App development is always an expensive affair, wherein one puts not only time and idea, but money as well, in return of the experienced team they hire. A lot of people are curious about ‘How much does it cost to build an iPhone app?’ which shows some concern about money. However, there are a lot of factors that influence the cost of an app development. Also expensive or cheap is a subjective opinion. The only right answer to this question is, “the cost depends on why type of app you want to build and the level of expertise and experience you desire from the team who is building the app for you.”
Even after understanding the above mentioned rational if you want a ballpark estimate, then I would say that to develop a quality app with around 10 screens, with offshore development model, it should cost you around USD 20,000 if you want to launch it on one platform, either iOS or Android. If you want to get everything done in US, then this can easily cost you around USD 80,000 to 100,000. However, I would strongly advise you to understand the app development process in depth, so that you can evaluate the estimates that you will get from various app development companies.
To understand the factors which affect the cost of developing an app, you need to understand the different phases of the app development process. Before we get into the detail of the different processes of app development, let’s understand different types of apps in the market today.
The Apple App Store has approximately 24 categories of the app; which means, while developing an app you have a wide range of categories to choose from. Every category is well defined with different objectives. The cost of an app would depend on the category of app you want to develop to address your target audience. Explained below are some commonly used app categories.
The best example of the basic functionality app is calculator app. The results are instant and user gets them soon after they press ‘=’. It is easy to make an app with basic functionality with any app designer.
The cost of this app would differ based on whether you want a static or dynamic content. In static scenario, the content is built into the app, whereas for dynamic content, you have an online service that retrieves content, as required.
Gaming apps are not only high in complexity, but are also costlier when compared to other apps. In games, developer has to provide rich animated UI, which requires complex coding. Also for gaming apps, a specialist illustrator is required to create the game characters.
Even the simplest gaming app may be costlier when compared to simple apps from other categories. Gaming apps should have top scores, plug-ins of online media; which would further excite players to play more.
Apps also give you privilege to enhance already present features on your user’s smartphone; such as camera and alarm. For instance, Camera +. This allows avid photographers to touch-up their photographs before they share that on their social media platforms.
Such apps get instant popularity since most of the smartphones don’t have these additional features. There is a wide variety of such apps for users.
This app, which is quite similar to the data driven app, relies on external information. For this app, the user needs to have mobile Internet, without which the app won’t function.
For instance, PAL app, which is designed to replace the conventional process of sign-ins at work places. This app has other features like GPS tracking and alerts that are useful to the user. Few more examples are Twitter and Flipboard.
Since most of the people rely on their smartphones these days, utility apps are successful in getting attention of users worldwide. For instance, DMA app, that keeps track of bill payments and remind the user to pay the bills in due time. This way, the user doesn’t have to worry about his/her bill payments. Other utility apps could be calculator, Adobe Ideas and personal manager.
An app development is a complex process with various stages and phases. Once you have decided the kind of app you want to build, you proceed to the development process. Let us have a look at various phases of the development process, in brief.
Wireframing is the foundation of an app. It would decide the design and function of an app, thus making it a time consuming task. Being the foundation of an app this needs to be perfect and as per your requirement. The duration of the wireframing would depend on the number of screens or complexity of an app. The UX specialist, project head and you need to have multiple brainstorming sessions to decide on the design and functions of the app, in detail. After that discussion, the UX designer would design each screen with navigation and functionality.
Once the base of the app is ready, you move on to the next step: designing of the full color UI for each of the screens of the application and programming. Programming for each screen is generally broken into 2 phases. In the first phase the frontend UI functionality and user interaction is implemented, and in the second phase the backend functional logic is implemented.
Apple has laid down guidelines and expects apps to be developed adhering to them. Apps would be rejected if the developer fails to meet them.
For an app to operate, you need data. In this step you would setup the backend on cloud servers to store and retrieve data for the app. Once the server is ready, you would need server-side code that would help to implement the backend functions.
Web Services are used to expose the data stored in the backend database to the application in a secure and controlled manner. To develop these, you will need an expert developer who knows technologies like PHP, Ruby on Rails or JEE (Java Enterprise Edition)
Before the launch of the app, it needs to be tested properly. The motive of testing is to remove all bugs and issues that might be present in the app. Launching the app without testing would lead to various problems. The app should be tested on devices running all the supported versions of the operating systems; that are iOS, Android and Windows. It should also be checked on all versions of the popular operating systems to ensure that it functions properly and runs without interruption. This is a time consuming task and it needs thorough analysis and careful execution.
Backend security is vital since it would ensure that the application and the data are secured. Without this, your data is prone to hacking which can lead to serious issues.
Once the app has passed the QA process, server setup for the production environment needs to be done.
After weeks and weeks of hard work, testing, solving issues, securing data and making app ready for the customers, it is time to submit the app to app stores. Now, your app is ready to be used by customers.