Who can build your iPhone app?

Last night my friend Doc Pop asked me for a recommendation of who could build an iPhone app for his performance and art. Doc is a force of nature: he blogs, is a nerd core rapper (who is releasing a new album of all-iPhone music), a world-champion yo-yo’er, comic creator, and does other arts and crafts in addition to his day job as an iPhone game designer. So of course he should have his own app.

We were at a party, so I didn’t have time to find out more about what he had in mind before giving him the general answer of what anyone in his position needs to hear…

I said I knew several Bay Area app developers who have released great apps and are available for hire, but he should know that it can be expensive to develop native apps for any mobile platform, and developers in San Francisco and Silicon Valley who are good don’t come cheap. In general, it’s more difficult and costly than web development by far. He nodded, already knowing from first-hand experience what it takes to get a commercial app out, and how common delays and overages are.

I mentioned that there are many services who provide overseas programmers at a fraction of the cost, but their quality and flexibility might not be to the same standard. I have yet to work directly with any of these services for iPhone, but have worked with offshore developers in other mobile and web settings. At CTIA earlier this month, I spoke again with Shishir Danani, CEO of MobilePundits, this time about how his firm does iPhone app design and development. I’m sure I have other cards in my rolodex from folks representing coders in India, China, Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Shishir is confident that his firm does good work with design and all kinds of apps, my sense with offshore firms generally is that they are best for an app that needs more code than design, especially one that is database driven and/or can draw on open source. He added that his teams are often called upon after a project has gone wrong and someone has to clean up.

Back to Doc, I suggested that rock stars and Internet personalities often have apps built by various services that allow you to get an app into the store without a programmer. They have limited functionality to choose from, but perhaps they’d serve a useful purpose for the price. There are at least four choices here:

But getting an app designed, coded and into Apple’s App Store is only a small part of what makes a succesful app.  Of the 300,000 apps already in iTunes, the vast majority never exceed hundreds of downloads.

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” -Thomas A. Edison.

“App Store success is 20% development, 80% the right product for a receptive market you engage effectively.” – Dale L. Larson

2 thoughts on “Who can build your iPhone app?

  1. I’ve gone through 3 different developers. The first was India (they were horrible and would not recommend building iPhone apps overseas), the second was a freelancer in NY who was good but didn’t understand deadlines, and the third is a company based in Alaska (last place you would expect iOS developers) and they’re amazing and I’m still using them now. If your friend is still looking for someone I can get him in touch with them.

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