Hands-on: App Store Ad Hoc distribution

Hands-on: App Store Ad Hoc distribution

Summary: There's only one official way to get "legitimate" software for the iPhone 2.0 and iPod touch – via Apple's included App Store.

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Hands-on: App Store Ad Hoc distributionThere's only one official way to get "legitimate" software for the iPhone 2.0 and iPod touch – via Apple's included App Store. The much-heralded service offers almost 1,000 free and paid application in numerous categories and has been well publicized over the last week.

I recently had to chance to beta test an upcoming iPhone application without downloading it from the App Store. Instead I was able to install it directly to my iPhone via iTunes and it's 100 percent endorsed by Apple. Apple has provided their developers with an Ad Hoc mechanism to distribute their software directly to up to 100 users – circumventing the App Store entirely.

The procedure works like this: a developer will request your iPhone's unique identifier. The Identifier is 40-character string that can be found in iTunes by clicking on the word "Serial Number" under the Summary tab when your iPhone is connected. You can copy the string by pressing Command-C (Control-C on a PC) for easy emailing.

The developer then uses the Identifier to compile a custom version of an iPhone application that will only run on that device. The developer then emails you the application and a special provisioning file named "adhoc_Dist.mobileprovision." The application is installed by simultaneously dragging both the app and the .mobileprovision file to your iTunes library. The application then appears in Applications areas (under Library) and is synced to the iPhone on the next sync.

Very simple and well executed.

Update: Tech Cruch reports that Apple is preparing an App Store beta testing program, but according to the report, betas will be distributed through the App Store as opposed to directly.

Topics: Software Development, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

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6 comments
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  • Simple? Compared to what?

    [i]The procedure works like this: a developer will request your iPhone?s unique identifier. The Identifier is 40-character string that can be found in iTunes by clicking on the word "Serial Number" under the Summary tab when your iPhone is connected. You can copy the string by pressing Command-C (Control-C on a PC) for easy emailing.

    The developer then uses the Identifier to compile a custom version of an iPhone application that will only run on that device. The developer then emails you the application and a special provisioning file named "adhoc_Dist.mobileprovision." The application is installed by simultaneously dragging both the app and the .mobileprovision file to your iTunes library. The application then appears in Applications areas (under Library) and is synced to the iPhone on the next sync.

    Very simple and well executed.[/i]

    Yeah, that is [b]so[/b] much simpler than what I have to do to install apps on my WinMobile phone:
    1. Developer builds app [b]once[/b] (not once for each user with some 40 character serial number DRM garbage).
    2. Download app.

    Seriously Jason, it might be a workaround to the Big Brother DRM that Apple has encrusted the iPhone with but "simple" it is not, at least not compared to the other major mobile platforms.
    NonZealot
    • Simple defined

      It was simple to drag to files into iTunes and sync them to the iPhone.

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
    • You're missing the point

      If you went thru all those steps to get an app on a WM device, then it's called "difficult" or "poorly thought out"

      Seeing that he's talking about going thru all those steps to get the app on an Apple device, [i]now[/i] you get to say that it's "Very simple and well executed" ;)
      AllKnowingAllSeeing
  • RE: Hands-on: App Store Ad Hoc distribution

    Maybe it was simple compared to picking up the 7-10 split.
    Singing Pagliacci. Representing Uwe Boll. Trying to sell IndyMac
    stock. Transcribing Art Tatum. Diagramming the first sentence of
    A Tale of Two Cities.

    Sometimes I worry that your frames of reference are too narrow.
    DannyO_0x98
  • The article is completely true.

    After performing all the steps mentioned above: finding the apps, finding your unique identifier (which the author pointed out to be the serial number), sending it to the developer who will in turn compile a customer version of the app for you, then the developer will send two file by email. After doing all that, it is a simple matter of drag and drop. Oh wait, that's not it. There is one more line.

    "The application then appears in Applications areas (under Library) and is synced to the iPhone on the next sync."

    Does that means that after doing all that and the very simple drag and drop, it still not in the iPhone? I need to sync?!?
    Jandler
  • show me a WM application on more than 100K handsets

    Wow, the MS fanboys are out in force this morning.

    How easy is it to mass distrubute a WM application? How many phones will it crash? I am a mobile developer who has seen his WM phones crash more times than I can count.

    From a strategy perspective, we have seriously struggled to figure out how to entice to find and install applications. This is a huge issue, and the App Store makes it easy. Currently, you need to get blessing from the carriers before mass distribution of an application, let alone getting it on deck. We are talking many months here.

    What I actually think we are witnessing is a massive shift in the balance of power in the mobile world. The carriers have always attracted customers via features, hence the major toubles with Android getting off the ground. Apple is really selling a platform, which is very different from what is currently available. All the phone are the same, the differentiation is in the applications you use.

    Is is the best phone? No. Does it have the laundry list of features (SD card, biggest HD, high MP camera, video recording, removable battery, QWERTY keyboard, real GPS)? Not even close.

    What it offers is more akin to a lifestyle choice, so revolutionary different (UX, App Store, one handset model) that you have to rethink what a mobile device means and how you leverage it.
    trippytom