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Top 10 questions asked by new iOS developers: I

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Top 10 misconception or mysteries facing new iOS developers. Summarized from my observations and own experience. Part 1.

Free app or paid app?
This is a big question. Apple iTunes app store is not a freebie store (compared to many other app stores), that being said, most downloaded apps are either free or cost 99 cents. It’s hard to make a living on 99 cents apps and at the same time providing free upgrades. Apple does provide other revenue models such as Ads (iAd and other ads) and in-app purchase. I have not tried those, and I think ads are good for app with a lot of downloads (at least 10,000, or 50,000), and in-app purchase are good for certain app or features.

Ads or No Ads?
I remember Mike Lee, a pioneer in iOS app development, once said don’t annoy users by Ads. That being said, we all need the money to live, again I think if we can make some Ads money without really annoying users. That’s ok.

Universal App or separate iPhone/iPad apps?
Tough question. Again it depends. I remember Kirby Turner said a few things on this topic at VTM last fall. His suggestion is do it when “functionality is same or similar for iPhone/iPad apps”, and “enhanced user experience”, on the other hand not to do it when “Functionality differs greatly”, and “business justifications”.

On a related topic, I found out doing iPad app is more challenging on graphical design side, “blow up the iPhone app” won’t work, as suggested by Bill Van Hecke in his iPad user interface talk.

Which iOS version to develop for?
iOS 3.1.3, 3.2.2 which have more user bases and iPad support, or the latest and greatest iOS 4.3. Where do we find the user iOS stat information, btw?

Personally I started with iOS 3.1.2, because I did google on iOS user Stats at the time (July 2010?), iOS 3.1.2 and 3.1.3 is the most popular at the time. But I felt increasingly developing for iOS 4 is the way to go for new apps, especially for apps does networking because Apple put a lot enhancement in iOS 4.

What, my app needs marketing?
This is a common question asked by developers who never involved in sales/marketing side of the things. Yes, as the old Chinese saying “酒香不怕巷子深” does not apply here (translated in English: good products sell themselves”. We are living in an increasingly faster pace world (iTune store is one of those world), use social media such as Twitter to get the word out. I found out twitter is a favorite communication tool for many iOS developers.

To be continued…

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