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This topic is geared toward marketers and product managers who are thinking of building an iPhone app for the first time. Should you build an iPhone app? How do you find out what your competitors have built? How do you find good developers and market your app? And how do you measure impact of your brand's app?
First step is really to understand what you want to build. Even if you don't know how to program, as a power iPhone user you know a lot about what an iPhone application should look like, so mock one up. There are lots of free templates on the net that will help you.
Next is to really understand your business model — who will buy your app, how much will they pay and what will they expect for free, etc.
With both of these in hand, you'll find it a lot easer to find an iPhone programmer. Most iPhone programmers are already swamped with work, or have lots of side projects of their own that they are deferring. If you can show them something that is well defined and interesting, they are more likely to be persuaded to work on your idea.
Thanks - great advice. Where can I find the best free templates?
Depends on what your preferred tool is:
Keynote or Powerpoint: http://mockapp.com/
Pencil & Steel Stencil: http://www.uistencils.com/
I highly recommend checking out an iPhone Studio: http://pragmaticstudio.com/iphone/ or the related book: http://pragprog.com/titles/amiphd/iphone-sdk-development
Both are excellent resources on the development side.
I've done a small bit of research and it appears one must have a Mac in order to build iphone apps.....can you verify? When I'm not on Vista64 , I'm on Ubuntu and won't be converting to Mac anytime soon.
Totally true. Xcode has only been released for macs.
It is best to use a MAC from what I have found, although not necessary. I've also done some research and development on a program you can buy that makes this process simple.
Hope this helps, dude.
Another important part of building your mobile app is building in a business model. Why will people want to own your app? Will it be free or paid? How will I promote my app? Asking yourself these questions as you're writing the code can help you increase your profits when it's time to sell it.
Wow, real bummer about only being able to do this on macs, only because this information would be fantastic for nonprofits that want to build apps for their cause.... and let's face it, not all nonprofits have macs, or even very good computers. I suppose though that many nonprofits may only need to mock up and not build. Thanks for the advice folks.
Thanks for the great thread. I've not yet dipped my toe into coding apps, but I'm interested in it and want a place to start. These templates look like a good entry point. Anyone have any opinions on these app making companies, can't recall the names, but they were popular at SXSW this year...they are sort of automated app making site that don't vary too much in appearance but make it easy for a blog or a business to create an app.
Yes, I have considered my own app, and maybe I'll do it when I have a more thriving business. I'd like to have people allowed access to a better-looking calendar and the ability to purchase classes, passes, and workshops right from the calendar and a link to my blog and articles pages on my current website. I know there are some services which do this, and I am thinking of a couple blog/apps that I read which have been created using these tools.
Interesting points special re the templates. I think Apple is cracking down on apps that should really be a web-app, ie., apps that are just packaging RSS feeds or image galleries, so think if you're looking at using one of the "app-packaging" services, make sure it is more than just an RSS wrapper.
A few suggestions I'd give regarding working with developers:
a) Agree that the clearer outline you can present, the better response you'll get.
b) Sort out all contractual stuff before you get started (not the night you're submitting the app to apple as we did first time round!)
c) If you're tossing up between getting an income stream via a pricepoint or advertising, bear in mind your app will need to be especially popular to garner much income via ads.
d) If you're selling it, picking the right price is really difficult and might take a while to get right. Look at what comparable apps are selling for.
e) If you decide to go with a zero pricepoint, expect more negative reviews than if you're selling it.
I'm new to iPhone/iPad/iOS as well, although I just work on the game design and art end. I found that one huge challenge getting started with CRAZY SHAPES! (the app) was that the scope kept creeping higher, sometimes at what seemed to be a geometric rate. I produced /much/ more digital vector art than for any independent project prior. As I result, I got a lot better.
Point being: as with anything new, be prepared for the scope of the work for this to roll out before you like a long hallway carpet ... seemingly endlessly ...
I’ve got to say, living in an iPhone world is great. I have an awesome phone, an even better iPod, and web browsing in Safari is the best on any mobile phone. Everything I mentioned is the default on all iPhone’s. These services are great, but I really want a phone that can do it all, and do it well. Thanks for sharing.
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If you are starting to build an application that you want to launch on the market, you might also want to read something about EMI Encore Marketing. This piece of information can only help you with your chosen path.
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