated reports. We’ll update this post with any update we find.

Update (8/11 – 11am EST): It looks like Apple has just released new daily reports for 8/9. We’re confirming that all reports are now available and will start re-syncing shortly after.

Update (8/11 – 2:30pm EST): We’ve started re-syncing reports. Expect an update by email soon.

Update (8/11 – 3:00pm EST): All reports for 8/9 have been updated for accounts with auto import turned on. If you are on a free plan please follow the instructions below to ensure your data is complete:

  1. Locate the report in your Archive page and delete it. This is a permanent action so make sure you delete the correct report.
  2. Go to the Sync page and re-sync your iTunes Connect account(s).

Five Apps to Play Ball During the MLB All-Star Game

The 2014 MLB All-Star Game is sure to be action-packed, and emotionally-charged, as it marks the last for baseball legend, Derek Jeter. As preparations begin in Minnesota, make sure you’re ready for the big game with our favorite baseball apps.

  • MLB.com At Bat
    Sports

    With this official app for the MLB, no matter where you are, you’re never far from your favorite team. It provides game highlights and breaking news. You also have the option of accessing premium features for a monthly subscription of $2.99, which allows you to watch every out-of-market game.

    View on: iTunes | Google Play | Amazon

  • MLB.com Home Run Derby ’14
    Games

    This game allows you to choose from home run derby participants between 2010-2014. Compete against people around the world in 10-player live multiplayer games, or get some practice in against the AI players in single-player derby mode.

    View on: iTunes

  • Team Stream by Bleacher Report
    Sports

    Although it’s not solely for baseball, Team Stream give you scores, stories, and tweets for your teams via push notifications, so you can stay current on what’s going on, even if you can’t watch the game.

    View on: iTunes | Google Play | Amazon

  • At the Ballpark
    Sports

    If you’re planning on going to the game, but aren’t familiar with the Twin’s turf, Target Field, be sure to download the MLB.com At the Ballpark app, for the rundown on all the interactive ballpark attractions and features, which utilize iBeacon technology. You can also post pictures at the park, and share on social media.

    View on: iTunes | Google Play | Amazon

  • CBS Sports Fantasy
    Sports

    Ensure your fantasy team is stacked with All-Stars this season. CBS Sports Fantasy provides season projections, player updates, a draft companion, and everything else you need to manage your team on the go.

    View on: iTunes | Google Play

10 Apps for a Fun and Safe 4th of July Weekend

The unofficial kick-off to summer is finally upon us. No matter how you choose to celebrate this Independence Day, we’ve created a list of our 10 favorite apps to have fun and stay safe this weekend, and throughout the summer.

  • Fireworks Artist Pro
    Entertainment

    What would July 4th be without fireworks? For those of you planning on traveling someplace this weekend without a fireworks show (or for those stranded on the West Side of Manhattan), the “Fireworks Artist Pro” app allows you to create your own. With a variety of backdrops and cityscapes, you don’t have to leave home to watch fireworks around the world.

    View on: iTunes | Google Play

  • Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App
    Reference

    With fun in the sun comes the looming danger of exposure to harmful UV rays.This app helps find a healthy balance of sun-time, by calculating how long your skin can be exposed to the Sun without burning based on your skin type, location, time, and the level of SPF you might be using.

    View on: iTunes

  • GrillTime
    Food & Drink

    GrillTime is the perfect app for anyone playing host this weekend. It advises on cook-time based upon the type of food, thickness and “level of doneness”. The app will also automatically alert you when it’s time to flip, and when the meat (or vegetable) is fully cooked, so you don’t have to neglect your guests in between.

    View on: iTunes

  • Declaration for iPhone and iPod Touch
    Reference

    If you’re feeling inspired and looking to explore the history behind the holiday, be sure to check out the Declaration app. It also provides historical notes, for an in-depth look at the text that started it all.

    View on: iTunes

  • Firework Fever
    Games

    Help Pyro Pete collect his fireworks and get him to the venue on time to set off his fireworks display in this fun, seasonally-appropriate game.

    View on: iTunes

  • America’s National Parks
    Travel & Local

    Your guide to everything the National Parks have to offer. You’ll find information on park activities, as well as park maps and topographic maps for hiking. It also has integrations with Flickr and Google, so you can record your memories. Just make sure the tour for each park is loaded beforehand, so you can use them offline.

    View on: Google Play

  • Beach Safety
    Education

    This free app’s main goal is to educate users on rips and currents, and how to safely avoid the danger of getting caught in them while enjoying the beach. There’s also some helpful information about treating jellyfish and blue bottle stings, and info on sharks.

    View on: iTunes

  • Roadtrippers
    Travel

    This app is all you need for that epic road trip you’ve been dreaming about. Not only can you plan and sync trip itineraries with your co-pilot, but you can also save places to bucket lists, discover places around you and view details while you are on the road. Wherever you’re headed, this app will ensure you enjoy the ride.

    View on: iTunes | Google Play

  • Surf Report
    Sports

    This app is powered by Surfline for the most current info on surfing conditions. It utilizes GPS to find the breaks nearest you, and allows you to also track the swell, tide, wind, etc. It provides a 2-day forecast, so you know what to expect throughout the weekend, and provides easy access to Surfline’s HD Cam, reports and videos.

    View on: iTunes | Google Play

  • 4th of July Coloring
    Entertainment

    A mobile coloring book for children, this app has everything you need to celebrate with red, white and blue. A fun way to keep kids entertained throughout the long weekend.

    View on: Google Play

A Tale of Two Languages: What One Middle School Class Learned While Developing an App

class photo

It’s always great to hear from our members, but when a Middle School teacher told us how her class uses appFigures to track downloads from an app the students built, we were thrilled. Many engineers will confess that they wish they’d started coding earlier, and with more efforts and initiatives than ever before bringing this subject to the forefront, it looks as though the next generation is getting an early start on just that.

We spoke to Karine Boulle Nguyen at St. Anne’s-Belfield School about how this unique project taught her students two languages when they developed an app while strengthening their French comprehension skills:


As a language teacher, I believe the most important skill one can have is to communicate with others, not just through language, but also through admiration and respect of others. Our app project gave my students those skills, and we didn’t know this would be the outcome.

Tell us about the app the class developed

The project started with the idea of teaching others French in a fun and natural way using the 2Lingua approach to languages. I wanted to incorporate the same thinking process that bilingual people use when they speak, where the flow between one language to the other is like a beautiful dance. No grammar rules, no verb conjugations, no translation needed, just context.

Our app includes a story written in English with about 250 French expressions incorporated in it (with beginner and advanced level). This is a non-threatening way of learning a language. You pick up expressions at your own level, at your own speed. No pressure. In the teaching world, we call this “differentiation.” In the end, you still understand what you read because the main story is in English, but you get a wonderful sense of accomplishment. The stories my 8th graders write are performed as a play by the 5th graders, for the 4th graders. Since our 4th graders do not know a word of French, it is important that the French expressions are included in a natural and logical way.

To begin our project, we took a field trip to the French embassy in Washington, D.C. We interviewed a diplomat and toured D.C. In general, teachers take a field trip at the end of their unit to reinforce what they have taught. We did the opposite. We went on our field trip not knowing what we needed to take out of it, which forced my students to take notes and observe as much as they could. Any details they grabbed could be used in their story. When asked what was the best part of the project, some students said coding, others mentioned how much French they learned, but all commented on how special the field trip was! To use their words, they “felt free.”

We then started to work on our app. There were so many components to think about!

  • The logo had to reflect the purpose of our app.
  • The cover page and the title needed to show the theme of our story.
  • Coding: students learned coding for the first time (CSS and HTML) and ended up coding the entire text. We then finished up the app using the Laker Compendium framework, the Baker framework, and custom code from 2Lingua.
  • Our text needed to respect copyrights and could not include trademarks. The info boxes needed information provided by sites that allowed us to use their information for commercial use.
  • The photo album included our own pictures, which we had to reformat for the app. We also had to make sure any other pictures we used were from Creative Commons (for legal issues).
  • Our story needed to include cultural references, humor, interesting combinations of sounds to make the French more catchy, and suspense to make people want to swap pages.
  • Spelling and punctuation had to be perfect.
  • The recordings had to be perfect (or close to perfect) both for the beginner and the advanced level.
  • There was also the “behind the scene” work, such as the description of our app for the app store, as well as which key words we needed to submit so people could find our app during their search.
  • Finally, the whole product had to look professional.

What inspired you to teach the kids how to code?

Our kids need to be prepared for their future and as educators it is our responsibility to guide them in the right direction. Education is changing. Just like our world, it doesn’t have boundaries anymore. We cannot teach just history in one class, or just math. We need to combine skills with technology, so our kids can get the global experience they need, in order to live in a world without frontiers. My first goal for making this app is for people to learn a language for free. I also hope our story will inspire other educators in many different ways. Not everybody will make an app, but we hope educators and students will feel inspired to try something new in the classroom, step out of their comfort zone to include new essential skills, such as coding.

How did the kids respond to the coding lesson?

Our coding lesson reinforced the strengths and challenges that my students experience with learning a language (seeing patterns, following rules, attention to details…). Students with great writing skills understood coding right away, but students who are strong orally and struggle with spelling and grammar experienced more difficulties with it. Learning how to code was truly like learning a new language. Because coding was new to all, the whole class’ hierarchy ceased to exist. Quiet students emerged as leaders and ended up helping others. Through coding, my students got to see many other facets of their peers, which made them value each individual more.

The new talk in education is about “Project-based Learning” and “21st century skills.” Our project was both. Such open projects force students to brainstorm, communicate with each other, collaborate, listen to others, and show off their skills. When I asked my students what they got out of the project, the most surprising answer came from Henry D., who answered: friendship. They learned to respect other people’s opinion, verbalize their reasons for disagreeing, compromise, and appreciate other people’s talent.

What do you think other Middle Schools should do to promote Computer Science education from an early age?

Computer Science does not need to be promoted. It simply needs to be incorporated. In the world our kids are growing up in, Computer Science is an essential tool to acquire. In my mind, it is the pencil you need in order to transform your thoughts into words on a paper. I used to think that Computer Science was a completely separate subject, and it might have started as such, but now I realize how intertwined everything is.

What proved to be the biggest challenge in teaching such technical lessons to this age group?

The first year we taught coding, our biggest challenge was to simplify it as much as possible, so it would be accessible to Middle School students who had zero experience in the domain. We then realized that we did not need to simplify the coding process, as long as we explained the role of coding. We used Mozilla Thimble to show how to code and how the commands we gave to the computer changed the text. The program allowed my students to see the results as they were coding the text. Such instant gratification was the key to their success.

How is the app doing so far?

In just a couple of weeks, we had more than 86 downloads from 22 countries. The map from appFigures representing which countries downloaded our app was an effective way to teach geography. That map also made an incredible visual impact when my students presented our project to Middle School parents and teachers. The daily report is extremely valuable, as it shows students that their project is not something they did in class that will be forgotten as soon as the test is over.


Mystery at the Embassy is available for free in the App Store.
You can find out more about the 2Lingua approach on their Facebook page.

Happy Birthday appFigures: Today We’re Turning Five

appFigures is five today

Today marks a huge milestone for us. Exactly five years ago we started building appFigures as a weekend project. No business plan, no launch party, just a useful tool we really needed to track our downloads.

It was 2009 and we had just launched our first iOS game. iTunes Connect didn’t have any reports and we had no way to track the game’s success. We agreed to spend a weekend building this report thing and continue to our next project the following week.

We never really got to that other project…

Using data to make more informed decisions

The problem of tracking performance on the web has been solved for quite a while now. When we started building our iPhone game however, there was simply no way to keep track of modern mobile apps. So we created the first service with a simple but powerful goal, to enable informed decisions by making data accessible.

From a single report to a platform

In the beginning it was all about scratching our own itch. It started with a simple chart of our downloads and quickly evolved into something more. Member feedback and our own needs for more reports resulted in better charts, more options, and a slew of new data sets.

No serious platform is complete without an API, so we built one. Several versions later, our API powers a variety of services and is integrated into hundreds of solutions, from dashboards to mobile clients.

Self-funded, growing, and profitable

We had a choice when we started: get some funding and figure out a business model later or figure out the business model now and keep the freedom to focus on our vision. We chose the latter. Five years later, it’s clear we made the right decision. We’re profitable, growing and we can’t be any more proud of our product and our team.

We wouldn’t be here without you

Your constant stream of suggestions, ideas, and feedback has shaped and transformed appFigures over the years. Be it praise or critique, your feedback tends to give us the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you know someone cares. When things go wrong you’ve always had our back. It’s a feeling we’ll never take for granted.

Today is a day we will never forget. We can’t wait for what’s coming next.

Ariel + Oz
Happy founders

Google Play Update

12:24pm est – We’re seeing new reports for the missing days as well as yesterday being imported right now.


Earlier this week we started noticing reports from Google Play were coming in later than usual. Then, on Wednesday, reports stopped coming out altogether. We don’t have a way to confirm, but we believe this delay is affecting most Google Play developers.

If you are missing downloads or sales reports for your Google Play or have incomplete figures this is most likely the reason.

We’ve reached out to Google and will post an update when they reply. We’re also keeping an eye on the situation and will update this post as soon as something changes. In the meantime, check out the Google Play status page for real time updates.

Happy Data Privacy Day 2014!

dpd_english

Privacy is central to our philosophy here at appFigures, so when Data Privacy Day became an international day of awareness, we got really excited. If you don’t already know, Data Privacy Day is a global effort to empower people to protect their privacy online. This year we’re happy to be joining a growing list of official DPD Champions to help spread the message.

In honor of DPD, we wanted to offer a privacy tip/reminder:

When linking an app store or ad network account to your appFigures account take a minute or two and create a special sub user for appFigures with a strong password. This way you do not need to share your main credentials with anyone.

You can learn more about DPD and pick up other privacy tips here.

Or, you can follow in the footsteps of our friends at Moms With Apps and ACT and take initiative to provide more transparency in your apps with their Know What’s Inside™ program.

Reminder: Annual iTunes Connect Shutdown

iTunes Connect is closed for the holidays

It’s that time of the year again when iTunes Connect goes silent for a week. If you haven’t gotten the official email, here’s the gist:

Between Saturday, 12/21 and Friday, 12/27 iTunes Connect will be down for its official holiday break. Sales reports will be importing normally, but Apple warns that there may be delays. iAd and financial reports will not be syncing at all during the break.

As per tradition, we will be keeping an eye on iTunes Connect during the shut down and will update this post if anything changes.

If you haven’t already linked your iTunes Connect to your appFigures account, or want to link a new account, there is no time like the present.

iOS + Mac Ranks Are Now Stable

A few weeks ago Apple made some changes to its network. These changes prevented our ranks aggregation platform from getting hourly ranks consistently for some countries. After a few weeks of intense work and several major updates to our platform we’re happy to say that hourly ranks for iOS and Mac apps are now stable again.

Changing feed formats and locations are things we’ve gotten used to over the years. This time however the modifications needed on our side required changes to our core importing architecture and more scale. Both requiring a considerable amount of time and testing. More time than we normally need.

Now that ranks are stable again we want to thank you for being patient and understanding with us.