Apple iApplication how to build and sell Primer
By Shirish Ranjit
First and foremost that you MUST have a Mac to develop application for Apple products. Also, at the time of this writing (March 2009), you must have most recent Mac (Intel based Mac) and Mac OS (Leopard 10.5.x) for develop for iPhone. These are two major requirements for to be an iPhone developer.
Having prefaced with a requirement for developing applications for Apple products, there are ways to make your G5 and older powerful Macs work for you for your development effort. But Apple really wants us to develop on Intel based machine as the Apple hardware are moving towards that direction. This was easier decision for Apple so that applications are high quality that works well with Apple machines (devices).
Basic Need for development
If you are to start developing an application – say – iPhone, then you need following:
- a Mac (preferably Intel base new one)
- Mac OS 10.5.x (If you are on Intel based you may have 10.4.x but needs to be upgraded)
- Xcode development environment.
- iPhone SDK
- a login to Apple Developer Center
Apple has done a fantastic job of creating an integrated development environment Xcode. Xcode is the only IDE you need for developing applications for Mac OS based machine. Apple claims that the Xcode IDE is the only IDE Apple developers use for their development environment. Xcode is highly customized for development for applications for Mac. It is fairly integrated environment for develop, test, simulate right on your development environment. There are a lot of documents and videos that describe the process and architecture of the Mac/iPhone product at the developer center site at http://developer.apple.com/iphone/index.action. You do need a login to view the information. This is your apple id but for this login you do not need to provide credit card as the iTune store does.
Now you have access to the documentations and how-to of developing applications for the Apple devices. Also you have done your work and developed the killer application. So, how do I get the application to the consumers.
[For a developer primer, please refer to iPhone Developer Primer]
Distribution of application
The Apple site has a page dedicated on “How to distribute” at
The only way you can reach the Apple users market is through iTune store and there is no other way to reach that mass market (the unlocked iPhone market is too small of market). There is a cover charge that you must pay to Apple to have your application in the iTune. If you are making commercial application (and not in-house, corporate enterprise application), you’d need the standard developer program of $99/year. If you are corporate enterprise, then you need enterprise program and you pay 299/year. Here’s the link to get you started: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/program/apply.html
The process of getting into the program is to file an application with Apple first, then wait for their approval. The process is very simple. The form ask if you want to apply as an individual or as a company. Then, it ask for Standard or Enterprise program. Once you fill out all the details of contact, off goes your application. Apple is quick to response and follow up on your application for the program.
Once you are in the program, you are in into the world of apple. You can put your application as free or price from 0 to $999. Apple does take a cut from you. The sale is divided 70/30 rule, Apple keeping 30% for upkeep and maintenance of the iTune store and managing your data. So Apple manages all the e-commerce work for you. All you need to do is to go out and make known that you have the greatest application ever built and that everybody must buy or must try if you are giving away.
Pricing of Mobile Application
There is no standard way to price a mobile application, as a matter of fact any application. One can try using various pricing scheme to find the pricing that consumers are most willing to pay. There is consensus that the mobile application shall be priced between $5 – $20. Note worthy price points are 9.99 and 14.99 for some interesting applications.
Apple also controls what is going to be on the mobile device. This article is very good on how they are controlling the applications on phone to protect their interest in the market place.
This is a blog on what you should worry before you write an apple application. There are interesting points but you must adhere by Apples rule of application development and also not building an application that Apple already has. Remember Apple is protecting its turf by controlling what goes into the phone. This is a hallmark of Apple culture. If you can adhere to their culture and play with their rules than you are in gold mine.
Following is the blog at the Oreilly site that talks about the pricing of the application and bit of marketing of your application.
Time talks about best selling iPhone application.
Mobile News center.
Interesting iPhone blogging site: