So you’re standing in the kitchen one evening, devouring your favorite meal, and inspiration strikes. “Wouldn’t it be great if there was an iPhone app that would… [insert cool idea here]?”.
You finish your smorgasbord of flavors and hit the Google machine, hoping that your idea is a first and nobody else has realized the simple genius of creating your app.
You find some similar apps but you’re convinced that your app can offer something new. You decide to get in the game and make this iPhone app a reality.
Designing the Look of Your App
Getting an iPhone app developed isn’t as difficult as you might think. The hoard of iPhone developers is increasing every year, as this group of programmers realizes the profits of iPhone development has far greater potential than website development. It’s “all the rage”, as the kids used to say.
Congrats on your decision to move forward with your idea. Taking action is the first obstacle and by making the decision to bring your app to life, you’ve set the wheels of progress in motion.
Wealth and fame are just one good developer, and several thousand dollars away.
But let’s not rush into the development phase without a clear and concise idea of what you want your app to do and what it should look like. You’ll want to take some time to carefully draft up all the mock screens that the iPhone app should use. Visual appeal goes a long way in the world of apps and if it looks anything short of amazing, the final product will fall into the land of “amazing apps that nobody knows about”.
And this point is worth considering long before you head down the road to getting your iPhone app developed. There are currently over 1.25 million apps in the Apple iPhone store and just over 600 million iPhone users. The sad truth is that there are some astoundingly useful and beautiful apps that never rise above mediocrity in the app store, despite the potential benefits such apps might provide to millions of iPhone users.
The app world has become much like the world of music. There are some insanely talented musicians that deserve far more attention but the system by which such artists become popular simply doesn’t allow for everyone to be heard.
Maybe you can build an app for that.
But you are undeterred in your effort to build an app that will almost certainly rise to the top ranking in the app store. After all.. there have been over 50 billion downloads since the app store opened in 2008. People love browsing new apps and downloading them.
You’ve completed your mock-ups and added even more ideas along the way.
It’s time to find a developer.
How to Find an iPhone Developer
Your app will need to follow the guidelines provided by Apple, as described in the iOS Developer Library. The list of demands is extensive and that means looking for experienced programmers only.
Make sure your developer has iPhone programming experience and a resume of previous apps built.
Do a little extra digging and be sure that the developer in question is recognized as the primary contributor to all apps listed on a resume. We don’t want wish to cast doubt on those hard-working app developers that deserve all the respect they’ve justly earned, but unfortunately, the internet has a fair share of scam artists that are more interested in making a quick buck than performing a quality service.
Where to Find iPhone Developers
The most popular hot-spots for locating iPhone developers are found on “pay for work” job-sites.
There’s Elance, oDesk, Guru and Freelancer, just to mention a few of the more recognizable names.
Negotiating an iPhone app can be tricky business though. You don’t want to publicly list your app idea or you’ll risk others bringing your idea to fruition before you ever get your idea into the development phase.
Insist on a non-disclosure agreement and communicate privately with your developers. You can find a sample NDA here. Once signed, let the communications begin.
There’s also iPhone developers meetup groups. Find one near you and meet developers face-to-face.
Finding a reliable and skilled programmer is arguably the most important part of getting your iPhone app created. Do your homework and don’t be afraid to make demands. It’s your money at risk and you’re the boss.
iPhone App Development Costs
iPhone app development is big business. There’s no shortage of programmers for the Apple platform and the number is on the rise daily. That means you have options but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll being paying less. “You get what you paid for” is an oft-used phrase in iPhone app development circles, so think quality first and then negotiate the price.
There are those who will heed this advice and then there are those who have a hard time breaking free of the “price-first” mindset. They simply want to know, “How much should i pay to get my iPhone app developed?”
While it would be foolish (and impossible) of us to speak on behalf of iPhone programmers everywhere, typical apps are developed in the average range of $2,000 – $10,000. The more intricate and detailed your app, the more you can expect to pay.
Basic utility apps are the least expensive to develop with database apps costing several thousand dollars more and games costing the most. The popular Angry Birds app cost well over $100,000 to develop, although this was at a time when iPhone developers were not nearly so plentiful and the iPhone programming technology was still in it’s infancy.
You’ll also need to consider the costs of ongoing development. In the world of routinely upgraded operating systems, your app might simply not work in the next version. Want to get it upgraded for the app store? You’ll need to reach for your wallet yet again.
There’s only one way to know how much your app will cost and that’s to begin negotiations with your developers so let the talks begin. You may have to take out a second mortgage but there’s an investment to be made in starting any business. How bad do you want it?
How Much Money Can an iPhone App Make Me?
Well… millions, right? Not likely. The market has thousands of apps that never gain momentum. They’re duds and they end up as expensive lessons.
To be successful with your iPhone app, you’ll need to hit the marketing angle hard. This is business and like any business, you need to spread the word.
[quote_right]Every app developer hopes to build the next big hit but, as is the case for any hit-driven market, a large group will be left behind with little to show for their efforts.
~ Forbes[/quote_right]You will ultimately set the price point that users will pay to download your app and Apple will take about 30% of that number. Let’s say you charge one dollar for your app to be downloaded – about 250,000 downloads later and you’ve got your first $100,000 from Apple.
That number also assumes no refunds. Refunds work against the developer in that Apple will not refund their part and you are solely responsible for the full refund price.
Forbes recently published an article that examines the costs and profits of developing iPhone apps.
If you can get a following for your app, you’ll want to consider in-app purchases or employing ads to keep the income flowing. We all hate those pesky pop-ups while playing our favorite games but the reality is that for a developer to be successful with an iPhone app, in-program ads are sometimes a necessity.
So maybe building an iPhone app isn’t quite as appealing as it first seems? The investment cost is sigficantly higher than many realize and there will always be ongoing expense. There is no doubting that the mobile platform is where everything is headed though so if you jump through all the hoops and maneuver the many obstacles, you just might someday be on the list of top 25 most downloaded apps of all time.
Ah, the price of prestige. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more noble calling in life, may we suggest helping out with curing malaria?