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Teen iOS app developers hit download lottery

Apple helps promote the app Finish, which was created by two high school students to help people deal with procrastination.

The iOS app Finish.
Basil Ltd.

You wouldn't expect two 16-year-olds to spend their summer break working for free. But, that's exactly what Ryan Orbuch and Michael Hansen did when they created the anti-procrastination iOS app called Finish, which launched January 16.

And, it's paid off. Literally.

As of today, Finish has been downloaded 16,500 times in a little more than a month, according to Orbuch. At 99 cents a pop -- that means more than $16,000 in one month, which isn't bad for two teenagers. The Denver Post was first to talk to Orbuch and Hansen about their work on Finish.

One of the most difficult things for app developers to do is get recognized. So, even though 16,500 may not sound like much, it is for new apps.

According to research firm Canalys, there are more than 1 million apps in Apple's App Store and two-thirds get fewer than 1,000 downloads in their first year. When Finish was selected for recognition in Apple's App Store, it was like Orbuch and Hansen hit the jackpot.

The pair came up with Finish when they were agonizing over finals during their sophomore year at Boulder High School in Boulder, Colo. The idea was to help people deal with procrastination. For months, they worked on interface, design, and development. By last August they had a beta version of the app and it hit Apple's App Store last month.

"Finish was chosen as New and Noteworthy on the front page of the App Store for the first week, and it was pretty incredible," Orbuch told CNET in an e-mail. "Since then, we've had a big banner (that I had a bunch of fun designing) at the top of the Productivity category on the store."

The app lets users set short, mid, and long-term tasks. As the date for the task to be done nears, the app notifies the user. The idea is to not let anything sneak up on procrastinators. And, it's not only for high schoolers, Orbuch said.

"We've seen Finish work for an amazing variety of people. From high school students to lawyers, doctors to real estate agents, writers to entrepreneurs, and tons more," Orbuch said. "Though the app was built by students, it wasn't built to be school-specific. Finish is essentially a framework, it's an app that provides the perfect amount of structure to truly reduce stress and ease procrastination for just about anyone."

(Via the Denver Post.)

Correction, February 21 at 12:16 p.m. PT: This story originally failed to cite the earlier story by the Denver Post.