What it Takes to Make an iPhone App

What it Takes to Make an iPhone App

With more than 550,000 iPhone apps already in the marketplace, a couple things are clear. First, it’s not that hard to take an idea, make an app, and put it up for sale. Second, since so many other developers have done this already, making an app that will get noticed and start selling may be quite a lot harder.

Naturally, any successful app starts with a good idea — something simple and easy to understand, and something people will actually want to use. From there, the process can go in a couple different directions: Pitching the idea to a bigger company can give access to the funding and know-how it takes to turn the idea into a top-tier app, while developing it alone means keeping total control of the product. This second option can mean a bigger reward if the app is a success, but making it successful might get a lot harder.

First, there’s the work it takes to learn how to create iPhone apps, from learning the necessary code to finding the necessary software and APIs, then developing and testing a working program — or at least finding a programmer with all these skills. Depending on the requirements of the app, development and outsourcing fees can run anywhere from $5,000 up to $200,000 for a professional-quality app.

And creating a great app doesn’t mean much if consumers can’t find it among the half-million others in the marketplace, with more every day. Getting noticed requires a marketing campaign, with a series of advertisements, social media or promotions designed to catch the attention of the app’s target audience and convince them to give it a try. However expensive developing the app turned out to be, it’s critical to have funds left over for the marketing, along with a well-developed strategy.

For every stage in this process, it is valuable to look not only at successful apps, but the many apps that didn’t work, for clues about how to create iPhone apps that avoid the same mistakes. Going it alone while developing the app can mean a lot more freedom, but this can come at a cost. Download my new eBook on how to take most of the risk out of developing apps.

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