PlayOff - My First App

Martin Jr Powlette
Mar 29, 2019 · 6 min read
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Nearly a month ago on the 2nd of March, PlayOff was released on the App Store. To call it anything short of an experience is an understatment.

I’ll start with a bit of a backstory…

Fast forward a bit, I noticed how often I’d sit down at my laptop and try to pause music playing on my phone (I’m always listening to music). Around this time, iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite was out with Continuity and Handoff. To this day, they’re probably one of, if not my favourite Apple feature.

Trying It Out

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Mom, I built something!!

I put something together in Sketch and tried to build it in Xcode (haha, please don’t judge my design skills on this, please). One day, I got my concept working with native Handoff and I was ready to take my rightful place as CEO of everything.

Then it died…

So eventually I decided to build it out for myself and thought why not have it in the App Store too.

So I rewrote what I had so far.

Then I rewrote it again using CloudKit (More about that here)… then ignored it again for a few more months (being a student is tough).

I learned a lot of new things along the way and finally settled on building it with Core Bluetooth. Maybe I’ll write about that decision one day if anyone would like to hear more about the technical aspects of PlayOff.

I made a more dedicated effort to launch it by the end of January this year.. then February. In my defense, I uploaded it to App Store Connect on the 28th. Notably, I learned a lot more about development and time management.

Then It Was Finally Released

And even more articles, and a ton of tweets, and it got featured in a YouTube video — and Oh My God, people are using something I made and actually enjoying it?!

Aren’t You Worried That Apple Would Steal This?

This may also sound kind of naive… but one of my goals was that Apple would end up building this. I would expect them to do a better job because they have full access to iTunes and Apple Music. Internship maybe? Haha, can’t hurt to ask.

Also yes, Spotify has this; but I use Apple Music ☺️.

Dealing with Feedback

Unhappy person: The app for IOS doesn’t find my iMac!

Me: Thanks for your support and reaching out! Would you be able to give me more information so I can help you out?

Unhappy person: You better refund my money❗️


Also, word of advice; do not use your regular, personal email for app support. Emails might get lost. It’ll be overwhelming.

This tweet made my day. I low-key want to print it and hang it on my wall. To have someone think so highly of something I built is remarkably humbling — someone working at Apple no less.

I’m honoured to receive feedback from such a great talent.

With most of the feedback, I was able to fix my first major bug; the app wouldn’t play anything if your Mac wasn’t set to English. Who would’ve thought?

I’m still working on organizing feature request, tracking bugs and most importantly, keeping everyone in the loop.

A Massive Thank You

4.8 Stars in the US App Store

Featured in more than 5 news sites or blogs

Hit top 100 (number 97 counts 😁) in Utilities in the US

Over 1K downloads in the first week between both apps

I want to thank every single person who shared PlayOff, downloaded it, spoke about and sent feedback (both good and bad). I might not be able to respond but I read every tweet, watch every video and read every article; I appreciate all of it.

I love technology and what it has the potential to do, in this case, just make something easier and more enjoyable. I am so humbled and immensely appreciative to have been able to do that with my first app.

I’d like to thank Greg Goralski, one of my professors at Humber College; he has supported and believed in me from day one and I couldn’t ask for a better mentor.

Shout out to Frederick Riedel for being one of the first people to test and share PlayOff. Even more so, thanks for introducing me to a larger community of great developers online.

To my family and friends, both here and back home in St. Lucia, thank you for supporting everything I do.

To my mother, you’re the best woman I know and I love you with all my heart. Thanks for telling me to go to bed at 5am while I worked on this.

Next Steps

I also want to be more actively involved in the community. This post is hopefully the first of many where I can share more of my work and experience, maybe throw in a few tutorials in there as well.

Feel free to follow me online to keep in touch. And once again, thank you ❤

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A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store