Interview with Michael Both of Senygma Inc

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Michael Both interview about xcube gameAppCraver recently spoke with Michael Both of Senygma Inc, the developer behind xCube, GolfCard and FitView. He answered our questions about developing apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

1. When did you start developing apps for the iPhone?

Michael Both: I started developing the day the iPhone development kit came out with only the idea that to create some simple things for my self, but shortly realized other people might enjoy my apps also.

2. What was the inspiration behind your app?

Michael Both: When I was in 2nd grade I got the Rubik’s cube. By the 3rd grade I was able to solve it in about a minute. When the 4×4x4 Rubik’s Revenge came out I loved it cause it was more difficult. After a few days I could solve it in a few minutes. When I started working out of college as a software engineer, my boss showed me an advertisement showing a picture of a 9×9x9 cube, and the ad said, “You have 8 hours to solve this or you’re fired”. I laughed and told my boss I could do it. My mentor (also a software engineer) surprised me the next week with a computer program of the 9×9x9 and my boss said, “here’s your chance to prove it.” It took about 4 hours to solve it. From that point I thought, “What’s the next level of difficulty?" Well, how about solving the internal cubes also (I’m trying to get this patented). So I created xCube which has all sorts of choices from 2×2x2 to 6×6x6. I’d create larger cubes but people’s fingers are only so small.

3. How did you settle on your price point for the app?

Michael Both: I’m trying to be very competitive by only charging slightly more than the competition, but with providing many more cube variations.

4. Roughly how many apps did you sell in the first month of operation?

Michael Both: It’s only been on sale for 4 days as of this writing, so Apple has not published any numbers to my company yet.

5. How did you like the developer tools provided in the iPhone SDK? Is there anything missing?

Michael Both: I would have preferred C or C++ since Objective C does not seem to add significant value, but it does add a lot of confusion. I’m glad the OS is Unix based and uses the GNU tool chain which I am familiar with. I didn’t use the graphical interface builder since it seemed easy enough to programatically create all the buttons, etc.

6. Is your company privately owned? Venture backed?

Michael Both: Senygma is privately own by myself. I started it a few years ago with the goal to make software tools to improved the development practices of any production company.

7. What are some of the other iPhone apps that you like?

Michael Both: I really like Enigmo cause it’s a fun and sometimes complex puzzle to solve. I’m very impressed with Kai Pond considering it has no value other than just splashing around in a fish pond. I wish I thought of that one.

8. What kind of features should Apple implement in future versions of the iPhone / SDK?

Michael Both: Create a C or C++ interface for all of the Objective C APIs.

9. What’s the development cycle for iPhone apps like?

Michael Both: Very frustrating at first since since I didn’t know how to print simple debug information, and having to learn Objective C. Now as I develop I spend a lot of time using the simulator to work out all the issues, then finally test on the real iPhone. I get my friends and family to play with it a lot to test how the app would be used in the real world.

10. Are you working on any other apps that you will be releasing soon?

Michael Both: Absolutely. GolfCard is already on the app store. It’s used to track golfing scores and show trends and calculate a handicap as you play games. I’m almost ready to submit a fitness tracking app that I hope will help people find very useful. I also have a few other apps that are in the works. I’m trying to be very diverse, but always create quality.

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