One Year with iOS
The beginning of April marked one year since the iPad came out. Though more important to me is it is also the anniversary of releasing my first app to the App store and my start with iOS development.
Getting my Feet Wet
In February 2010 my boss at Unity put me on the team to build a new iPad app to be available in the app store in two months; the day the iPad was to be released. Since no one in our company had Objective-C or iOS experience (though we have plenty of talented programmers), we hired Small Society, a portland based iOS dev shop, to guide us through the process and help along the way. With a few minor hic-ups we released Medical Video jLogs right alongside the iPad. I did the design (with help from Andy Martin), and it got me interested in doing more.
Since Boise didn’t have an Apple store at the time I flew out early Saturday morning to Portland, with a small team from Unity, to get in line at one of their stores. Once we purchased the iPads (10+), we went back to Small Society’s Portland office to load our app on the iPad for the first time and to start testing. Overall the day and app launch was a huge success. We flew back to Boise that evening.
Next we worked on building a iPhone client for one of our existing web apps. I did all the design, flow, and user experience for this app. For this new app I decided to get into xCode and start making design changes myself rather than make a request and wait for the developers to do it. Though I did a lot in interface builder, I also started getting familiar with Objective-C. Unfortunately this application is still unreleased, so I can’t provide any details.
In August I went to iOS Dev Camp in San Jose and spent the weekend “hackathon” building what would eventually become OneVoice. Robert Carrico, a coworker at Unity, helped and we had a working prototype finished before the event was over. It was a great weekend at the PayPal offices spent coding and learning as fast as possible.
Later in September I went to iOS DevCon in San Diego. It was a three day conference where I learned a lot. Including enough to get OneVoice storing phrases and categories using Core Data. Easy for some, but it was a huge step for me. I couldn’t have done it without Chris Brandsma’s incredible help and never ending sarcasm.
Towards the end of the year I was serious about releasing OneVoice as a product and had hired Chris to do the more difficult parts of the development while I spent my time designing 100+ high quality icons. I learned a ton and actually had a product to sell.
OneVoice released on January 8th, 2011 and sold 4 copies the first day. Though sales continued, after that I never sold more than 2 copies in a single day, and most days didn’t sell any. It turns out being on the new list in the App Store can be worth quite a bit.
Since the initial release I have put out two more versions of OneVoice and learned a ton more.
In trade for the immense amount of help Chris had been providing, I started design on an idea of his called Agile Cards. A poker planning app for teams using Agile development processes. The app turned out really well and is now available in the App Store.
So for my first year of part time development I had a hand in four apps, all of which turned out quite well. Of those four OneVoice is by far the most successful. Someday soon it may produce enough money that I can focus on it full time.
I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.
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