Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category

Layers for iPhone is on the App Store!

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Apple has finally approved Ben’s new iPhone drawing app, Layers, for sale on the App Store!

Layers is a really polished, feature-packed natural media painting program for the iPhone.  As it’s name implies, one of its distinguishing features is that it lets you paint on up to 5 different layers.  That, combined with its full undo/redo support, makes it easy for even fumble-fingered people like me to create decent drawings.  It also sports transparency, 8 different brushes, and a really cool feature that lets you erase portions of the current layer to reveal the layer below — something that’s fun to do with photos because you can ‘knock out’ the background around a subject to reveal the contents of another photo or a drawing below it.

Anyway, have a look at And yes, in the interest of full disclosure, it’s written by my son, but even if it weren’t, I’d still be incredibly impressed.

Mathomatic for iPhone

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Yes, I’ve been a negligent father – I didn’t blog about Ben’s release of Mathomatic for iPhone.  It’s a very cool port of Mathomatic, an open source symbolic algebra engine that’s been around on the desktop for quite a while.  Ben’s integrated it into a very slick package, and the equation formatting and display is really top notch.

Yeah, it’s pretty geeky, but I have to say it’s also VERY cool!  Whether you’re doing homework, simplifying some equations for use in your own development work, or just want to be amazed at what you can do on an iPhone these days, it’s worth playing with – check it out!

iPhone app pricing

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

Andy Finnell makes a lot of sense in How to Price Your iPhone App out of Existence.
Since the opening of the app store I’ve felt that the $0.99 (or thereabouts) pricing model isn’t sustainable – Andy lays that out in thorough detail.

He does make one point I’d argue with, however.  His assertion that developers should charge a price that’s high enough to keep them in business is backwards, in my opinion.  Developers should charge a price commensurate with the value of their software to users.  If I write an app that only appeals to 5 people and I need $50,000 a year to live, it’d be ridiculous to ask those 5 people to pay $10,000 / copy. If it’s worth $50 to them based on what it can do, then that’s what it’s worth.  If that’s not enough to pay the bills, then I shouldn’t be writing that application, or should look at changing something (the feature set, advertising, or marketing) to make it more viable.  Of course, we often don’t know the correct formula at the outset, but in the case of iPhone apps, it seems clear that charging $0.99 is not going to enable you to really support or update it long-term (where “long-term” is more than a few months).

NetSketch 1.0.1

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Yes, my son is now officially kicking his dad’s butt on the iPhone side of the business.  Ben had NetSketch ready at the launch of the app store, and even as an impartial observer (as much as I can be, anyway), it’s an impressive piece of software.

NetSketch brings collaborative drawing to the iPhone and iPod Touch.  You can draw on the iPhone’s screen in full color and share your work with others over WiFi – pretty cool!  If you collaborate with your friends, everyone’s changes are shown in the drawing in real-time.  And NetSketch is vector-based and offers infinite pan and zoom – so it’s easy to add detail to your work and you never run out of room.

Here are some drawings made with NetSketch:


I have to say it’s darn nice for $5.99, and the networking capabilities really set it apart. I can see this taking over in classrooms and meeting rooms this fall 🙂

Take a look at

iPhone contest winner

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Congrats to Michael Mistretta, who’s going to be getting a brand new iPod Touch for his winning entry in the iPhone Application Idea contest! I apologize for taking so long to judge the entries – as I said in an earlier comment, I got sidetracked a lot as I explored the feasibility of some of the entries and discovered details about the workings of the iPhone OS.

While I’m not going to talk up Michael’s idea until its development is a bit further along, I’ll share some of the other entries we liked:

  • Location logging that can be used to tag photos after you upload them to iPhoto
  • Consultant’s client billing / project timer / mileage / expense tracker
  • Podcast downloader that updates over WiFi so you don’t need iTunes
  • Enable the iPhone as a touch sensitive input device to replace or augment the mouse
  • A visual bookmark viewer that uses CoverFlow
  • A diet / health blogging app to feed something like Body Lapse

There were a ton of other great entries, many of which I’d love to implement if it weren’t for technical or distribution issues. There are a couple in particular that deserve special mention:

  • A Mojo client
  • A “spaces” capability where apps are activated by turning the iPhone to particular orientations (how sweet would that be?)
  • Download song lyrics for the currently playing song (obvious, but still not there)

Thanks to everyone who submitted ideas! Oh, and if you submitted one that didn’t win but we end up using it later on to build a successful product, you’ll definitely get a “thank you” iPod or some other present 🙂

Win an iPod Touch!

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

So the iPhone SDK (or maybe the beta of the SDK) comes out today. We’re as excited as everyone else out there, and really want to get rolling. But not just with “solitaire for the iPhone,” so…

We’re having a contest! We’re giving away a 16 GB iPod Touch to whoever has the best application idea for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Got something you’ve been wishing for on your iPhone? Something that “just makes sense”? Or something that’s so outside the box that it just might be the next revolution? Let us know – if we think it’s great too, we’ll give you an iPod Touch!

To submit your idea go to

The iPod Contest Page