Development for iPhone apps deals with the programming side of the process. With most projects, an app development firm is going to roll up the design into the entire project since it’s a bear to try and piecemeal images into an app unless you build the whole thing dynamic and through XML via online databases (read – edit images externally vs. housed inside the app). One thing to note is that these costs can vary depending on what devices you are developing for. Make sure you ask your developer what you are developing for – basic iPhone, iPhone 4, iPad or all of the above. I’ll see what I can do break out typical development costs for different example projects.
- Simple, table-based app – $1,000-4,000 – you provide all the content, clear direction, and example apps of what you want it to do. If you know your way around Photoshop, you can probably supply the graphics which will cap this project at $1,500. The additional costs are when you want to GPS locators, Social media integration or bells and whistles like that.
- Database App (native) – $8,000-$50,000 – Again, you provide every piece of content, image, writing, sound, etc. The cost is going to come from creating the logic within the app and architecting all the usability and/or gameplay. The content will usually be dropped in and then parsed accordingly. These projects tend to be front heavy since the data is what’s driving the entire game and the framework is so important.
Games – $10,000-$250,000 – The hardest to ballpark. As a benchmark – I’ve heard Angry Birds cost anywhere from $125K-$180K to develop (although they were pioneers). Talking to some developers who are into the hardcore game source code (render, sound, maths, physics, etc.additional), many of the racing games will that use the gyroscope will be $125,000 without even blinking – and that’s just for the code. Even if you try to keep it hyper simple, games get complicated quickly. Hooking into game center, having top scores, and integrating with an online community can be tricky. The benefit of a game is that they download in much greater number. As a marketer, there is nothing more viral than a fun game, which is something to keep in mind for your ROI. Ask yourself: how much do I need to spend to make a “fun” game? That’s only something you can answer.
■ Additional Includes – See below – here’re some quick other functions you may want to add into your current app:
- In-App Purchasing – $1,000-$3,000 – this allows for users to buy new content or full versions of the apps. The cost spread comes from the amount of in-app purchasing, the complexity, and whether or not you build it all into the first app or if you are doing it from a server.
- Web Services – $1,000-$5,000 – This is taking the content to a remote access point so that you can update your app with an XML files instead of raw code changes. The degree to what you need varies but I would recommend having this conversation with your developer before getting too deep – it can save you HUGE headaches down the road.
- Game Center – $1,000 – Apple’s done a good job at making this integration easy with the SDK. As long as you keep the numbers clean, you should be able to integrate easily.
- Share Capabilities – $500-$1,500 – This is mostly for social media (twitter, facebook) and emailing, but there can be other integrations. WordPress websites, for example, may be one. Lots of options and most of these platforms have robust APIs to make it work well.
- iPhone only (usually the base line is not done for the retina display, as seen in the iPhone 4 as they require higher resolution files) – $500-10,000 – This will get you a base level design that you can send over to the developer who will be able to add these images into the code. HELPFUL TIP: ask the developer what they want the files named and do that for them before sending. It will save you both lots of time and headaches.
- iPhone 4 Compatible – Add 25% to above cost – these images will be sized at 960 x 640px height (twice the 480×320 for the regular iPhone)
- iPad – Add 50% to above cost – this is assuming that the layout is very similar and user flow is also similar. In many cases you will have to create alternate functionality to accommodate for the iPad size and speed, which requires new designs.
The icons should be included in this entire package and you can probably ask for screen shots if you want to have some that are better than doing a simple screen grab of your phone. I’ll say it again – don’t skimp on design….you’ll have a MUCH harder time making your money back.
The only other cost is going to be the $99 that Apple charges you to be a developer. They will also take 30% of everything you make, so if you’re selling an app for $0.99, you’re only going to get paid $0.70.
Apple pays you every month and will do a direct deposit to your bank account. They have detailed financial reports so that you can see what countries made the most money. This will all be rolled up for paid apps, in-app purchases, and iAds revenue into one payment, but can be broken down you wish.
Getting a piece of software (I use AppViz) that helps you analyze the data can be very helpful.