UI from the Patent. Photo: TechCrunch

Apple recently filed this patent. This would enable individuals with no prior programming experience to build their own apps.

The first business I started was a mobile app’s business back in 2001, for the then popular PalmOS and PocketPC/Windows Mobile. After developing a few basic apps from scratch using ‘traditional’ methods, I stumbled upon an interesting Windows application called PDAToolbox. It was an amazing tool that allowed me to rapidly churn out basic apps (like Personal Information Management type apps) in just a few hours. I created a few commercial apps this way, but the real advantage was being to advertise ‘build a custom app’ services which usually carried a premium. For example a customer in Norway wanted an app to keep track of her local bus stop times. She forwarded me a scanned copy of the bus timetable and I sent her the finished app the next day.

If Apple decides to make something of the patent they filed, it would open up all kinds of possibilities and apps for niche areas which previously couldn’t justify committing resources to be built, for example my local go kart track could easily create an app to follow the latest news, and championship rankings etc.