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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pun alert: We have some skin in the game!

The start of the new Financial Year sees Creative Intersection taking an exciting new step and becoming an equal partner in the ApreSkin app.

When we originally developed the ApreSkin app, alongside our client Dr Brad Jones (via his corporate innovation vehicle of 3D Medical Software Pty Ltd), we felt that the concept had such a huge potential that we couldn't help ourselves from investing our considerable resources to produce the best possible product.

Wanting to improve their ability to bring innovative products to market, 3D Medical Software approached us with an equity deal that has seen us take a 50% stake in the ApreSkin product line.

We are very much looking forward to guiding the technical development of ApreSkin, and already have a new public version of the app in the pipeline.

The "old" ApreSkin iPad app has been renamed to "ApreSkin MD" as we added a cutting-edge graphics engine for even better compatibility and performance. The new public-use app will be known as "ApreSkin you" and will initially be release for iPhone (with an Android version in the pipeline). 

Watch this space for its release in the next few weeks.

ApreSkin - Creative Intersection's exciting new direction with a 50% stake in this app

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Apple Pay with ANZ (including VISA) in Australia today

This is an update from our previous post back in November 2015 where we announced that Apple Pay had hit Australia in a limited way. At the time, the service was limited to American Express cards issued by Amex themselves only.

Well, that all changed today after ANZ and Apple finally reached an agreement over fees that Apple charge to provide the gateway between their devices and the merchant/clearance facilities that the banks provide.

The "interchange fees" that the card-issuing bank can charge the acquiring bank (the bank handling merchant services for a business) are capped at 0.5% in Australia, so there's only a fairly small pie for those card-issuing banks to share with Apple.

It all comes down to tenths of a percent, but all that adds up to big bickies when you have - potentially - billions of dollars in transactions processed every week.

So, as of today, you can use Apple Pay if you have an iPhone of the correct flavour (iPhone 6/6 Plus or newer, any Apple Watch, or iPad 2/Pro/Mini3) and an ANZ card (Visa or Amex ... but not Mastercard, ANZ Access or ANZ Corporate cards).

Looking at ANZ's info page (http://applepay.anz.com/), they have a delightful little slam of their opposition in the Terms and Conditions (point #2:  "Apple Pay is not currently available at NAB, CommBank or Westpac"). Gotta love the bravado, but hope they remember to change that bit in a couple of months when the other banks finalise their own negotiations!

Remember that not only does Apple Pay mean easy payments for consumers at the checkout, but Apple Pay can be integrated into apps to pay for real-world goods and services without the 30% cut that Apple take for in-app purchases. Uber already has an option to pay for rides using your credit card using Apple Pay in some regions.

If you have an app idea or an existing app that could benefit from Apple Pay integration, give us a shout.

Confirmation of ANZ Visa card added to Apple Watch Wallet

Ready to start spending money using ANZ Visa via Apple Watch

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Announcing our Parse Migration and Hosting Service

As of January 2017, the party is over and Parse will stop operating. Hundreds of thousands of apps that rely on services provided by Parse will stop working entirely and developers need to get their apps converted to other platforms or providers before this date to avoid being rendered inoperable.

Facebook have, however, been kind enough to create a number of tools to help migrate data from their Parse platform - and more importantly have open-sourced the server itself (without a few of the features).

The team at Creative Intersection, being app development experts across a large number of platforms, have started to offer our help to owners of soon-to-be-orphaned apps to migrate to open-source versions of Parse Server hosted by us ... or to migrate the services baked into those apps across to bespoke solutions (like those that we create and use every day for apps that we develop). Such bespoke solutions are not dependent on any one vendor and therefore are portable between hosting providers and support teams.

Check out our Parse Migration and Hosting page for details.

If you are one of the unfortunate app publishers or developers left out in the cold by the Parse shut-down, drop us a line and we can talk about what is needed to help you keep your app alive.

Parse is shutting down.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Dangers of using Third-Party App Backend Services

We often meet with would-be and current app publishers to discuss taking over their partly-finished apps from overseas and local developers when the wheels have started to come off the cart. It is a sad fact of life, but you tend to get what pay for and choosing shortcuts and cheap outsourced options often brings with it some fairly predictable outcomes.

We don't judge, and are (almost) always happy to lend a helping hand to finish apps to a Release stage if they have failed to be completed.

Unfortunately, however, we also come across situations where an inappropriate platform has been chosen and that platform simply won't get the app the rest of the way to a completed, scalable product.

Sometimes it's because previous developers have chosen to create a "cross-platform" app using any number of tools that are yet to work and perform perfectly on any platform.

But the more heart-breaking scenario is when previous developers have deliberately chosen the latest and greatest service platform that then gets shut down because it was just isn't making money (or start charging huge sums of money for existing apps to remain active).

One platform that we have talked with a few app publishers about in the past is called "Parse", a "Mobile Backend as a Service" (or MBaas) product. On the surface of it, it seemed like a good idea to them - owned by Facebook since 2013, it enjoyed a good following and made it easy for less technically athletic developers to create complex services such as Push Notifications and server-side data storage/API's.

Mark Zuckerberg presents at the Facebook Parse Developer Day in 2013.
Pic courtesy of Jolie O'Dell/VentureBeat

Our Managing Director, Ian Exaudi, recalls having meetings with several prospective and current app publishers as recently as last year, who were keen to save budget by getting their app to work via Parse instead of a bespoke API such as those that Creative Intersection builds and hosts.

"It's a tragedy when an app publisher spends $50-80K on an app through another developer only to discover that the app will soon stop working and need to be completely re-built because someone has decided to kill off a third-party service", says Ian. "We feel the pain of these entrepreneurs who are having a red-hot go at doing something cool with a new app but have gotten themselves stuck after receiving ill-considered or inexperienced advice early in their venture".

Last week's announcement from Facebook is a case-in-point. Parse will be shutting down in January 2017, leaving many app developers and publishers stuck and needing to invest in massive changes to their apps and systems just to keep going.

Here is Parse's own announcement.

Lesson:  Own as much of your product as you can!

If you would like to talk about how to get your Parse-based app working again, give us a shout.

(update 3/2/16): We are now offering a Parse Data Migration and Hosting service.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

In-depth Analysis Competition Winner Drawn

Congratulations to Jennifer Barraclough from Tassie who was drawn at random from the 574 entries we received across Facebook and Twitter during our competition.

We have been in touch with Jennifer and are excited to see how her great app idea will change the world!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Infinitely scalable Google Play badge

Time to give a little something back to the community in the form of a Google Play badge that is infinitely scalable (in other words, it is a vector version).

Even though Google is one of the most recognised brands on the planet they are actually pretty terrible at managing their branding and disseminating the necessary files to the developer community to use for consistent branding (at least compared to the likes of Apple) ... and so as we were creating the artwork for a pull-up print banner (850mm x 2000mm in size) and needed a resizable "Get it on Google Play" badge that could scale up to half the width of the banner, it was nowhere to be had.

Sure, Google Play have a developer resource page that lets you create the various badges, but they only ever output as PNG files that look absolutely terrible at large size.

We had the same problem a few years ago when creating signage for our old office that needed a huge Google logo (we were doing SEO at the time).

So, we created a scalable version of the "Get it on Google Play" badge by pulling together a number of different resources. Any developers or publishers needing to create large artwork (for print, usually), feel free to take it and use it as you wish. We claim no copyright over it, but would love a hat tip via Facebook, Twitter, or an email if you find it useful.

Need a scalable version of the "Get it on Google Play" badge?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Android Pay coming to Australia in 2016

On the back of the recent launch of the Apple Pay service in Australia (tied to American Express cards only), Google have announced that they have signed up ANZ, Westpac, IGNG Direct, Bendigo Bank, Bank SA, and a number of major Aussie retailers to their Android Pay service and will be launching it in Australia sometime in the first half of 2016.

The feature-set of the Android Pay service is almost identical to the Apple Pay service, in that it works with contactless payment systems already in place at many retail locations in the form of "PayPass" and other branded services ... as well as offering app developers the ability to integrate the service into their apps for fast in-app payment for real-world items such as T-shirts, hotel bookings, etc.

Android Pay will be able to store your Mastercard and Visa credit (and debit) cards. No word on whether bank-based American Express cards (or direct Amex cards) will work.

This is all good news for app publishers because it further cements the use of the mobile phone as a method of payment and thereby provides even more opportunities to make a grab for customers' wallets at points in time that are convenient to them.

Android Pay is hitting stores in Australia in the first half of 2016 (pic courtesy of Google/Android Pay)

If you have an app idea or would like to know more about what we do, give us a shout.