The Polar Vortex of 2014 has been a boon for Unread. Icy midwestern weather trapped me indoors and blurred the week into one, uninterrupted, very productive Work Day. I cleared the last must-have feature from the Version 1.0 todo list a few days ago. Only a few stepping stones remain between here and App Store submission. If you have any questions not answered below, feel free to ask me.
Fixes and Polishing
The private beta has been a relief. The testers have sent fantastic notes and bug reports. Most of their concerns are fixed and ready to ship. Fresh eyes are indispensable after you’ve spent six straight months staring at the same screens. The app is on feature lockdown from now on: no new features until after App Store submission. I’m obsessively polishing the smaller details. The best news I can give you is that the testers are really enjoying the app. I hope you will, too.
Technically, I’ve integrated Feedly into Unread already, but I only have access to the development sandbox. I’ve requested access to the production environment so that any Feedly user can sign in with Unread. If for some reason Unread is not approved for production access, then I will submit Version 1.0 without Feedly, trying again later. I requested access very recently, however, so I’m confident that Feedly integration will be in the 1.0. This process may end up pushing back the 1.0 several weeks. Unread also works with FeedWrangler (which I use personally) and Feedbin.
App Submission Collateral
I need to assemble the items required by the App Store, the usual bric-a-brac: screenshots, an app description, et cetera. Easy stuff.
I’ve finally chosen a price: Unread will be available at an introductory price of $2.99, for a limited time. I know the tides have turned in favor of freemium pricing models, but those models work best for:
- Apps that connect to their own proprietary services. Unread connects to other companies’ services. There are no server-side features of my own that I could charge for.
- Games with consumable purchases. I could charge you $0.99 cents for every article you read or share, but I don’t think I could stomach the one-star reviews.
I considered using the free-with-pro-upgrade model we use in Riposte, but it doesn’t make sense for an RSS reader. Riposte’s biggest challenge is drawing customers to App.net, which has a much smaller network of users.1 RSS, while not as popular as it once was, is an established medium with plenty of existing users. Hopefully there’s a good number of them who aren’t afraid to spend a few bucks on a new app — especially one that tries very hard to be a fresh take on an old idea.
App.net also has the Developer Incentive Program, which is a nice bonus. ↩