Why I developed my first iOS App in 2014

I’ve been a fan of the iOS App Store since Day 1. This was back, when I only had an iPod Touch, and was very jealous of all the people who already had fancy iPhones.

Back then I was mostly into games. I still remember, that one of my first games was Super Monkey Ball. It made use of the Motion Sensors, who of course were not as sophisticated as they are today. But even back than it was possible to develop really fun games, if you just used the devices capabilities smartly.

In the years to come I got more and more interested in useful apps that empowerd the user to do more with the small devices in their hand. A few of my favorite apps are Fantastical, Omnifocus and Tweetbot and even in their early versions they already showed how much is possible with a smartphone. These apps also inspired me to become a designer myself and I always wanted to get into designing and developing my own apps, but until this summer I was either missing an idea or the motivation to really get started in this space.

Then WWDC 2014 happened and dropped so many new things on us, that I was immediately motivated to get started. Even if I developed an app where there were already many competitors I could still leave a mark by incorporating new features like extensions and iCloud Drive. And so I started working on an App, that I was always searching for in the App Store but could never really find to my liking: A time tracking app.

As a freelancer you constantly have to make estimates about how long different projects should take, and especially early in your career it is quite difficult to make meaningful estimates, since you don’t have any experience for how long a project should take. But even after you finished a few projects, you’re still none the wiser, if you don’t track your time while you work.

So basically my thinking was this: I never found a time tracking app that suited my needs and I want to develop an iOS App. So even if I wouldn’t succeed financially, I still would make something that I can use myself from here on out.

At first I was of course skeptical if I would really stick to my goal. I’ve had no experience in Objective C so I would need to learn a new programming language, new Development Tools and also learn basics about App Marketing.

However after developing a few first prototypes really fast I was motivated enough to stick to the plan and so in September 2014, a few days after iOS8 launched, Tick Track, my simple time tracking app, was set loose into the wild.

Unfortunatelly developing an iOS App is only part of the job. For now, Tick Track hasn’t generated any meaningful revenue and major blogs didn’t even respond to emails about my app. So from an financial perspective Tick Track has been a failure.

However I still got some wonderful feedback from early users of the app and so I’m really proud of my work. For now developing iOS Apps might not be my main income but I still made my first step into a bigger world.

By Daniel,