Building an iOS app can be a daunting task for any business due to the heavy investment required not only in building it but also publicizing and marketing it. Many businesses get caught up in thinking about the revenue potential whilst ignoring the amount of work required to research the audience, test their idea’s validity, and get the right partnerships to bring the app to life.
In this article, we answer the top iOS Mobile App Development Questions.
How Competitive is the iOS Mobile landscape?
If you are thinking about building an app to solve a specific problem, chances are that a similar app already exists. While this may sound tough, it is true. There are over 2 million apps listed on the official App Store. The number of apps listed in 2022 grew by 21% from the previous year, meaning that this is not about to slow down.
Before investing in an iOS mobile app project, it is important to validate the idea. In most projects, the goal will be to put out something better than what the market has to offer. You will need to analyze on a spreadsheet how each competitor’s app monetizes, what they do well, and what the main complaints are. Your minimum viable product must be at least as good as what the market is offering, or else you risk not gaining enough traction to break even.
What Do the Numbers Say on Profitability?
Statistically, only a handful of apps built turn a profit. 70% of all apps struggle to reach 1000 downloads. A further 17% of apps fail to maintain 1000 active users. The lack of user retention is another often-cited reason for the failure of apps.
These numbers back up the thesis that a lot of research needs to go into the product development phase to develop a minimum viable product on paper before writing the first line of code.
How Should You Validate Your iOS App Idea?
Given these numbers, it makes sense why you must invest considerable time in validating your app idea.
The first approach to take would be to conduct a proof-of-concept test. This looks at the idea from a technical standpoint and answers the question of whether something can be built. Some of the constraints that would prevent it from being built would include the lack of expertise, tech tools, and financial resources.
With a proof of concept done, you can then think about a prototype, which is a representation of how the app will look and feel. You can use it to collect thoughts on the UI from your potential customers. With the feedback, you should make changes to fix critical design issues.
How Should You Monetize Your App?
Part of the idea validation process should be answering the question of how you intend to monetize your app.
There are at least four ways to monetize your app.
Selling the App- Some apps are sold from the onset by the publisher. For this to work, the value proposition to customers must be so clear and important that the target audience does not mind paying for the app without testing it.
Subscription Model- This approach involves allowing users to access the app for a regular fee (monthly for most apps). This model seems to work quite well for content-driven apps such as audio and visual streaming services where users keep paying to access both new and archived content.
In-App Purchases- Gaming apps tend to rely more on in-app purchases where an app is availed to users for free, but some features and merchandise are behind a paywall. This works well for apps with niche users who are willing to pay to get the full experience of the app or game.
Ads- A large majority of apps are free to use but will show ads to users to pay for themselves. These apps tend to have a premium tier that allows users to pay for an ad-free experience.
The revenue model chosen will largely depend on the industry as well as the resources available. Some apps can remain unprofitable for so long without failing simply because they are part of a big conglomerate. Such an app can take years just accumulating users before developers come up with viable monetization opportunities such as the case has been for Meta’s WhatsApp.
What Standards Does Apple Require for Publishing on App Store?
Apple holds all apps to great scrutiny before allowing them to be published on the App Store. Apple has published an App Store Review guideline on its website citing the main things the approval process considers. The most important are family friendliness (acceptable categories), the look and feel of the app, the technology used, and the functional operations.
Before publishing an app, you must pay for an Apple developer account, which costs $59 annually. It gives you access to the iOS Dev Center. Here, there are important resources such as videos and documentation to help you implement features correctly. There is an iOS Simulator to help you test how the application would run so that you can debug as you build.
These resources greatly improve the likelihood that the publishing process will run smoothly.
What Tools Are Needed?
Building an iOS mobile app requires access to and knowledge of numerous tools and technologies.
The first tool to pick will be an integrated development environment that allows developers to write and edit code, debug, and simulate features for different iOS devices. Apple recommends Xcode as the IDE to pick because it includes a set of system modules to help you initialize and configure projects correctly.
Can You Build an Ios App on Windows?
Xcode, Apple’s IDE for building and publishing iOS apps only works in a Mac operating system. Therefore, you cannot directly build an iOS Windows environment. However, you can install virtualization software such as VMWare that gives access to a virtual Mac OS environment. This might save you the upfront cost of buying Mac hardware.
Should You Build a Web, Native, or Hybrid App?
Whenever undertaking an app development project, you have the choice of building a native, web, or hybrid app.
A native iOS app runs specifically on iOS platforms. It is available on Apple’s App Store. A native app will run smoothly out of the three in terms of intuitiveness of use and user input and output. The fact that native apps are listed on official stores with proper categorization and keyword optimization greatly helps with their discoverability. In addition, an app built for use in the iOS environment will take full advantage of all features that are specific to iOS. Mobile app developers also agree that the assurance of security and device compatibility is higher in native apps.
Web apps are applications hosted on a cloud server and meant to be accessed through a browser. The web app approach is usually preferred when building simple applications that can run smoothly on any browser. They do not require the listing on official app stores and the development costs are much less.
Hybrid apps run on both iOS and Android operating systems. However, there are numerous concerns regarding web apps being slow and difficult to maintain. Despite the possibly higher upfront costs, native apps are the best bet for fast, secure, and quality apps when targeting many users.
How Much Does an iOS App Cost to Build?
The cost to build your iOS mobile app can vary vastly depending on the complexity of the project. The planning phase of the project is essential so that cost overruns do not wipe away the project ROI.
You can view your project costs in three phases: planning, development, and post-release. During planning, ensure project features directly connect with utility for users to limit the scope. Too many features could lead to a bulky app that is also expensive to build. Picking the right development team ensures timely delivery without errors. There should be room for adjustments during development without losing sight of the initial goal.
Most of the development phase costs go directly into hiring developers to write the code, test, and fix bugs. Post-release costs include marketing and maintenance of the app.
Hiring a project manager could help your business keep sight of these things. However, working with a proper app development company could help foresee potential bumps in the road and plan to avoid shocks to your budget.
What is a Product Roadmap?
Once you launch the first version of your app, the life of the app has only just begun. Once an app gets several hundred downloads, users will begin to provide feedback that should influence the decisions of the team on how to utilize the app maintenance budget. Bugs must get fixed quickly else user retention becomes extremely difficult.
A product roadmap details how you intend to improve the app. You are always likely to include just a few features in the MVP so that you get the product to the market as quickly as possible. Adding features opens new revenue opportunities but it also helps with keeping users interested. Competitor actions and the emergence of new technologies may also influence the product roadmap.
How to Find the Best Ios App Development Company
Developing an iOS mobile app is not an easy task to accomplish owing to the multiple factors to pay attention to. These include the project scope, the budget, hiring developers, developing a product roadmap, and so forth. However, once you find the right mobile app development partner, you win half the battle. Their experience is invaluable in keeping the project focused and on schedule.
If your company is planning to develop an iOS mobile app, you need to work with a reputable development company owing to the complexity of the process. At NS804, we bring a wealth of experience from building hundreds of apps for businesses in multiple industries. Our team will help you validate your app idea, build working prototypes, and finally deliver the final version of your i0S app. For more information on our app development services, book a call with our team here.