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This may not be a military app with interactive games, but it does get everyone involved. Apple Inc. has approved the free "iDeploy" app which serves family, friends and the military member as a deployment countdown timer for iPhones, iPads and iPods.
Created by Maj. Torrey Wagner, an officer at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., the app displays the days, hours, minutes and seconds until a military member is on his way home. It shows hundredths of seconds to indicate the time is "flying by," and a photograph can also be added to personalize the display.
"The main reason I created the ‘iDeploy' app is that I wanted deployed members and their families to have an app that was just for them, as a morale boost and something that might make the deployment more tolerable," Wagner said in a release.
Wagner is part of AFRL's Directed Energy Directorate and said he created the countdown timer in his spare time.
Apple's approval of the ‘iDeploy' app is especially noteworthy considering the company's rigorous approval process and its high percentage of rejections. As of 2010, an app must pass the App Store Review Guidelines for developers, and an executive review board must give approval. Apple receives more than 600 applications from app developers daily.
Wagner said it took about 65 hours over two months to complete the app. This was after spending three months learning the basics of iPhone app development.
Wagner also had advice for airmen who want to develop their own app: "First, start small and use tutorial and question-and-answer websites like stackoverflow.com to figure out the process.
"Second, set realistic expectations and schedule an hour a day to learn this new programming language — many times I'd only figure out a solution after not thinking about it for a day.
"Finally, make your app something that you care about — that will make it easier to stay motivated to put in the hours," he said.
The app is available at Apple's iTunes store online at https://itunes.apple.com/app/ideploy-photo-edition/id560907062?