Using your iPhone and iPad is really fun and exciting because of all the apps that you can get to customize your experience.
Using apps is so exciting that tons of people are getting interested in making apps for themselves!
So, the question becomes: how do I make an iPhone app?
How To Make An iPhone App Options
Having the desire to make an iPhone app and having the resources and skills are two very different things. Some people are very technical while others are not. What I’m going to do is list out everything you need to make iphone apps and then go about giving you some options to get this capability yourself.
What You Need To Make iPhone Apps
Mac desktop or laptop computer
A bank account
An Apple Developer account
OSX Lion (10.7)
Expertise in the Objective-C Programming Language
Expertise in the iOS SDK and Cocoa-Touch Frameworks
Time to design and develop your iPhone app
Time to publish and market your iPhone app
A website and support email for your customers
The Five iPhone App Publisher’s Requirements
If you look closely at the list above you’ll see that you are going to need a few broad capabilities to make iPhone apps: access to a developer account, hardware, programming skills, business skills and design skills. Some of you may have some of these things while others will need to fill in some gaps.
Let’s go into some more detail so you can inventory what you already have, what capabilities you can develop on your own and where to get help from others if necessary.
MacBook or Apple Desktop Computer
You will absolutely need an Apple computer to make iPhone apps. This computer must be recent with an Intel based processor. Ideally, your Mac will be running OSX 10.7 Lion for it’s operating system. This is really what you need to be able to develop the most up to date iPhone apps using XCode 4.2 and iOS SDK 5.
The person who needs this hardware and software is the person who will actually be making the iPhone apps. If this is not you then the programmer you hire will need this. You need a Mac to write the programming code for apps as well as for publishing apps to the Apple app store.
Apple Developer Account
Apple is responsible for app developers and will give you all the tools and access you need to make your iPhone apps. However, you will need to sign up for an Apple Developer account to get what you need. This cost $99 per year and gives you access to the most up to date versions of XCode and the iOS SDK. You will also get the infrastructure you need to sell your iPhone apps and ultimately get paid.
Be sure to have an business bank account that you can submit so that Apple has a way to pay you once you get your account all set up. To registered for an Apple Developer account simple go to http://developer.apple.com/devcenter/ios/index.action to register.
iOS SDK Programming Skills Needed
There is not way around this: either you, your partner, your employees or a firm that you are outsourcing to are going to need to be a programmer. To make iPhone apps, you need to use the Objective-C programming language in conjunction with the iOS SDK and Cocoa-Touch frameworks. This is what makes everything go.
To find out more about how to get yourself trained on iPhone development check out my related article on iPhone training for new iOS app developers.
If you would like to outsource your programming work I would suggest using a website like ELance, hiring a local computer science student or hiring an expert programmer locally.
Something you may want to try and do is to partner up with a software developer who already knows how to make iPhone apps. You can find local meetups where developers meet by using the website MeetUp or attending local CocoaHeads meetings.
This refers to the more organization activities that need to be done like organizing accounts, bookkeeping, marketing and so on. Most likely, you will be doing most of this yourself in the beginning and many of these details are relatively small since Apple takes care of most of this.
However, if you can meetup with other people who can help you with the business end you may find yourself at an advantage. So, if you feel confident in the technical aspects of making iPhone apps then you may want to go to the same meetups that I mentioned above to partner up with someone who has complimentary skills.
Like most people starting out you probably already have an idea for an iPhone app designed and laid out in your mind. This is an important part of the process and actually important enough to spend some time on and even iterating if needed (which is almost always is). By iterating, I mean trying different designs out until you settle on the best one for your iPhone app.
Like with programming and business you can partner up and get help with design. If you are not an artist then you most certainly will want help with the graphical elements of your design like any custom UI (user interface), screenshots and the app icon (probably the most important thing).
To get help on getting custom graphics, UI and your app icon you can hire people on a per project basis at sites like ELance. Or you can try the design-centric job site 99Designs (this where I get all my work done).
Getting Started With Making Your iPhone App
Ok, so I hope I’ve given you some ideas on how to make an iPhone app. My best advice moving forward is to write out what you can do already, what you want to learn yourself and what you intend on getting help with in the future. Then write out a simple plan to gather all these resources so you can make your vision a reality.