I am currently finishing my second iOS app. It’s called Pinning and is a different approach on making lists using a 2 dimensional board in instead of simple listings to capture and sort tasks and ideas. In the current state the feature set of the app is pretty much reduced to its core but I decided to publish early and iterate instead of making it “perfect” first. Here’s my thinking behind that.
Yes, publish late, of course.
The biggest argument in favour for polishing your app to the max before publishing certainly is that on the first time you hit the store your ranking gets a decent push “for free”. This effects a good chance for a decent initial sales. So you want to please these early stumblers with a solid experience as for the following buzz you need to actually work much harder on the marketing front. Many stumblers = many buyers = many happy buyers = many star ratings/comments = better ranking … infinite spiral upwards.
Yes, publish early, of course.
On the other hand. This polishing phase is maybe the most time intensive process of the development (sometimes you might even compare it to … WORK). When the time passes by it’s easy to get lost, loose interest or drift away from your initial app focus. General wisdom: Working with constraints almost always is the best way to move ahead quickly and be most efficient. For me, apps are first of all projects I do for fun and to learn about the platform, not necessarily a business, so the biggest threat really aren’t low (initial) sales and bad ratings (beware) at the launch, it’s to loose motivation to finish and publish at all. So I chose to start with the minimum approach.
This not only enables me get the ball rolling early and get some real life usage feedback quickly but also saves me some major features to reveal after the initial launch. Rather than a one off monolith-like appearance I am trying to imagine an app life being like a movie with a plot (goal), topic (category), introduction (launch), story points (updates), drama (bugs and wrong decisions), lots of drama …. and (even if its not foreseeable) an end, sometimes happy.