AppCraver recently spoke with Alec Bellanca from Feldspar Apps, creator of Aqua. He answered our questions about developing apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
1. When did you start developing apps for the iPhone?
Alec Bellanca: As soon as the development program was widely available, July 08.
2. What was the inspiration behind your app?
Alec Bellanca: Like many people I found the accelerometer to be an interesting new feature to experiment with. Also, I’ve wanted to write a fluid simulation for a while, and this gave me the perfect excuse.
3. How did you settle on your price point for the app?
Alec Bellanca: The App Store is unique in that it makes low price points feasible. Previously, application developers would either have to make a large-scale products for traditional sales, or build in advertisement or some other back-end model to support free apps. There was really no room for the kind of small one-function apps that a lot of hobbyists are creating. For Aqua, $0.99 hit the spot perfectly.
4. Roughly how many apps did you sell in the first month of operation?
Alec Bellanca: I’m anticipating somewhere around 200 globally for the first month. However, most of those were in the first week, and sales have been steadily dropping to just a few per day now. On the other hand, the experience and feedback have been well worth it.
5. How did you like the developer tools provided in the iPhone SDK? is there anything missing?
Alec Bellanca: Overall the development environment is very nice. It really feels like developing for a desktop, instead of a lesser mobile device. The documentation is somewhat incomplete, but there are some great communities out there (i.e. iphonedevcentral.org / iphonedevsdk.com) which really help fill in the gaps.
6. Is your company privately owned? Venture backed?
Alec Bellanca: Private.
7. What are some of the other iPhone apps that you like?
Alec Bellanca: I’m a big fan of Aurora Feint. Conceptually, they really pinpointed the type of game that the iPhone can excel at.
8. What kind of features should Apple implement in future versions of the iPhone / SDK?
Alec Bellanca: The number one issue for me is access to iTunes music. The iPhone and iPod Touch are primarily media devices. But all of that functionality is isolated, and we can’t augment it with 3rd party apps. I’d like to develop my own equalizer, or visualizer, or HRTF processor, but currently that’s not possible.
9. What’s the development cycle for iPhone apps like?
Alec Bellanca: There are currently a flood of app ideas out there, so a lot of time for me is spent on prototyping and sorting through concepts. Most of the time, the apps get put on hold or scrapped entirely. The ones that make it take 2-6 weeks to complete and submit to the App Store. So far, I’ve been skipping the traditional beta testing phase. It seems to me that it would be better to allow the public to buy the app as early as they want, and make improvements based on feedback in future versions. But there’s also the desire to make v1.0 as perfect as possible.
10. Are you working on any other apps that you will be releasing soon?
Alec Bellanca: Yes, I’m currently working on a musical instrument type program, which will be available mid-October.