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Home / iPad App Reviews / LotusMeal: The Personal Chef Marketplace – A Case Study in iPad App Development 
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LotusMeal: The Personal Chef Marketplace – A Case Study in iPad App Development 

Today we’re going to take a look at the iPad not from the perspective of a consumer, but through the lens of a startup. With the recent announcements regarding Apple’s next wave of consumer devices (including the iPad Pro!), there is more hype than ever surrounding mobile, the mobile web, and of course, iPad app development.

This poses a bit of a problem for many startups. “Many of us are web veterans, starting our first businesses before the ‘BlackBerry revolution’ in the mid­2000s,” explains Stew Houston, founder and lead developer of the personal chef platform LotusMeal. Web veterans, yes. But mobile and tablet veterans, no.

To make things a bit more difficult, iOS 9 brings with it Apple’s new programming language, Swift, which replaces the long­standard Objective­C. “If you want to build an app that’s fast,
elegant, and that uses new core features on the iPad and iPhone 6, you have to be working with these devices on a daily basis,” continues Stew. “For startups, this usually means an extra hire, or outsourcing projects that are critical to the success of the business.”

With apps like Yelp, Airbnb, and Epicurious, there’s no shortage of apps deserving of a badge of honor. Undoubtedly, these best­in­show apps are robust. But should startups aim for the same
degree of quality? “Quality, yes – especially in visual design,” advises Stew, “but it’s unrealistic to expect an app team of 3 to match the breadth of an app team of 30.”

There’s hope, however. First­on­the scene PhoneGap offers web veterans like Stew and thousands of other business­tech hybrids a means to translate their acumen in technologies like HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript into natively compiled iOS code. PhoneGap was so warmly received that is was acquired by Adobe and is now part of its new cloud service platform.

StyleSeat, who recently raised $10 in Series A funding, is one of the more popular companies who have used PhoneGap in production with tremendous success. “We’ve invested heavily in this type of technology, continues Stew. “We are building apps that are fast, organized and that provide a compelling user experience in less than half the time.” Stew has embraced the Ionic project, an open source fork of Adobe’s PhoneGap. “Our prototype is up and running, and we couldn’t be happier.”

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With over 1.5 million apps in the Apple Store, iOS users are starting to slow down on exploratory and indiscriminate app downloads. Users are more inclined to install apps for services that they actually use. This is an important point to digest for companies whose products extend beyond phones and tablets. App design should be deliberate, and should complement the core functionality provided by the service’s primary website.

With the release of the iPad Pro, there will be even more features available to iOS developers. It will be interesting to see what startups leverage these new features, and which opt for a simpler approach.

LotusMeal is accepting registrants for its early­access program at You can follow them on twitter at @lotusmeal.

About Adam Striven

Hi internet. My name is Adam Striven and I am the founder of I am a loving father, engineer and entrepreneur. Drop me a line if you want to have a chat!

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