AppCraver recently spoke with Adam Eisenman, of greatrat solutions. He shares his experiences developing for the iPhone and iPod touch.
When did you start developing apps for the iPhone? Did you have previous experience as a developer?
I have previous experience developing in C++ and QT. In addition, being an Electrical Engineer, I naturally have a lot of experience in Matlab which is used extensively for signal processing and all sorts of simulations. I learned Objective C, from a book by Erica Sadun, specifically to develop iPhone applications about 1 year ago.
What / how many apps have you made so far?
I have made 6 apps so far, with many more in mind. Working as a one man show at night, it's hard to put in the man-hours to make all the ideas I have. My apps are: Bilobi (an original puzzle game), Satellite Sliderule Pro (a satellite enthusiast tool), Antenna Designer, Metal Detect, Where's Jerusalem?, and Where's Mecca? - both serve as a tool to know in which direction to pray for Jews and Muslims.
What type of apps/games/software inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?
I love apps that make you think hard, or that teach you something. The apps I enjoy the most are the ones that take advantage of the framework that the iPhone provides: mobility, internet connectivity, 3D linear accelerometer, 3D magnetometer, multi-touch screen. Apps that use a lot of these features together generally turn out to be unique and interesting apps. I mostly get my ideas riding on the subway to/from work.
How do you settle on the price point for your apps?
If the app is to be used for entertainment or as a non-professional utility they will normally go for $0.99, but if it could be used for work it will go for more than that (e.g. Satellite Sliderul Pro).
What has been the best thing about designing for the iPhone?
By far, the best thing has been being provided with a very easy (except for all the certificate signing and approval process time) path to express my ideas and being able to make money off of them. The amount of work that Apple saves developers by creating such a simple framework to publish apps globally is astounding. The moment my first app (Satellite Sliderule Pro) popped up onto the App Store brought such an amazing feeling. I felt like my world was going to change dramatically. I had been given this tremendous opportunity.
What has been the biggest challenge about designing for the iPhone?
The biggest challenge has been finding the time to dedicate the necessary time to make and update my apps. I work as a satellite communications engineering consultant for RKF Engineering, so I develop apps at night and on weekends during my free time.
Is your company venture backed or privately held?
I am the only member of greatrat solutions (previously Adam Eisenman).
Do you have any other apps in the works?
Yes! My next set of apps will deal with gathering information from all its users to integrate this information and provide a summary of a whole lot of processed data. Similar to the concept of the app: Signals, by Sudobility. The iPhone has a bunch of sensors which have the potential to constantly pick up information about its surroundings. Merging this information could empower iPhone users to a whole other level.
What apps do you have on your iPhone?
Some of my all-time favorite apps would have to be: Shazam, Bump, and Yelp.
What do you like to do when you're not coding for the iPhone?
I play volleyball. Luckily DC has a lot of volleyball to offer; a bunch of leagues during all 4 seasons. I always look forward to summer volleyball on the sand courts. I play some guitar and try to be a star by making home made videos to post on Youtube.
One Last Thing:
I would like to thank my wife Violeta for supporting my iPhone application development efforts. She's the one who puts up with me coming home from work to work some more on this hobby. She's awesome!
Watch a video demo of Metal Detect: