The first version of Vegas Mate was released in August of last year. It was my first effort for the iPhone, which at that time had just started allowing developers like me to create applications to be sold on the iTunes App Store. I'm very happy with how Vegas Mate has done since then. I don't disclose sales figures but there are thousands upon thousands of happy users and it seems to be going strong. So what's coming next? Lots.
In March, Apple gave us developers insight into new features they were adding in iPhone OS 3.0. This free iPhone system upgrade ($10 bucks on iPod Touch) includes stuff like copy and paste, MMS, integrated searching and a lot more. Under the covers, there are a ton of new hooks and tools that developers can use to make their software better. With this in mind, I began working on Vegas Mate 2.0 to incorporate the new stuff.
iPhone OS 3.0 will be released next Wednesday the 17th and I'm hoping that Vegas Mate 2 will follow about a month later. It's basically a complete re-write, taking advantage of many of the new features that Apple provided. The revised plumbing allowed me to add a few things I've wanted in there for quite awhile.
Vegas Mate 2.0 will be a free update for all existing users and yes, it will run on the upcoming iPhone 3GS announced this week.
Here's some of what's new in Vegas Mate 2.0:
* Over-the-Air Content Updates - existing versions of Vegas Mate required a full update via the App Store to get content changes in there. I've done 9 updates since last August but with how quickly Vegas is changing, I wanted something far closer to real-time. Now all content updates will occur wirelessly from our server.
* News, Promos and Events - I'm integrating some popular RSS feeds as well as info on current promotions and events. This isn't designed to take the place of a regular news tool, just a quick hit of info for travelers that's Vegas specific. More about how this works as we get closer to the release.
* Designate Hotels, Restaurants and Activities as Favorites for Quick Access - There are hundreds of items in the Vegas Mate database. Users can now mark items as 'favorites' and see them from a new screen. This should hopefully make trip planning with Vegas Mate easier.
* Restaurant Menus - Where available, I am adding the ability to view restaurant menus from the app. VM2 will launch with a number of restaurants that will quickly expand.
* Live, Google Maps Right in the App - The current version of Vegas Mate has maps but they didn't include all of the richness that the native 'Maps' application provides. That's all changed now with full maps embedded right into the app.
* Updated User Interface - The UI has received a lot of spit and polish all over the place.
* New Content - As always, the quantity and quality of in-app content has increased.
Now, it's possible I may change some of these features before launch but it's looking pretty dialed in at this point. I love working on Vegas Mate and I'm glad that so many of you enjoy it too. I've got a 'potential features' list a mile long but I always like to hear other ideas, even if I don't end up using them.