iPhone App Development - a primer

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I'm writing an article for our printed publication, detailing my experience developing an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

While Apple prides themselves in simplicity, developing an app was rather tricky.  However, the results have been rewarding.

My app, 100sounds (www.100sounds.com) was submitted just before Thanksgiving and approved for sale by Apple on December 12th.  In the two weeks since it has been available, it has risen to become the 13th most popular paid Entertainment app and the #1 overall multipurpose soundboard app!   Needless to say, this has exceeded my expectations!

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Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

But that's not to say there haven't been some setbacks.  Apple's online documentation, if it were correct would be very hard to follow.  The fact that many parts are incorrect make matters worse.  Often the documents reflected the previous version of Apple's software Development Kit (SDK) and the differences were significant.  But eventually, thanks to Google searches, the app was ready for submission to Apple.  The three weeks for review seems to be par for the course.

I benefitted greatly from beating the Christmas rush.  Sales were steadily growing right up until December 24th, but on Christmas Day we tripled our previous daily sales, and while sales have tapered a bit, they're still double pre-Christmas sales. 

But releasing an app is just the beginning.  There is promotion to be done, if an app is to become and remain successful.

I have an 'email' button in the app and I've responded to dozens or perhaps hundreds of emails, usually within a few minutes. Reviewers on iTunes have noted my responsiveness.   After all, with an iPhone on my hip, there's no excuse not to be responsive.

I've also been responding to other forums with advice from my experience.  And I created a solid website, www.NoTieSoftware.com, which includes an animated demo of the app.  Considering I don't offer a "lite" application, the Flash demo is the next best thing.  I'm also experimenting with web-based advertising, including Google AdWords, and iPhone Life print advertising is on my to do list!

I have also created a YouTube channel where I will show videos of customers using 100sounds!  In fact, I am running a contest to reward users with t-shirts for their video submissions!

Finally, I've started a newsletter, using Constant Contact.  I've used this to send out press releases, announcing the record statistics, and sending a newsletter with product updates to those users who have contacted me.  When we ship our next set of apps, having a loyal installed base will help with future sales.

Look for a more detailed article in the print version of iPhone Life Magazine!  If you are developing apps, or would like to, let us know and feel free to ask questions!

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.