iPhone developer interview: Mogeneration turns eyes, stomachs with Food Watch iPhone app

We talk to Mogeneration CEO Keith Ahern about the company's iPhone app portfolio and developing for Apple's smartphone

Keith Ahern

Keith Ahern

Mogeneration describes itself as "Australia's leading iPhone development company," and its products' quality and reception certainly add some weight to the claim. With licensed software for News.com.au, Xumii and Truelocal under its belt, Mogeneration recently hit the news with the release of its eighth iPhone app, Food Watch -- App Store. We had a chat to Mogeneration CEO Keith Ahern about the inspiration behind the company, his passion and his attempt to turn iPhone users' stomachs.

How did you get started in iPhone development?

First for pleasure, then for work. I imported one of the first iPhones and immediately began to create Web content for it. When the iPhone 3G came to Australia I was working for News Ltd as the mobile technology manager. I assembled a great team to deliver some iPhone-optimised websites for News.com.au, Moshtix and Truelocal and enjoyed it so much I formed a company to keep doing it.

What propelled the formation of Mogeneration?

It was the realisation that the quality and success of the iPhone Web sites our team delivered left the competition in the dust. So Tom Adams — an old work colleague of mine whom I brought in to help with the iPhone Web sites — and I decided to start a company specialising in iPhone and Android development. We decided on concentrate on touch-screen mobiles with desktop-quality browsers — e.g. iPhone, Android and Palm Pre.

You do a fair number of contracted iPhone apps — would you see this Mogeneration's key role or do you prefer to develop apps using your own IP?

Our plan was to subsidise product development with paying client work; in reality we do 95 per cent client work. We do have our own IP especially in the area of platforms. We have platforms for new media publishing and converting Flash content to iPhone apps.

The Mogeneration Web site describes the company as "Australia's leading iPhone development company." In what way do you think that is the case, and do you see any major competition from the likes of Firemint?

We really operate in a different space to Firemint. Firemint, as far as I know, don’t do client work and after the success of FlightControl may never need to work again! We are certainly the most prolific Australian developer of high quality apps. We don’t churn out low quality apps. Our clients are a mix of start-ups and blue chip companies and most are repeat customers. A few of our clients have come to us after having bad experiences with offshore companies.

How do you see the Australian iPhone developer community in general? Is it competitive with the rest of the world? What do you see as its strengths in contributing to the App Store and iPhone development in general?

Well the short answer is that (I believe) the best-selling iPhone game ever was developed by Australian company Firemint. I’m talking, of course, about "FlightControl". There is a lot of talent here; it is mostly in games.

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