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How to Launch a New App

We talk about strategy all the time when it comes to developing an app, but it shouldn’t just stop there. With millions of apps in the App Store and Google Play Store, your app won’t magically become successful. This is why it is important to strategize how you are going to launch your new app. This blog post from discusses an App Store Launch Plan that can help get you downloads fast, which is critical when it comes to mobile app marketing.

Overview of Phases:

Phase 1: Make sure everything works

  • Beta test your app
  • Build and test a final version
  • Seed early reviews

Phase 2: Get the word out!

  • Inform your insiders
  • Run ads
  • Make sure your App Store Optimization (ASO) is on point
  • Social, blog, and press

Phase 3: Keep the momentum

  • Re-engage your uses
  • Keep everyone updated when you update

Read it all here

SiriKit Tutorial – Right to the Point (Part 2)

Part 2: Adding and responding to intents

Specify which intents your app supports. 

1. In Xcode, select the Info.plist file of your Intents extension.

2. Expand the NSExtension and NSExtensionAttributes keys to reveal the IntentsSupported andIntentsRestrictedWhileLocked keys.

3. In the IntentsSupported key, add a String item for each intent that the extension handles. Set the value of each item to the class name of the intent. (For now, we are going to use the messages intent)

You can view more intents here


Resolving and Handling Intents

  1. Open up IntentHandler.swift

2. Observe the different functions automatically generated. This is where the logic for your Siri intent is.

Custom Vocabulary

If your app has custom vocabulary, such as terms that Siri might not inherently understand should register these terms. Ex: a ride booking app that refers to a specific vehicle type as a “Vroom” could define that term and provide examples of how it might be used.

There are two ways to define your app’s custom vocabulary:

  • To register terms that are specific to a single user, use the INVocabulary object.

  • To register terms common to all users of your app, add a global vocabulary file to your iOS app. They must belong to the category of either “Ride Options” or “Workout names”


To register terms specific to a single user:


Creating a Global Vocabulary File

  1. Select New –> File
  2. In iOS –> Resources, select the Property List file Type –> Click Next
  3. Set the name of the file to “AppIntentVocabulary.plist” –> Click Create
  4. Select the AppIntentVocabulary.plist file in your project.

 5. Add two keys under the Root element.

  • Set the name of the first key to ParameterVocabularies. This key defines your app’s custom terms and the intent parameters that apply
  • Set the name of the second key to IntentPhrases. This key contains examples for invoking your services


Creating an Intents UI Extension

Since we checked off UI Extension when we first added the Intent, we do not have to do anything in terms of adding new files.

  1. Open up IntentsViewController.swift
  2. Under the “configure” function, you can customize your view here <configure image>
  3. In MainInterface.storyboard, you can add UI Elements and hook them up to outlets to customize the appearance


Once you run your app, you will see the updated UI



Disclosure: This is a brief, straight to the point tutorial. The object is not to go in depth, but to give a quick overview of how to get SiriKit up and running. For more information visit

SiriKit Tutorial – Right to the Point

In this tutorial you will learn how to get SiriKit working in your iOS App! To learn more about how SiriKit works behind the scenes, check out this article!

Requirements: Xcode 8, Swift 3 Project (this is what the tutorial is built on)

Part 1. Getting a quick and simple demo running

Create & setup iOS app

  1. Create a new ‘Single View Application’ Xcode Project. For this tutorial, lets use the project name “SiriKitDemo”
  2. Once the project is created and opened up, select your iOS app target in project settings.
  3. Enable the Siri capability under the “Capabilities” tab



Now its time to add the intent files to your project

4. Select File –> New –> Target

5. Select “Intents Extension”


6. Click Next and specify the name of your extension and configure the language and other options. ***For this tutorial, Check “Include UI Extension”***


Request access to Siri

7. Include the NSSiriUsageDescription key in your iOS app’s Info.plist file. The value for this key is a string that describes what information your app shares with SiriKit


8. Open up your ViewController.swift file, import Intents and under viewDidLoad, call the requestSiriAuthorization: class method of INPreferences


Running & Testing

9. Select your iOS app’s target & Run your application

10. Select your Intent Extension and run that by attaching it to your iOS app


11. Activate Siri and say “Search for messages in <appname>” —Siri should respond with what is listed in the IntentHandler.swift file

***Sometimes it takes a few minutes for Siri to process your extension, if it doesn’t work right away, don’t be alarmed***


Want to get a little bit more in depth? Learn how to add more intents, customize the way Siri handles intents, & more in Part 2!




Building your app for iOS 10

As the date approaches quickly for the public release of Apple’s iOS 10, it’s important to think of how your app can harness the power of all the new features! Apple has taken a major step, opening up many different SDK’s and libraries. Let’s see how we can take advantage of them!

What’s New:


SiriKit enables your iOS 10 apps to work with Siri, so users can get things done with your content and services using just their voice. In addition to extending Siri’s support for messaging, photo search and phone calls to more apps, SiriKit also adds support for new services, including ride booking and personal payments.



CallKit lets VoIP apps integrate with the iPhone UI and give users a great experience. Use this framework to let users view and answer incoming VoIP calls on the lock screen and manage contacts from VoIP calls in the Phone app’s Favorites and Recents views.CallKit also introduces app extensions that enable call blocking and caller identification. You can create an app extension that can associate a phone number with a name or tell the system when a number should be blocked.


The notifications framework got an overhaul and you can now make your notifications more custom and rich. With customizing the UI of a notification and integrating 3D touch to add quick actions, your users will be able to interact with notifications like never before.


Integrating with the Messages App

In iOS 10, you can create app extensions that interact with the Messages app and let users send text, stickers, media files, and interactive messages. You can also support interactive messages that update as each recipient responds to the message. You can create two types of app extensions:

  • A Sticker pack provides a set of stickers that users can add to their Messages content.
  • An iMessage app lets you present a custom user interface within the Messages app, create a sticker browser, include text, stickers, and media files within a conversation, and create, send, and update interactive messages.An iMessage app can also help users search images that you host on your app’s related website while they’re in the Messages app.


Speech Recognition

This new framework supports continuous speech recognition and helps you build apps that can recognize speech and transcribe it into text. Using the APIs in the Speech framework, you can perform speech transcription of both real-time and recorded audio.



Record or stream video and audio directly from your app, so that users can share their experiences through email, messages, and social media.


These are just a handful of cool new frameworks that your apps can work with. For more information check out


Have apps using some of these frameworks and what it featured? Let us know!

Retention is key. How to keep customers using your app


Having hundreds, thousands, and millions of downloads is really cool, but those downloads don’t mean anything if you can’t get people to stay on your app. In this post, Ty Magnin will walk you through 10 steps to increase customer retention and make an app that people will be sure to remember.


1. Have them at hello

    First impressions are crucial. Humans are hardwired to form lasting opinions on gut instincts. Make you “Welcome Message” personal, clear, and attractive.

2. Start with the Highlight Reel

    On your application’s first launch or login by a user, highlight some of the key features your app provides.

3. Nudge into Endless AHA! Moments

An AHA! moment is when a customer finds value in your app. Always nudge your users to discover these values

4. Give the Scoop on New Products

The tech world is forever changing and improving. It’s important to make sure your app is flexible and stays up to date with software, device features, integrations and more. When you make these updates, share it with your customers!

5. Update to Remind

Keeping your users engaged is HUGEE and you should reach out to them more than just twice a year. Give users updates on their behaviors and check-ins to remind them that you’re still there.

6. Give customers More Than Software

You want to offer your customers as much value as possible. Don’t let it stop with just the features of your app. Provide other resources such as newsletters and content that may be useful to your users.

7. Offer Contextual Help

   When you provide customers with more than just your software, it’s important to give it to them at the right time and in the right context. Ex: Offering an upgrade for more storage during week one is less effective than offering it when a user runs out of space.

8. Ask for Their Two Cents

Make your app a perfect fit for your customers by reaching out to them, giving them surveys and gaining insight on how your app is used, what can be done to improve their experience, and more. Users love it when they see what they asked for come to life!

9. Invite into Beta Program

Make your best customers recognize how valuable they are to you by letting them try out a beta product. This will let them feel like they are part of the team and in turn will lead to loyalty.

10. Foster Community Around Your Product

Sometimes it’s easier for people to learn about your app from other users rather than just you. Enable users to learn and help teach other users. In turn this makes your brand become more personal.


All in all, to increase retention you want to

  • Educate
  • Engage
  • Empower

Read the full article here

Branding from nothing with novelty and repetition

To have a successful startup, you must have a strong brand and by brand, we mean a piece of peoples’ brains carved out. The two main things needed to build you brand are novelty and repetition. Novelty is the quality of being new, original, or unusual. Repetition comes into play when you want to carve out space in someone’s brain; getting in their head over and over until you’re there to stay.

“Building a brand is about more than giving out free swag with your logo on it. It’s about creating stories.”

Read more here

Get funding to have your app developed!

Have an awesome app idea? Need some funding to make it into reality? Look no more!

Pioneer Mobile Applications is in partnership with a few investors who are looking to fund early stage startups; as early as just an idea. Along with funding, Pioneer will provide app development services that are 35%-50% less than the average app development firm!

This is your chance to finally turn your idea into reality!

You should apply if:

  • You have a solid app idea
  • Motivated & ready to take this idea to the next level
  • You’re a team player
  • You know how to “get it done”

Are you a driven entreprenuer with an idea you believe in? Submit the information below:


Pioneer releases Town of Babylon Guide

The team at Pioneer Mobile Applications is always looking for ways to make people’s everyday lives more efficient. In today’s “smartphone society”, it is important to have information easily accessible no matter where you are in the world. Luckily mobile applications make that happen. Take a look at our latest project and how it is doing so:


Town of Babylon Guide


Town of Babylon – Long Island, NY

Find out information for the Town of Babylon at the palm of your hand.

Information Includes: News, Calendar of Events, Public Notices, Contact Information, Useful Links, FAQ, & More!



Pioneer Apps - Town of Babylon Guide Pioneer Mobile Apps - Town of Babylon Guide Pioneer Mobile Apps - Town of Babylon Guide

Check out the app on the App Store for FREE here!

Do you have an app idea that you want to bring to life? Contact Pioneer Mobile Applications!

Introducing urbanhail – Our latest client

Check out Pioneer’s latest client urbanhail! They just released in the app store!

App Name: urbanhail

App Description:
We are the Kayak of ride-hailing for Boston.
Compare real time prices – including surge! – and driver ETA for Uber, Lyft, and local taxis to find the best option for your unique trip. A single tap takes you to your choice, and you’re on your way!

Download Here

An interview with the Founders & Developers of Bounce

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.22.35 PM

Often times, hiring someone to develop an app can be expensive. To solve this issue, the founders may choose to develop the app themselves. This can be extremely tough to do, but the founders of Bounce were able to accomplish this task successfully!

“Bounce is a new social app for neighbors. Join & grow neighborhood communities – called homepoints – and bounce home with them later in the night. Chat with your neighbors directly, plan hangouts, and get to know what’s good in your hood.”

Check out Bounce here!

Where did you come up with the idea for this app?

When I (Robin) was a freshman, I used to head out to parties early in the night with my roommate, and we’d run into other friends, and end up going separate ways by the end of the night. I found myself asking everyone around me if they were also headed to the same dorm (South Quad), and would collect the phone numbers and create a group chat of all of the people from South Quad. Then, I’d plan my night around leaving with the new dorm-mates I had found, because I didn’t want to walk home alone. I noticed that if there was a way to pre-group my dorm-mates, even strangers who live in my dorm, I wouldn’t have to leave with the intention of sticking with my one roommate all night, and technology could make it very easy to find out which of my dorm-mates were nearby, when I was ready to leave. In this moment, technology would have given me the independence I so badly wanted.

What problem is this app trying to solve?

When getting home, you consider three factors: price, safety (comfort-level), and efficiency. Many students can’t afford to use Uber every day, so we resort to walking home alone while often feeling scared, or planning our stay around how long our friends want to stay, so that we can walk home with them. No easy way exists to get home with neighbors, either for cheaper rideshares or safer travels. Bounce groups you with your neighbors who are nearby when you’re out late, so that you can walk/uber home with them, without actively searching for your roommates or sticking to their plans.

How big is your team? What are the positions/experience of each (ex. Computer Science senior at Michigan State)

We’re a team of two people, both Computer Science juniors at the University of Michigan. Robin interned as an iOS Developer at VSCO this past summer, and Steven interned as a Web Developer at Weebly.

Did you receive any outside support for this app between development to promotion?

Yes – we received a grant and mentorship from the Thiel Foundation, and a grant from competing and winning the University of Michigan’s OptiMize Social Innovation Challenge. We’ve had some great mentorship from wonderful people at both organizations along the way.

Did you develop this app in house or hire someone else?

We spent the summer working hard and developed it ourselves!

What were some of the biggest struggles you have had over the course of developing your app? Did you have to learn new APIs? How much experience did you have?

We didn’t have any iOS or UI/UX design experience before starting this app, and we had to learn it all. We started this at MHacks 5, a college hackathon at the University of Michigan. The pressure of having to finish it in two days was a great stimulus to get started bootstrapping things quickly. We had to learn Objective-C, Swift, and Parse since we use it extensively in our app.

How long did development take? What factors influenced the development time?

Development took every minute of our free time this summer, so about 3 months. We were also working full-time internships, so we would come home and work some more. It was hectic, but motivating knowing that we were trying to solve a real problem.

Did you have a beta tester process?

Nope! We wanted to get this in users’ hands as soon as possible, and have been refining it quickly. So far, everything works as expected!

Are you available on Android too, or just iOS? If just iOS, why iOS first?

We’re working on an Android version right now, and it’s coming in a few months. We chose to develop for iOS, because we’re all decked out in Apple products. Also, we had also been dabbling in iOS prior to getting started with Bounce.

How are you spreading the word about the app?

We wanted to try something different, where we spend money on good, rather than marketing – we created a Facebook post for our launch, and we donated $1 for each share to the Day of the Girl campaign by Save The Children, a cause that we both care deeply about. We ended up getting almost 15,000 views using this technique! We’re still experimenting with other techniques in social media other than word of mouth. Spreading the word is definitely a challenge.

What are your future goals and aspirations for this application?

Our ultimate goal is to make neighborhoods safer and more social. Homepoints do a really great job of doing that, and we have a lot of ideas to create new functionality for these neighborhood groups, once we see them growing.

Why should people download this app in one sentence?

Go out anywhere – come home with neighbors.

Word of advice to people looking to have an app built?

In terms of development: It’s really, really helpful to know how to code. Often your users will need a feature or a bug fix after releasing your app, and you should be able to deploy it to them quickly. Also, use Parse if your app needs a backend – it can save a lot of development time and hence a lot of money if you’re not making it yourself.

In terms of everything else: Having a solid cofounder you can trust is awesome. You’ll need to depend on each other when times are rough, and it’ll help you gain perspective with all of the choices you are going to have to make.