Here are my predictions for what apps make it to the top 6. First, though, a quick rundown by voting criteria, as objective as I can be. Keep in mind these are all somewhat subjective, though. These are the criteria again, as a reminder:
A) Innovation and Creativity of the Idea
B) Use of OS X and Leopard technologies (see list of technologies at the end of the post)
C) Feasibility of Development
D) Mass-Market Appeal
Innovation and Creativity
This criteria is both easy and tough. Initially I had a very “artsy” view of creative, making this list easy. But as I look over it more, I realize some of the creative ideas, like Cookbook or even Ground Control, could also justifiably make an argument to be higher on the list.
Use of OS X and Leopard
This is a tough one, especially since I’m not a Mac developer. Here’s my best shot:
- Ground Control
Feasibility of Development
After this round, I don’t think this criteria will play as much of a role. Almost everything still in the running has already been deemed feasible by the judges. In a way, the idea of a Dream App is almost to push the limits of feasibility, not stay well within them. Still, here’s the list, ordered by most feasible to least:
- Ground Control
Mass Market Appeal
This is probably the most critical factor, and is probably the main deciding factor or motivation for many voters. “Would I buy this?” is, I think, a good question to ask yourself before voting. Don’t ask “would I download this and try it for a few hours?”. This is also the most subjective list, so here are my opinions:
- Ground Control
My Personal Opinions (finally!)
The reason I haven’t shared them yet is that they’re not set in stone, especially not until I read the guest judges’ comments. Still, I’ve got a pretty firm opinion right now. That opinion, though, has changed since I first started following MDA, and is likely to change again before the final vote next week.
I was actually surprised when I finished doing the ranking above, so maybe you were too. The diversity of the applications really shows through, and they all have different areas of strength. Each of them has a different potential market, as well, which makes the “Mass Market Appeal” that much more difficult to judge. Compound that with the fickleness of consumers, and we have an almost impossible prediction to make. Good thing we’re utilizing the “Wisdom of Crowds“.
Before I go on, voting is likely to start soon for the semi-finals. There are 9 contestants, and after this voting round 6 will head to the finals. Next week the final vote will leave us with 3 winners. After that, MDA developers will form teams and create the 3 winning apps, with (hopefully) plenty of community involvement along the way.
Now, MY PERSONAL FAVORITES:
- Cookbook: I would buy this before any of the above apps. It’s a really well-thought out idea, and I think it’d be really successful. Still, it seems a bit “tame” for what MDA could produce. I think of it as “proof” that MDA isn’t just for geeks, but for real people. Plus, think of the market this way: everyone has to eat. Those that have discretionary income are able to pick and choose what they want to eat when. Discretionary income is good for selling an app like this.
- Hijack: In contrast to what I just mentioned for Cookbook, Hijack is for Forum Junkies. That happens to include my wife, oddly enough, which is why Hijack initially caught my eye. This idea is just hands-down a winner, especially if you look at the success of both RSS and the current interest around “social” and “community” type web activities. I think it’s self-explanatory, someone tell me if I’m wrong and I’ll explain.
- Whistler: This was a slow starter, but as the vision became clearer it grew on me. This seems to me the most marketable of the ideas, one of the funnest and most creative, and after lengthy forum discussion the conclusion was that it would be feasible. I really like the contestant’s vision, and can really see this being one of those apps used to “sell” the Mac. Not because it, by itself, is “needed” by anyone, but because it would be a perfect example of how things on the Mac are easy and completely, mind-blowingly awesome.
- Portal, Ground Control, Blossom, and Atmosphere are all really close 4th places in my mind. I wish they could all get developed!
I expect iGTD, Desktop Wars, and Atmosphere or Ground Control to not make the semi-finals. Reasons?
- iGTD hasn’t gotten any further development attention, unfortunately. (However, there’s a strong GTD cult that might keep this one in anyways)
- Desktop Wars has been mired in controversy and lack of attention (except on voting days). (Again, there’s a strong contingent of -likely- younger voters that isn’t yet interested in the more practical aspects of the other apps, and would love to download DW. This is a good time to stress that the winning MDA apps WILL NOT BE FREE, but will cost money. )
- Atmosphere – this was a hard call, because I like the idea, but it’s simple and not enough people seem to be buying it as “worth” the vote relative to the others. We’re getting into the hard votes, where good ideas are going to lose out to the very best ideas, on merit and not on anything the contestant has much control over at this point.
- Ground Control – also a hard call, I really like this app and I like the contestant and his work ethic even more. The app is a brilliant idea, really strong, but I’m afraid it may be too hard for voters to grasp before they “clicky clicky” their easy vote buttons. It took me a while to get on board, too.
There you have it, folks. More opinions to come, if anyone still needs more. And commentary next week on the finals, too!
Leopard Technologies, according to Apple’s “sneek peak” site:
Here are the other core technologies per the Leopard “sneek peak” site:
-Time Machine (auto file backup – can be hooked up to your app by API so you tell it how to smartly backup your app’s files instead of grabbing everything that changes)
-Mail (main interesting thing here is the universal ToDo list stuff, at least from an MDA perspective)
-iChat (new capabilities of sharing photos, movies, and putting fake backgrounds behind the speaker…)
-Spaces (virtual desktops, I see an explosion of innovation surrounding these. But that might just be dirt on my glasses. cool )
-Dashboard (new stuff is the web-clips ability and the easy widget designer-thing – forgot it’s name)
-Spotlight (new and improved! We hope!!)
-iCal (I don’t remember. But it was cool, I’m sure. wink )
-Accessibility (the Voice, and we all hope maybe more steps towards resolution independence?)
-64-bit (uhm, yeah…)
-Core animation (which is fun to toss around, but I think mainly means it’s easier for developers to flip images and video and what-not around the screen in whatever manner they want. Or something.)