Developing for My Son

I am a stay-at-home mom living in Los Angeles, and I have a son named Matthew. We own several Macs and iOS devices, and just like every Apple enthusiast, we have downloaded thousands of apps, songs, and videos from iTunes and the App Store over the years. We are such big Apple fans that we even named our son after Steve Jobs (Matthew "Steven" Quinto).

Objective-CWe started downloading toddler apps on our iPhones and iPads as soon as Matthew turned two years old. We were amazed at how fast our son learned to navigate the iPhone’s user interface. In just a matter of minutes, he was manipulating objects on the screen with his fingers. We knew immediately that the iPhone and the iPad would have a tremendous impact on our son’s development. It was inspiring to think about how these innovations were transforming our family’s ability to communicate, learn, and explore.

Programming in Objective-C (Developer's Library).

…after a few weeks I learned enough to start creating simple iPhone apps”

Sam's Teach Yourself iPhone Application DevelopmentI thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could create an iPhone app for my son?” I had several ideas for an iPhone app, but I didn’t want to pay a developer to create it for me. I felt a sudden urge to create something that would run on these wonderful devices. I knew it was going to be difficult, considering my lack of programming skills, but I was determined. I started learning iPhone programming and bought a couple of books to help me overcome the steep learning curve. Here they are:

Sam's Teach Yourself iPhone Application Development in 24 Hours.

beggining iphone devIt was overwhelming, but after a few weeks, I learned enough to start creating simple iPhone apps. The hardest part was learning object oriented programming and Objective-C. The easiest part was building the user interface with InterfaceBuilder. Thankfully, Google is my friend. In addition to my books, there are literally thousands of articles and forum posts online about Objective-C and iOS development. It would take me a full four months to create three simple iPhone apps. These apps were easy enough to create for a beginner and full-time mom like myself.

Beginning iPhone 4 Development (Apress)

My Three Apps:

Free Kids Videos ($.99,

free kids videosThe first iPhone app that I created for my son is called Free Kids Videos. This app features free, educational, and age-appropriate videos for toddlers and kids. It’s my son’s favorite app. There were similar apps such as PBS Kids (, but the videos are limited and there’s not a lot of variety. Free Kids Videos features thousands of kid’s videos from YouTube.

Talking Flash Cards for Toddlers ($.99,

talking flash cardsMy second app is called Talking Flash Cards for Toddlers, and my son loves it too. It’s a typical audio-enhanced flash card app designed to help children and toddlers learn basic words. This was the easiest app to create because of the simple user interface.

Free Funny Videos ($.99,

free funny videosMy third app is called Free Funny Videos. I created this app for my husband. He personally requested it after he saw Free Kids Videos.

My adventures in iPhone software development have just started, and I’m already smitten. I can see doing this for a very long time. Steve Jobs recently passed away, and despite his numerous innovations such as the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, I think Steve’s greatest enduring contribution to society is the inspiration he gave to generations of visionaries, artists, entrepreneurs, and even stay-at-home moms like myself, to “Think Different.”

A stay-at-home mom learns to create iPhone apps
January-February 2012
Creating Apps
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