Featured News & Blogs

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So, you have an app idea and need a developer: 7 things to do first

Write down your user journey or use case. A simple narrative describing what your app will do and how it will be used is key to planning the scope, level of work involved, timing, and marketing planning. Do your research. The iTunes Store offers more than 1.2 million apps and has seen 75 billion downloads […]

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Apple vs. Google: Who Do you Trust With Your Data? Apple Keynote WWDC14

As an Apple Developer and ex-Apple alumni, my attention was turned to the WWDC14 Conference in San Francisco yesterday morning where Apple gave their anticipated keynote address. While it was disappointing that no hardware was announced (no iPhone 6, no Apple TV, no new iMac and no new “re-defining product category”), it wasn’t a surprise. […]

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And this one is just right…

I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked among Disney animators and Apple technologists in some of the greatest work spaces in the world. Now, three years after leaving Apple and starting 7/Apps, we’re finally moving into the kind of creative space I wanted for me and my team. Our new office at The Cyrk offers the […]

So, you have an app idea and need a developer: 7 things to do first

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As of June 9th, 2014, the total number of active publishers in the iTunes US App Store is 296,827. This month alone, a total of 2,077 (231/day) Apps have been submitted to iTunes. The competition is fierce. Make sure you’re ready to compete. (Source: http://148apps.biz/app-store-metrics/)

  1. Write down your user journey or use case. A simple narrative describing what your app will do and how it will be used is key to planning the scope, level of work involved, timing, and marketing planning.
  2. Do your research. The iTunes Store offers more than 1.2 million apps and has seen 75 billion downloads to date. Have you done your research to confirm nothing like your proposed app already exists? Is your app superior to others like it? Know why. Read the reviews on your competitor’s apps. Study the features. How are those apps being marketed? Research is key to any successful launch.
  3. Do more research. So, your app is unique and better than anything on the market, but do you know who will use it? Do you know why they will want it? Do you know how to reach them? Do you know how large your target audience is?
  4. Decide on platforms. Do you need an app that will work on an iPhone, iPad, Android tablet or mobile phone or Windows phone?
  5. Have a business plan. Producing an app requires a business plan or at the very least, serious thought around how you plan to monetize it. Is it a free app, paid, free-mium? What is the return on investment that you are hoping for and what is your plan for getting there?
  6. Map out a marketing strategy. How will your audience learn about your app? How will you reach customers? What influences your target customer? How will your app get noticed in a sea of millions?
  7. Know the budget you have available. Be prepared to be honest about it. Good app developers will use this to help guide you down the right path. If you only have $10k you need to consider a prototype. If you have $10k- $30k, make sure you’re building the right features to get you to a viable 1.0 release and focusing on the right end platforms. You also need to factor in a marketing budget. Depending on your target audience and whether you want local, regional, national, or international attention, you need to plan an appropriate budget.

Being able to answer these questions realistically is essential to getting what you need from an app developer. Without the answers to these seven questions, you risk starting from square one and losing focus and the attention needed to succeed in the competitive digital marketplace.


Apple vs. Google: Who Do you Trust With Your Data? Apple Keynote WWDC14

As an Apple Developer and ex-Apple alumni, my attention was turned to the WWDC14 Conference in San Francisco yesterday morning where Apple gave their anticipated keynote address.

While it was disappointing that no hardware was announced (no iPhone 6, no Apple TV, no new iMac and no new “re-defining product category”), it wasn’t a surprise. Clearly, the focus was on software and Apple wanted you to walk away from this year’s keynote with nothing but iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite on your mind, and for good reason. The combined announcement of both of these system updates will again revolutionize the way we interact with our technology ecosystems.

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Most notable was the focus on platform vs. ground breaking Apps or products. It’s brilliant. In an age where consumers are questioning data privacy, government intrusion, Google and Facebook’s pervasive control over your every move and online trend, Apple is taking a distinctly different tact – build the platforms that let all your devices talk to each other and keep all your personal data where it belongs, in your hands and up to you to decide who gets access to what. With the launch of HealthKit and HomeKit, two platforms similar to the now standard Passbook, we’re seeing a new trend in offering developers a wider platform for their apps, and consumers a customizable and private way to keep track of everything from their airline tickets to their cholesterol or home security systems.

This innovation is hugely important as it offers two things that consumers desperately want. First, easy access to their health and medical information across a myriad of apps that don’t talk to each other and second, the comfort of knowing this information is adhering to a platform standard run by Apple, who has proven to earn top marks when it comes to protecting your data. For users of Passbook, the transition to utilizing the new platforms from Apple will be a smooth road to a streamlined way of living.

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Likewise, HomeKit promises to do the same, keep your habits more secure and private than say Google might with it’s acquisition of Nest, and allow developers to focus on building great home automation components that all work seamlessly together. The fact that I typically need to interact with four or more apps, Kevo, Nest, ADT Pulse and Hue when I arrive or leave my home, is insane. Apple’s HomeKit could finally bring automation to “home automation”.

But, possibly the most significant aspect of all these new technologies is that they are free. Apple continues to offer unparalleled products at prices that companies like Microsoft can’t seem to compete with. The adoption rates, since the launch of Windows 8 and Mavericks were 14% vs. 51% respectively. It’s a welcome trend and a foolproof strategy that keeps a large consumer base receiving the best products on the market.

While I’m still holding my breath for the new Apple toys, these exciting updates to Apple’s already stellar iOS and Mac OS X operating systems are enough to satiate my appetite for the time being. The moment the dust settles from this years WWDC, I’d expect to see an Apple Special Event announcement.

Tim is not impressed.

Tim is not impressed (with Windows 8’s user adoption rate).


Gumstick™ – The World’s most flexible iPhone stand – nearing Kickstarter success

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Only five days in to the Kickstarter campaign and the Gumstick™ is already 25% funded.

Designed to be beautifully minimal, deceptively simple and uber flexible the smartphone stand seems to be charming new and experienced backers on Kickstarter. In a smart business move, Breffo decided to introduce it’s latest innovation through the popular crowd funding site to proof the idea within a representative market. Breffo has successfully launched other products, but is still a small company and wanted to test the concept first. Kickstarter campaigns offer a valuable source for funding initial development stages that are the most frequent product killers.

“We knew as a brand that we wanted to use Kickstarter as an avenue to launch Gumstick™ because those who follow the crowd funding site are part of our core demographic,” said General Merchandise Manager US, Sara McMahon. “These are the early adopters. They appreciate innovation and they have their fingertips on the pulse of the marketplace. They’re knowledgeable enough to know when a product is great enough to support.”

At 7/Apps we’re fans of simplistic, yet beautiful design and function. I love that it has the ability to be bent into any shape within seconds and will stay in position until bent into another shape. Also cool, is that I can flatten it quickly and stick it into my pocket.

I’m eager to try it out on my next flight to east coast. I have two of Breffo’s other products – Spiderpodiums in the iPhone and iPad sizes. My kids love those for their iPods and the iPad in the car. I’m not sharing this one. Except, of course, if my wife wants me to…


And this one is just right…

I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked among Disney animators and Apple technologists in some of the greatest work spaces in the world. Now, three years after leaving Apple and starting 7/Apps, we’re finally moving into the kind of creative space I wanted for me and my team.

Our new office at The Cyrk offers the same kinds of innovative details in design that I saw and felt at Disney and Apple (though on a much smaller scale). Both of my former employers were all about the details, and I’ve carried that with me into 7/Apps.

Disney Feature Animation Florida

You could say we’ve joined the circus, especially considering that 7/Apps will again share space with our sister company, AM:PM PR. We’ve got a Ring Master (Pat McCormick) and a Fortune Teller (Allison McCormick). We couldn’t be happier to share this one-of-a-kind space with this wacky troupe of PR pros.

You may be asking yourself, “How can a commercial space in SE Portland rival the quality and creative atmosphere of Disney Animation and Apple Inc.?” Well, it’s taken us two long years to find the perfect space that blends technology, architecture, location and the highest standards in sustainable building. The creative brainchild and office of Bonnie Serkin and Will Emery of EENW, the CYRK construction was inspired by their passion for preserving the environment and boasts LEED Platinum certification.

When our space is complete, you’ll notice our walls adorned with inspired works of art by some of Portland’s finest, such as Gary Hirsch and Chris Haberman.

Apple’s New Cupertino Campus

But you’ll also note a theme throughout. That theme is simply “CYRK” which is “circus” in Polish. If you stop by our offices, and we hope you do, you’ll notice that prints of Polish circus posters are predominantly featured. An art genre unto themselves, some of the most highly acclaimed and recognizable posters in the world are by the artistic geniuses of the world-famous Polish School of Posters. Bonnie Serkin first discovered these posters while shopping for her college dorm room furnishings. To quote Bonnie, “‘Cyrk’ had familial significance, along with the allure of the subversive poster art form, punctuated by a suggestion of the three-ring circus aspect of our lives,” something all of us at 7/Apps immediately identified with.

This bold and graphic genre sets the tone and personality for our new space. We couldn’t imagine working anywhere else, and we still don’t exactly know how we got this lucky. Given our new theme, we say, “Come one, come all — All circus acts welcome.”


This Week in Things I Like:
Robots are coming to help us unplug!

Feeling a bit too connected to your iDevice? Can’t set your smartphone down for longer than a minute? An army of robots is ready to help and I think I can admit I need one.

A couple of weeks ago I managed to get from my arrival gate to my next departure gate two terminals away on a layover, without looking up from my iPhone. Not good. I really do need to unplug more often.

These Unplugged Bots from www.botjoy.com caught my eye… Like everyone else, I like robots and I like art, but I needed a reminder to unplug – especially around my kids and friends.

My Unplugged Bot has been programmed to reconnect me with the real world. It came with these simple activation instructions:

1. Keep your Bot close by: on your desk, in your pocket, at your kitchen counter.

2. When your Bot sees that you are spending too much time in front of your electronic devices it will tell you to slowly step away from the screen and re-engage with the real world.

3. Loan your Bot to friends and instantly see them remember your name, give you a hug, and actually have a real conversation with you.

I also love my Yes Bot, which I’ve programmed to make all my clients say yes, my Luck Bot, because it’s adorned with our lucky number 7 and finally, my Zen Bot, to remind me to keep calm during development sprints. Brilliant!