I’m Feeling a Bit Stuck

I’m Feeling a Bit Stuck

Obscura 4 has been doing pretty well since its launch in August. Sales didn’t stop off a cliff and the fact that at least some income is guaranteed this autumn is a huge relief, and is allowing me to consider working on some more experimental projects for the next couple of months.

In November, I released Freckle, and while it was a fun diversion, it made a negligible amount of money. I never expected it to be a huge revenue generator, but a little ongoing boost would have be nice. Who knows, maybe it will cross the path of some TikTok influencer and go viral.

I’ve had a few ideas that I’ve been toying around with, but I’m just not sure what I should invest my time in, and I’m really at the point where I should just commit to one. So here’s what I’ve been considering:

A Bluesky Client
While Mastodon is my preferred microblogging service these days, we’re already spoiled for choice with great Mastodon clients these days. Threads also seems to be taking off and perhaps reaching critical mass, but lacks the openness to build on top of. Bluesky is open, and I think there’s still room for third party clients to stand out, but I’m just not sure if the audience is there and will grow over the coming years.

I did put together a little prototype, and I think one of the biggest benefits to working on a social network client would be to learn a tremendous amount about how to build an network API-driven app, completely unlike Obscura. 

Pros:

  • Great learning experience
  • Good contender for subscriptions


Cons:

  • Uncertain future for Bluesky
  • Likely, a big, complex app


A Pinpoint Successor
Marco Arment’s Pinpoint was a clean and quick utility app for marking up screenshots with arrows, annotations and redactions. As Marco worked on more time-consuming apps, and Apple added some of its features in the form of Markup (though it’s less nice to use), Pinpoint languished and was eventually handed over to Lickablity, who maintained it for a while, but as OS releases caused it to be less functional over time, it was pulled from the store. 

Pros:

  • (Relatively) simple utility app
  • Lots of experience with PhotoKit
  • Reviving Pinpoint is a fun narrative that Apple blogs would love

Cons:

  • This app has failed twice
  • If I do revive it, I might have to offer it for free to pre-existing customers

A Pokedex app
An app I’ve wanted to build for a years, because the existing offerings on the App Store are just not great experiences. Pokemon is a huge franchise, with an incredible amounts of information to keep track of, across numerous games. Being able to track Pokémon you’ve caught or where to find, check move lists, and type advantages, etc. Presenting all this info in a clear and accessible way would be a fun challenge.

Pros:

  • Tied to a franchise people are passionate about, and spend a lot of money on
  • Fairly straightforward informational app

Cons

  • App Review hates apps tied to intellectual property
  • Very bifurcated audience of kids and adult players makes pricing models complicated

Naturally those aren’t the only options, but they are what’s bubbled to the surface. But I’m curious to hear what you think. Do any of these ideas seem like the clear winner? Am I barking up entirely the wrong trees? Please help me make my mind up.