Wednesday, February 18, 2009

iPhone App Ideas I Apparently Could Have Got Rich With

Rich in at least one case. In the past couple weeks, I have learned that a few ideas I was considering implementing for the iPhone had been done.

This is a simple matter of resources for me. I don't have infinite time to work on iPhone stuff, I do have a day job. I don't have deep pockets to fund additional development resources. I am also not looking for funding for iPhone projects. It just seems incredibly risky to, if you are a moonlighting indie, ditch a day job to work on iPhone apps full time on your dime or an investors when the economy sucks and app success is hard to impossible to predict. Plus, iTimeZone has taken a lot of time to get to the point it is, and I still feel like there is a ton to do. If I am not thinking clearly on this, please educate me in the comments.

Here are the app ideas I had most seriously considered.

Yo Mama (iTunes Link)
Middle of January, I was brainstorming about ringtone apps, what did I think could be done that could potentially hit the App Store jackpot, a Top 10 Paid app. The one idea that came to mind which didn't appear to be done was an app for Yo Mama jokes. I have always loved these things, and it felt like the perfect ringtone idea.

Well 100 Proof Software released their Yo Mama app on February 17, 2009, and it's right now #2 paid on the App Store. My implementation would have been considerably more sophisticated, which was part of the problem. I had set the quality level way to high for myself, if you look at Yo Mama (iTunes Link), it is an incredibly simple app. You might be looking at a few weeks of work. Congrats to 100 Proof on your success, you are digging in the gold mine now.

comiXology (itunes Link)
I have been going to NY Comic Con every year since it started. February 7th 2009 I was walking through the Expo hall when I see a large iPhone printed around a flat screen TV. I went over to talk to the guys, and they showed me the app, comiXology, I have wanted to build for a long time for both the Mac and iPhone. This kind of app was the reason I started looking at Mac development in the first place. That knowledge helped get iTimeZone out when the App Store opened.

Take a look at the app in iTunes, it shows you comic book titles coming out week to week, and helps manage which books are on your pull list. The app looks great, with services tied to the comiXology site. The only negative I had was the demonstrator I talked to at NY Comic Con was clearly nervous (shaky hands) and wasn't that familiar with the iPhone/iPod touch (e.g. double-tapping on table cell rows). Relax and learn your product, it looks like a winner.

Well the other negative I had was jealousy, but I was quickly over it. I haven't bought comiXology because I have stopped buying weekly books back in June. This was a budgetary and time management decision. Since I was mostly reading comics on train rides into and out of NYC, and I replaced that leisure activity with iTimeZone development and other production instead of consumption. If you are buying weekly comic books, then I strongly recommend you take a look at comiXology.

If you have an app idea that you haven't seen others do, move fast.

I forgot to mention that comiXology has a Lite version for free to try. comiXology on Twitter responded to my blog post through Twitter to inform me of the Lite version. Apologies for the oversight, I had just told some friends about the Lite version before posting to the blog, but it slipped my mind when writing the post.