Tue 9 Dec 2008
Wow, I’ve just had the most geeked out weekend ever, so big in fact that I’m going to have to split it into two blog posts. It started on Friday with The Amazing iPhone event. I had been planning to go to this event for a few weeks but it was only on Monday of last week that I got a call telling me that the organisers would like me to give a short 5 minute talk at the event. Obviously I jumped at the chance to talk about my experiences of iPhone development, and of course to hawk iFreeThePostcode and my own freelance services!
The Amazing iPhone was essentially an opportunity to launch a report that the guys at Kisky Netmedia have spent the past few months putting together. The report is a freely available (CC licensed) download that looks at the iPhone and covers the effects it’s having on the overall mobile landscape, what opportunities it’s creating and what development skills are required to create apps for it. Phil Redmond, the creator of such TV hits as Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks actually gave an introduction to the event and explained the reasons that he loved his iPhone and how he saw it representing a real change in the culture of internet use in the future. Katie Lips of Kisky Netmedia followed this by giving an overview of the report. The report starts by introducing us to the iPhone and then tries to explain the fanaticism and dedication shown by people who own one, also covering “The Cult of Mac”. It then talks a little about the history of the mobile phone business, covering what came before the iPhone, the players involved in the industry, how they worked and mistakes they perhaps made. We’re then taken through a timeline of the iPhone’s entrance into popular culture and some statistics on sales, growth and market share. The report goes on to cover many other subjects including the attempts by existing manufacturers to compete with the iPhone, who is using the iPhone (consumers and enterprises alike), before going on to talk about apps, the app store and the development skills required to create your own apps.
Three developers then gave an interesting mix of their opinions on iPhone development. Dave Verwer of Shiny Development talked about his recently released Charades app and talked about his experiences as an existing Objective C and Cocoa developer starting out on the iPhone platform. Matt West of Westbright Ltd then told us about his upcoming Zombie Slayer game and told us about his previous work on Palm devices and the difficulties he had handling the distribution process, which is made much easier by Apple with the App Store. Lastly I gave my talk, unfortunately I’d been really busy preparing for BarCamp and so had only knocked together my slides a few hours previous. I began by giving an overview of my background in web development and my involvement in the Open Street Map project. I then talked about iFreeThePostcode, the reasons for its existence and why the iPhone is such a good device for it. I followed this by mentioning my routing app, how the limited specifications of a mobile device made this sort of app more difficult to write but how the capabilities that the iPhone has should allow me to create a great app. If you’re interested you can see my slides on slideshare.
After our talks Paul Stringer, also of Kisky Netmedia, gave a half hour overview of how they set about creating an iPhone app – CoffeeBuzz – and the insights that this process gave them which they then put into the report. After this we had a Q&A session which saw all the speakers answering questions offered by the audience. My main input of course was on location related questions but a good range of questions were asked, including of course the inevitable “I don’t want to use O2, can I hack the iPhone?”. After the event we all hung around to enjoy some free refreshments and chat to the attendees. It was good to see such a varied crowd including other local developers through to people from a variety of different businesses. I’d definitely recommend reading the report so head over to The Amazing iPhone site now to download it.