Stever Sheraton, creator of popular iBeer app, takes to Reddit to answer questions

Recently, app creator Steve Sheraton made a request on Reddit. Fifteen years ago, Sheraton created an app called iBeer that showed up on Apple’s brand new App Store. The app has taken the world by storm. Answering questions for over an hour, the app developer provided proof of his identity, while answering questions about iBeer from fans on Reddit.

With the developer providing some answers to fans, it seemed only right to get into a brief history of a rather fun app that now plays a big role in iPhone and Apple history.

Journey to the App Store

On July 10, 2008, Steve Jobs teased the opening of Apple’s highly anticipated App Store. The next day, the store launched with over 500 apps designed specifically for the new iPhone technology. However, one app stood out among the rest. One app has truly explored and pushed the capabilities of one of the most advanced technological marvels in human history.

It was an app that let you pretend to drink a beer through your phone.

Steve Sheraton was a hard-on-luck 37-year-old magician. The year before the App Store debuted, the Cupertino company was looking for developers who could showcase iPhone technology. Apple contacted Sheraton after discovering a YouTube video where the magician made the phone look like a glass of beer. However, rather than coding an app, Sheraton initially used running video to mimic drinking motions.

Basing the YouTube video around a previous idea involving espresso, the video grew in popularity, earning millions of views. People were leaving reviews telling Sheraton they wanted this for themselves. Even before the App Store was invented, Sheraton was selling the beer video file for $2.99.

do the magic

Once Apple knocked on its door, Sheraton had to figure out how to encode video on the new device. Having a background in film and photography, Sheraton wanted the beer to be as realistic as possible. Therefore, instead of full animation, the developer opted for looping video elements and image sequences. This created a more beautiful beer.

After setting up the graphics to interact with the phone’s accelerometer, thus providing the “pouring” motions, developing the rest of the app was to create a series of “statements”.

Sheraton dubbed the app iBeer and produced it under its company name Hottrix. Priced at $2.99, the app immediately jumped to the top spot in the App Store and remained there for over a year. Sheraton attributes this not only to the visual humor and appeal to the lowest common denominator, but also to the app’s ability for users to show their friends what the iPhone was capable of. iBeer allowed users to view new technologies in an accessible and fun way.

iBeer’s success has gone far beyond downloads. The New York Times, Fortune and Weather everyone considered the app a must-have. Sheraton says that at the height of the app’s popularity, the company was raking in more than $20,000 a day.

iBeer goes on Reddit

Of course, sudden fame brings sudden problems. As Sheraton battled its own demons, Coors Brewing Company had developed its own, nearly identical app called “iPint.” This resulted in Hottrix suing Coors for $12.5 million, alleging copyright infringement. It is reported that the case was settled out of court.

While 2010 saw iBeer’s popularity decline, the weather also brought a new era for the iPhone. Apps like Facebook, Skype and Fruit Ninja paved the way for a new frontier, one iBeer couldn’t cross. Eventually, Sheraton would find itself relinquishing iBeer’s intellectual property rights to Hottrix.

Now 52, ​​Sheraton lives on a farm in Spain, takes care of his family and creates mobile apps for magicians. He says it’s a niche market with less stress and drama.

iBeer is still available on the App Store, although it’s now free with in-app purchases. For Apple fans, brew a drink for an app that paved the way, one joke at a time.

You can read the full Reddit on iBeer creator Steve Sheraton AMA here.


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