INTERVIEW: iPhone App: PhotoShare

Another installment of our iPhone developer interview series has us talking with Satoshi Nakajima, founder of Big Canvas.

First, congrats to the team at Big Canvas on your new iPhone app. Is everyone as excited on the creation side as we are on the consumption side?
It’s been an unbelievable experience. It’s a super exciting time in the industry. It IS game changing. It’s an iPhone only app. Our application is called PhotoShare and maximizes the iPhone’s camera as a “friends & family” experience… a sharing device for casual communication. Twitter for pictures. We’re focused on the user experience and host the photos and conversation on our servers. It’s Secure. Private. Registration isn’t required – we eliminate the pain of passwords altogether.

In talking with other iPhone developers it’s become clear… this platform is surprisingly easy to develop for. What kinds of good surprises did your team encounter?
Emotionally it’s very gratifying. It’s a great device. A year later, the “love” is still there for iPhone. Apple pays a LOT of attn to power consumption and memory allocation. CPU management was clearly on their mind and is evident in what’s possible. Controlling and optimizing the power consumption was easy. The choice to avoid true multitasking was also the right call. Apple’s attention to these kinds of critical details was a nice surprise.

How helpful was Apple in the grand scheme of things during development? Resources beyond the usual ADC and WWDC venues?
Mostly we developed with the SDK. We drew on some Apple help at a few critical points. Despite being really busy they got back with us quickly to help us debut with the App Store on opening day.

How did you arrive at pricing for PhotoShare? Curious minds would like to know…
It will be free as a social networking application. We’ll offer it for free, learn some lessons and develop a business model as we go.

Finally, beta testing apps under development seems to have taken a step backward due to iTunes being the distribution point. Has that crimped the development and testing cycles at all? How did Big Canvas adapt and overcome?
There are complexities. Observing the nuances of the detailed documentation and preparing the application for iTunes is slightly tricky. Apple made it easy in one sense but rigid and strict in another. The most difficult part was not being able to test widely. Refinements for our apps will come quickly after the App Store launches.

Any parting advice to iPhone users? Apple?
Try a LOT of applications. The Long Tail dictates many will be garbage. There will be some really good apps rise and emerge as major apps.

PhotoShare can be downloaded from the App Store now. (Link will launch iTunes. v7.7+ required)

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