I can't believe I'm writing this in the wake of the YNAB 4 launch, but people are clamoring for an iPad app even more than they were two weeks ago.
What I'm going to write below is subject to change. I share a lot of my thought processes at times, with the information I have, and the information I have changes. Please don't hold me to this as some kind of tablet I've carved into with a chisel. (Did you see what I did there? Referenced a tablet?).
Please re-read the above paragraph before you proceed
Here are my current thoughts and the state of things re: YNAB for iPad:
- As of June 30, 2012 absolutely no work has been done. We were all hands on deck for YNAB 4. I've been budgeting funds to eventually use for iPad development, but no actual work has been done. We didn't want to talk about YNAB 4 prior to its release, so we've been vague re: the iPad (we couldn't say, "Well, we're not working on it because we're working on YNAB 4". Here is me no longer being vague.
- At this moment, we hope to make YNAB for iPad stand completely on its own. It will not require the desktop version in any way.
- The iPad app will use Cloud Sync (that one's pretty obvious).
- The iPad app will cost money. I'm thinking somewhere in the range of $30-$40. In order to reward loyal YNAB fans, we'll probably do some kind of limited time slash in that cost. Probably cut it by 50-60%. Remember, I'm shooting from the hip here at the moment. You are not allowed to hold me to this.
- The iPad app will not be the iPhone app, but bigger. There's much more to it than just bigger touch targets. We'll want to take advantage of the screen size on the iPad and also give it a lot of fine touches that make the experience superb.
- We are starting from scratch. Not a single line of code has been written. Not a single design sketch has been made. We are now a startup, in this regard.
- Hopefully we'll be able to re-use some of the code from the iPhone, mainly the back-end business logic.
- We are starting from scratch with paradigms as well. The grid you see on YNAB 4 may not be appropriate for the iPad app. It may also do just fine. We are making no assumptions there. The key question
in designing the app is not, "What does YNAB 4 do?" It's "How does one implement the YNAB Method easily, quickly, and correctly with their iPad?"
- I can't wait for it. I've wanted it I think for two years now. I'm glad we can afford to invest in it, while still continuing development of the three other major platforms (YNAB 4, iPhone, and Android).
- It's going to take a long time. I will never given an estimate. I'd be wrong. When I tell you the date that the iPad app will be ready, the subject line will be something like: "Get YNAB for iPad tomorrow. It Was Approved by Apple a Month Ago."
- I'm considering maintaining a separate email list where I let you guys know how it's going. I want to be transparent about our progress with it. I'm hesitant to show too much prelim stuff though because users will think, "They'll be done in a month!" Or they'll think, "Oh my gosh that's awful!" (when they see a sketch that's purposefully rough). So I'm not really sure exactly what to disclose, and what to keep to ourselves. I do know we wont' disclose a date. See the point above.
A brief history of my experience with three four major software releases. I still don't claim to be an expert. Many on here or the blog would likely do it better. I'm the captain, so I get to sink the ship:
YNAB Pro - it had two betatesters. Me and Taylor. We sold it before opening it up to more betatesters. How funny is that? I don't remember there being much todo about it, mainly because we were so teeny tiny small back then re: YNAB fans/users.
YNAB 3 - we promised it would be done by the end of 2009. We launched it as a paid beta on December 16, 2009 I believe. We would have liked to have had another month with it but we had promised everyone that it would be done before the end of the year. Taylor worked himself almost to a coma, and I spent money which almost put me in a coma. First and last time I carried credit card debt. It was awful. The launch should have been more enjoyable than it was. We were fried. We vowed that we would never, ever give an estimated launch date publicly again. We've held to that. There is no upside to it.
YNAB 4 - We swung the pendulum a bit too far. We should have said we were working on YNAB 4 and it would be a paid upgrade, and simply not given an estimate. We would have had people ask, timing their purchase to be in our grace period, and we would have had to tell them that we didn't know, and that maybe they should either wait, take the risk, or perhaps jump to a competitor. It would have let people know that Cloud Sync was coming as part of a major paid upgrade. There were fans that have been thinking Cloud Sync was "just around the corner" for months (a year) now, based on us vaguely saying, "We're working on it. It's going to be great." We still couldn't have given a date, but we could have told them it would definitely be paid, and let them make their own decision. We have to be brutally honest in our communications. I'll likely write a whole blog post on this. It's tough to tell someone, "That feature will never make it into the software." It's much easier to say, "Thanks! We'll look into that" because you don't want to come across as dismissive. If someone can craft a "No" to feature requests that doesn't come across as dismissive, I'll send you a I <3 YNAB shirt.
YNAB for iPad - With what I've learned from the three prior launches, my plan is to 1) still not give a date but 2) let people know we're working on it and maybe even shed some light on some early stuff with it. Basically, it's this thread. A thread that is subject to change at any moment
Adam, our awesome designer, is pretty afraid to show you guys say, an early comp, because 30% of the people will think that's a screenshot from the iPad and "Hey! It'll be here any day now!" Taylor's pretty afraid to show you guys some early prototype of an interaction with a transaction because you'd say, "oh my gosh! That has bugs in it! The app is worthless!" We're all afraid of touting some feature we're going to put in it, and even design and code for, and then we rip it out six weeks later. We do that. It bothers us, but it would really rile some percentage of the forum
All that being said, this is a tough thing to balance, transparency while also make sure the transparency is being interpreted correctly
. I have no idea if what we'll attempt with iPad development will be any better...we'll just live and learn.
Wow. This thread is so long I feel like I should have at least dedicated it to someone. I dedicate it to Apple, for teaching me patience, and to never take things for granted. Like review estimates (See what I did there? Estimates aren't worth a thing! We don't give 'em either!