Why Pocket Chris Has to Go


Photo by Andrew Branch

Now that many of you are updating to iOS 11, you’ll notice that a few of your older apps don’t work anymore because they don’t support 64 bits. The Pocket Chris apps are among those.

It wasn’t an easy decision to let Pocket Chris go, but unfortunately a necessary one. Making Pocket Chris was a great exercise in which my brother Peter and developer Johannes did an amazing job, pulling their graphics and tech expertise together while making it a fun to play with app that at the same time was also a great little teaching tool for your pocket.

While for some apps the move from 32 to 64 bits is relatively easy and doesn’t require more than a recompile and new upload to Apple’s servers, that’s not the case for Pocket Chris. In fact we’d have to start pretty much from scratch. Not only doesn’t the app support any kind of auto layout, which nowadays is pretty much essential due to the variety of screen sizes, the assets (e.g. the images and screen elements) are too small for current display resolutions and would also have to be re-done.

While I’d love to get my hands dirty again and bring Pocket Chris up to the current standards, there is simply no business case for it. The cost to rewrite Pocket Chris would go into the thousands of Euros and the experience from the first versions and the sales figures that go with that makes it clear that most of that would have to come out of my own pocket. Pretty much the only way most app developers make money (or at least break even) these days is by either going freemium and have a compelling in-app-purchase model or by going with a subscription model. To execute any of those models well and right, I would have to make Pocket Chris my full-time job and give up other things in the process.

So I’m a bit sad that I have to say good bye to Pocket Chris, but at the same time I’m happy for the great experience that making Pocket Chris allowed me to gather.

PS: I’m certainly not out of ideas for future apps from the Top Floor universe.. so if you are an iOS developer, ping me if you’d like the opportunity to work with me for fame and glory (but unfortunately not a lot of money)

Author: Chris Marquardt

Chris Marquardt is co-author of The Film Photography Handbook and Absolut analog. He’s the host of this podcast and a few others. Chris teaches photography all over the world. He is a regular on the TWiT Network.