What a Difference 2 Years Makes - a Study in Contrasts With iPhone Ad-Hoc App Distribution

September 14, 2010    

The first iPhone App that I worked on was submitted in October of 2008. The month before we submitted, there was a flurry of emails between me and my customer, a sample of which are reproduced below:


Begin forwarded message:

From: Customer

Date: September 16, 2008 12:58:19 PM CDT

To: Carl Brown 

Subject: Re: iPhone project status



Emails omitted for brevity.

Begin forwarded message:

**From: ** Customer

**Date: ** September 23, 2008 1:42:02 PM CDT

**To: ** Carl Brown 

Subject: Re: iPhone project status



Even with the Ad-Hoc Distribution file dragged into iTunes, I get a message that my iPod isn’t authorized to have the App installed:

More emails omitted for brevity.

Begin forwarded message: **From: ** Customer

**Date: ** September 23, 2008 2:12:04 PM CDT

**To: ** Carl Brown Subject: Re: iPhone project status


I don’t see Profiles on my General Settings screen. I’ve restarted the iPod and re-synced, both with and without the app in my iTunes applications list.

I’m trying so hard!

Any advice?

I could go on (and on and on), but you get (I hope) the idea.


This evening, I wrapped up the first beta of a new customer app, and had this exchange with my new customer (no emails omitted this time):

Begin forwarded message:

From: CustomerDate: September 13, 2010 9:53:31 PM CDTTo: “‘Carl Brown’”Subject: RE: app design 



Begin forwarded message:

From: Carl BrownDate: September 13, 2010 11:19:06 PM CDTTo: CustomerSubject: App install 


Click on this link on your iPhone and let me know if it works for you:




Begin forwarded message:

From: CustomerDate: September 13, 2010 11:47:39 PM CDTTo: Carl BrownSubject: Re: App install 

I got it. Let me play around. Looks good so far.


What was the difference? Two things. The first was a change in Xcode:

Xcode 3.2.3 has a number of features, enhancements, and bug fixes over Xcode 3.2.2:iPhone OS Development:· When developing generic applications (applications that don’t require special features, such as push notifications or in-app purchases), you can create, download, and install provisioning profiles and signing certificates in the Xcode Organizer, without having to directly log in to the iPhone Provisioning Portal.

which is wonderful and saves a ton of wasted time, and the second was Beta Builder - which is a tremendous, awesome free OSX app. You give it your archive that Xcode’s “Build and Archive” spits out, and it gives you a directory of static files to go put on your web server. You upload them, send your customer a URL to click on, and you’re done.


Once more, that means:

September of 2008: literally a 9 day, 14 email, 2 phone call ordeal in with a customer who is technical enough to work with HTML and Photoshop for a living.

September of 2010: 3 emails in less than 2 hours for a customer who is a fire fighter by profession.

Thank you Apple. And thank you Hunter Hillegas.