This is a letter sent to Jeff LaMarche from the developer of the iSketch app. Nice story, wanted to share with you all…
Dear Mr. Lamarche,
My name is Cameron Cohen and I am an eleven year old iPhone App Developer. Last year, I had an injury that restricted me from doing any physical activity that I enjoy. I had taken a few classes on programming c++ and Java so I was interested in computers. I had an iPod Touch and was very interested in it, so I decided to google, “How do I create an iPhone Application?” I watched Stanford University classes on ‘iTunes U’, watched all kinds of tutorials, and, almost every day, read your blog. Over the summer, I spent most of my time working on completing one full application. I worked on a painting/drawing application, because although there were many in the App Store already, I thought mine would be better. I submitted my application, “iSketch”, to Apple in November. As my app was waiting for approval by Apple, I had a thought on my mind. Inspired by the care I received at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, I decided to dedicate a portion of the proceeds from the sales of iSketch to purchase entertainment and electronic items for Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA’s Child Life/Child Development programs in Westwood and Santa Monica so that pre-teens and teens would have additional age-appropriate options available to them during their Hospital stays. I wanted to donate a portion of my sales, and I knew this was the way. Apple approved my app in early December, and, since then, my sales have been good, but I hope to accelerate them so that I can donate even more to the hospital. Thank you very much for reading this, and I was hoping that you could possibly put this or information about me on your blog. My email is email@example.com, and my website is www.cccdevelopment-llc.com .
My brother Stu turned me on to a terrific repository of live performances. While YouTube is a great place to find and watch videos of your favorite artists, Wolfgang’s Vault offers a slightly different and more focused experience. For starters, you can search for a specific artist, select from a list of concerts by that artist, then play the concert from a playlist that you can control, a la iTunes. Here’s a playlist from the Allman Brothers 1973 Winterland concert:
Even better, the Vault offers a download manager that will download concerts as live individual tracks and fold those tracks into your iTunes library for later consumption. There’s also a free iPhone app so you can bring this lovely stuff on the road with you. Thanks, Wolfgang…
A French Mac web site, Mac4Ever.com, reports that a free Swiss traffic info app, mogoRoad (not available in US App Store), grabs your phone number and sends it to a remote collecting database. Some time soon after users ran the app, they received a telemarketing phone call.
A big deal is being made out of the fact that an app gained access to the user’s phone number “with only a single line of code”. Let’s be clear here. The fact that an app can easily retrieve your phone number is a cause for celebration. What a tremendous platform we work on. Apple puts an incredible amount of power in the hands of its developers who use that power to create great apps. Would you have Apple hamstring the SDK so you could not access the Address Book? Ridiculous.
In my opinion, developers who use their apps for evil should lose their ability to bring their apps to the App Store. That’s the solution. Please stop complaining about this. The iPhone SDK is a remarkable achievement, on a par with the original Mac Toolbox. I love the fact that I can so easily do so much with so little code…
Thanks to cousin Allen for this one: Nissan has developed an iPhone app whose sole purpose is to communicate with its upcoming Prius competitor. The Nissan electric car is supposed to be announced tomorrow, August 1st.
The app allows you to do things like track your battery level. More usefully, on a scorching day, you can ask the car to start gradually cooling the car a few minutes before you get into it. Obviously, this lets you avoid roasting your hooha when you slide into your car, but this approach also prevents a sudden drain on the battery if you turned the AC on high.
This inspires me and I suspect, if you are a wannabe app developer, it will inspire you, too. The idea of an augmented reality app is to use iPhone’s camera or video capability to display the world on the iPhone screen, then overlay data on top of that world.
In the video below, the video camera displays the image seen by its lens in near real time, then uses location services and its subway database to overlay the location of nearby subway stations. This is brilliant. And there are so many other ideas that pop into my mind. I see a wave of these apps coming soon…
When Apple publishes an API, they include a specific set of accessors and mutators (getters and setters) they want you to use to access their frameworks. There’s an implied contract at work here. Apple promises to support the public interfaces and you agree to base your code upon those public interfaces. And there’s an explicit contract at work as well, a contract you agree to when you download the SDK that says specifically that you will not make use of private APIs.
Some folks like to look through the interfaces for private methods to allow them to do things they just can’t do with the provided public methods. I can totally see the fun in doing this for your own coding pleasure. But building production code that is based on private methods is a chancy proposition at best. Your code is likely to break as Apple changes the internal structure of their classes. And if that happens, remember, you were the one who broke the contract.
There’s a blog post that’s been making the rounds over the past few weeks that I found pretty funny. And it speaks to this situation just perfectly.
Thanks for this to @mixxcom89. This is a bit hard to believe. Fortunately, there’s video to show how it was done. The band “The 88″ was on tour, opening for the B52’s and they had an idea for a song. They came upon the FourTrack app in the App Store and decided to try to record the track entirely on the iPhone. Check out the video below. You can download the finished result on the iTunes Music Store. Amazing…