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Our final entry in the  Great App Bake Off of 2009 is an AppCake of ColorTilt, our most popular application to date. ColorTilt is a finger painting app with a unique tilt-to-select-color feature. We released it when the App Store opened and were lucky enough to have it featured by Apple. This entry joins our first entry for Hold On!, our second entry for Dotty Shapes, and our third entry for That Ain’t It! Trivia.

ColorTilt AppCake by IMAK Creations

ColorTilt AppCake by IMAK Creations baked Dec. 20, 2009.

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Here is our third entry in the  Great App Bake Off of 2009. It is for That Ain’t It! Trivia, which has 1111 original trivia questions written in a unique “That Ain’t It!” style. This entry joins our first entry for Hold On! and our second entry for Dotty Shapes.

That Ain't It! Trivia AppCake by IMAK Creations

That Ain't It! Trivia AppCake by IMAK Creations baked Dec. 20, 2009.

Here is our second entry in the  Great App Bake Off of 2009. It is for Dotty Shapes, a connect the dot application for preschoolers. It joins our first entry for Hold On!.

Dotty Shapes AppCake by IMAK Creations

Dotty Shapes AppCake by IMAK Creations, baked Dec. 20, 2009

Well, we missed the Great Indie Bake Off of 2008, an amazing brainstorm of Gavin Bowman of Retro Dreamer. We were determined not to miss the  Great App Bake Off of 2009.

Here is our first entry for bragging rights (only non-developers can compete for the iTunes gift cards and other prizes). It is for Hold On!, a “hold the button for as long as you can” application that was on the App Store the first day and attracted lots of attention. Most of the comments were about how Apple wasn’t screening apps properly to let something so non-functional be published on the App Store. Oh how things have changed.  Hold On! was developed by Anthony (the A of IMAK) who normally does all of our graphic designed. He has since updated Hold On! to include multiplayer over bluetooth.

Hold On! AppCake by IMAK Creations

It was only a matter of time. Up until now, a developer could update their app and receive a day or more of exposure on the ‘Sort by Release Date’ page in each category and sub-category. Due to a change in policy at Apple, updates are no longer considered ‘releases’ and only the initial release date will be used in the future.

The previous system encouraged updates of applications by providing an exposure bump to developers who updated their applications. However, with 100,000 apps, this also created a backlog in the app review department.

This change is expected to encourage developers to polish their applications more before their initial release because they will only get ‘one shot’ at exposure.

A search of IMAK in iTunes is now more specific

A search of IMAK in iTunes is now more specific

Apple has made the iTunes search more specific. Previously, if we searched for “IMAK”, we would get apps from other companies. Now, only our apps show up. Also, previously if we searched for “ColorTilt”, it would also match “ColorTalk”, but no longer.

One of the most popular displays at WWDC ’09 was the display of 20,000 app icons on 20 monitors.  The app icons would bounce whenever someone purchased the app. People watched the display literally for hours, first trying to find their app icons, and then later waiting to watch them bounce. Well, I put my hour plus of time in and was able to get a shot of That Ain’t It! bouncing. Enjoy!

During the month of June, IMAK Creations sponsored a contest to see who could write the best That Ain’t It! style trivia question. The number of quality entries was much higher than we expected and we had a tough time coming up with a winning entry. We sat around the table and went through each entry – rating it first on uniqueness/originality/creativity and then second on how interesting and educational the question was. For the top entries, we also verified the accuracy and question style.  After tallying the results, we unanimously agreed that the top-scoring entry was our 1000th question winner.

And the winner is …

Bob Hagh of Shelton, Connecticut

Here is Bob’s winning entry in the Words category and of Medium difficulty:

TOPIC: Abbreviated objects containing redundant words

ANSWER CHOICES:

  1. PIN number
  2. UPC code
  3. NASA astronaut
  4. ATM machine

We interviewed Bob by email and found him to be quite a trivia buff. We wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a contestant on Jeopardy one day. You can read the full interview here on our website.

Thanks to everyone who entered. We plan to have another contest in the future.  Stay tuned and look for your submitted questions to appear in a future update to That Ain’t It!

The early days

Since the early days of the iTunes App Store, there has always been a free-to-paid loophole in the popularity ranking algorithms that allowed paid applications to appear to be more popular than they were.  When the App Store first opened, developers could send their apps to the top of the top-100 list by gathering sales as a free app and then changing their app to a paid app.  All of their sales as a free app, which were typically 10x-20x of what they would have received as a paid app, were included in their total sales. The top 100 list was created based off of total sales. Apple initially corrected the list manually, but eventually the use of this loophole become so prevalent that Apple had to change their popularity algorithm.

Separate Paid and Free Top 100 Category Lists

In December of 2008, Apple reorganized the App Store and created separate top paid and top free lists for each category. This reduced the incentive to use free app sales to increase popularity. However, it did not eliminate it. During searches for apps, the popularity meter would still show popularity based on free app sales. This is a good time to mention that the top-100 popularity algorithm is different than the algorithm for the popularity meter that shows up when searching with iTunes. Without going into details, the top-100 popularity algorithm gives a much higher weighting to recent sales. This allows new applications to more easily break into the top-100. However, it is not entirely based on recent sales, and that allows apps that had a boost of popularity to remain on the list longer than their current sales would otherwise allow. The popularity meter does give some additional weighting to recent sales, but much, much less.

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