I find myself reading a lot about entrepreneurship and carving your place in a market. I’m not that interested in being someone who navigates these perils but I enjoy being knowledgeable enough to talk to those who have made the plunge.
So when I initially had an idea for a ridiculously simple iOS app back in August ‘14, I initially discarded it as it wasn’t going from zero to one in any way and people certainly weren’t going to pay for it. The entire idea of the app is to display a YouTube users subscriber count, that’s it, a single number pulled from the YouTube API. Nonetheless I decided to build the app just to see if it was as simple to create as the idea was to come about. I soon moved on and forgot all about it.
Now the reason there’s any demand for my idea is because the YouTube app on iOS shows a subscriber count but it isn’t in real time and to budding YouTubers keeping tabs on their daily growth this is important. Fast-forward to a month ago and I discovered that the official YouTube app was still showing a stale count and that no one else had thought to spend the hour it took me to build the app and then release it.
So I made the decision to become a registered iOS developer and release my app as it would be a good learning experience having already published apps on Google Play. I quickly learned that there were a lot more complications with submitting apps on iOS than Android and because I was using a 3rd party API I learnt a little bit about trademarks. YouTube doesn’t allow their name to be used in an apps name in any way, this includes variations such as YT, my app was originally going to be called ytsubs so that was now out. Even so, because my app relied entirely on the YouTube API, I was allowed to use a “Powered by Youtube” logo in my app which give it some sense of polish.
Now the thing that stuck out for me most with iOS is how easy it is to add in the latest capabilities that the OS provides, the app has a widget in the Notification Center, utilises handoff to open your YouTube channel on another device and even supports watch from day 1.
So what I thought was a silly idea, and still do, allowed me to learn about all the different areas of iOS development with minimal effort. Thanks goes out to my girlfriend who sparked the idea with her incessant checking of her channel count and now I look forward to seeing how far my app can reach.
Update 07/09/15: sub count has seen great response from users and with iOS 9 approaching I recently spent some time preparing sub count for swift 2 and WatchOS 2. I’m looking forward to releasing the new and improved version 2.0 of sub count as soon as possible.