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Why Not to Make an iPhone App (engineeringadventure.com)
42 points by wallflower on Nov 2, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments

Interestingly, if you replace "app" with "custom software application", it still reads quite accurately. Except for the Apple app store reference, of course.

This is exactly why I stopped consulting three years ago and worked only on my own stuff. Too many poorly thought out ideas with no budget or business justification.

Sadly, I still see the same mentality in websites. I feel if there is no online strategy, then the website might as well be a business card.

Apps are "in fashion" a the moment, businesses think they need one just for presence, developers think they need one for their resume. I've fielded too many requests from companies that are seeking "an app". Naturally I'd quiz them on what they'd like the app to do, and quite often the answer is that they don't know and thought that is what I'd be bringing to the table.

I'm happy that there is a good history of the apple app store rejecting these kinds of trivial, next-to-no function apps.

Maybe you should make an app that your potential clients can use, to determine if they need an iPhone app :)

Also there's additional cost in buying Mac workstations for development and submission of your app to the app store. Its ridiculously closed minded of them to require this and its a huge barrier to projects because of the much higher cost in buying Mac Hardware...

If $700 per developer for a Mac Mini affects your view of whether or not a given project will be profitable, then you are already too close to the "not profitable" line, and should definitely not develop the application.

$700 is roughly the same cost as one day of work from the developer. If you can't afford the Mac, then you can't afford for the developer to go one day over schedule.

Agreed. And it's not like developing for Windows or Android is exactly free either. Don't forgot you have to buy a PC first. Even if you already had that--a lot of iOS developers already owned Macs to begin with--there's the cost of the phones themselves plus the software if you're doing .NET stuff.

That's $700 new. You can buy a refurbed Mini from Apple for $469 right now that comes with a warranty. If you expand your buying options to second-hand hardware out of warranty, you can pick up older but Lion capable C2D Macbooks for less than $300. If you're really hard up for cash, you can even build Lion-capable Hackintoshes for a little under $250.

You're forgetting the red tape that comes along with government agencies in bringing in non-standard tools and in submitting purchase requests. There's a lot more to it than pulling out your cash to buy something that's pretty much going to be a paperweight outside of mobile development use in an environment that's mostly windows based.

I don't see .NET for the OSX either for windows mobile dev. You can do Android apps, yes, but look at how many ugly and useless apps there is on Android Market.

For me it has nothing to do with closed minded. It's Apple's mantra, they rather have a small group of developers so they can select quality apps, than to have crappy apps.

Yes, you will need to have a Apple computer, but come on, it's not that expensive, besides if you want to make money you have to invest.

I agree wholeheartedly.

You develop iOS apps with Xcode. To support Windows, they need to then develop a whole Windows IDE, support it, etc. There isn't a significant reason to, there is no business sense in it.

Microsoft doesn't have an IDE for Mac to write Windows Phone 7 apps, and I don't see anyone crying about it.

That's because Windows Phone 7 is for all purposes non existent.

Nobody is crying about it because there's nobody available to actually cry, as only Windows devs that already have Windows machines have been targeting it and in the larger picture all these WinMo devs put together are a tiny minority.

That Android's SDK is multi-platform, that's one of the best features of Android. Do you know why? Because it slowly grows in the minds of developers that try it out and if you want to just try it out, there's no barrier to entry. All you have to do is to download it.

It is true about WP7, however it doesn't refute my argument.

I have only limited use of the iOS and Android dev tools, however overall found the iOS ones simpler to setup (ie, they're already there) and Android document somewhat weak for starting out.

Xcode is the full experience, while Java is always "use your favorite IDE". However that goes down a different wormhole, and personally, I don't care for Java.

The multi-platform may be a factor for a hobbyist, but not someone looking to actually make money. If they are serious, they shouldn't see a problem spending $500 on a Mac mini, even less on a used system, or renting one in the cloud. We aren't talking major expenses.

Oh right, so you're a real professional, not a pesky hobbyist. Well if you say so.

> ... there's no barrier to entry...

Other than being quite confusing to set up.

The initial steps for setting up may be harder, but the steps you have to take to install an app on your development phone are waaaay easier, never mind the actual process of deployment on the marketplace.

Ahh! I've fallen into another boring Apple circle jerk...

Consider yourself lucky that Microsoft and Linux don't require you to have homogenous gear to require you to develop web apps hosted on their systems. I should not have to buy a specific brand of hardware to develop on that platform, otherwise, its not very "revolutionary" at all is it?

The arrogant idea that mac is controlling quality by requiring a few select developers to make IOS apps is the reason I bought an Android phone, I'd rather deal with spyware and viruses than arrogant prudes.

Although the app store is filled with crappy apps.

If you're in the business of making apps, then buying a workstation should be part of the investment cost. (It's a business expense/tax deduction.)

There are technical reasons why Xcode is used, the function of the iPhone simulator under Xcode(n.b. it's not an emulator) and the underpinning of iOS & OSX which make mac-only dev a no brainer.

Also, we're not talking about an obscure, hard to acquire platform. The minimum system requirement is a core2duo intel mac (2gb ram), which are very easy to come by on ebay for the tight fisted.

Usually you can work it out where you handle the final submission of the app to the store on your own hardware so that your client doesn't have to purchase a Mac that they won't use for anything else.

For development, I can't see how a ~$200 premium of a Mac mini over a maybe-too-cheap-for-a-development-box Wintel machine is much of a deciding factor.

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