Update: 01/10/2012: The original version of this article by Jen Gordon was published in August 2009. It was thoroughly revised and updated by the author in September 2012. — Editorial Team
Since the iTunes App Store launched in 2008, over 500,000 apps have been approved by Apple, and thousands more app ideas are scrawled on napkins across the world every day. But question remains, how can a person with limited technical skills create an iPhone app?
The good news is anyone can make an iPhone app, it’s just a matter of knowing the series of actions you need to take to make it happen. Be sure to bookmark this article because it will serve as a guide for learning the process for creating your first iPhone app, going step by step from idea to the App Store.
What Is Your Goal?
The first thing to look at when embarking on any product development or entrepreneurial venture is your goals for the project. Having a vision of what you want to achieve at the outset is an important barometer that will confirm whether the development process is heading in the right direction.
Let’s look at an example. Jim is an “idea person” who wants to create an app that brings in passive income but that doesn’t require him to quit his day job. Jim understands that to achieve this goal, he will need to employ others who can do the work of updating the app, fielding customer questions, responding to feature requests, etc. If Jim hadn’t defined this goal in advance, it’s likely that he:
- would not have planned in advance to hire help,
- would be unhappy with the time commitment required for him to take on the work personally.
Whether you’re an individual like Jim, a marketing director, or an IT professional creating apps for internal use, having a project goal will help make your app development process a success.
Here are some examples of project goals:
- Create an app that doesn’t require hands-on day-to-day management.
- Create an app that becomes a full-time business for me and a team.
- Create an app that promotes my existing product or service.
- Create an app that is purely for fun and not for profit.
Action item: Write down the goal you hope to achieve by creating this app.
What Are Your Expectations?
When I consult with people who have ideas for iPhone and iPad apps, the question they most frequently ask is, “How much can I expect to make?” Unfortunately, this is difficult to answer. The following factors are unique for each application:
- Cost to produce,
- People responsible for managing its success.
All of these factors contribute to the financial success of your app. Base your expectations on this knowledge and on the documented proof that a wide variety of people are making profitable apps every day:
- Non-technical “idea people” and entrepreneurs such as the Gabi3 founders;
- Independent developers such as Lima Sky4 and Driftlab5;
- Educators such as Montessorium6;
- Writers such as Sarah Young7;
- Mid-size entertainment companies such as Electronic Arts8 and Zynga9;
- Large sports and entertainment companies such as MLB10 and Disney11.
Realistic revenue projections will be different for each app, but here’s an example:
ABC application will show a profit of 10% in the first 60 days after launch, based on the success of XYZ application, which has a similar user base and functionality.
Individuals and companies alike are creating apps to solve problems and to entertain, and yet the process of making apps is still cloaked in mystery. Next, we’ll look at what goes on behind the scenes of an app’s creation and give you a step-by-step process for making your own idea a reality.
- 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/create-first-iphone-app.jpg
- 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/define-a-goal.png
- 3 http://www.gogogabi.com/
- 4 http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fus%2Fartist%2Flima-sky%2Fid285874818&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNHNfDb27tSOpnFjAP8GXG9S_SzGzg
- 5 http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/driftlab-inc./id405957092
- 6 http://montessorium.com/
- 7 http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jesus-calling-devotional-by/id444553118?mt=8
- 8 http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/electronic-arts/id284800461?mt=8
- 9 http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/zynga/id295913422?mt=8
- 10 http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/mlb.com/id281969992
- 11 http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/disney/id284888248?mt=8