AppCraver recently spoke with Kevin VanderLugt, Founder and Owner of KVapps. 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 started developing apps during my last year at University of Washington because I was broke. I was living in a run-down, cheap apartment eating spaghetti 5 nights a week to save money, and I had a 3-week break from school and decided to give it a go.
My girlfriend even had to promise me she'd give me $100 for the Apple's initial developer fee if I didn't make that much within the first few months. I had taken some programming classes here and there at UW for my Electrical Engineering major, but didn't have any graphic design experience.
What / how many apps have you made so far?
I've made four apps so far. The first was an app called "lolSpeak", a pretty silly basic app that helped me learn the app development ropes. I made a holiday app called "Christmas Sounds" that does exactly what it implies — plays Christmas Sounds.
My third app, "Animal Years" was my sister-in-law Beth's idea. It converts a human age into an animal's age. My brother Bryan did the design and graphics, while I did all the programming.
My most recent app, "myBatteryLife" has been a much bigger hit than the last three — it monitors your battery level percentage and tells you the remaining time you have for the differing iPhone or iPod Touch uses.
What type of apps/games/software inspires you? Where do you get your ideas?
Most of my ideas have come from friends and family, but I thought of "myBatteryLife" when my iPhone died on a flight to Chicago while I was watching a movie.
How do you settle on the price point for your apps?
I try to consider how much work went into the app when coming up with a fair price, but usually the price drops when things in the App store start to get competitive. A lot of copycats have come out with battery monitoring apps, but "myBatteryLife" was the first.
What has been the best thing about designing for the iPhone?
It has been such a rush watching "myBatteryLife" skyrocket up the charts! In less than a month, it has become the #1 paid utility app in the US store and is now in the top 15 paid apps overall. It has done really well in the UK and Canada too. I never expected an app that I developed in my tiny apartment to be purchased by so many people.
What has been the biggest challenge about designing for the iPhone?
This was a completely new programming language for me, and I had to completely start from scratch. I bought a book on app development and read it cover to cover, then I jumped head-first into developing.
Is your company venture backed or privately held?
KVapps is privately held. I'm the only employee, and I do all my app development, marketing, and customer support from my apartment on nights and weekends.
Do you have any other apps in the works?
I have a couple apps in the "research" phase, but I'm mostly focusing on some updates coming out soon for "myBatteryLife" with some new, super secret features.
What apps do you have on your iPhone?
What do you like to do when you're not coding for the iPhone?
I live in what I think is paradise — Western Washington, so I spend a lot of time hiking and enjoying the great summer weather. Other than that, I just spend a lot of my time with family and friends, and try to think of new ideas.