There is usually a scale of ease-of-use for any new technology. What starts off as uber-techie-only territory ends up as auto-generated fluff for anyone to use.
In the 1950′s you needed to have a full-time staff computer scientist to create programs to automate relatively simple calculations. By the early 1980′s you could hold that power in your handle with a Radio Shack programmable calculator running Basic (programming language). I know, because I used one, and held the future.
Now, the iPhone app is one of those technologies heading down the uber-techie curve. Two years ago it was hard, now it is easier, and by the end of next year it will be commonplace to have an iPhone application for your hobby, your organization, your home business, and of course your larger employers & businesses.
Here are some ways that seem worth looking into if you can’t wait for the super-easy point-and-publish iPhone app-maker of 2010 & 2011.
Free-mium Model – RSS
Pointabout – offers a beta RSS publishing-to-iPhone-app option on their Appmakr.com website (I’ve met the people behind this site). There is a paid option to publish the feed, starting at $50. It’s as close to free as seen so far, as you can create a demo version and view what it will look like on an iPhone and an Android phone.
Cheap Subscription Model
Pay $29 a month (plus one-time $20 per app submission fee) and you can create unlimited apps with MyAppBuilder. They offer the following types of apps, with more likely to come:
- Video / Rich Media / Content Apps
- Audio Books
- Comic Books
One of the ways they make money in their business model, in addition to the low monthly fee, is via a revenue-sharing of 30% of the monthly app revenue. You make money, and they make money, and from the looks of the terms, you can always host it yourself if you’re making a ton of cash.
Another option from Unity Mobile has $79 per month with more features, such as SMS, mobile analytics, and mobile payment solutions.
Cheap Useful Online App Makers
Swebapps – promoted as “the easy way to build your app”, they have a variable-by-complexity one-time setup fee, along with a $25/month subscription model, with $10/month for analytics (useful to have for many). The target customer appears to be businesses, organizations, and individuals who want an app that is the equivalent of a micro-website that can be used offline. You can read more in this Time article on them.
(Update - another online app builder surfaced: AppBreeder).
(Update #2 – MobileAppLoader allows uploading mobile app content via their online wizard, and offer a pay once and also a pay + subscription option).
Low-Priced Offline Do-It-Yourself Software
Don’t have a Mac to develop on – or couldn’t develop if you tried?
The folks at AppWizard have you pegged. For $395 (intro price showing today of $189.95) you can get software that makes basic apps and submits them to the Apple approval folks.
A seemingly more technical approach is that by Clickware’s Servoy promise to make an iPhone app without code.
Developing Apps Yourself
For the techies, besides the official iPhone dev center, you can read helpful posts such as this one to create iPhone development platforms in which to then build & publish your apps. Just also learn how to not create iPhone apps that suck.
Books and Courses
The number of iPhone books listed for future release at Amazon.com is large. And some are already out, along with ebooks from this one focusing on income potential to this more detailed iPhone development book.
No doubt an actual magazine for PDA or iPhone app developers is in the works if not already on store shelves.
And there are videos such as this one below on how to create iPhone apps, with more from YouTube users such as HDiPhone.
And for another technical view, the embed below is about building an iPhone app in one month:
Know of other cheap ways to get your own idea turned into an iPhone app? If you do, or if this post helped you, post it in the comments.