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The Numbers Game

I am - first and foremost - a developer. I like solutions that allow me to get the job done, and when none exist and not afraid to roll up my sleeves and build something to ease my day-to-day.

Last night, I met up with Mitch, Whiso, and Mike for The First Annual PA-NJ-GA-LUG Event, which was held at a booth in the Tannersville, PA Friendly's. It should be a surprise to absolutely no one that the four of us started whipping out devices, comparing applications, giving suggestions and - at least me - accepting some well-offered advice, and Twittering, Facebooking up until closing time.

It quickly became apparent that my AT&T Blackberry Bold was outclassed in both applications and usage experience compared with Mitch and Chris's AT&T iPhones. The only upper hand I had was battery life, which is why Mitch admitted to carrying both an iPhone and a Blackberry Storm. Having used a Storm before, I know it wasn't because he enjoyed the Storm's UX!

There's an app for that rang through my head for the remainder of the evening. It wasn't simply the fluid UX compared to the relative clunky Blackberry Bold, but also something that had earwormed it's way into my head from the other day.

The other day I mentioned Scott Sigler's The Future of Content Delivery keynote at this years Balticon. In this keynote, Sigler states how - spoiler alert here people - the Amazon Kindle is a statistically insignificant player when compared to the Apple iPhone.

So... what am I getting at here?

For my 31st birthday (October 17th, for those of you curious), I had planned to treat myself to the soon-to-be-released Zune HD. Now, I love my Zune... but I'd be lying if I didn't yearn for some further functionality out of the device.

For me, it boils down to my intended usage. I use my Zune primarily as a podcast-catcher and simple DMP. My Zune 30 is currently only using 6.4GB of storage - <2GB for music, <3GB of video (all of which I can do without), and <1+GB of podcasts. The battery life is still decent on non-video content, but I want something more.

So I'm seriously considering an Apple 2nd (or potentially a 3rd if rumors hold true) Gen iPod Touch 16GB to replace my Microsoft Zune 30.

Aside from the basics - being able to pick up accessories pretty much anywhere - there are two things that are really pointing me in this direction:

The UX, and the App Store.

For anyone that's used an iPhone/Touch recently... I don't think I have to explain the UX. When you get a decently-written application on the device that leverages the true capabilities of the platform and device featureset, you get an amazingly intuitive device that allows you to get the simple things in life done.

The App Store - well, there's two reasons this interests me...

The first and most obvious, the there's an app for that mantra has become a mindset for both device users and platform developers - if I want to do it on the device, odds are someone has written something that will allow me to meet the given need.

And should I not be able to find an application...

Well, this gets to the real heart of the post and my thoughts on this subject: I want to get into developing applications on the iPhone/Touch platform.

And very much like my other efforts - such as Showtime, Zephyr, etc. - I don't plan on making my millions off of the sales (if I wind up charging anything, in fact), but the sheer numbers of customers out there using the devices on that platform near demands my taking notice and establishing at least a fundimental level of expertise in that arena.

It's a numbers game at the end of the day - I want what I create to reach as many people as possible - and Apple's won the product adoption game.

Not getting into the Apple iPhone/Touch product development area - to me - feels like a Lotus Notes Client developer not learning Domino Web Development.

So, thoughts on this? I'm eager to hear from iPhone/Touch customers, platform developers, fellow Zune fans, and anyone else out there with an opinion on this.

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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