Apple, we love you, but...

If you’re not already aware of the controversy surrounding Apple’s iOS subscription policy, I suggest you read this open letter before reading further... or before bothering to buy (or develop) any apps that rely on external servers for their content.

Although I’ve developed several iPhone/iOS apps for various clients and teams over the past three years, I still consider myself new on the scene when it comes to private commercial app development (ie, creating apps to generate revenue on my own). Still, I feel I have to stand in solidarity with other app developers when it comes to the bizarre moves made by Apple recently in regards to its subscription services -- and I really hope these moves don’t mark the beginning of the end of iOS development as we know it.

Since Apple officially announced its subscription service last week, it seems we hear daily of new cases of existing apps’ being rejected/denied from the store for not giving Apple what is basically a “finder’s fee” -- even if Apple didn’t find a damn thing. I honestly don’t have a problem with Apple’s requirement that anything available for purchase OUTSIDE of an app also be available INSIDE, via the in-app purchase mechanism: Apple has done a good job creating this service, and likewise, they should be paid for it. But what I DO have a problem with is the “catch” that anything available IN APP must be offered at the same price to consumers as it is offered elsewhere -- even though it now costs the developer 30% more to provide the service.

So now developers have three choices:

  1. Surrender another 30% of the revenues they’ve managed to earn on iOS devices to Apple...
  2. Pass on a huge price increase to ALL their customers -- iOS or not -- just for the privilege of continuing to offer iDevice users a chance to use the service
  3. Leave the iPhone development market

In other words, Apple wants EVERYONE to either eat or pass on a 30% increase in production costs -- even to non-iPhone users!

I for one am disgusted by this policy -- which is neither good for developers NOR consumers -- and I’m saddened for the developers and users of quality apps and services that may now find it necessary to leave the iPhone ecosystem in the face of this betrayal of trust (Skype, Netflix, Pandora, Last.FM, Hulu+, Amazon, DropBox, Readability,TinyGrab and InstaPaper, to name a few).

I’d hate to see any developer leave the iOS community... but I’d rather see them leave than levy an unfair “Apple Tax” on those that don’t even use Apple devices.

Beta program accepting applications

We’ve got a few projects in the works at the moment, and we’re always looking for new beta testers. If you’re an iOS or Mac user and want to help us test and fine-tune our upcoming products, please drop us a line and let us know. Please leave us your name, email address and UDID (if you’re interested in testing apps on your iDevice) in addition to any information on what types of apps you’d like to test, and we’ll let you know if/when we’re ready to have you test the next big thing from CodeCooler!


Alien Aquarium Adventure 1.2 available tonight

If it’s not available in your App Store already, be assured it will be soon. Version 1.2 of Alien Aquarium Adventure -- featuring the first of many planned powerups (Piranha Repellent) -- has been released upon an unsuspecting public tonight. Get your copy now!

Alien Aquarium Adventure update submitted

I've just finished up a pretty substantial update for Alien Aquarium Adventure, the "endless casual" game that went live on the App Store last month. Although the game was originally little more than an iOS remake of my old Flash-based Li'l Johnny's Aquarium Adventure, the new game is quickly growing into its own beast. Version 1.2, which is now awaiting review by iTunes App Store staffers, will introduce several new elements of gameplay, including:

  • The first of many planned powerups: Piranha Repellent.

    Screenshot of Piranha Repellent in action

  • Social networking features to share your high scores on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere

  • Screenshot of Social Networking option

  • A few other surprises I think players will enjoy.

Look for the new version to appear within the App Store soon, and as always, it will be a free update for current users.

L'il Johnny's back... sorta... on the iPhone!

Way back in 2004, when first appeared on the Web it began "not with a bang, but with the sad, pathetic whimper of a foolhardy third-grader trapped in a tank full of piranha." Its first Flash game, Li'l Johnny's Aquarium Adventure, made quite a splash for its sick humor and... well, I guess that's about it. It remains, however, one of the most popular items on the site, and people still ask whether we're ever going to update it for these new modern times. And to those imaginary people, I can now officially announce that, yes, the Aquarium Adventure is back on the iPhone!

Our new site,, has released an updated version of the classic game (now Alien Aquarium Adventure with a new protagonist and some fancy new graphics for our new favorite mobile platform, iOS. Check it out, as it's due to hit the App Store any moment now... and you can win a copy before it's even released just by tweeting about it.