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Indie Dev Weekly #13


R.I.P,Hao Chen(@haoel)

2023, 0508-0514

Others have already built Gundams and bombers in Hyrule, while cartridge hasn't even been shipped yet. Damn it.

App price adjustment

With the launch of the "Enhanced Global Pricing Mechanism" by the App Store on May 9th, I have made some price adjustments to my iOS apps, Zen Flip Clock and Minimal Diary.

The new lifetime price of Minimal Diary is a bold price increase. There are three considerations for making this decision:

  1. The download volume of Minimal Diary is not large, and the number of lifetime purchases is even smaller, so the cost of trial and error is very low.
  2. I want to use this new lifetime price as an anchor to gauge the willingness of users to subscribe to the premium version.
  3. Maybe someday I will cancel this lifetime purchase and only keep the subscriptions.

Zen Flip Clock iOS (App Store)

This week I finished the new version of widgets and modified various sound effects two or three times. I thought I had almost finished everything. On Sunday evening, the designer sent out two design drafts. At first glance, they were particularly suitable for the timer page. So I decided to redo the Pomodoro and the stopwatch. A good meal is worth the wait!


In addition, I plan to play music in Zen Flip Clock in the next version. I spent a whole evening accessing MusicKit. The official Demo ran smoothly quickly, but there were constant errors when it was put into my own app. At first there was a problem with the provisioning profile. Later, the property list key was incorrectly written in info.plist. Fortunately, I finally figured it out before going to sleep.

Zen Flip Clock Android (Google Play)

The previous version of Zen Flip Clock's Android app in China used Google Analytics as its analytics tool. However, due to various Chinese app stores rejecting apps that include this SDK, it was removed. Since then, no other analytics tool has been integrated.

Over the past few months, the revenue of the Chinese Android version of Zen Flip Clock has been fluctuating and overall decreasing. I wanted to understand the reason behind this, so this week I updated the app with a new version that includes Umeng Analytics for the Chinese Android market. It was successfully published on all markets except for Huawei AppGallery. It took three extra days of modifications before it was finally approved for Huawei AppGallery. Huawei AppGallery is still a significant app store in China, and after its release, the download volume on Huawei AppGallery was twice as high as on other markets combined.

When I didn't have any data, I assumed that the app would have at least 10,000 daily active users in China. However, the data from Umeng Analytics completely contradicted my assumptions.

Hacking in iOS WidgetKit

Official Apple documents and forums clearly state that iOS widgets cannot update every second (except for the Text(_:style:) API). However, some app widgets can not only update the UI stably every second, but also display smooth animations (at least over 30fps).

In my pursuit of this hacking, I have been exploring it since the release of iOS widgets, and I made a tiny bit of progress this week.

The first aspect is the rotation animation, which can be achieved by calling private APIs. However, Xcode 14 has blocked access to this API. Currently, the workaround involves creating a static framework using Xcode 13 and then packaging it as an SPM (Swift Package Manager) for Xcode 14 to use.

As for other animations, there are still no clues. However, when communicating with other developers, I found that someone in the fatbobman's Discord discussed this topic. This person initially said that he would open source after finding a solution, but ultimately changed his mind and chose not to share.

Experience with AI Tools this Week


The designer proposed a concept for the future version of Zen Flip Clock, involving 3D graphics animation. I know nothing about this stuff, so I asked Claude and ChatGPT. After a night of questions, the answers given did not produce the desired effect at all when running.

The next day, BraveSummer recommended GPT-4 to me, so I decided to give it a try using Albus. I explained to Albus the animation effects I wanted to achieve, and wow, it was impressive! Albus provided the correct code in just one go.

I have not subscribed to any AI tools yet. It seems that I have to pay for this GPT-4. I need to choose from Poe, Albus, and Codeium.


Copilot For Xcode

Finally, this plugin supports Codeium, so now Copilot is available in Xcode too.

However, every time it prompts, you need to manually click "Accept" to complete the code, unlike in Android Studio and VSCode where you can simply use the Tab key for auto-completion, which is a bit troublesome.