We love to write about iPhones – the apps in particular. There are now more than 100,000 iPhone applications available to download on the App Store on iTunes, and creating and marketing these programs has become a kind of a cottage industry for software developers. There are plenty of companies out there creating apps for large corporations, but there are also lots of individuals out there who come up with an idea for an app, build it themselves and market it all on their own. They’re all hoping that their app will hit the big time, that hundreds of thousands of people will download it and that they’ll rake in the dough (like these guys).
So, I started to wonder, what does it take to make an iPhone app on your own? I decided to ask the only guy I know who’s ever built one. Simon Watson is the resident smart guy in my family. He’s my soon-to-be brother-in-law, he lives in London and recently released an iPhone app of his own creation on iTunes. It’s called Chromixa and it’s a puzzle game that has players combine colors to create specific shapes.Here’s our e-mail conversation about this process.
Mike: So, Simon, in exchange for my blessing of your impending marriage to my sister, I’d like you to answer a few questions about your iPhone app.
Simon: Seems fair.
Mike: How long did the process take from start to finish?
Simon: It's tricky to say as, for me, it's purely a spare-time activity that has to be fitted around a busy full-time job. I would say it's taken a year from having the idea to seeing Chromixa go on sale in the App Store. I dread to think how many evenings and weekends it's taken. If I was working on it full-time, then I reckon 2-3 months would be about right for this particular game.
Mike: I like how you Brits say ‘reckon.’ In America, where iPhones were invented, the word ‘reckon’ is only used in the Old West. Like, “I reckon we’re gonna have to get a posse together.” Anyway, back to iPhone apps. You're a pretty technically adept guy, but what kind of technical skills are necessary for someone who wants to do this?