- GENERAL »
- What is imSMB?
- What does imSMB do?
- What’s the difference between a imSMB app and a mobile website?
- As a business owner, how can an iPhone Application help me?
- What about iPad, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone?
- Where can I find examples of apps built through imSMB?
- What are Apple’s criteria for approving apps? Will Apple approve my app?
- BUILDING WITH imSMB »
- How do I build my app through imSMB?
- How can I track my app?
- How do I update content and/or design?
- What is the “Client Sign Up” option?
- Can I customize my app’s look and feel?
- Can I submit my app now and add content later?
- How long will it take for my app to appear on iTunes?
- PRICING »
- How much does it cost to build an app through imSMB?
- What is the difference between imSMB Basic and imSMB Pro?
- How much would it cost to add a new feature?
- What if I want to charge for my app?
- How much is the hosting fee?
- How much does the App Tracker cost?
- Do you offer special discounts for non-profits?
- Are non-profit organizations outside of the U.S. eligible for the non-profit discount?
- Why do you charge for hosting?
- Can I provide my own hosting instead of paying the hosting fee?
- Does it cost anything to update my app?
- What happens if Apple rejects my app? Will I receive a refund?
What is imSMB?
imSMB is a simple, inexpensive way to build, track and update a native mobile application for your business or organization.
What does imSMB do?
imSMB allows you to create an iPhone application online. Once your app is approved by Apple and available on iTunes, you can update your content in real time (at any time) via imSMB.com.
What’s the difference between a imSMB app and a mobile website?
imSMB are installed on iPhone OS devices and run natively. Many of the functions available through our platform provide a better user experience than websites accessed via mobile browsers. Our imSMB platform also relies on a content management system (CMS) that we’ve built and will maintain, leaving you without the technical hassle of maintaining your own mobile website.
As a business owner, how can an iPhone Application help me?
A mobile app can provide a powerful connection between your buisness or organization and your clients, supporters, or audience. A mobile app extends the reach of your brand via a platform that is accessible to users wherever they are. For more tips on using an iPhone app for your business, see our e-book.
What about iPad, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone?
The imSMB platform is currently iPhone OS only. That means that apps built through imSMB work on iPhones, iPod Touch devices and iPads. Certain functions on the apps built through imSMB require an internet or mobile data connection.
We plan to expand the current imSMB platform to Android by late October 2010. iPhone apps built through imSMB function on the iPad, displaying in their native size (see [example]). We are considering offering iPad-native apps through imSMB in the future. At this time, we do not have plans to expand imSMB to Blackberry, Windows Phone, or other mobile platforms. If you are interested in developing an app specific to one of these platforms, please contact us for a custom estimate.
Where can I find examples of apps built through imSMB?
Many of our apps are available for free download on the iTunes store. Keep in mind that the imSMB platform is flexible: users upload or select their own background image, button images, and content. For sample screen shots of each feature. check out our features tour. For more examples of how our clients are using the imSMB platform, check out our e-book.
What are Apple’s criteria for approving apps? Will Apple approve my app?
Apple’s criteria for approval constantly evolve. In general, Apple approves of apps that use in-app features to create a more immersive user experience than websites as viewed from the iPhone. The best guide to Apple’s iPhone app policies is its iPhone Human Interface Guidelines.
We cannot guarantee that Apple will approve your app, just as we cannot be certain (assuming your content is intact and accessible) that they will reject it. (View our refund policy for rejected apps here). There are, however, a few things that our development team looks for as “red flags” in the testing process prior to submitting to Apple. These include:
- Design elements (button images and backgrounds) that impair the functionality of the app or the presentation of content within the app
- More than 2 website buttons directing to URLs
- Websites that do not render functionally on the mobile browser (particularly Flash-based sites)
- Truncated or partial RSS feeds (we recommend full feeds)
- Invalid RSS feeds
- Invalid formatting for URLs in lists and gallery descriptions
- Limited content, including:
- Limited or missing text descriptions for media gallery items (photos, videos, or audio files)
- Fewer than 4 items in an RSS feed or podcast feed
- Fewer than 4 items in a list, news feed, or events calendar
- Fewer than 2 videos in a video gallery
- Fewer than 4 photos in a photo gallery
- Fewer than 2 audio files in an audio gallery
- Any reference to “coming soon” or placeholder content to be updated later
To help increase your chances of Apple approval, we recommend:
- Including a diversity of function types, specifically including many of the advanced functions offered through imSMB (denoted by asterisks (*) in the features list below).
- Providing content that is valuable and current, and provides users with utility or entertainment that extends beyond pure and uninterrupted advertising.
- Uploading as much content as possible to the app prior to submitting to imSMB.
View information on our refund policy here.
Building with imSMB
How do I build my app through imSMB?
Building your app with imSMB is quite simple. First, select a background image from our library or upload your own. Next, pick 6 or 8 buttons for your app and select a function for each button from our library of functions:
See our Features Tour for descriptions and screen shots of each feature
- Audio Gallery*
- Audio Stream*
- Basic Form
- Custom Form*
- Mortgage Calculator*
- Photo Gallery*
- RSS Feed*
- Tip Calculator*
- Video Gallery*
*Denotes advanced iPhone functions
After you’ve designed your app, you’ll have the opportunity to change each button’s function, image, or title if you’d like it to differ from our defaults. Finally, once you’re done customizing, simply upload your content, complete the app info (title, description, keywords, logo, etc.) and then submit. It’s that easy.
How can I track my app?
If you add AppTracker to your application for a $10 monthly fee, you’ll have access to analytic information such as the number of app downloads and button usage within your app.
How do I update content and/or design?
imSMB allows you to easily update your content in real time. Log in to your account through our online CMS to change background and button design images or to edit, delete and add content.
What is the “Client Sign Up” option?
The Client Sign Up feature (a free add-on) allows you to request your client’s email address and phone number when they launch your app. You can view the email addresses and phone numbers you’ve received via our online CMS system and download the results as an excel file for future reference.
Can I customize my app’s look and feel?
Yes, you can upload your own images for use as button icons and backgrounds.
Background images must be 320 (width) x 460 (height) pixels in PNG format. Button images must be 100 (width) x 80 (height) pixels in PNG format.
Can I submit my app now and add content later?
Apple’s review process requires that apps be fully-featured (i.e., no “coming soon” messages or obviously missing content) and loaded with a robust amount of content when they are reviewed. Add as much relevant content as you can before submitting your app via imSMB.
How long will it take for my app to appear on iTunes?
Within 3 business days of receiving payment for your submitted app, we will build and test your app. During this time, we will contact you with any concerns. Once all concerns are addressed, we will submit the app to Apple. Apple then takes anywhere from 1-3 weeks to review your app. Once Apple approves the app, it becomes available for download via the App Store within 24 hours.
How much does it cost to build an app through imSMB?
For our imSMB Basic package, we charge a one-time, flat development fee of $399 and then $29 per month for hosting. We’ll submit your app to Apple for review and distribution through the iTunes app store.
If you’re interested in uploading your imSMBApp under your own Apple developer account, we’ll release the necessary files to you for an additional $500 fee and you’ll then be responsible for making arrangements for distributing your app directly with Apple.
For additional pricing information, please see our pricing page.
What is the difference between imSMB Basic and imSMB Pro?
The functionalities available through our imSMB Basic and imSMB Pro platforms are identical. imSMB Pro apps feature custom design elements developed by our in-house designers based on your brand and feedback. These custom elements include:
- A custom app icon (for the App Store and iPhone screen)
- A custom loading page (the image that displays as your app launches)
- A custom background image for your app homepage
- Custom button images for your app homepage
- A custom button layout (if desired)
For pricing information and examples of imSMB Pro apps, please see our pricing page.
How much would it cost to add a new feature?
If you’re interested in adding a feature not currently available through imSMB, we can often provide a cost and time estimate to develop the feature as a custom imSMB button. In many cases, however, adding custom features requires developing an entirely custom app. For quotes and custom feature inquiries please contact us directly.
What if I want to charge for my app?
If you wish to charge for an app created via the imSMB platform, you’ll need to create a developer account through Apple. For a $500 fee (in addition to your development fee), we’ll release the files you need to upload to Apple and provide guidance for submitting to the iTunes store. Once your app is available in the iTunes store, any revenues from sales of your app will be split between you and Apple without any involvement from imSMB.
How much is the hosting fee?
Currently, a $29 monthly flat-rate hosting fee is applied to every application. A 10% discount is offered to those who pay for an entire year of hosting in advance. Please note that once imSMB moves out of beta we plan to offer affordable tiered hosting packages.
How much does the App Tracker cost?
$10/month. No contract required—add or cancel at any time.
Do you offer special discounts for non-profits?
Yes, all non-profit organizations may build an app for FREE! Please note that while we waive our imSMB Basic $399 development fee, you’ll still be charged the monthly hosting fee (6 month minimum commitment). Limit one free app per organization.
Are non-profit organizations outside of the U.S. eligible for the non-profit discount?
We require that any organization requesting the non-profit discount prove their non-profit status. For US non-profits, we verify based on Tax ID number. For international organizations, please send documentation verifying your non-profit status to support@imSMB.com. We will verify and approve international non-profits on a case-by-case basis.
Why do you charge for hosting?
All apps built through the imSMB platform rely upon media and data stored on cloud servers. Hosting on cloud servers allows our apps to be updated in real time, without re-submitting updates to Apple and requiring users to download an update. With our approach, you can be confident that your users will always see the most up-to-date content every time they launch your app. Hosting app files in the cloud also allows you to change background and button designs without submitting an update to Apple.
Can I provide my own hosting instead of paying the hosting fee?
No. Apps developed through the imSMB platform are built to interface with our content management system (CMS) and cloud servers to ensure that up-to-date content is available to your users. For that reason, we require use of our hosting.
Does it cost anything to update my app?
Once your app is live in the iTunes store, you can make as many changes to the content or design as you want at no cost through our online CMS system. If you would like to change the function of any of your app’s buttons (changing a website button to a photo gallery button, for example), that requires partially re-developing your app and submitting the update to Apple. Because of the development time required for that type of change, we charge a $100 fee for any changes to button functions.
What happens if Apple rejects my app? Will I receive a refund?
All IPhone apps built through the imSMB platform must be approved by Apple before appearing in the iTunes app store. imSMB does not and cannot guarantee that Apple will approve your app. However:
- If Apple rejects your imSMBApp because of any fault of ours, such as a technical flaw in the application code, we will address the issue and resubmit at no charge.
- If Apple rejects your imSMBApp based on content or utility, we will share Apple’s feedback with you and offer two options:
- a 50% refund of the development fee OR
- re-submitting your app with changes in response to Apple’s feedback. If you do choose to re-submit a rejected app, you will no longer be eligible for any refund.
- If your app is rejected twice, we will only re-submit again on a case-by-case basis.
NOTE: Please ensure files are under 10MB.
We support all video formats listed in Apple’s official guidelines:
H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Low-Complexity version of the H.264 Baseline Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; H.264 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to Level 3.0 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats.
Video files must be under 10 MB; files streamed within the app (such as video RSS feeds) must be no longer than 10 minutes in length.
Please note: the imSMB video gallery is compatible with iPhone OS 3.2 and above.
We support the following audio formats: AAC, Protected AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV.
Audio files must be under 10 MB.
Image uploads are restricted to .PNG files. Image dimensions must be no larger than 310(width) x 390(height) pixels. Each image file must be under 1 MB. The iPhone screen resolution is 72 pixels per inch.
We support live mp3 streaming. For information on audio streams, please refer to Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming Protocol.
We support the RSS feed associated with podcasts. We recommend using FeedBurner to create podcast RSS feeds.
All URLs must be fully qualified (include http://).
We currently support RSS 0.92, RSS 2.0, and Atom feeds. Our system parses the RSS feed title and description (or content=encoded) tags.We recommend using FeedBurner to create RSS feeds.
Must have a minimum of 10 digits (example: 1 + area code + seven digit number) and may include the use of a leading ‘+’ character.
We recommend the use of a Facebook Fan Page in conjunction with Facebook User Names. For more information, visit Facebook.com/username.
100 (width) x 80 (height) pixels in PNG format.
Note: You may use transparency in your button image in order to create non-rectangular images or the impression of an aspect ratio which differs from the standard.
320 (width) x 460 pixels (height) in PNG format
Note: You may use transparency in your background image that will allow the background color to shine through.