Last week we announced the RadiOblivion app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The app has been available for Android phones since early March. Understandably, I've been getting messages from folk axing how such a feat was accomplished, and I promised a post explaining the hoodoo behind it all. I waited a week and a day to make sure Apple didn't delete it from the iTunes App Store, just to reduce the amount o' potential egg on my face before writing this. So, here is the secret ingredient in the "Secret Ingredient Noodle-Soup"... there is no secret ingredient! Thanks to Po's dad for that witty quip.
Several months ago I came upon this article on Mashable about creating an app on iSites in a few easy steps. I checked it out, bookmarked it and did some other research on similar services. Being the cautious type - who doesn't trust anything he reads until all probable doubts are extinguished - I filed the notion in the back (and quite empty) corner of my noggin and went on my way. Eventually I came back to iSites, after researching the outrageous fees that many charge for designing and building apps, for further investigation. Hey! I'm not made of money, and just how tricky does an app for a podcast really need to be? I shot an email to the folks at iSites and was answered infinitely quicker than almost any other company that I have ever bothered to email - which, believe me, is rare as the proverbial hen's teeth. The fella that I corresponded with was friendly and helpful. I like that. Here's what it boils down to: for $25.00 (yes, that's right!) I "designed" an app that was submitted to both the Android Market Place and the iTunes App Store. 25 bucks! I figured that it was worth throwing away the cash to at least try to get a simple little app for RadiOblivion.
As it turns out the Android Marketplace accepts any and all apps, so it showed up there the very next day. Apple, on the other hand, is a bit more... well, you know. Although iSites says in plain English that the submission and review process at Apple could take up to three weeks I had to enquire about it after two months. I first went to the iSites forum for some answers and read a handful of angry customers spouting off some equally angry diatribe against the company, and I immediately resigned myself to the fact that my app would be an Android only app. "That would be fine", thought I. "A lot of folks are downloading it and it was, again, only 25 bones". However, I did read responses from folks on the iSites team (How bloody novel is that?! A company that actually monitors and participates in their forums! Are you seeing that, Google, Facebook et al?) explaining the tightening of the approval system at Apple, and that iSites recently implemented changes to assure more apps being approved by Steve the J. I resisted the posting and inquiry about the status of my app in the forum and opted to send an email. In the email I expressed my anticipating being rejected in favor of more apropos apps like Fart Drums, but was curious how the new changes were working out. Again, I received a response in a very reasonable amount of time saying that they had re-examined my app, were very confident in the design and content, and would push it to the front of the line for the next round of submissions. A few days (maybe a week) later the RadiOblivion app was in the iTunes App Store!
Thats it in a nutshell. I don't write code for apps, folks. You don't need to either unless you want some super-duper mega game or social networking app. This thing was as simple-as-pie to build using iSites tools. Did I mention that it only cost me $25.00?
Now, if you have an Apple or Android mobile device, how about downloading it and giving ol' RadiOblivion some love by way of stellar reviews and stars and flowery, glittery raves n' such. Its FREE!
UPDATE: Its been brought to the attention of Kaiser H.Q. (see comments below) that iSites has gone through a major pricing change, and is no longer offering a $25.00 app package. Quite an unfortunate turn of events, to say the least. According to two separate sources, it seems that the starting price for an app is in the $299.00 range.