Watch this space!

The now-aptly-named Tide Watch 5.1, with support for the Apple Watch (fixed in v5.1), is now available in the App Store. The Glance feature displays the current level at the location selected in the app, and the app displays predictions for the locations on the app's favorites list. V5.1 also adds settings to control visibility of sun/moon rise/set events.

We've been busy! Tide Watch v4.0 and CompArea v1.2 are now available in the App Store! Both apps are updated for iOS 8, and Tide Watch adds a new user interface for displaying and navigating between favorite and recently viewed locations.

Tide Watch 3.1 is available in the App Store; the new version allows you to specify a starting date for displayed tide predictions, making it possible to check tides more than a week in the future.

Tide Watch 3.0 is in the App Store! Aye, we changed the name, and updated it for iOS 7, which is now required. CompArea has also been updated to support and require iOS 7.

Eye Tide 2.0 is in the App Store! v2.0 adds two major significant features: map-based search makes it easier to select a location for tide predictions, and we've added National Weather Service forecast data to the tide events, which adds alerts, wave heights, wind speeds, and other useful data just in time for hurricane season. 

Our second iOS app is available in the App Store! CompArea is an iPad app that allows you to compare the size of two geographic areas or features by displaying side-by-side maps synchronized to identical scales. 

Our first iOS app, Eye Tide, is now available in the iTunes App Store. Eye Tide provides tide predictions, along with sun/moon rise&set, for hundreds of locations in the USA.


Zombie? So what?

CNBC published a "news" story last week under the title "Apple's 'Zombie Apps' Cloud App Store's Birthday"; other outlets did similar stories.

The angle of the story was that although Apple touts over 900,000 apps available on the iOS App Store, a "study" found that "579,001 apps in a watched database of 888,856 are 'zombies'", where a "zombie" is defined as an app "...not found on the top lists that Apple publishes every day". The implication is that the App Store economy as not as healthy as Apple would like you to believe.

This is misleading in so many ways.

Our two apps almost certainly qualify for "zombie" status; Eye Tide sales are modest (certainly not enough to make a living on), and CompArea downloads are in single digits after a few months. But both have been "successful" on some level for various reasons.

  • Eye Tide's active user base, while very small, is growing, based on anecdotal evidence from friends and family and upgrade activity. User feedback has driven new feature development, and there's lots more we can do to make this app even more useful.
  • The principal motivation for developing and releasing Eye Tide in the App Store was career development. As a professional software developer, I was trying to break into iOS development, because the iOS economy is thriving and I find that working with Objective-C and Cocoa is a real joy. Recruiters advised me that having an App in the Store was generally a requirement even for consideration for a full-time iOS development position. Indeed, although I was able to land a job doing iOS development very shortly (i.e., hours) before Eye Tide appeared in the Store, my experience developing the app made me a credible candidate for the position.
  • The expertise I've gained in working on both apps has made me more proficient in my "day job". Software Development is a career that demands continued learning and self-improvement, much of it on one's own time; so much the better that I can do so with technologies I enjoy working and see some positive feedback as well.
  • Like so many other "zombie" apps, both apps are "niche" apps that are well along the "long tail" of user interest. There may not be all that many people whose daily interest in ocean tides make an iOS app at all necessary or even useful, but for those few, the solutions are there. The availability of solutions for so many niche markets is part of what drives the growth of the mobile device market.
  • The authors of the "study" are not impartial observers of the marketplace. They have a service they want to sell, which relate to analysis of usage patterns and advertising. The underlying intent of the "study" is to suggest to developers that success (i.e., breaking out of zombie-hood) depends on their services.

To be sure, users and serious developers would be well served if it was easier to separate quality apps from serious developers from some of the haphazardly developed junk that has accrued in the App Store.

In the meantime, we'll just keep writing and improving on our software, because there's more value to be had than the bank deposits from Apple.


iOS 7 and Eye Tide 2.0.1

We're pretty excited about iOS 7 and the opportunities it will afford. The short-term downside is that we will have to invest significant effort into updating the appearance of our apps at the expense of new functionality. However, Apple has given us good tools to assist in moving forward, and the new OS will enable even more significant improvements to the user experience than we had already planned.

Those of you still running our apps on iOS 5.x should note that we, like many other developers, will probably be dropping support for iOS 5 in the releases that are enabled for iOS 7. You will be able to run the current versions on iOS 5 indefinitely, but you will be cut off from new features. Since iOS 6 has something like 95% adoption already, we think this is a small price to pay for progress.

We submitted Eye Tide 2.0.1 to the App Store today to fix a problem: when we added map-based station selection to the app, we neglected to update the "Recent Stations" list in the Locations menu.


Eye Tide 2.0 is available in the App Store

We're happy to announce the availability of Eye Tide 2.0, which adds two important capabilities in time for the beach and boating season: map-based search, and weather forecasts. Both features require an Internet connection.

Map-based search allows you to search for a location of interest (say, a beach or harbor), and the nearest tide prediction station to that location. Search is based on the content of Apple's map service, so you may not find a specific beach, but finding a town or even street address is probably sufficient to select a station with prediction values that match (closely enough) your desired location.

Eye Tide also fetches weather forecasts for the selected tide station location from a service provided by the National Weather Service. The relevant forecast information is summarized for each tide event displayed in the tide table; tapping on the tide event displays the complete forecast. Forecast data includes weather alerts, wave height (most releveant to tide levels), wind, precipitation, and, of course, temperature.


Eye Tide is available in the App Store.



CompArea is available in the App Store; Eye Tide update in the works

Our newest app, CompArea, is now available for the iPad in the App Store. CompArea allows you to compare the size of two geographic areas or features by displaying side-by-side maps synchronized to identical scales. We developed the app to satisfy a need of our own; we're hoping others will find it as fun and useful as we did.

We also have some interesting enhancements on our "to do" list.

We're also enhancing our Eye Tide iOS app to address requests and criticisms from early users of the app:

  • Eye Tide gets its prediction values from a set of "stations" for which NOAA generates the necessary data for the predictions. Users interested in specific beaches or areas not represented in the NOAA data have found it unwieldy for finding predictions of interest. We're making it easier to find the stations closest to a location of interest, which should provide useful predictions.
  • We're adding weather prediction data from the National Weather Service, which will provide better predictions for water levels (via predicted wave heights) and beach and boating conditions.



New app coming soon

We have a new iPad app under development that we hope to release in a few weeks. We wrote it to provide visual answers to questions we've asked ourselves on occasion over many years, but have never had a convenient resource to go to. Now we do, and we hope to put it in your hands soon. 

It won't be world-changing, but we're having fun with it, and hope others will, too.