AppCraver recently spoke with Marc Edwards from Bjango, the developers behind apps such as Darkness, Jobs 1.0, Cities and Phases. He answered our questions about developing apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
1. When did you start developing apps for the iPhone?
Marc Edwards: We’ve been building small test apps since day one of the SDK release, started building Mac OS X Cocoa apps in late 2005 and started building OS X Dashboard widgets (as iSlayer) in early June 2005.
2. What was the inspiration behind your apps?
Marc Edwards: We generally just build apps that interest us. We had been thinking about doing Darkness for other platforms for quite a while and once we started playing with the iPhone SDK we realized that it would work well as an iPhone app.
Jobs was inspired by pure laziness! In the past when I’ve freelanced, I’ve hated keeping track of the time spent on projects. I’ve never found an app I’ve been happy with and I generally haven’t had my computer with me anyway. So… the iPhone seemed like the perfect platform to build something that was incredibly quick to use. Something that didn’t get in the way, but let you enter enough details that you could export and use it for invoicing. That’s what Jobs is.
3. How did you settle on your price point for the app?
Marc Edwards: Wasn’t easy to do. The rest of the market has really limited the range for most apps but you still need to find a price that makes building applications worthwhile.
We generally do this as the very last step.
4. How did you like the developer tools provided in the iPhone SDK? is there anything missing?
Marc Edwards: Coming from developing Mac OS X apps we were pretty happy with the SDK. There are some things from Mac OS X we would like to see make it to the iPhone eventually but Apple are doing a good job in general.
5. Is your company privately owned? Venture backed?
Marc Edwards: 100% privately owned. I’m not sure venture backing would help us much. It would let us pay for advertising from day one I guess. We’re going to have to ramp things up a little slower to begin with, but in the end we’ll be in complete control of the apps we build and how we treat our customers. It means we can spend days on a feature that we think everyone will enjoy, even if it doesn’t mean more sales.
That’s a good feeling.
6. What are some of the other iPhone apps that you like?
7. What kind of features should apple implement in future versions of the iPhone / SDK?
Marc Edwards: Feature wise we are pretty happy already. We would like to see more Mac OS X classes make it to the iPhone and an easier way to distribute beta copies would be nice.
One thing I’d love to see is some of the iPhone innovations make it back to Macs. GPS and Skyhook enabled apps would be just as great on a Mac notebook.
8. What’s the development cycle for iPhone apps like?
Marc Edwards: Very similar to any other application, be it web, Mac OS X or another kind. We’ll usually discuss any ideas first, then mock up some interface ideas, then build some test code if there’s something that’s tricky, then just head straight into the app.
I think Dashboard Widgets have a lot of similarities to iPhone apps… they’re both small, focused and use visually rich interfaces. So hopefully some of our widget experience will help us. I think it has so far.
9. Are you working on any other iPhone apps that you will be releasing soon?
Marc Edwards: We currently have 4 apps on the store (Jobs, Darkness, Phases and Cities). We have updates for all of those in progress and we’re working on quite a few other ideas.