Installing my app in my IPad without offering it for distribution in the AppStore

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by multinode, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. multinode macrumors regular

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    #1
    I have an app that will never be offered for sale in ITunes ... it is for in-house use in my company.

    I understand that Apple has a procedure for such a private installation. I think it will cost me $99. From what I've read the whole procedure is somewhat nightmarish so I'm wondering if anyone here has gone through the process and knows EXACTLY ... step by step ... what to do. Questions ... how many IPads does the $99 (???) fee cover and is it a one time fee with the installed apps remaining OK indefinitely?
     
  2. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

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    #2
  3. multinode thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Thank you Teg ... do you know the EXACT procedure to follow so that I don't get tangled up ... I understand that that has happened to others?
     
  4. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #4
    Is 100 Ad Hoc installs enough for your needs? If so, it seems that registering as an individual using the $99 program is the simplest, surest, fastest route.

    Otherwise it seems to be a crap shoot, just like getting your app approved in the store thanks to the problems between the chair and keyboard.

    How complex is the app? Could it be handled as a webapp?

    B
     
  5. multinode thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Thank you for your quick response. 100 private installs will suit us fine. Is the registration straightforward or are there many pitfalls? I'm sorry, I don't know what a WebApp is ... please explain. Again, thank you.
     
  6. Xenc macrumors 6502a

    Xenc

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    #6
    Provisioning profiles do eventually expire, so you will need to keep your developer subscription going annually in order to generate new ones. It is also possible, with the correct URL structure, to install adhoc apps on device via Safari. This bypasses the need for iTunes entirely.

    Once registered as a developer, you may want to look at services such as Testflight in order to expedite the distribution process.

    Distributing for enterprise is a little easier, but if you need less than 100 devices at any one time, I'd recommend a regular developer account.
     
  7. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #7
    From what I can tell, an individual developer with a credit card can get registered almost instantly. The challenges come in when a company name and registration is involved.

    By WebApp I meant a website specifically designed to work well on iOS devices. Just as many were before the official SDK was released. You can do a lot with them, including run them offline, ... Using that approach you don't need an developer account at all.

    B
     
  8. multinode thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Thanx Xenc for your quick response. Could you please open up what you mean by "with the correct URL structure"? Does that go around the $99 fee?. Secondly, if I only want the single app to reside permanently on our multiple IPads, do I need to pay the $99 fee every year? I wouldn't want our app to be disabled if we connect to ITunes for any other reason.
     
  9. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #9
    No, you still need to sign your apps. e.g. http://jeffreysambells.com/posts/2010/06/22/ios-wireless-app-distribution/


    That's what Xenc meant by:
    $99/year.

    B
     
  10. Xenc, Feb 10, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011

    Xenc macrumors 6502a

    Xenc

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    #10
    balamw's correct, you'll need a paid developer subscription regardless of the method of distribution. To install apps without iTunes, you need to:

    1. Collect the UDIDs of the devices that you wish you install the app to, and add them to the iOS Provisioning Portal
    2. Create a provisioning profile that matches the bundle ID of the app (or use a wildcard)
    3. Add the devices to the profile, then download it to your developer machine
    4. Build your app using the provisioning profile
    5. Use this PHP script on your web server to provide downloads of the file
    Whenever you'd like to install the app onto more devices, you'll need to carry out this process again. It's not as painful as it sounds once you've got the hang of it. You can use services such as Testflight to replace the last step.

    I hope this helps!
     
  11. firewood macrumors 604

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    Silicon Valley
    #11
    If you break it down, there are probably on the order of 100 steps that you have to get exactly right to install a private app, after you think you are ready to fork out your $99/annum for up to 100 devices. So get all the docs from developer.apple.com you can, and read them 2 or 3 times.

    That's the only place to get all the exact info on the steps.

    Big companies have gotten stuck for days, maybe weeks, by skipping some point in the process they thought was too insignificant to be a real (and required) step. Or a typo they didn't double check and can't undo without throwing away a bunch of stuff and restarting.
     
  12. multinode thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 4, 2011
    #12
    Thanx to all who responded to my original question. I think I should clarify my question/s.

    Actually, I don't mind placing my IPad app into ITunes for transfer into my IPad ... I simply don't want to put it into the AppStore for distribution ... our app is to be used privately for our company. I understand that what I am needing is called an Ad Hoc installation that costs $99. This will be a one time installation during the year of our payment. We will periodically want to transfer documents (not apps) from our MacBook into our app's home directory.

    Questions:
    1. Will our 100 app installations continue to operate after the first year WITHOUT any additional payments to Apple?

    2. Will we be able to download our app's documents from our MacBook to our IPads after the first year WITHOUT any additional payments to Apple?

    3. During the development phase of our app, we may need to download updated versions of our app to a single IPad multiple times. Will each of those downloads to the SINGLE IPAD count against the 100 download quota OR does the quota apply to the number of uniquely DIFFERENT IPads?

    4. Will XCode residing on our MacBook be able to debug our app installed in our IPAD REMOTELY over the cable between the MacBook's USB and the IPAD bottom connector?
     
  13. firewood macrumors 604

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    #13
    Ad Hoc installed apps expire after a few months, so you will have to periodically renew the Ad Hoc mobileprovision(s), and thus your $99 annual developers enrollment, or you will no longer be able to launch these apps. The only way to get a non-expiring app on a stock OS iDevice is to put it in the App store.

    You can download documents if you write the app appropriately, whether Ad Hoc or App store.

    With a developers certificate, you can upload apps a zillion times, but only to 100 unique devices.

    The Xcode debugger (currently) only works when run on a Mac cabled to the device under test.
     
  14. multinode thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 4, 2011
    #14
    Wow.

    We have never heard about the app expiration issue. Could you please point us to a reference on the Apple site that confirms your info.

    So if your info is correct, MY app legitimately installed in MY IPad is disabled by a clock internal to MY IPad after a "few" months ... yes/no?

    Further, exactly how long is the "few months" to which you refer please? This is very important to the operation of our business.

    Finally, somebody has must have "jailbroken" this obnoxious Apple implementation. Do you know who has done that?

    Irony ... some years ago Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Soncini sued Microsoft on behalf of Apple, Sun, and Netscape alleging (are you ready?) "monopolistic practices". It does look like the worm has turned.
     
  15. firewood macrumors 604

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    #15
    Your app is identified as legitimate (e.g. not foreign malware) by a stock OS device for the duration of the provision file's validity.

    Every developer mobileprovision file has an expiration date. The date seems to vary with the type of provision and how close to the developer renewal date the provision file was created. Don't know where this is documented, and Apple has varied the duration till expiration in the past, since they generate all the provisions. Seems to be on the order of a few months.

    As for monopoly practices, Apple isn't even either the largest smartphone device manufacturer or largest mobile platform vendor, much less anywhere close to a near monopoly. For that, you will first have to wait for Nokia and Google to go bankrupt. Or buy and develop for one of those devices instead if you prefer their rules over Apple's. I might go with a couple cheap older PalmOS devices for a 1 year sea voyage with no internet connection.
     
  16. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #16
    You only think it is. Would you really prefer that an authorized device continues to work indefintely so that one of your competitors can steal said iPad and use your software forever?

    It's far more likely that you will have to update the app anyhow before the clock is up to fix bugs and/or add functionality. Just like anything, maintenance is required and the dates for your provisioning are not hidden in any way.

    B
     
  17. amorya macrumors 6502

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    Jun 17, 2007
    #17
    I think they expire after one year, i.e. when the renewal of your developer programme account comes round. Mine have 11 months to go at the moment…

    I don't think so. I think you have to pay $99/year for as long as you want your apps to keep on running.

    The quota is for number of devices. You can install as many apps as you like on each device.

    Yes.
     
  18. multinode thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 4, 2011
    #18
    Hi Balamw ...

    Your point is incorrect ... because I didn't make my point clearly enough.

    I do think that Steve Jobs operates too sharply ... and always has. Apple came into being as a result of user friendliness ... the UI. However, every experience that I've had with Apple as a developer since 1984 has shown me that the COMPANY itself is completely unfriendly to the world. For example, where is its customer relations department? That's where I should be able to raise the questions I've posted in this thread! I'm not merely making a religious argument. In fact, I'm a significant Apple stockholder. I think that Apple's harsh business practices can be its undoing if its tablet competitors make that an issue.


    Back to the question at hand ...

    My app in the IPad is the front end of a client server system. It is an order entry client that my customer uses to communicate with my server that's resident in a MacMini. By itself, it is of no use. So if my IPad is lost or stolen, the IP is not at all compromised.

    No, I don't like the $99 repeat payments ... that's in effect taking ownership of MY app and leasing it back to me. But I can deal with it. The big problem is the ambiguity of WHEN my app gets disabled ... a "few" months, two months, at annual renewal time ... I've heard each of those answers ... so what's the truth? No business can properly operate with a system that arbitrarily goes down in the middle of a customer event. And who pays us for the time that we need to expend re enabling our many IPads ... surely not Apple because they don't give a damn about us. We will have as many as 70 units in different locations, so that's not an insignificant issue.
     
  19. amorya macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Here.
     
  20. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #20
    So why does it need to be an app in the first place? Why not deploy it as a mobile optimized website. Avoid getting tied to any platform, switch to Android or WebOS as needed.

    This project will require >$35K for hardware and you are actually bitching about $100/year? :rolleyes:

    Effectively what you are buying for your $99/year is the same thing you buy when you get a non-self signed SSL cert from your favorite provider.

    There is no ambiguity when you actually deploy it. The dates are explicit and not hidden in any way.

    If you need to know up front what the current policy is call or e-mail Apple for clarification. They're not hiding from you either.

    B
     
  21. firewood macrumors 604

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    #21
    Every mobileprovision file you request has its expiration date clearly marked (on Apple's website portal, in the developer's Xcode, even visible on each device itself on which it is installed). You will know what this date is, and the date on which your developer enrollment expires, before you even build the app, much less deploy it. So there are no surprises.

    Many large organizations deploy beta test apps this way, even apps that require long periods of testing from nearly all 100 users, and without any problems.

    For 100 devices, the $99/annum comes to less than $1 per device in Apple system security enhancement tax. Cheap for an (approx) $700 device.

    However is sounds to me like you should seriously consider balamw's proposal to just make a web app.
     
  22. (marc) macrumors 6502a

    (marc)

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    #22
    You could try this. Note that there are probably legal issues to this, so be careful in a corporate environment. On a side note: I fully agree with you on Apple's "monopolistic practices".
     
  23. chown33 macrumors 604

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    Aug 9, 2009
    #23
    A web app can also be converted into a resident app if that's necessary.

    PhoneGap - build apps in HTML + JS, open source
    http://www.phonegap.com/
    .. multi-platform

    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/11/introducing-the-ars-technica-reader-for-ipad.ars
    .. example iPad app made using PhoneGap

    QuickConnect - similar to PhoneGap
    http://www.quickconnectfamily.org/
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/quickconnect/
    .. google: quickConnect iphone

    Sencha - HTML5, Javascript, CSS
    http://www.sencha.com/
    .. has drag-n-drop type builder
    .. GPL is a license option, others also available.

    Example of HTML5 "offline" iPhone app:
    http://sixrevisions.com/web-development/html5-iphone-app/
     
  24. multinode thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 4, 2011
    #24
    Several posters made a seemingly good suggestion for me to use a web app. I'm not exactly sure that I understand what that is ... Wikipedia has a good read on it and so I'm studying it.

    My own thinking (may or may not be what is meant by a web app):
    Actually, I'm trying to implement a small Intranet ... multiple customers (clients) using IPad as order entry tablets communicating their order choices to my MacMini or MacBook server. There will need to be two way communication ... the customer will be presented an order form (view) (from the server) and depending upon the customer's choice, he will be presented with yet another view, etc. until the order is finalized and sent to the server.

    I think that I'm talking about a "thin" client.

    Apple's TableView API is rich ... I don't want to replicate that in HTML. If I could write my TableView/TableController code in the server and stream the individual views to the client on demand to be seen on Safari on the IPAD, then I could have the best of both worlds ... no special app to be installed in the IPad and still use Apple's rich UI API.

    Somehow, my Obj C code on my server would need an Obj C to HTML converter ... is there third party code to do that??? Or maybe a Safari plug in could do that conversion. ????
     

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