iOS 14 Custom Icons Packs.
Again It’s Proved That Premiumness, Quality and Creators Choose Apple’s iOS platform.
With the launch of iOS 14, Apple finally started embracing customization in iOS with some workaround. Yes, It’s not as easy and convenient as on Android but it’s better than having no option. Since the launch of iOS, having no customization option has been denounced by many users and YouTubers. It’s been counted as a disadvantage as well while reviewing the iOS version and any device by Youtubers and because of that many users opt-out not to buy the iOS device(s). Although I don’t have any data on this point but many pro-Android users I knew just want a pure vanilla Android experience similar to iOS. This customization feature is prevalent among low and mid-range smartphone buyers which are powered by Android and I will discuss this point later in this blog. Apple has been criticized for not having customization features as well and this isn’t anything new since Apple has been criticized on each decision they make even when they stand for user’s privacy. But what makes me write this blog since I don’t write much without any breakthrough events occurring. So let’s discuss this.
Since this workaround has been discovered, designers around the world started making icons-packs based on their own taste or other specific style or theme. People started customizing their home screen and they were sharing screenshots of their home screens on Twitter. It was a trending topic for a few days since the launch of iOS 14 and most beloved Youtuber MKBHD can’t resist himself so he made a video on Homescreen Setup Guide featuring some paid and free icon packs which he likes and used by himself. This video isn’t new and unique as many other YouTubers also have made a similar video but this video redefines (Word-of-mouth marketing) a new era for icons. User-Friendly digital icons aren’t something new in the tech world. It’s been with us since the introduction of Apple Lisa back in 1983. Susan Kare was the one who made the first batch of icons for Lisa. As a designer, icons are essential for us in designing websites and apps. There are lots of designers out there who just design icons for living and they are really talented. You can get appropriate icons and icons-packs as well from many free websites on the internet. If you want something unique or customize icons as per your need you can buy their paid icons-packs or hire those designers. Here something breakthrough happened. MKBHD featured a paid icons-pack for iOS 14 made by Traf. Traf hasn’t paid any money to MKBHD to feature his icons-pack in his video. MKBHD just featured it because he genuinely liked it (Word-of-mouth marketing) and he is doing this for all things he likes and recommends. MKBHD just shared a link of it in the description in case someone interested to buy it and turns out many people were interested to buy the icons-pack. What I mean by saying many people is “Six Figures in 6 days”. 4,188 people/sales bought the pack in just six days for a whopping total of $116,147. That is just insane. It’s still mind-boggling but it’s not an overnight success as mentioned by Traf in his blog (please read his blog here but finish this blog first). He has seven years of experience so the experience definitely paid off. Not all credit goes to the only MKBHD and Apple as Traf mentioned that before MKBHD, his work has been featured on notable tech sites and has already made around $6k mark in sales. But let’s pretend that what If
(A) MKBHD hasn’t featured his icons-pack so will Traf be able to earn “Six Figures in 6 days”?
(B) What if Apple hasn’t allowed customization like before in iOS 14 then still he will have managed to earn this much money?
(c) Will he be able to earn and sell this much on Play Store or for Android?
Let me try to answer those above questions. I am not going to answer all of the above questions but I will try to give those answers in collective manners. So let’s jump in.
Overall Apple has always been known as a premium brand. Even the iPhone is still portrayed as a premium smartphone even though other brands also sell their device at the similar price point but yes they are still right because iPhone’s build quality is best in class premium. iOS users do spend more on the App Store to buy apps, games and etc compared to Android users on Play Store. Even developers knew this very well so the developer named Snowman of an amazing and my personal favourite game “Alto’s Adventure” has released the game as free to play but contain Ads and on Play Store but on the App Store it’s a paid app cost $0.99 without Ads. Why paid on iOS and free version on Android? I guess it’s because many Android users out-put to pirate apps and games because of the convenience of easy installation rather than purchasing it so instead of losing all money because of pirating it’s better to show Ads inside the game and earn money from the Ads. Android users are fine with Ads because they are very used to it since low-mid Chinese smartphone brands show Ads in the whole OS wherever they can to sustain their business even selling smartphones with high-end specification at a lower price but those personalized Ads cost your privacy but hey, who cares about privacy on android and even with google? Apple users are much aware of privacy because Apple doing it since from last many decades even when the “Privacy” wasn’t popular among tech brands. I am pretty sure that’s why the developer Snowman decides to release the app as a paid version on iOS because they knew that iOS users care about privacy and willingness to purchase the game to respect developers efforts and to support them for their future projects or just to have better gaming experience without ads with privacy in mind.
When it comes to the quality of apps, App Store surpasses Play Store by a very big margin here as well. We will never know apps and games like Procreate, Pixelmator Pro, Halide, Apollo, Tiny Wings & Hyper Light Drifter to name a few, will ever launch on Play Store. Let’s don’t waste our time talking about Android apps on tablets. I haven’t seen any icons-packs on Play Store that cost as much as $28. Yes, Traf icon pack isn’t available directly on App Store but even before iOS 14 would any Android users have bought an icons-pack at this much price? As I mentioned earlier in this blog that customization is prevalent among low and mid-range smartphone buyers and I guess they won’t pay this much just for an icons-pack. So the answer is, NO! Even MKBHD hasn’t bought it before iOS 14. But after iOS 14, yes it’s possible. Even there are many icons-packs that cost more than Traf’s icons-pack. Most icons-packs on Play Store are free and they almost all contain Ads in it. You also never know how much information these icons-packs and especially those launchers are collecting in the background without your concern. We all know nothing comes free in the tech world.
“If You’re Not Paying For It, You Become The Product”
Besides privacy, security is also a big concern here. These kinds of free apps might contain malwares in it or ask to see an Ad to unlock paid features and they install malwares in your device in the background without even you noticing it. There have been many cases in the past where those free Android apps and pirated apps contain malwares. I guess the difference of developer fee between the Play Store and App Store play a cursorial part in quality and security. To become a Google Play Developer there is a only $25 USD one-time registration fee where the Apple App Store developer has to pay $99/year. So this is why you see many clone apps/games on Play Store and ultimately they don’t have the quality which you expect.
So the iOS 14 icons hype is over now? Not Yet!
Every week on average there is at least one new iOS 14 icons-pack is being released on the Producthunt. Just like Traf, another Designer and also a Youtuber, Oliur launched his own icons-pack a few weeks back and was able to earn $30K as of 15th December. After the massive success of Traf icon packs, MKBHD and dbrand have collectively launched the collection called “ICONS — The MKBHD Collection’’. In this drop/collection people were able to buy skins, phone cases, face masks etc which have printed “personalised MKBHD icons” featuring icons of the things he uses mostly. I don’t know who has made those icons but I guess it’s maybe made by Traf only. Although it’s nicely-designed icons but I don’t know what’s personalised MKBHD touch has been given into I mean it’s icons of stuff he used mostly but that mouse, chair, camera, Airpods, Twitter, Instagram and other kinds of stuff is also being used by general people as well on an everyday basis so what’s personalized or exclusive touch is there? I don’t know but what I know is this icon drop is also a huge success. I have seen many people are tweeting photos of it. We never thought people would ever spend $28 just for an icons-pack but now people are selling merchandise with just icons printed on it.
This shows the power of Apple in the tech industry. Apple hardly follows any trends in tech but whatever it does becomes the trend and my next blog is on this so stay tuned for that. This icons-packs has thrown some limelights in the designing field. I hope Apple keeps doing these kinds of stuff so people will value designers like us and I also hope more talent pursue the designing career and have similar importance in companies like developers. Share your thoughts in the comment section and correct me if I have said something wrong. Appreciate this blog by giving claps and if you don’t like it well, the medium has no dislike button. Dislike button should be mandatory.
Note: iOS and App Store is a trademark of Apple. Play Store and Android is a trademark of Google if I am not wrong. Other materials featured and shared is a trademark and copyright of the respective owners.