Did Apple Just Set Millions of iPhone Clocks to the Wrong Time?

Have you updated to iOS 9 yet? If so, you may be living in the future, and I don't mean in the sense of being an early adopter. Your iPhone's system clock may actually be set forward 5 seconds or more.

To check, go here and select your timezone. Then hold your iPhone up to the screen. Take a look at the icon for your iPhone's Clock app. Conveniently, you can directly compare the animated red second hand on the Clock app icon with the animated red second hand on the World Clock website. Notice any difference?

Here's what this looked like for me three days ago when I updated to iOS9:

As you can see, the clock on my Verizon iPhone 5s is running ~8 seconds fast. I've tried restarting the phone, among other things, and I haven't been able to get an accurate clock no matter what I do. And, yes, my timezone and clock are set to auto. In fact, as of today, the problem has only gotten worse. My phone's clock is now running more than 15 seconds fast!

This may not seem like a big deal to you, but for me, it is. I'm one of the founders of Streak Trivia. Streak is a massively-multiplayer trivia game that everyone plays simultaneously at 6PM PT / 9PM ET. For our game to work properly, it is imperative that we can trust Apple's system clock to be set to the correct time. Any slight deviation of more than a second means that our players are not synced up, which means they aren't receiving questions at the same time.

The problem doesn't impact every phone upgraded to iOS 9. We did extensive testing on iOS 9 beta builds and never encountered the problem until a few days ago. My co-founder has an iPhone 6 Plus that has not been impacted to-date. However, the issue seems fairly widespread. Last Friday about ~10% of our game players were affected (meaning they couldn't play Streak because their clock was wrong). As more and more Streak players upgrade to iOS 9, the number of people who can't play is growing. In fact, we've had to cancel all of our games this week to keep users from encountering clock-related errors, meaning our app has been forced into dormancy by this bug. 

In computer programming, system clocks are pretty darn important. If the bug is affecting millions of iPhones, then computer clocks probably haven't been wrong on such a grand scale at any other point in history. This issue is almost certainly causing problems in other apps besides Streak, or at the very least, robbing average users of a few seconds of precious sleep.

Are you living in the future?

Apple Watch for Runners, Three Months In

Once upon a time, the night before the Apple Watch was introduced, I speculated on what the device might bring for runners.  Nearly a year later (and three months into watch ownership), I thought it might be fun to re-review the device and how it fits into my life.

As I see it, there’s three “jobs to be done” the Apple Watch aims to fulfill for a runner. They are:

  • Music and podcast playback and controls
  • “Hardcore” running statistical tracking — exact mileages, times, and pace
  • General fitness tracking— calories, minutes of exercise, and motivation

Music

Controlling music or podcasts with the Apple Watch is a nightmare. 

The first issue is in deciding *how* you’re going to play your music: from your phone, or from your watch. This decision is surprisingly fraught with peril.

Playback option A: playing music from your phone

In this case, music is “stored” on your iPhone, and the watch is merely an interface to control it.

Pros:

  • You have access to all your music (instead of just 250 songs), whether it’s in Apple Music, Spotify, or Pandora.
  • You can play podcasts.
  • You can control your music from the phone’s lock screen.
  • You can use non-wireless headphones, if need be.
  • If you choose to use wireless headphones, the sound is louder and far less likely to skip.

Cons:

  • You have to carry a giant phone with you! I have a 6 Plus, so I’ve resorted to putting my phone in a quart-sized Ziploc bag and carrying that while running. Best case scenario is that you have a 5S (or smaller) that’s reasonable to use in an armband.

Playback option B: Playing music from the watch directly

In this scenario, the music is both stored and controlled on the watch.

Pros:

  • The watch + wireless headphones combination is ultra-light. It’s very cool to run with just two super-lightweight objects on your body. It’s clearly the future.

Cons:

  • You can only store 250 songs on the watch, and no podcasts. Also no Spotify or Pandora.
  • It’s an onerous 3–4 hour process to wirelessly sync the music to your watch. I hope you chose those 250 songs wisely!
  • You must use wireless headphones, most of which are at the “music players before the iPod” stage of design and build quality. I got the Jaybird BlueBuds as per the Wirecutter a few months ago, and they are not great. Charging is a huge pain, they require endless experimentation with earbud sizes to stay in your ear, and, despite sweat-proof guarantees, are deteriorating after 8 weeks.
  • Setting up the watch to play wirelessly is a hard-to-discover, multi-button-press process.
  • Bluetooth sound quality and volume from the watch is not good. The loudest setting is not loud enough, and skipping/cutting out/random pauses are quite common. (This is not a problem using the same headphones with the phone.) 

During a Workout

For this section, I thought I’d describe what it's like to change your music to the next track. It’s an action I want to carry out very often, usually multiple times per run, and is representative of the difficulty of other common actions, like increasing the volume or switching playlists (if you brought your phone — the watch-only mode only allows one playlist). 

This section assumes Apple’s “workout” app is running simultaneously with your music playback. To go the next track:

Option A, using Glances:

  1. Raise wrist (theatrically) or press home button on side.
  2. See that watch is displaying workout app, even if you recently changed music (it reverts to the workout app very quickly).
  3. Press home button to go to app screen.
  4. Press home button to center app screen on clockface.
  5. Press home button to go into “clock mode.”
  6. Swipe up from bottom of clock face to show Glances.
  7. Swipe up again, because your finger is sweaty, and step 6 failed (I usually fail 1–3 times).
  8. (Possibly optional) Swipe left or right to “Now Playing” Glance (this will also fail multiple times).
  9. Tap “next track” button (fail 1–5 times, for some reason this one is very hard).

Option B, using the Music App:

  1. Raise wrist (theatrically) or press home button.
  2. See that watch is displaying workout app, even if you recently changed music (it reverts to the workout app very quickly).
  3. Press home button to go to app screen.
  4. Tap on tiny “Music” App icon, or futilely try to turn crown to zoom (fail 1-2 times).
  5. Wait for Music App to load (3–5 seconds).
  6. Tap “Now Playing” (fail 1–3 times).
  7. Tap “next track” button (fail 1–5 times).

I’m not exaggerating for effect. This is the rigamarole I go though to change a track while running. And if I’m over ~15 minutes into a run, the sweat on my finger makes it impossible to not fail repeatedly. Also the bouncy movement of a run makes the small targets very hard to hit.

Controlling music on the watch during a workout is so frustrating that I often resort to tapping my phone’s lock screen through its protective Ziploc bag in order to change tracks.

Potential Improvements

Some of these are assuredly coming in future software/hardware updates. Others I will simply pray for.

  • More than 250 songs/1 playlist stored on the watch.
  • Podcasts and audiobooks stored on the watch.
  • More powerful, high-volume, no-skip Bluetooth playback.
  • The interface issues could be mitigated with tighter hardware-music integration. The watch has hardware buttons — the old iPod nano solved this problem! The side button, currently reserved for the “friend list”, could control music in workout mode. One tap: pause. Two taps: next track. Digital crown: volume. Sweaty fingers would no longer be a cancer for the whole system.
  • Apple (or Beats, or someone) makes “Apple-quality” Bluetooth headphones. From what I’ve heard, the current Beats offering is about level with my Jaybirds. The build quality and hassle could take a huge leap forward.

“Hardcore” Running Tracking

This section will be short, because the Apple Watch is completely inadequate. Two reasons:

  1. Inaccuracy. Even carrying the phone along, the “GPS” distance estimates vary wildly both from a GPS watch (Garmin) and from other runs along the same route. I’ve seen swings of 5–7%, which may not sound like much, but is far too much for serious training use. Without the phone, it’s incredibly easy to trick the “stride calibration” into thinking you ran far shorter or longer than you did.
  2. Lack of mapping. Even carrying a full-fledged GPS-enabled phone, the “Activity” app that displays workouts doesn’t show the route you took. Why not? Probably because the GPS isn’t on at all times (to save battery), so the maps wouldn’t be accurate. But mapping and elevation-tracking are table stakes for a serious running watch.

Hopefully these will be rectified in software soon. I have a giant-batteried 6 Plus, I’d love the option to turn on “full-blast GPS mode” to get highly accurate readings and maps.

General Fitness Tracking

Finally, time to stop the negativity. The Apple Watch is the best general fitness device ever made, and should only get better. Why? In a word: motivation. The designers and engineers have built a product that perfectly balances carrots and sticks to tap into my desire to be healthier and fears about sedentary life.

The fitness tracking’s success rests on three factors: accuracy, convenience, and feedback. 

Accuracy

While I gave the watch a hard time about its exactitude in tracking runs, there’s no question it nails heart rate and calories far better than any device that you don’t have to strap around your chest. Unlike the exercise machines at the gym, its calorie readings are believable (no, spin bike, I’m quite confident I didn’t burn 1200 calories in 45 minutes). Sure, there are times when the heart rate monitor lags in getting a reading, or when it takes up to 15 minutes for calories to be "committed" to the workout total, all-in-all, I trust it.

Convenience

The watch is useful enough to wear all the time, which makes a huge difference in daily fitness tracking. Because it's always on, the daily calorie/exercise/standing numbers are believable. The difference between on-all-the-time and on-just-when-I-remember is huge. Don’t I deserve credit for that post-lunch stroll? How about for jumping around at a concert? The watch captures everything, which imbues the goals and achievements with real importance.

Feedback

I initially thought the “achievement badges” for exercise goals were completely silly. It's time to repent—I’m now completely addicted to trying to achieve a perfect month of calorie-burning. Rationally, I know these virtual badges are stupid, but because they represent actual, true-to-life fitness achievements, I want them anyway. I think Apple Watch is breeding a new generation of fitness addicts.

What’s more interesting is the next step: what happens when the watch adds oxygen or glucose monitoring? What about the motion-tracking apps coming with watchOS 2? How long till it can track hydration, sleep, nutrition, and the like? What about social gaming using the health data (who ran faster today, or ate better)?

The five- or ten-year-out version of the Apple Watch will be the greatest mass-market health device ever made. Now I'm off to the gym.

App Review: A Modest Proposal

Any working iOS developer has read tens, if not hundreds, of critiques of Apple's App Store Review process over the years. Most take issue with:

  1. Capricious approval decisions,
  2. The walled garden/curation approach, in general, or
  3. Perceived hostility toward indie developers, specifically

While these are thorny problems, they are either not ubiquitous (#1) or simply inherent to the platform (#2 and #3).

On #1, Apple appears to have difficulty deciding what’s permissible with new APIs and technologies. But it also seems like they eventually figure it out and settle down after a few months. (This isn’t to diminish the tremendous frustration the developers of PCalc, Drafts, et al. must have suffered, but most developers—thankfully—don't have to deal with this issue.)

On #2, it’s hard to argue that the App Store has been anything but a monstrous success, and that App Review has helped create the highest-quality, most-easily-accessible collection of safe, stable, software ever built, enriching countless developers in the process.

On #3, the App Store is not the fundamental problem here — it’s just really hard to make money in zero-marginal-cost markets. It's not Apple's fault if you can't. Caveat venditor.

Of these three issues, only #1 clearly needs a “fix,” and it should be a straightforward matter of internal communication at Apple. I hope they are working on it, and I bet they are.

But there is one truly universal, nightmarish, intractable problem with App Review: review times.

At the moment, our app, Streak, is in day 9 of the dreaded “waiting for review” purgatory that every developer faces. Based on the best information available, our app is one day away from the pearly gates. Why is this week (or more) of waiting time a huge issue? Glad you asked.

For users:
 

1. Long review times means that buggy software stagnates on your devices 

An illustrative anecdote: We once shipped an update that caused intermittent crashing. (We failed to discover this bug despite extensive testing.) When that update was released, we immediately diagnosed the problem and shipped a two-line code fix. We submitted the fix in a couple of hours. The fix waited in review for 10 days. The new code was then summarily rejected because of unrelated caching behavior that had been present in all of our previously approved builds. We changed that code and submitted a new build a few hours later. We waited eight more days. Finally, 18 days after the original bug hit users, the fix was released. Less than 10 lines of code changed during the interim.

The easy rejoinder is, “you should have tested your app more.” That’s true, we should have. But I promise you that no developer has a completely clean record, including Apple itself. Which is okay! But, given that we all sometimes make mistakes, it’s insanely harsh to force us to wait days or weeks to deliver simple fixes. And it's a terrible experience for users who have to suffer through weeks of using a buggy app.

2. Longer development-cycles means that apps don’t improve as quickly

User feedback is the lifeblood of any actively-developed app. We want to hear your concerns, and address them quickly. We want to add the features you want the most, as soon as possible. We want to move incredibly fast — it’s not infeasible for us to ship new features and improvements every few days.

App Review inserts a mandatory 7–10 day period during which none of this can happen. Lengthy review times mandate that our development cycle will take multiple weeks, and incentivizes submitting only huge updates with a litany of features or changes. While this sounds good on its face, any software developer knows that a feature-heavy update is also a recipe for a bug-heavy update. That would be okay, if we could ship fixes for those bugs quickly, but we can’t, so the software spends even more time being poked and prodded internally, which slows down the improvement cycle even further. It’s a truly vicious cycle. For an indie developer or a new startup that is relying on initial launch momentum, it can be fatal.

For developers:
 

3. It’s dispiriting and stressful

I’m going to get touchy-feely for a moment here, because this is important. As a developer, nothing is more upsetting than making people’s lives worse through your software. And it is downright brutal to suffer weeks of negative reviews, tweets, messages from friends, coworkers, bosses, and the like, all pointing out a bug you are very aware of. Some of this is deserved — I f*cked up, and earned the pain. But when you fix the problem in an hour and still have to slog through 10 days of explaining to people that you’re really sorry but the fix is just sitting, waiting for approval... it feels like disproportionate punishment. I can honestly say that nothing makes me sadder or causes more stress as a developer than these 10-day-long waiting periods to ship a critical bug fix. I’m sure I’m not alone.

Resolution
 

There’s one “obvious” solution to this problem: Apple could hire a lot more reviewers to bring review times down. While this sounds good on paper, it’s untenable. Apple insists on surprisingly small teams of very talented people, and review is no different. Money is not enough to fix a talent gap. To quote from the linked article:

“People have this idea that there are 100 people in India doing app reviews…It’s just people in a building at Apple, and like every other part of Apple, they can’t get enough really good people. Apple will not compromise the quality of its teams to fill it in. I promise you it’s a lot smaller than you imagine.”

These talented people unfortunately spend their day doing a lot of simple, repetitive work, like identifying apps that contain nudity:

You have to have people sitting there looking at things that may or may not be d*cks all day long. Apple refuses to farm stuff out to massive groups of people. They insist on having actual smart, educated, well-trained people doing the job. So that means they have to have some of their actual employees sifting through a pile of d*cks.

It's a good thing that smart and competent people are doing this job. But there are still ways to make this situation better, for the reviewers, the developers, and the customers.

A Modest Proposal
 

How to fix this problem, without requiring Apple to hire hundreds more reviewers? 

My answer: a premium-priced “expedited review” developer account. Apple already charges a $99/year entry price to become a developer. Why not add a $999/year option that guarantees expedited reviews? This premium tier could aim to provide under-48-hour review times (and possibly other pro services).

Developers willing to pay such a steep price up-front will be very serious. Their submissions should be easier to review and will have a much higher quality-to-garbage ratio (and hopefully fewer d*cks). And Apple would make more money!

Hell, here at Streak, we’re a two-man company in an apartment, living off our modest savings, and we’d pay that price in a second. If they have to charge $1,499 or $1,999 annually for it to make financial sense, so be it. As we're all well aware, Apple has no qualms when it comes to charging premium prices for premium-tier consumer products. Why is there a one-size-fits-all offering for developers?

Maybe no one cares about fixing the review-time problem at Apple, but I doubt it. More likely, they are either too busy or haven’t come up with a viable solution. Perhaps this particular idea wouldn’t work for some reason, but it's a problem worth solving. Fixing it would engender significant goodwill among developers and make the App Store better for everyone. It’s worth a try.

Apple Watch Pricing for Plebes

As John Gruber notes, there’s little reason to speculate on Apple Watch at this point, but it’s fun. So let’s join in.

The most salient part of Gruber’s piece is the section entitled, “The Messaging”:

Using the name “Apple Watch” for the stainless steel collection — the collection with the widest variety of straps — clearly establishes it as the “regular” collection. In turn, that has left many with the impression that it will be the best-selling, the most common, the one most people walk out of the store with — and thus priced near the $349 baseline.

And, earlier:

But the steel Apple Watch, that’s something that most people still look at as for them. And so they expect the starting price to be around $500, and the various leather and metal band options to cost $100–300 more.

I am one of those people who looks at the steel Apple Watch as “for them.” So what is my watch going to cost? Gruber dismisses a $500 starting price for the stainless collection, because a mere $150 difference would imply that the Sport and regular collections are not highly differentiated — which they are. One more quote:

With Sport and steel Apple Watches, everything you can see or touch is different. Different metal (aluminum vs. steel), different finishes (matte vs. highly-polished), different displays (glass vs. sapphire), different case backs (plastic vs. ceramic and sapphire).

Okay, so we’ve got a totally different class of materials in the stainless edition. From an operational and marketing perspective, that should justify more than a $150 difference. I’m sold — both as a prospective buyer and amateur business strategist. 

But I think his final guess, that the stainless line will start at $749, is way too high. I may be brewing up my own cauldron of claim chowder, but here’s the argument.

Apple prices to customer demand. They charge what you will pay, not cost-plus-a-percentage. And they are very good at pricing very near the maximum of what their customers are willing to part with. 

What’s the psychology of a pricey Apple purchase? Based on introspection, I think there’s two key mechanisms:

Talking yourself up the line

Buying a medium- or high-end iPhone, iPad, or Mac is a process of incremental compromises. Well, I can’t get the 128GB Macbook Pro, because that’s not enough space, and, oh, the faster CPU is just an extra $300, and I get twice as much storage, but, wait, the 15-inch is just $200 more… 

To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway: how do you end up buying a $1,999 computer? Gradually, and then suddenly.

The Sport watch’s price should top out at $399 (I agree the 42mm will be $50 more than the 38mm). In Gruber's pricing model, there’s a $350 gap between that and the lowest-end stainless, which still has an effectively-rubber watchband. If we’re comparing 42mm models, it’s a $400 gap, or a straight doubling of the price from $399 to $799.

To get touchy-feely, $350–400 just seems like too much. I don’t think I can talk myself into bridging that gap. $100 gets you an iPhone 6 Plus instead of a 6. $229 gets you an iPad Air 2 (faster, lighter, TouchID) and cellular over an Air 1 with wi-fi only. I find it hard to believe that those increments will be wildly outmatched by those on the watch.

As someone who’s talked himself up plenty of Apple product lines, that $350 void appears as an abyss that I cannot cross. And if supply chain rumors are at all accurate, I find it almost inconceivable that one-half of purchasers would be able to make the leap. 

Sanity checking

The second way Apple convinces us to buy higher-end models is by preventing the purchase-killing sanity check. Comparing a prospective acquisition to other Apple products doesn’t make you feel insane.

Buying a $729 iPad feels about right. Less than a computer, more than a (subsidized) iPhone. Same with a $1,999 Macbook Pro. Less than the 5K iMac, more than most laptops, but not out of the ballpark. 

What about the Apple Watch that is my top choice? (Stainless, 42mm, black classic buckle.)

In the $749 stainless-start-price world, this is an $899 watch. With tax, basically $1,000. That feels insane. I cannot justify it. I could have an awesome iPad, with cash to spare. I could have a Macbook Air! It seems crazy to me that people will walk into Apple Stores, see $899 unibody laptops, and decide that the second-lowest-priced stainless Apple Watch is worth the same. (Since this is the cheapest watch that shares no materials with the sport line, it’s arguably the real beginning of the “normal” Apple Watch line.)

The implication of Gruber’s predictions is that the watch will be priced as if it is a watch, rather than as if it is a tech product. I believe it will be priced the same way every Apple product is priced — as if it is an Apple product. The only comparisons that matter are to other Apple products. 

Laying it on the line

Regrettably, I’ve violated Ben Thompson’s rule and used “I” far too many times in this piece. But my goal is to understand which prices are feasible, and — given that I’m in the top 0.001% of consumers with respect to interest in the Apple Watch — I think I’m a decent test case. If they can't sell the watch to the Apple-fan-with-disposable-income base, it's hard to figure out who they could sell to.

So let’s do this:

  • Apple Watch Sport: $349/$399 (38mm/42mm)
  • Apple Watch, steel, Sport Band: $599/$649
  • Apple Watch, Classic Buckle: $699/$749
  • Apple Watch, Modern Buckle (38mm only): $799
  • Apple Watch, Leather Loop (42mm only): $849
  • Apple Watch, Milanese: $899/$949
  • Apple Watch, Link Bracelet (steel/black steel): $949/$999 

Some of the higher-end guesses are rawer than raw speculation. My gut tells me the Milanese is cooler than the Modern Buckle/Leather Loop, and I buy Gruber’s argument on the supremacy of the link bracelet.

No predictions for the Edition edition, because, once we’re talking thousands, does it matter to us plebes? I believe that Edition prices could be higher than for any other Apple product, as the solid 18K gold moves them into the pure luxury category. (If I had to make a bet, put me down with Marco at ~$3k, which is high, but not truly, ridiculously high. But I really don't know.)

I do think I would buy that $749 classic buckle, though, even if I’m praying it’s $699 or less. Because I can just barely talk myself into it, one price hop at time.

Building Streak or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Lock Screen

The conversation that got us started on Streak went something like:

"What about a true or false game that you can play from the lock screen?"

"Sounds AWESOME. We can build that today."

We so, so, did not build it that day. Making Streak, like many crazy ideas, turned out to be shockingly difficult. Two aspects of our development were really tough:

  1. Creating an app that can run every day, ad infinitum, with user interaction 100% on the lock screen.
  2. Allowing everyone to play against each other at once, with "everyone" possibly being hundreds/thousands of people.

We'll write another post about #2, but we learned so much about the workings of iOS notifications to achieve #1 that we thought a write-up might be helpful to fellow developers. This stuff is probably obvious to hardened Cocoaheads, but we learned a heck of a lot from googling for posts like this, so hopefully this will help someone, somewhere.

Also if any of this is wrong, we would be forever grateful if you tell us. We have struggled with these issues mightily.


There are a few things about iOS 8 notifications and notification actions that we learned the hard way. Like, the really hard way:

  • Local notifications are the only way to precisely time any app activity (timers don't work)
  • Local notifications don't run code unless the user interacts with them, while remote notifications do
  • Completion Handlers are your god and if you do not respect them they will smite you
  • The system will probably terminate your app from the background sometimes. When this happens, if the user wakes you up using a notification action, unexpected things will happen.

Local Notifications vs. Timers or Remote Notifications

If you are naive—as we are—when you come up with the idea to have a precisely timed trivia game, you think aha, NSTimer! You are wrong. Why? The system will kill your NSTimer in the background unless you are using specially privileged services like location monitoring (a topic for another post).

What about remote notifications, like those cool silent ones you heard about in the WWDC video? Great for delivering content in the background on a loose schedule, not great for precise timing. If you have to send a bunch, you will almost certainly get rate-limited, and your notifications won't deliver, which pretty much hoses the whole thing, right? "Regular" remote notifications, with alerts, seem to be way more reliable, but if you're looking for second-by-second precision, you won't get it (due to them coming over the Internet and all that).

So, local notifications. They post pretty much on time, you can hand them off to the system and they will fire, even if you're terminated (or deleted), and you can clear them before they fire with

[UIApplication sharedApplication].scheduledLocalNotifications.

But using local notifications brings us to our next problem...

Local Notifications Don't Run Code (Without User Interaction)

So you're sitting pretty, thinking, hey, cool, I can run code on whatever timeline I want, since:

- (void)application:(UIApplication *)application didReceiveLocalNotification:(UILocalNotification *)notification

will run when the notification fires. Sadly, you cannot. That function only fires if your app is in the foreground, which it might not be.

The only way to run code from the lock screen via a local notification is:

- (void)application:(UIApplication *)application handleActionWithIdentifier:(NSString *)identifier forLocalNotification:(UILocalNotification *)notification completionHandler:(void (^)())completionHandler

meaning the user has swiped on it and tapped a button. Which brings us to our next pitfall...

Completion Handlers Must Be Respected at All Costs

Oh man, have we screwed this one up good. There are two cardinal sins for notification actions with completion handlers. The first is not calling them (the app will get angry and start ignoring you), and the second, which is much more insidious, is calling them before whatever you wanted to do is done.

E.g., if you need to go fetch something in the background, this task must be done before you call the handler. Or it will be killed by the system and you will be sad and confused. If you're working with notification actions or background refresh, I recommend you treat completion handlers with the utmost respect.

The Terminator

Your app will probably be terminated by the system or by users from time to time. This is not a big deal if it's mostly run in the foreground, as re-opening the app restores everything. If you're looking to resurrect from termination via notification action, though, a few things to know:

  • NSUserDefaults will be inaccessible. (As will Parse.com's basic functions, if you're using that for data storage, as we are)
  • The only way to access stored data (as far as we can tell) is to use NSFileManager, and this line is critical:

[[NSFileManager defaultManager] setAttributes:@{NSFileProtectionKey : NSFileProtectionNone}]

This was a huge problem for us, as background data persistence/access is vital to our app, and termination kept mucking it up. Finally we stumbled upon some similar Stack Overflow threads / blog posts that led us to the solution. Hopefully this fix will help you too.


We have no idea if these hard-won learnings will apply to anyone else, but it feels good to put them down on paper. And please try out Streak and tell us what you think!

Introducing Streak: A Game Show On Your iPhone

We built something new! It’s called Streak. It’s a trivia game. Two things about it are pretty weird:

1. There’s only one game a day, at 11 PT / 2 ET, and everyone plays at once.

Why make a game that only works once a day? Aren’t iPhone games supposed to be time-killers, available whenever you need them?

Good questions. Most iPhone games are designed for waiting-in-line-at-Starbucks moments. Many of them are great and we enjoy playing them. But we thought we could bring something different to the table.

Having only one trivia quiz per day enables a few unique features. For starters, every player competes simultaneously, getting the same questions at the same time. As you answer questions and get deeper into the game, we can tell you how you're doing against the world, in real time.

It's like a televised game show, except, instead of thousands of people shouting answers at their TV, they can actively participate. Our dream is to make the app version of "appointment television"—as in, everyone drops what they're doing at game time to play.

2. You can play the entire game from your phone’s lock screen.

In fact, you never actually have to unlock your phone or open the app to play Streak (if you don't want to). We tell you when the game is about to start and you can swipe left on the notification to join the game. The app takes care of the rest.

A difficult question, to be sure.

A difficult question, to be sure.

The game is fast-paced (you have only 13 seconds to answer each question), and the goal is to get as many questions right in a row as you can. We give you one lifeline, but, after that, a wrong answer means you’re out, and you'll have to wait until the next day to play again.

We think it's pretty cool, and we’d love for you to try it.

We’re working on improving it every day, and if you have feedback, issues, or ideas, let us know

We're going streaking! Want to join us?

iWatch for Runners

As the internet is ablaze with rumors/predictions/leaks about what tomorrow’s Apple event might hold for huge industries like payments, healthcare, and identity management, I figured I’d focus on a more niche perspective. 

What might an Apple wearable hold for runners? I ask this question for mostly selfish reasons — running is my preferred mode of recreational exercise, and it’s when I do much of my creative thinking, as well as music and podcast listening. 

But I think focusing on a tight area might provide some insight into what we’re going to see tomorrow for a few reasons:

  • The first versions of a new Apple device usually get a few things extremely right, and leave some more “obvious” applications on the table for later releases (e.g. the iPhone’s focus on being a great widescreen iPod and phone, with features like visual voicemail, and only adding the App Store a year later).
  • Running is an area where Apple has done strong work before, particularly with the original “wearable computers” of this century: the iPod Shuffle and clippable iPod Nano. I still use the clippable iPod Nano with touchscreen for running, as I believe it is the best exercise-friendly portable music player in existence, despite having been released in 2010 and discontinued in 2012. I have a feeling that the team that built that product has been working on something else for a while…
  • Tim Cook hits the treadmill at 5:30 a.m. every morning. 

So what does an “insanely great” wearable running computer have to do? What could it do? Here’s my list:

  • Play music and podcasts, sans iPhone. This, to me, necessitates internal storage. Perhaps not a ton (2–4GB?), but some.
  • Play audio wirelessly to bluetooth headphones that STAY IN YOUR GODDAM EAR and are incredibly sweat/rain/snow resistant. Fidelity is nice but pales in comparison to durability.
  • Present an interface for displaying and controlling the audio that is incredibly easy to read even while jiggling/shaking/moving, through blurred vision. If I’m in that deep dark place in the middle of a run, when I can barely see, let alone think, I cannot be squinting at some miniscule iPhone-style interface. Control would ideally be via hardware buttons that are extremely forgiving with respect to missing touch targets — think something like the clicker on Apple headphones, but on the watch. 
  • Wireless charging without removal would be nice but not as necessary for running as it is for everything else (pedometer, payments, etc.).
  • GPS + finer-grained motion tracking for extremely precise distance/topographic info, stride data, injury warnings (crowdsource what kind of gait can lead to shin splints), apps that let you “race” your friends in different locations at different times, played back into your ear (Max, your brother is 20 seconds ahead of you after one mile. Step it up!). Being able to live track someone from an iPhone would be huge for long-distance runners and spectators —supporters could be sure they’ll catch you on the course and your watch could buzz as you’re getting near your fan club (this is the fantasy in which we all have huge fan clubs). 
  • Embedded chips inside your shoe (*cough* Nike) let you track your stride even more precisely, tracking pressure points, “hot spots,” and recommend replacement when yours are wearing out.
  • Respiratory, hydration, heart rate, blood information, nutrition; i.e. all the HealthKit stuff. Does carbo-loading work? Do I run better if I ate vegetables or pizza earlier in the day? What about if I tossed and turned in bed the night before? Am I getting fatter? Slower? What kind of workouts make me faster? Does taking a day off mean the next day is faster? What’s the best taper for a long race? 
  • In a dream scenario, although this might not be feasible for battery life, a cellular radio would open up a whole new arena of app opportunities. That race with my brother from before? Why not have it in real time? What if you’re in the middle of a competition and your parents want to “push” a power song to you to pump you up? What about getting buzz notifications when you’re close to someone in a pre-determined running group? How about sending music back and forth during a workout with someone you know? I’m sure there’s a million other ideas here. 

So there’s some thoughts on what a fictional iWatch might bring to a small set of passionate fans. Hell, I’d pay for the version that plays music and podcasts wirelessly and nothing else. 

If the device can bring this much value to runners, I think nailing this and a few other key niches will make it very popular to devotees right off the bat. Its value might not be immediately apparent to mainstream pundits, but the people who love it will really love it. 

In other words, it will be just like every other Apple device.

Making Money on Apps

As one half of an iOS development company, I’ve been thinking about how to make money on apps for a while. The recent kerfuffle aroused by Brent Simmons and Jared Sinclair’s posts on the topic brought some of those thoughts to the surface.

To preface this discussion: I haven’t personally been successful in making money in the App Store, so you can take these thoughts with whatever-sized chunk of salt you’d like. But having watched the space since its inception in 2008, and comparing it to other types of businesses, I think there’s some clear lessons.

Let’s start with some basic economics, which is about as much as I remember from my major:

  • In a commodity market for any item, marginal revenue equals marginal cost. With software, every additional copy after the first one costs nothing for the developer to "make," so marginal cost is zero. Marginal revenue to the developer, or the price of the software, will also be zero in a competitive market.

Now before you come at me with a million exceptions and counterexamples—we’re getting there—it’s important to keep this basic principle in mind. Barring special cases, the “natural price” of an app is $0.

This is kind of a bummer. But it also quickly answers the classic question, “why won’t people pay as much for my app as a cup of coffee?” Every additional cup of coffee costs Starbucks something to make, so, intuitively, it costs money to buy a cup of coffee. It doesn't cost Facebook anything to deliver another copy of the Facebook app to your iPhone, so it makes sense that it's free. There’s a longer answer, but that’s the basic difference between $0 and not-$0.

Paul Graham put this point more elegantly in one of my favorite essays about the decline of print media (and the future of journalism):

Economically, the print media are in the business of marking up paper. We can all imagine an old-style editor getting a scoop and saying "this will sell a lot of papers!" Cross out that final S and you're describing their business model. The reason they make less money now is that people don't need as much paper.

IN OTHER WORDS: People pay for physical stuff because physical stuff seems like it should cost something. Pixels on a screen do not seem like they should cost something. This basic human intuition is very very very hard to break. Keep that in mind!

But hey. I thought this post was about “making money on apps,” not “not making money on apps.” So how do you do that? Three ways:

  1. Charge them for something that helps them make money.
  2. Charge them for an emotional experience.
  3. Don’t charge them, charge someone else for helping that someone else make money.

The first way is the foundation of the enterprise software industry. Oracle, Bloomberg, Microsoft, Salesforce, Box, etc. If you can make software that helps other people make money, you can charge them. This often necessitates a huge sales force, marketing budget, distribution strategy, contacts in enterprise, and so on, but it can be done. You can sell software to people for money. It’s just a huge pain. See Ben Thompson on Box v. Dropbox, or the aforementioned Paul Graham essay for more.


The second way—charging for an emotional experience—is the foundation of the iTunes media store, the free-to-play gaming business, and many of the solid-but-small businesses that indie developers have managed to drum up.

The iTunes media store is able to sell digital, zero-marginal-cost movies, music, and TV because customers know they’re paying for the emotional high of a great song, a favorite movie, or “Breaking Bad.” But this has never been at the core of Apple’s business because, again, people pay a lot more for stuff (iPhones) than pixels (iTunes). And it seems Netflix, Spotify, and HBOGo are gradually swallowing up the paid content business. The march towards free pixels continues.

The free-to-play business pushes users to the point where the emotional need to play on is so strong that they’re willing to make that one button-tap to send Kim Kardashian another 80 bucks. Preying on the pain of loss from prospect theory and the sunk cost fallacy are particularly effective here.

While indie developers may not think of their businesses this way, they are similarly profiting from emotional connections. Maybe the design sensibility of the app resonated with a potential customer.[1] Or maybe the developer has been such a good steward of the app that many users are willing to throw a few bucks into a virtual “tip jar” as a thank you.[2] An emotional connection gives many indie apps the differentiation they need to charge above-market prices. Which, again, is any price above $0.

But there’s a lesson indies can learn from the free-to-play apps: they’re free-to-start-playing for a reason. It’s always difficult to build an emotional connection strong enough to charge someone. It’s even harder if you put up a wall before they can try out your product.

Last week I tried out Overcast as my new podcast app. I didn’t buy the $5 in-app purchase right away. I listened to a few podcasts, tried out Smart Speed, and finally had an impulsive moment of emotional intensity that went something like “well-smart-speed-is-cool-and-I-think-Marco’s-a-good-guy-so-OH-WELL-I’ll-buy-it!” Three taps, and I was done. This is not very far from the emotional cycle that leads someone to buy extra lives in Candy Crush.


The third way to make money is to give the app away for free and charge somebody else. This is the only way to build a big social network that’s worked so far. It’s the way Twitter, Facebook, and Google make money. What I find amusing is that it’s really just an inversion of the first strategy—charging someone for something that can make them money. Advertisers can make money with access to user data, so they’re willing to pay for it.

(And if you want to go even deeper down the rabbit hole, how do the advertisers make money? Probably by selling physical stuff. It all comes back around.)


So what to do if you’re an indie developer? Pick a strategy. Most seem to be going with #2, and that’s fine. But I highly recommend you charge $0 up-front and build an emotional connection strong enough to charge more later.

I’m personally going for #3, because my dream is to build something that millions of people use and enjoy. That’s really, really hard if you charge people for something they feel should be free.


  1. Sometimes the developer's design sensibility, and not just the app itself, resonates with customers. E.g. Vesper
  2. Marco described on an episode of ATP that he made about half of his revenue on Instapaper from subscriptions to search, a feature that was not extremely valuable to users. Coincidentally, I was/am one such subscriber.

Watch Television

You've heard the story. It’s January 2007, and Steve Jobs goes onstage to introduce not one, but three revolutionary products. Three products that have been rumored for a long time.

A widescreen iPod with touch controls. A revolutionary mobile phone. A ground-breaking internet communicator.

An iPod…a phone…an internet communicator. An iPod…a phone…Are you getting it yet?

These were not three devices, it turned out. This was one device—the iPhone. And boy, was it revolutionary.


These days, two products are allegedly percolating inside Apple.

One is a wearable device. We don’t know much, but there are early signs. Apple trademarked "iWatch" and is hiring fashion executives and medical experts. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, thinks "the wrist is interesting” and wants to go beyond devices like Nike’s Fuelband.

The other product has been whispered about for even longer—Apple’s take on television. Steve Jobs ignited years of feverish speculation with his words to his biographer, Walter Isaacson:

I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.


What do we think we know about these products?

Mainstream commentators seem to think that the “iWatch” (hate that name) will focus on lightweight iOS-related tasks, like displaying emails and texts. Horace Dediu has more thoughtfully weighed in upon the health and fitness “jobs to be done” that a wearable product might be hired to do.

The consensus on the Apple TV aligns with the Steve Jobs quote—it will be like the current Apple TV, but better. Simpler. With more content.

Ben Thompson went deeper in a fantastic three-part series, and came to the conclusion that the key feature of a new TV product would be an App Store:

Imagine a $99 (or $129) “console” with an optional $49 controller and an App Store. That’s a lot of potential escapism, and a lot of user attention…I think it’s a space where a company that thinks different could have a “a significant contribution” and “crack” TV by not, in fact, being a TV at all.

John Gruber and MG Siegler, on an episode of The Talk Show, focused on the mysterious user interface that Steve Jobs had alluded to. What could that be?


Back to 2007 for a second. After introducing the iPhone, the first thing Jobs talked about was user interface.

The key to a truly revolutionary product, he said, was a revolutionary interface. Only with a new way to interact with software can you build truly ground-breaking applications.

The Macintosh's graphical user interface was enabled by the mouse. The iPod's simplicity was made possible by the click wheel. And the just-revealed iPhone was going to change the world with multi-touch.

That's what got Gruber and Siegler excited, I think. It certainly gets me excited. For the TV and the watch to "change everything" like I hope they do, they need interfaces that make a clean break with current devices.


Here’s my radical idea. It’s the near future. Phil Schiller hops onstage at an Apple press event.

Today, Apple is introducing two revolutionary products. Two products that people have been expecting for a long time.

A wearable device that works with iOS. And an Apple TV with a revolutionary user interface.

A wearable device. An Apple TV. A wearable device…An Apple TV...are you getting it yet?

Perhaps these are not two separate products. Perhaps they are parts of a whole.


It hit me last night while watching the Myo armband demos. The Myo looks awesome, and I started wondering what I would use it for. “Minority Report” style presentations? Flying drones? What about, say, controlling television?

What if the mysterious Apple TV interface is the iWatch? What if, as Ben Thompson suggested, the Apple TV is a < $199 console that includes a $99 accessory—an iWatch? Wouldn’t that be the simplest interface imaginable?

I’ve been trying to reconcile the obvious superiority of touch interfaces with the necessary couch-distance from a television for years. The best options seemed like voice control, something akin to Kinect (i.e. “lower resolution” motion control), or simple touch on an iOS device in your lap.

I’ve also been struggling with what I might use an “iWatch” for, besides as an iPod for running + Nike Fuelband + maybe some unforeseen health applications.

So here’s the idea. The remote control is a watch/wristband, connected to the Apple TV via bluetooth. It comes with every Apple TV. There’s an App Store based around 5-10 foot “pointing” interfaces. Sounds like a whole new generation of games to me. Or interactive entertainment. Or, hell, just a really easy way to pick out video content.

I’m not saying the watch won’t do other things. In fact, I’m certain it will. One for everyone in the family for music/exercise/iOS notifications/location, and Dad’s can have “priority” in controlling the TV.

11 Things I Learned After 11 Minutes as a Startup Founder

On the occasion of launching our first app today (Download Volley), I decided to reflect back on my earliest moments as a startup founder. I hope you can learn from these hard-won insights as you embark on your own journey.

Here are 11 things I learned after 11 minutes as a startup founder:

1. Oh, wow, I didn’t realize anyone would notice so quickly! Who checks LinkedIn that often? People are so supportive. Thank you, everyone!

2. Obviously I can’t really start coding without a couple of those organic Açai juices... Got pretty hooked on those at the Googleplex… Better set up an Instacart order for tomor—holy shit these are expensive! Was I really consuming like… six… times... $58 in juice everyday?

3. Bitcoin went from $822.08 to $832.67 since I started this company!

4. Oh interesting… someone else on GitHub is already working on my exact idea. Not a problem. May the best hacker win, my friend! I’d love to have you join us someday, once we start hiring.

5. …and here’s another team that seems to have been working on… pretty much the same idea since early 2011... “Comprised of six ex-NASA systems engineers...” For a social news app? Seems a bit overkill but that’s just… Damn! They got 3 million users in their first week after launch! Wow, they were written up in the New York Times… twice! And they raised $3.4 million from Google Ventures! Oh my god, they must be KILLING it!!

6. Actually wait… this is odd… I guess they pivoted to enterprise last spring? Must be why I’ve never heard of them… Oh, and ok, looks like they shut down the app in June.

7. My co-founder is breathing sort of funny right now. It’s kind of a bit like short, punctuated gasping… Dude, I’m pretty sure this apartment came with oxygen, if I remember reading the lease correctly.

8. What! Seriously, Facebook? You’re going to build my thing, now? Like, literally right after I started working on it was the exact time you chose to announce that you would be doing the same thing? What were the odds that TechCrunch posts this precisely seven minutes after I started working? I’m not even mad, it’s just actually a shocking coincidence when you think about—wait, who did I tell that works at Facebook?

9. Please god no more. Just breathe like a normal human being! How did I not notice this before over the course of seven goddamn years of friendship?

10. Sam Altman just tweeted “bubble”. Yeah. Just one word. Just “bubble”. Are you KIDDING me, Sam? I thought you said it wasn't a bubble like three weeks ago. I’ve made the worst decision of my life.

11. Hmm. Rap Genius is hiring.

 

James Wilsterman is a co-founder of Volley (available for download). You can follow him on Twitter.

Weeks 10-13: Why Not

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Special Edition:

—What we're up to RIGHT NOW

—The interview!

For contact purposes Max is mlchild at gmail and James is jameswilsterman at gmail. We have the same usernames on Twitter/HN/FB etc. We're aiming to double our audience every week, help out with the effort amigos. 

Links: 

Paul Buchheit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Buchheit

Kirsty Nathoo: http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/09/meet-kirsty-nathoo-y-combinators-secret-financial-and-operational-weapon/

Kevin Hale: https://twitter.com/ilikevests

Aaron Harris (sorry!): https://twitter.com/harris

Weeks 7-9: Why Not?

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Subscribe in iTunes

Special Edition:

—Y Combinator interview prep, hopes, dreams, fears

—What we're working on

For contact purposes Max is mlchild at gmail and James is jameswilsterman at gmail. We have the same usernames on Twitter/HN/FB etc. We're aiming to double our audience every week, help out with the effort amigos. 

Links: 

Startup = Growth: http://paulgraham.com/growth.html

Black Swan Farming: http://paulgraham.com/swan.html

How to Get Startup Ideas: http://paulgraham.com/startupideas.html

How to Start a Startup: http://paulgraham.com/start.html

Week 6—Startup School and Superbugs

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Three sections:

—Has Apple figured out the iPad yet? 

—Our take on Startup School: Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and other luminaries. 

—The pain of publishing bad software.

For contact purposes Max is mlchild at gmail and James is jameswilsterman at gmail. We have the same usernames on Twitter/HN/FB etc. We're aiming to double our audience every week, help out with the effort amigos. 

Links: 

Thompson on the purpose of the iPad: http://stratechery.com/2013/missing-ipad/

Marco on old hardware:  http://www.marco.org/2013/10/25/younger-than-the-ipad-2

Startup school videos: http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/10/26/y-combinators-startup-school-2013-videos-now-online-including-ones-mark-zuckerberg-jack-dorsey/ 

 

Weeks 2-4—Beta Love

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Three sections:

—5S and passwords, payments etc. 

—Clinkle and the most absurd Silicon Valley Video of all time. ALL TIME. 

—Launching a beta and what we learned from our parents. And people not using the app at all.

For contact purposes Max is mlchild at gmail and James is jameswilsterman at gmail. We're aiming to double our audience every week, help out with the effort amigos. 

Links: 

 Clinkle's legendary commercial: http://allthingsd.com/20130926/heres-the-bizarre-commercial-from-the-stealth-payments-startup-that-richard-branson-just-backed/

 

North Stars

“You know, we want to really enrich people’s lives at the end of the day, not just make money. Making money might be a byproduct, but it’s not our North Star.”

—Tim Cook

James and I have an argument. It goes like this.

I say that Apple’s number one priority is making good products, and they assume that if they succeed, they will make money.

James says that Apple is a corporation, and the goal of corporations is to make money. James believes that Apple has found a novel way to achieve the ultimate goal of making money—by focusing on making good products.

What’s the difference? Does it matter?

The Power of One

These questions call to mind one I had to answer a few years ago—Stanford’s business school application essay. The prompt is ingrained in the mind of anyone who has taken it on:

What matters most to you, and why?

My essay hinged on another quote: "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want to change the world?" (1)

The thoughtful reader might ask if you can do both. You can. But the point is that while every person or organization has a list of priorities, there’s always one at the top. What matters most to you, and why? Selling the most sugared water, or changing the world?

I believe enumerated priorities follow the power law. The top priority is more important than the rest of the priorities combined. The reason is that when the chips are down, when push comes to shove, when you’re deep in the weeds, you can really only hold on to one thing in your mind as the deciding factor. One principle demarcates the line—is the answer “yes,” or “no?”

Human nature is to resort to “gut” decision-making for the hard stuff. Your gut can only retain so much. But I believe it can be taught one thing—your top priority. Your North Star.

Culture

One other thing I got out of business school (before dropping out) was a great definition of company culture. It’s not ping-pong tables or vacation policies. It’s the set of principles by which decisions are made when the boss isn’t watching. If you’re the founder/boss, you better make sure you nail these down early.

What are we about? What determines why we did this instead of that? What determines why we’re going to do this instead of that?

What matters most to us, and why?

If you believe the power law, as I do, what really matters is getting the top priority right. Finding your North Star. Then, at least you can have confidence that in those dark rooms at 2 a.m. when some drunk 22-year-old is hammering out the key product feature or doing the analysis that’s going to guide your next project, he knows what the ultimate goal is. If you can drill that into his head, you’re most of the way to having a focused company.

Values

But here’s a paradox: choosing “shareholder value” or profit as your North Star will eventually lead to the demise of your business. Disruption, short-term greediness, whatever you want to call it—you will die. To paraphrase Clayton Christensen, you fail by getting too good at pleasing your best customers, while companies that were once beneath contempt eat you from below.

I was reminded of the dilemma reading this piece. It seems that companies that survive multiple business cycles aren’t aiming to extract the most value from them. Why?

I have a couple of hypotheses. One is that short- and long-term profitability are fundamentally different. Long-term profitability is really just survival. And, given that survival is really just not dying, focusing on anything else, like making more money, will ultimately fail. Setting a goal other than profit might be like caloric restriction; you live longer, but don’t ride as high.

The second hypothesis is more interesting. Perhaps the company that is culturally built to extract profit can really only do so from a small set of product-market combinations. Perhaps the company that is built on loftier, more abstract goals, like “making great products,” or “pleasing customers,” is a different kind of organization entirely. (2)

The former, even if it achieves its goals, can fail when the product no longer serves the market. The latter cannot fail if it achieves its goals, because there are always great products to build and customers to please.

It cannot ever succeed like the profit-oriented company can, though, because it’s a different kind of organism. Like hardy strain of bacteria, it has to mutate to gain new skills and replicate those mutations across generations. It might have to change so much that its founders wouldn’t recognize it. Nokia started out making pulp paper and galoshes. IBM made punch clocks and scales.

One organization is running a mine whereas the other is building a city. Mines get depleted. Cities almost never die.

Choice

To come back to the initial argument, I believe Apple has chosen to focus, above all else, on making great products that delight customers. Profitability is a priority, but it’s not the first.

You get to choose, too.

If you focus on making money, you will probably make more, but your company will die sooner.

If you focus on something else, you’ll have a shot at living longer, but the organization will have to change, sometimes dramatically, to continue pursuing its top priority.

One’s not better than the other. But don’t assume the choice doesn’t exist.

What’s your North Star?



Notes:

  1. Clichéd, but give me a break, I was 21 and “The Social Network” hadn’t come out yet.

  2. It doesn’t have to be “change the world,” especially at the beginning. You can start small and roll.

Week 1—The Right Way?

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This week our podcast breaks down into three sections:

—5S/5C pricing and how unbelievably wrong we were, along with some assuredly accurate predictions for October. 

—"Life in the life," i.e. why we decided to abandon our respective gravy trains and shack up with no income, funding, employees or help. Why did we do that, again?

—A quick bonus Objective-C question and a dinner invite! 

For contact purposes Max is mlchild at gmail and James is jameswilsterman at gmail. We're aiming to double our audience every week, help out with the effort amigos. 

 

Links: 

Thompson on Apple products being worth paying for: http://stratechery.com/2013/two-minutes-fifty-six-seconds/ 

Gruber was similarly surprised: http://daringfireball.net/2013/09/iphone_5c_5c_event

MG: http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/10/iphone-5c/ 

Dediu found an illusion as well: http://www.asymco.com/2013/09/11/c-is-for-cognitive-illusion/ 

Evans on Apple owning the high end: http://ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2013/9/5/the-price-of-the-5c

 

Week 0—Welcome to the YNC Podcast

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Let's rock and roll. Ground rules of YNC: a mix of tech news/analysis, day-in-the-life of two early-early-stage founders, and some hardcore coding questions from novice programmers. The whole thing produced on no sleep and a bit of alcohol.

This week: 5S/5C pricing, our love of Parse and...thoughts...on Parse developer day, and a bonus javascript question!  We aimed for 20 and ended up at 29. So it goes. It's our alpha product, we'll get better.

 

Links:

Evans on pricing — http://ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2013/9/5/the-price-of-the-5c

Thompson on the C — http://stratechery.com/2013/c-is-for-changing-my-mind/ 

Dediu on bracketing — http://www.asymco.com/2013/08/12/how-will-iphones-5s-and-5c-be-priced/ 

Parse Developer Day — http://www.parsedeveloperday.com