Lessons learned from the 24-hour iPhone app

As an experiment, I have beset myself upon producing a finished iPhone-app with only 24 hours of work, including everything from idea musing to writing this blog post. To save my own sanity and health, these 24 hours were spread over a 2-week period (including the 5-day App Store review process).

The app is called Vocal Shapes and is a visualizer for monophonic audio signals such as your voice or a musical instrument. Here is a quick demo video:

Here is a breakdown of how the hours were spent:

Idea 1 hour
Audio Signal Processing 2 hours
OpenGL graphics programming & design 4 hours
Splash Screen Artwork & Animation 3 hours
Fine tuning of processing & graphics 3 hours
Testing 2 hours
App Store Submission 3 hours
Promo Song & video 3 hours
This blog post & product web page 1 hour
Sum 22 hours


So, 2 hours remain, which I will probably spend making another nice demo video. Lessons I have learned so far:

  • Simple apps require dramatically less development time
  • Simple apps are more fun to develop
  • Even the simplest apps apparently get downloaded by some people


Note: this app is no longer available, I haven’t had the time to redo it for newer phones. If I were to resurrect this, it would probably be as a web page, using WebGL.

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