AppCraver recently spoke with Catherine E. White, President of Llamagraphics, Inc.. She shares her 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?
My partner Stuart and I started our company in 1993 and have been mobile software developers since the Newton days. When Newton was discontinued we ported Life Balance to the Palm. We started receiving email messages asking us to develop Life Balance for the iPhone while Steve Jobs was still giving his keynote speech to introduce the iPhone.
We were very excited and started to develop for iPhone as soon as the SDK developer tools were available. We now have Mac and Windows versions that sync to both Palm and via WiFi to iPhone.
What / how many apps have you made so far?
We have been concentrating on developing Life Balance as a product line. There’s a lot to this one app. Life Balance is not just a calendar, outliner, or to do list, but technically includes all of those ideas and builds upon them.
What type of apps/games/software inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?
I like apps that connect to my real life in some way. Necessity is the mother of invention. Life Balance was created because we needed it. We also get a lot of feedback from customers and we try to include as many ideas as we can, selecting sets of features that make sense together while we are working on them.
How do you settle on the price point for your apps?
I don’t know yet. We priced high to avoid overwhelming tech support, since we are a small shop. Tech support has been okay, so we may have to try some “introductory pricing."
What has been the best thing about designing for the iPhone?
We love the platform and the tools. Cocoa Touch is a refined and powerful interface toolkit and it is amazing that Apple managed to fit it on a phone.
What has been the biggest challenge about designing for the iPhone?
Getting noticed among all the wonderful apps on the App Store. And it can be frustrating to see some of the... er... other kinds of Apps that grab the headlines. Ours is a quietly useful app with a proven track record of helping busy people to make better decisions about what to do next so they can find more free time for family, personal interests, relaxation and fun!
Is your company venture backed or privately held?
Do you have any other apps in the works?
Everyday we do more development work on Life Balance, for over 10 years now. Our customers seem to want us to continue doing that. However, we do have some other iPhone apps that we made in the process of working on Life Balance that we may release. I don’t rule that out.
What apps do you have on your iPhone?
I have quite a few weather and navigation apps for sailing. I like the APODViewer, “Astronomy Picture of the Day”, because I have a degree in Astronomy. A lot of computer games take too long. I have Crash Bandicoot because you can play a quick game and the body english is funny. I am learning to play music, hammered dulcimer, so I have PowerTuner. There are a lot of strings to tune!
What do you like to do when you're not coding for the iPhone?
Stuart and I are learning to sail. At our sailing school we were “Small Day Sailor Champions” in the adult racing program in 2008. Time sailing always seems to make the work flow easier.
One Last Thing:
The video link is for an earlier version of Life Balance on iPhone. You can find me on Twitter too. @cewhite. As you might expect, I tweet home and work topics, so don’t be surprised that “laundry happens.” It isn’t about being perfect, it is about living a balanced life and really doing what is meaningful to you.
Watch a video demo: