November 2009, I had just purchased an iMac and decided it was time to write an iPhone utility. Samantha & I were both enrolled in Weight Watchers and one of the cool things before eating anything was to see how many “Points” things were. Using the trusty $50 calculator purchased at a meeting you could enter the Energy and Sat. Fat content from the nutritional information panel found on most foods and be told the damage.
So I spent the weekend writing a cool little app that allowed me to calculate the same information on the iPhone. It was my first experience in submitting an App to the AppStore and allowed me to learn a lot about Apple. At this point the benefit of writing the App was to help my wife and myself on our journey.
The AppStore process should go…
– waiting for review
– in review
– processing for AppStore
– ready for sale
If there are problems such as bugs etc, then you have to repeat the first two steps a few times, but I was confident.
Ha! My App was rejected, for possibly breaching Weight Watchers patents or trademarks. So I did some research, contacted Weight Watchers in Australia, there was nothing available on the Australian AppStore doing what iPoints would do. So after some correspondence between myself and a legal representative in Cupertino, iPoints was permitted on the Australian AppStore. Total time in process 4 weeks.
December Sales : 90
January Sales : 380
February Sales : 401
It was incredible to watch. Now there was no way I was going to get rich from this just yet, but knowing nearly 900 people in Australia alone were running around with my weekend project was cool.
Then a letter from Apple, basically saying Weight Watchers International have issued a take down order, blah, legal threats, blah etc.
I attempted to contact WW both Internal and Australia. Stone walled at every turn. They had nothing on the AppStore at the time, and I was offering to develop this thing further and share the profits, minimal risk for them. Nothing, nada zip. Not even recognition of my correspondence, I phone WW Australia and introduced myself only to be told “Oh, we are well aware of who you are Mr Usher”. Still no amount of discussion was going to see a joint venture happen, so I complied with the request and Feb 2010 removed iPoints from the AppStore.
Anyone who had purchased iPoints was allowed to continue using it, and I was still receiving emails from people all around the world asking for it.
The problem as this point was the $700 revenue for the program would soon be eaten up seeking legal advise, so I decided to cut my losses, but it has been a sore point ever since.
March 2012 – Friday evening, I was looking through my code archive and came across the iPoints folder, “you know what” I thought to myself, let’s redevelop it. So that evening and into Saturday, I updated the user interface, put a custom keyboard in place, changed the measuring units and added retina display support. Done. Submit.
I submitted the product as an upgrade so that the previous 900 users would get a nice surprise (free upgrade), but since the previous App had been removed I also figured there may be some hoops to jump through.
Well, this morning, some 7 days after submitting, I awoke to the cool notification that iPoints status had changed from “waiting for review” to “in review” to “processing for AppStore” and finally “Ready for Sale”
It’s always nice to wakeup to an App approval
This time on the international market, so let’s see how those numbers stack up.
Note: Points is a registered trademark of Weight Watchers International.