In a world obsessed by technology, apps are the latest currency.
Apple opened the floodgates in 2008 with the release of the App Store - what followed was a surge of publishers and developers who quickly put the money-making machine into overdrive.
Ten million apps were downloaded within the first weekend of the App Store's launch… that number now stands at over ten billion.
The App Rockstars
• Kostas Eleftheriou
Made £63k ($100k) in just three months after releasing the iSteam app
• Ethan Nicholas
Made £22k ($35k) in a single day from sales of the iShoot game
• Steve Demeter
Made £156k ($250k) within the first two months of releasing Trism
• Ge Wang and Jeff Smith
Made £600k ($1m) in a year through various apps
• Igor and Marko Pusenjak
Made over £600k ($1m) each after selling 3.5m copies of Doodle Jump
Countless more have joined their ranks, releasing apps that beat the hundreds of thousands competing for potential customers' time... so how do you go about making an app, and what are the chances of success?
Reported Costs for App Development
As you can see, putting an 'average' figure on app development costs is impractical given the variance. So what factors come into the process?
A Developer: £60-£90 ($100-$150) per hour
A Designer: £40-£80 ($65-$130) per hour
It should be noted that these are guide prices only - both can be found outside the US and UK for as low as £10 ($16) per hour, but this is likely to be false economy as the process nearly always takes longer and results in lower quality.
An app can take between four to eight weeks to create - let's call it six for the sake of argument.
Generally this breaks down to:
Design: One week at 40 hours
Coding: Two weeks at 80 hours
Testing and Polishing: Two weeks at 80 hours
If we take a developer's fee to average at £75 per hour and a designer's to be £60, the total cost in this example totals £14,400 ($23,000). Of course, if we take the upper figure on fees this cost rises to £16,400 ($26,000).
Gaming apps are usually significantly more expensive to develop than this estimate, involving up to 2,000 hours of development with multiple designers working at the same time. Costs upward of £140,000 ($224,000) can be expected for making a gaming app.
Still too conservative?
Even the cost estimates above may be too low, since we haven’t factored in:
• In-house planning
• Project Management Fees
• User testing
• Unforeseen delays
• Additional updates after release
• Multi-platform releases
• Back-end server support
So, while many agree that very simple, one-function apps can be developed for as low as £3,000 ($5,000), it's of no surprise that feature-heavy apps such as Angry Birds or BBC News can cost over £125,000 ($125,000).
In fact, it's reported that Twitterific cost over £156,000 ($250,000) and Instagram ate up double that amount during development!