The Biz of Apps

I finally wrote an article that’s related to technology. You can read about it in the September 2010 issue of my online magazine (or e-zine if you prefer). Here are some excerpts:

It all started when a friend asked me, “Hey dude, you’re a programmer. Why don’t you create an iPhone app and sell it?” Something in my gut already told me it’s not a worthwhile investment of effort at that point in time. I trust my intuition a lot; it saves a lot of brain cycles spent deciding.

I wrote specifically about iPhone/iPad apps, but the concepts can be transplanted to other mobile devices. The app business appears to be increasingly lucrative, particularly when Apple is making their iPod/iPhone/iPad so attractive as a consumer device. It is popular because the mobile device (not just those from Apple) is ubiquitous. Practically everyone who has disposable income (and even those without…) has a mobile phone (is the word “mobile” even needed? Some of these Generation Y people (no offense if you’re one) might not even know what a dial-tone telephone is). And that is a lot of round brackets…

I explained some of the decisions I made for not developing an iPhone app. Here’s a terrible reason:

Developers wait an average of 4.78 days for app approval

Other (mobile) (phone) app markets probably have a quicker approval period.

I gave some suggestions for leveraging that app you have, because if you’re selling it at 99 cents per user, you’re not going to retire at the ripe old age of 23, lounge at the beach recliner staring at the softly lapping waves and sip piña coladas. I’m just saying… And raising the price is not the answer (not in the long term anyway).

With an investment of US$ 999 for the MacBook, and a yearly subscription of US$ 99, I’m out by US$ 1098. If I’m selling a 99 cent app, I need 1585 downloads to break even (remember that Apple takes a 30% cut). And then I need 143 downloads every year thereafter to break even for the yearly subscription cost. I will need to continue creating apps to alleviate that. And I’m not even making a profit, just trying to break even.

You can read the whole article in my magazine Singularity.

P.S. I don’t write a lot of technology articles because I’m not really interested in the latest gadgets and technology advancements. Another reason is I’m only one person, keeping up with all that there is, is tiring. I just feel my time can be put to a better use. That said, I will write them if they’re still relevant when Time washes a few months on the “latest and greatest”.