At this time of year most of us try desperately to set some New Year’s Resolutions that we hope to carry out through the year ahead, whether they are personal or work related, we will be hoping to do something differently. There are certainly some interesting historical origins to New Year’s Resolutions. The Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry and there’s many more from various religions.
In our world though, we wanted to find out what some of the key mobile photography app developers might have up their sleeves for 2013. We spoke with Mike Hardaker from Jag.gr and developer of the following very popular apps, 645 PRO, 6×6, 6×7 and FieldCam. Take a look at what he told us – you’ll enjoy this a lot. (Foreword by Joanne Carter).
“It’s tough making predictions, they say, especially about the future. Nevertheless, many of us choose this time of the year to do just that. “I’ll lose some weight,” is a popular one or, maybe, “I’ll finally quit smoking.” Businesses do the same thing: January is generally the time of year when new targets are set, budgets are agreed and the results of endless planning sessions are pulled together into an actual plan.
We call these predictions by different names (“New Year’s resolutions”, “strategic objectives” and so on) but we’re really just saying what we believe will happen in the future. Sure, they’re things we want to have happen, and we will work towards making them happen—we’re not a bunch of deterministic Cassandras—but they’re still, essentially predictions.
It’s no different in the app business. This time last year I made a bunch of predictions about how 2012 would turn out for Jag.gr. They were wildly wrong. 645 PRO, an app that we though would appeal to a tiny niche, became extremely popular in April and we had to throw all our plans for the rest of the year out of the window as a result.
So now I’m going to give my top three New Year’s strategic objective planning resolution forecast prophetic predictions for 2013.
Camera App Development
We’ll continue to produce great new camera apps, pursuing our main goal of helping people take better photographs with iPhone. Different people have different priorities, and we’ll be working hard to produce apps that address those different priorities. The first one, coming pretty soon, focuses on providing maximum control over unfiltered camera output for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad owners. Later apps will do different things or do them in a different way—for example: our current range of apps have very traditional, “camera-like” interfaces but we’re looking at all sorts of innovative alternatives to those (and to everything else out there!).
Until now, all our photography apps have been dedicated iOS cameras. I expect us to explore Android more thoroughly in 2013, but also ways of integrating “mobile” devices with other forms of hardware. That could mean anything from DSLRs to Macs and PCs. It may even mean us branching out into hardware development ourselves—we’ve done some preliminary development work on photography peripherals for iPhones, and there are some really exciting opportunities there.
I think 2013 will be a year that sees us increasingly working with other developers—or other businesses in the photography area. Most app developers and development firms tend to plough relatively solitary furrows; publishing a simple public API or allowing access to other apps via an Open In… action sheet is as close as most of them get to strategic partnerships. Camera manufacturers are pretty similar, in fact. However, I think a lot can be gained from collaboration, even between competitors (actually, I would say especially between competitors). The photography app world is surprisingly fragmented, and its explosive growth has had the effect of further fragmenting the traditional photography landscape (which was pretty thoroughly balkanized, anyway). I think—I hope—that 2013 will be a year that sees more of us working together in different ways and therefore producing richer and more useful products and services for our customers.
And if the year actually turns out like this, I’ll be as delighted as I will be surprised. Happy New Year!”