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Excerpt: Create iPhone Apps That Rock: A Guide for Non-Technical Folks
 

Excerpt: Create iPhone Apps That Rock: A Guide for Non-Technical Folks

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An excerpt. Create iPhone Apps That Rock: A Guide for Non-Technical Folks is considered the best iPhone app development guide available. It’s packed with current tips, resources and insider ...

An excerpt. Create iPhone Apps That Rock: A Guide for Non-Technical Folks is considered the best iPhone app development guide available. It’s packed with current tips, resources and insider information on everything from how to find developers to how to market iPhone apps. This book is for anyone who doesn’t want to learn to code but does want to make her app idea a reality.

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    Excerpt: Create iPhone Apps That Rock: A Guide for Non-Technical Folks Excerpt: Create iPhone Apps That Rock: A Guide for Non-Technical Folks Document Transcript

    • Create iPhone Apps that Rock: A Guide for Non-Technical FolksAll Rights Reserved © 2011 by Alicia MorgaFor more information visit: www.aliciamorga.comCover art by: Kyle T. WebsterFor more information visit: www.kyletwebster.comAll rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by an electronic ormechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission inwriting, except by a reviewer who may quote a brief passage in a review.
    • Table of ContentsIntroductionMobile Apps 101  What the heck is an app?  Why build an app?  Who can build an app?Choosing a Mobile Platform for Your App  The Platforms  Why choose Apple?  iPhone vs. iPad  Web services Step OneChapter 1 - Planning Your iPhone App  Why planning is essential  Where and how to beginChapter 2 - Market Research for Your iPhone Apps  Who is your audience?  Competitive analysis  Creating a competitive matrixChapter 3 - Picking a Name for Your iPhone App  Searching for available domains  Trademark search  Reserving your nameChapter 4 - Choosing the Best iPhone App Category  Doing category research  Primary vs. secondary categoriesChapter 5 - Pricing for the iTunes App Store  To charge or not to charge  iAds and Ad Sponsored  Referral sales  Paid apps  How pricing affects app designChapter 6 - Initial Plan for iPhone App Design  Understanding your value proposition  Design research  Must haves vs. nice-to-havesChapter 7 – RFP: Request for Proposal for App Development  What’s an RFP?  The initial design flow
    • Step TwoChapter 8 - Hiring Your Team  Recruiting who you want and need  Finding your mobile app developer  Finding your designer  Before you send your RFP  Getting estimates/proposals Step ThreeChapter 9 – iPhone App Design  Getting started with your designer  Creating your icon  Selecting fonts and other design elementsChapter 10 - iPhone App Development  Getting started with your developer  Ready to build  Test buildsChapter 11 – iPhone App Testing  Ad hoc file installation  Source code file installation  App installation Step FourChapter 12 - Submitting Your App  Signing your Apple contract and moving forward  Your app description  Screenshots  Other languages  SubmittingChapter 13 – After App Approval  When is it available?  Using promo codes Step FiveChapter 14 – Before You Begin Marketing  Figuring out your marketing budget  Your marketing materials  Tracking your marketing efforts  RankingsChapter 15 – Marketing your iPhone App  Free methods  Paid methods  What I’ve learned
    • IntroductionWho the heck am I and why am I qualified to teach you about developing iPhone apps? Thoseare good questions. I am a technology entrepreneur. I founded and ran a technology companythat was backed by two prestigious venture capital firms in Silicon Valley – the Mayfield Fundand Sutter Hill Ventures. In the grand scheme of things, this means nothing. What is surprisingabout it is that I don’t have a technology background. I am not, nor have I ever been, a computerscience major or engineer.What I am is a person with ideas and the chutzpah to make them happen. My defining trait isthat I don’t believe there is anything I can’t learn and as a result, I’ve taught myself how to do anumber of things, including build an iPhone application.In fact, I created the iPhone application, gottaFeeling. It’s an application to help users identify,express and track their emotions. I had never built a mobile phone application before and Ididn’t even own an iPhone when I started, but I wanted to figure it out and create the applicationfor myself and others.So if I can build an application, you can, too. You don’t have to be “technical” to make ithappen. All you need is a desire and a willingness to make it happen. You have that right?If so, this guide will help you think through all the major issues before you jump in. I,fortunately or unfortunately, have a tendency to jump in, sometimes without looking, so whatfollows are lessons I learned in the trenches. I made a lot of mistakes so you don’t have to(which, frankly, makes me feel a bit better about them).There are a lot of resources out there to help you think through mobile application development,but I want this to be a starting point. It will give you an overview and introduce you to thevocabulary. As I like to say, the first thing to learn when learning something new is thevocabulary. People (especially engineers) can make things seem a lot more difficult than theyare by using fancy words. I am going to try and keep as much jargon out of this as I can whilestill giving you a sense of the language you will encounter. To that end, I’m going to abbreviatethe word “application” to “app.” You’ll see. Plus, there is a glossary at the back that you canturn to at any point if you encounter a strange word.Finally, I’m excited to hear about what this book inspires you to create, so be sure to let meknow, and of course, do send me your feedback. You can find me on my personal blog:www.AliciaMorga.com or on Twitter @AliciaMorga. Okay, let’s get started!
    • Mobile Apps 101So you have a great idea for a mobile app, but you’re not technical. No worries. You candevelop a mobile app and it’s not as difficult as it might seem. Let’s start at the beginning.What the heck is an app?App is an abbreviation for the word “application”. An application refers to software or saidanother way a piece of software code. Code in this case refers to a set of instructions. Theseinstructions tell a computer or a device, like your mobile phone, what a person wants done.People who write code are called programmers or developers. Code can be written in a varietyof languages. Languages in the context of software programming or development refer to howthe code is written. Most iPhone app developers use the Objective-C language.An app typically refers to an application for a mobile phone, but it can also be used to describesoftware on the web or what is called a “web app.” In this guide we’re focused on mobile apps.These are programs that get your phone to operate in a desired manner.Why would you want to build one?Why not? Well, actually, there are lots of good reasons. You may want to build an app to helpserve a function that you or people, in general, need – like an app that acts like a stopwatch. Youmay want to build an app that entertains people – like an app that allows you to draw stickfigures on your phone. There are many motivations, but people build apps to fulfill needs anddesires of mobile phone users - which today means almost everyone.Who builds apps?Anyone can, but there are programmers or developers who are trained or experienced in creatingmobile phone apps. You can get training yourself by learning computer science or engineering,or even just taking a class in mobile app development. For the super motivated there are onlineclasses in mobile phone app development that will teach you how to code, like those offered byUdemy.Don’t have the time or desire to learn to code? Then this guide is for you.
    • Choosing a Mobile Platform for Your AppWhere to start? Choose a platform. What’s a platform? A platform in this context refers to theoperating system (OS) of a mobile phone. An operating system is basically a program that runson the phone and manages the resources of the phone. The OS talks to both the hardware of thephone and the software of the phone – your app.You can think of a mobile OS as similar to the OS you use on your computer. For example,Windows. Mobile operating systems do the same thing as Windows but on mobile phones.Your choice of platform is important. What you build for the iPhone will not work automaticallyon an Android phone and vice versa. This guide assumes you want to build a custom iPhoneapp. That means you will be creating an app on the Apple OS (iOS). Still, it helps tounderstand the landscape, so let’s go over the other platforms.The PlatformsThere are a few different mobile operating systems and the majority of smartphones (mobilephones that can run apps) utilize three major operating systems: iOS (owned by Apple), Android(developed by Google), and Blackberry (owned by RIM).Different phones have different operating systems and features. Your choice of platform willdepend in some part on what kind of phone you want your app to run on. Meaning, do you wantto make your mobile app available on Apple’s iPhones/iPads/iTouches, on Android phones, onBlackberry phones or all of the above?At the end of 2010, the Blackberry OS made up approximately 40% of the mobile market. Inother words, if you sampled 100 people, 40 of them would have Blackberry phones. Apple hasabout 25% of the mobile phone market and Android has about 20%. So looking at thosenumbers you might conclude that you should develop for the largest share of the mobile phonemarket or the Blackberry platform. Unfortunately, it’s not that straight-forward. There are anumber of upsides and downsides to developing for each.Blackberry, Android, Apple - advantages and limitations of eachThe Blackberry phone, while used by many, is a difficult platform to build apps for because thereare so many different models of Blackberry phones from different manufacturers. Whendesigning a Blackberry app, your developer will have to take into account a number of differentpossible set ups. It can get messy fast. That being said, there are very few Blackberry apps andtherefore it’s possible to stand out even more in the Blackberry market. That is – if you’rewilling to put in the hard work.The Android platform was created by Google and is utilized on a number of different phones.The platform also utilizes programming languages that many engineers and developers alreadyknow. Android, though, also suffers from the same problem as the Blackberry platform. Thereare so many different manufacturers of phones that run Android and so many different models ofphones per manufacturer, developing an Android app that will show up in the same way on allAndroid phones is not an easy task.
    • To give you a sense, the developer of the popular mobile game Angry Birds published a list ofthose Android phones on which the Angry Bird app did not work:Droid ErisHTC DreamHTC Hero/T-Mobile G2 TouchHTC Magic/Sapphire/Mytouch 3GHTC TattooHTC WildfireHuawei Ideos/U8150LG Ally/Aloha/VS740LG GW620/EveMotorola Backflip/MB300Motorola Cliq/DextSamsung AcclaimSamsung Moment/M900Samsung Spica/i5700Samsung TransformSony Ericsson Xperia X10 miniT-Mobile G1This is not a list of all Android phones, just those the Angry Bird developers couldn’t get theirapp working on. The list demonstrates just how complex this can be.The golden rule used to be to develop first on Apple, then Android and then other platformslater. That rule is changing now thanks to the growing prominence of the Android app market.The Android Market allows developers to post their apps without approval and Google currentlydoes not take a cut of the revenue that the app may generate. While detractors say that Androidusers are not as willing to pay for their apps and therefore the revenue potential is not as great,the limited number of quality Android apps presents a possible opportunity to stand out andgarner lots of downloads.So that leaves us with the Apple platform. It is not without its downsides. Apple must approveyour app before it is allowed in the iTunes app store, there are hundreds of thousands of appsavailable for download in the store making it more and more difficult to stand out, and Appletakes a large chunk (30% to be exact) of any revenues your iPhone app might generate. Thataside, there are a number of reasons to choose the Apple platform as the jumping off point foryour app development journey.Why choose iPhone for your app?The upside of developing an app for the Apple platform is Apple offers clear guidelines onwhich apps they will accept. As a result, every app you find in the iTunes app store has gonethrough a review process and are therefore considered higher quality overall. Moreover, eventhough Apple only has 25% of the market, it generates the most revenues in apps (75% of itsapps are paid, as opposed to only 40% of the apps you can find in the Android Market), Apple isavailable in more countries, and is the most active app community out there today.
    • iPhone vs. iPad - A word about the iPadMost apps built for an iPhone are also usable on an iTouch without having to alter the code andyou can safely assume when the term iPhone is used in this guide it also goes for the iTouch.This is not true for the iPad.Not all apps made for the iPhone will work on an iPad. The main difference is the space the iPadprovides to view your app. The design dimensions will differ and this could very much affect auser’s experience of your app. Also, because the iPad has a larger screen an app madespecifically for the iPad can do things that the much smaller screen of the iPhone might not do aswell. It’s important to remember, however, that the number of iPad owners lags behind thenumber of iPhone owners. If you’re interested in creating an app that works on both an iPhoneand iPad, or only for the iPad, you should look into requirements for the iPad platform beforebeginning.This guide will give you a good sense about what you might have to think about in the planningstages to fit both devices, but will focus on the iPhone development requirements.Web services that create mobile appsThere are now web services available that will create mobile phone apps for you. Thesecompanies offer users the ability to create their own template mobile app for use on severalplatforms. This sounds great until you look more closely. These services create very cookie-cutter apps with limited features and capabilities. If your goal is to make your blog more easilyreadable on a mobile phone, one of these services is a good way to do it. But if you want tocreate something new and different, you’ll want to create what is called a “native app,” and that’swhat this guide is for.Note: most of these web services cannot guarantee app store approval by either Apple or theAndroid store. In fact, Apple has bumped heads with a few of these companies in an effort tocontrol the quality in the iTunes app store.Still, it never hurts to check out your options. If anything, it can help you clarify why you wantto build an app and for what. Here are a few web services you can check out:Yapper – anywhere from $99 to $350 per app and any customization requires hiring theirengineers for $100 an hour; only creates content apps (this means they create a simple app thatgrabs content from your website or blog via an RSS feed and puts it in app form)Biznessapps - $39 a month subscription fee and is geared to small businesses like gyms and barswith industry specific templatesMyappbuilder - $29 a month subscription fee and is geared to turning content into apps, like yourTwitter streamSwebapps - $399 one-time development fee and a $29 a month required hosting fee for the basicpackage; they are focused on content owners but seem to have more features, including mapsiSites – $99 a month; they target bloggers who want to turn their blogs into apps
    • Mobbase – $250 one-time activation fee and a minimum of $15 a month for a limited number ofinstalls – meaning the total number of people who have downloaded your app; the company istargeting music bandsMobiflex – charges $99 to publish in the Apple or Android stores, plus monthly fees of $10 to$199 depending on the type of app you buildAppmakr- it’s free and mainly geared toward content owners, but is a bit on the complex side.Note: users who want to build iPhone apps using the Appmakr service need to already have anApple IDIt’s important to understand that your website or blog can be made to look like an app but notactually be an app – meaning it’s available in the Apple or Android stores. Programmers do thisby making a mobile version of your site or said another way, making your site more easilyreadable when accessed by a mobile phone.Be warned, though, that unless someone’s creating a “native app” for you, it won’t be in theiTunes app store. So tread carefully if you work with one of these companies that build mobileapps over the web, and make sure you’re clear about what you’re buying.Finally, I have no doubt that more services like these will come onto the scene, but they willalways be somewhat limited in what types of apps they can produce because they will have tocater to the masses. When you build a native app, you can make it your own. You can create aniPhone app that rocks.You can buy this ebook in its entirety for only $2.99 at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
    • About the AuthorAlicia Morga is a successful venture-backed Silicon Valley entrepreneur. After selling her firstcompany she began tinkering with mobile phones and created the iPhone app gottaFeeling.Formerly, Alicia was the founder and CEO of Consorte Media, a digital media company focusedon the Hispanic market and funded by The Mayfield Fund and Sutter Hill Ventures. ConsorteMedia was acquired by Audience Science in April 2010.Consorte Media worked with advertisers such as Best Buy and Ford to help them reachHispanics online via integrated, innovative advertising campaigns spanning display, search,direct marketing, mobile, social networks, video and email. Consorte Media was ranked #4 in theFast Company Readers Choice Awards, was named an AlwaysOn Global 250 winner, and was afinalist for “Best New Company” in the American Business Awards.Prior to founding Consorte Media, Alicia was an investment professional focused on ventureopportunities in the technology sector for The Carlyle Group’s U.S. Venture Fund. She alsoworked at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, where she focused on early-stage softwareinvestments. While at Hummer Winblad, Alicia served as VP of Operations for Napster andCEO of venture fund Zero Gravity Internet Group. Alicia has served on the boards of technologycompanies such as Ingenio, Ventaso, Secure Elements, Archetype-Solutions, Applied Semantics,Menerva Technologies and Discovercast. Alicia has also been a corporate attorney for WilsonSonsini Goodrich & Rosati. She started her career as an investment banker at Goldman, Sachs &Co. Alicia holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a B.A. from Stanford University.With her insightful perspective on interactive advertising, Alicia is a sought-after speaker atindustry events. She has spoken at SES New York, SES Toronto, SES San Jose, Ad:Tech Miami,Hispanic Retail 360, Multicultural Marketing Expo, The National Association of HispanicPublishers Conference, Digital Hollywood Building Blocks and Digital Hollywood CES.In 2011, she was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2009 shewas named one of the Most Influential Women in Technology by Fast Company and in 2008 wasnamed one of the 10 Most Influential Latinos of Silicon Valley by the Mexican AmericanCommunity Services Agency. She was also profiled in the February 2008 issue of Inc.Magazine and in the March 2008 issue of Fast Company. She was featured as one of thecountry’s top 20 under 40 in the August 2008 issue of Poder Magazine, and profiled as atechnology pioneer in the December 2008 issue of Hispanic Business Magazine.Alicia was also featured in the book: “Building the Latino Future: Success Stories for the NextGeneration”, published by Wiley and Sons. In addition, she regularly contributes essays to TheHuffington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and articles on online marketing to Adotas, DMNews, and MediaPost. She also writes a regular column on leadership for Fast Company.This guide is meant to help others like her who have an idea, and want to make it a reality.