Overview of the iOS Mobile App Development Process

By Donald Kim
24 Jan '17

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Do you need an iOS app made for the iPhone and/or the iPad, but you just don’t know how and where to start? This article can serve as a great resource for your app development journey, as well as give you a better idea of what to expect when developing an app for the Apple iTunes App Store.

 

First, here are a few Mobile App Development Statistics:

  • A native mobile app (an application program that has been developed for use on a particular platform or device, such as the iOS) typically takes 18 weeks to complete and publish into the app store: 10 weeks for the back-end development (server, application, and a database), and 8 weeks for the front-end development (design).
  • Simple apps typically take 300 hours to complete; moderate apps 400-600 hours; multifaceted apps: 600-900 hours; and highly multifaceted apps: 900+ hours.
  • In North America, the average charge for iOS is $150/hour and $160/hour for Android development.
  • The overall cost to develop an app depends on the features desired, the hourly rate, as well as the experience and expertise of the development team. For small apps, the cost will range from $3,000 - $8,000. For more complex apps, it will cost between $50,000 - $150,000. For complex gaming apps, it will cost between $10,000 - $250,000.
  • In 2016, mobile app revenues were $58.21 Billion USD, and in 2017, revenues are expected to reach $76.52 Billion USD.
  • Currently there are approximately 1.6 Million Android apps and 1.5 Million iOS apps.

 

And now here’s the Complete Overview of the iOS App Development Process…

 

1.  Start with the App Idea and Goal:

  • Clearly define the purpose and objective of your mobile app.
  • Have a strong idea, and determine what features of the iPhone app you’ll need, i.e. geolocation, camera features, etc.
  • You’ll need a good understanding of your target market.
  • What void in the market are you addressing with your app idea?
  • Determine your value proposition and reason why people should purchase and download your app, i.e. you’ll also need a well articulated user story.
  • The iOS iTunes App Store will put new apps through a rigorous review. The app should be unique, interesting, and free of bugs.

 

2. Plan the App Design:

  • Early visuals of the app will be handy before reaching out to an App Development firm. You’ll need to consider the screen designs, the flow of the screens, and content.
  • You’ll also need to determine how you’re going to monetize the app to earn revenues. Google AdMob allows seamless app monetization.

 

3. Before you approach an App Development firm, you should have:

  • Time commitment. The App Distribution Workflow is extensive and will require your input throughout the whole process.
  • A budget for the app design & development. You’ll also need a PR marketing budget.

 

4. Connecting with an App Development Firm:

  • Be sure to research the firm’s history, background, experience, work portfolio, and client testimonials before working with anyone. 
  • Find out whether the firm has a dedicated designer, developer, QA, and project manager. All of these roles are important in the app design and development process.
  • You’ll need to determine whether the firm charges a flat-fee or if they charge on a time-based model. If it’s the latter, then, you’ll want to have clear deliverables outlined in the contract.
  • It’s important to note that most development firms don’t want to compete with you, as they are in the business to service clients such as yourself. Most developers will sign a mutual non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to protect your idea.

 

5. Wireframe:

  • A wireframe is a visual architecture or mock-up of every page found in your app. It also shows how each page is linked together. It’s important to define the project scope, and identify what features are required in your app.

 

 

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6. Design:

  • The design phase follows the wireframing phase, where the palette colors, logos, typography, styling and the overall look and feel gets worked out. The deliverables for the visual design are generally .PSD files.
  • UI elements to consider: Status bar; navigation bar; toolbar; and tab bar.

 

7. Development:

  • Once the design has been finalized, the coding begins. Successfully managing projects requires effective communication and scope management. Executing the project tasks is usually done using tools such as Asana, Basecamp, or Jira.
  • Objective C is the core programming language. Along with Objective C, iPhone apps use the Cocoa Touch, which is the programming framework driving user interaction on the iOS.
  • Xcode is the developer tool for iOS and Mac OS X programming, and is the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Objective C/iOS development.

 

a. Back-End Development:

  • Back-end development tasks include: Defining the back-end structure, user account and authentication management; server side logic to create the back end of the app; user experience customization for how the user will navigate through the entire app; data integration that allows users to access and share information to 3rd party websites; and push notifications to help engage users to the app.

 

b. Front-End Development:

  • Front-end development tasks include: Wireframing; UI design and development which is translated into functioning UI; Data Caching which involves creating services that stores the data locally to help improve the app’s speed; syncing app data which helps bring the data together so that it can be accessed offline.

 

8. Quality Assurance (QA):

  • Once the first version has been developed, the next phase is to conduct QA testing in a variety of environments and conditions to ensure that the app is bug-free and does not experience crashes. QA is usually a line item in the App Development Firm’s Proposal, however, be sure to check in case it isn’t.

 

 

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9. App Launch:

  • Once the app passes all QA tests, you’ll need to submit it into the iTunes App Store for approval. It may take a few weeks before your app is fully launched. Apple usually reviews each app submission, and may ask you to make a few changes before publishing.

 

10. Marketing:

  • After launching your new app into the App Store, you’ll want to devote your time into marketing, and optimizing the exposure of the new app. Mashable has a good article called, “15 Tips for Launching a Successful Mobile App”.

 

11. App Post-Launch:

  • Gather feedback from your app users so that you can make iterative improvements to the app through Mobile Application Performance Management (mAPM).

 

 

Please be sure to also read our other related Blog Posts for App Development, ”Developing a Mobile App: The Process Explained.” At Webilize (Portfolio and Testimonials) we have a dedicated iOS and Android App Development Team.

 

Need a Mobile App? Webilize specializes in iOS, Android, and Web Apps. Email or call us. www.webilize.com/Contact

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