When a classmate at Desert Vista High School pulled out an iPhone one day and began programming his assignments into it using the Homework application, Craig Bishop took notice.
"He didn't even know I developed it," said the 18-year-old Bishop, who graduated this summer.
Bishop first developed his Homework application about two years ago, getting in on the ground floor when Apple began allowing designers to build their own apps for the iPhone, he said. Since then, the program, which goes for $4.99 on iTunes, has sold about 11,000 copies.
"It was just incredible," Bishop said. "Any time anyone searches ‘homework,' the app comes up."
The application works like a calendar, allowing a student to select a class, enter the type of assignment - such as "essay" or "quiz" - and keep track of the due date and whether the assignment has been completed.
"It's three taps to add an assignment," Bishop said.
The app's success led one of his father's co-workers, Chris Mets, to propose the creation of Mango LLC, a software development company in which Bishop is a partner, along with his father, Steve, as well as Mets and David Rybarczyk. The company's name is intended to be a play on Apple's fruit theme, Bishop said.
"(Mets) thought we should go into business together and start developing apps," Bishop said.
The Homework app has been improved since its initial unveiling, he said.
"The first version was pretty primitive," Bishop said.
He's looking at linking it to Facebook, so students can share the details of assignments with friends without each one having to type in the information. It also could lead to bulletin boards where students can share notes on assignments, Bishop said.
Another idea calls for integrating the app with other programs used by teachers to automatically download assignments.
"Whether teachers like it or not, most students have their phones at school," said Bishop, who has been fascinated by computers since an early age.
"It was just kind of a natural thing. I've been interested in programming since I was little," he said. "I've always been interested in game development and 3-D application development. I really dig nasty math."
Bishop is slated to start classes at the University of Arizona this fall. He plans to study electrical and computer engineering.
The Homework application can be found at http://itunes.apple.com/app/homework/id290126187?mt=8.