iBuddies was the first app I wrote and published for the iOS platform. While ridiculous, it served an important function. It introduced me to the platform and enabled my goal of making an app available in the store. Publishing an app was the benchmark that made the experience real. It demonstrated I knew the ecosystem well enough to turn a concept into a published app, and it paved the way for the apps that came later.
The premise behind iBuddies was to enable iOS devices to come alive and have an out loud conversation with one another. They would learn each other’s name, comment on their life experiences of being iPads or iPhones, and gossip about how they are treated by their owners.
There were four different personas to choose from, which changed their appearance, voice, and some of the things they said. At times one device might complement or insult another device, which lead to it responding in like.
The idea for it came about while hanging with friends one night. We all had our iPhones on the table and we thought it would be cool if they could chat with each other, kind of like how the original Furbi’s would spout gibberish at each other if two or more were present.
At the time, I had just started learning about Objective-C and the Xcode development environment, which was a tedious exercise without an app idea in mind. The talking phones concept was unique and seemed fun to try. It was also compelling because It would expose me to a variety of APIs, like the one used for peer to peer Bluetooth and Wi-Fi communication.
At the end of iBuddies’ run in the iTunes App Store, it was suffering from the full effects of neglect. With my attention directed to other projects, it hadn’t received an update in over 5 years and it was not looking good on iOS 10 and current generation devices. I had ideas for refreshing it, but ultimately decided my time was better spent on a new project. With that, iBuddies was retired from the app store as of September 2016. Gone, but not forgotten. At least not by me.