iOctocat: GitHub for iPhone

The road to v2 and on

I am currently working on iOctocat v2.0 and because people keep asking, here are thoughts and insights I would like to share about the progress and ideas behind it.

In general

v2 will be a new app and in contrast to the current version 1 it will not be universal, which means separate apps for the iPhone and iPad.

Up to now, the iPad version of the app has been neglected and has not gotten the attention it deserves. There have been attempts to create an unique experience which utilizes the surplus of screen real estate, but those have not gotten very far, because I wanted to make the app feature complete before improving the UI. As a result I made v1 universal to please everyone who would like to use the app on the iPad, even though it is just a scaled up version of the iPhone UI. Judging from the reviews and feedback I got, this made half of the user base happy, because they liked having a single app which they paid for once and could use on all their devices. The other half was buying the app because they wanted it to work primarily on their iPad - those users felt like they did not fully get what they wanted and I can totally understand that.

To make a long story short: v2.0 will be iPhone only at first, because I still wanted to make it feature complete first. Once that is out on the App Store I will work on v2.1 to make the app ready for iOS 7. This will be a big deal and include some major UI changes I have postponed so far, because I would have to redo the UI with iOS 7 anyways. After that and having done the inevitable UI changes, I want to devote the time and energy to bring you the iPad experience of iOctocat we all have been waiting for.


My initial plan was to release v2.0 alongside iOS 7 this fall. I have been able to work on the app full time for the past weeks and have made good progress by now, which led to the decision to release it earlier than that. As the app is almost feature complete with what I planned for the new version it does not make too much sense to wait for iOS 7 - in fact it would be counterproductive: Shipping v2.0 would have been too much of a big bang release with lots of new features and a complete overhaul of the UI, which in itself will take me some time to get right - even when focusing on the iPhone only at first.

Right now shipping v2.0 in mid August seems realistic and that is what I strive to do.

Another good thing about shipping independently from the new OS version is that people that do not want to upgrade to iOS 7 immediately will be able to take advantage of all the features the new app brings.

There will be time to fix bugs and maybe add one or two more features before shipping v2.1, which will target iOS 7 and leave behind support for iOS 6 and below. That is because the UI changes iOS 7 brings are so drastic that I will not be able and do not want to maintain two separate versions of the UI.


As with v1, I need to finance working on the app - even more so now that I have already dedicated several weeks of full time work to hack on the new version.

The iPhone version will be $9.99 (8.99 EUR). I have not decided on a price point for the iPad version yet, but I think it will be a little more than that and I want to justify this by delivering a very good experience on the iPad.

Two weeks ago when I decided to ship v2.0 around mid August I cut the price of v1 in half - it is currently available on the App Store for $4.99. This makes six weeks of transitioning period and I did this to be fair to everyone buying the app from then on. I was hoping for Apple to announce paid upgrades at WWDC 2013, but it seems unlikely that we will see something like that in the near future. Having paid upgrades would have been my favorite option, but as this will not happen I think doing it this way seems like the best option, because I do not think there will be an introductory price for v2.0 and I simply cannot grant existing customers a discount.

The road so far and on

I really enjoy what I am doing right now: Hacking on an app I myself need and enjoy using, contributing to open source along the way, and talking to other developers that live the indy life. I am very grateful for the past weeks and fell in love with being able to work on what I think is best - and deciding what to do and deliver value whenever I open my MacBook or talk to customers.

Having said that, I hope you will enjoy v2 as much as I already did - WIN WIN.