Potential Developer Asks, “How easy is it to make an “app” for the iPhone?”…

And is it worth the effort in a crowded market in which there have been well over 3bn iPhone apps downloaded?

Like so many entrepreneurial or professional decisions, it is the classic $64000 question. Victor Keegan, recently retired from the technology team of the UK’s Guardian newspaper has been asking himself just that question about iPhone appsrecently… and more than once.

In his official working guise he wrote about technology and its creative uses, not necessarily artistic-creative and not often about iphones and apps. His claim is that he always attempted to try out the the “creative appliance of science” that he was due to write about. Including his final assignment…

As a retired gent – clearly with far too much time on his hands, he came up with an idea to use the iPhone’s geo-locating abilities (brought to life by iPhone 3G’s GPS app) in conjunction with a database to deliver a historical view of London via poetry written about each location. Amusingly he has tagged his app onto the structure of an application that was developed for finding toilets when you are out and about on the town!! Next thing we’ll see is iPhone app abusers reciting poetry in all sorts of dodgy locations.

I quote Vic from his article in the Guardian online:

I know the answer to the first part of the question and will soon know the answer to the second. For years, until my recent retirement from the Guardian, I have been writing about creative uses of new technology and in most cases I have tried to test things out for myself before writing – whether a new mobile phone or a website such as lulu.com that enables you to self-publish your own books.

For my final effort I decided to have a go at publishing my own iPhone app. But where to start and how expensive would it be, given all the stories I had been hearing about iPhone developers charging up to £600 (more than $900) or more a day for their skills?

The result is an app called City Poems – published today – that uses satellite navigation to guide culture vultures and tourists alike through the streets of central London poem by poem.

… A crowd flowed…

The issue of payment was a thorny one and he wryly opbserves:

The one outstanding item was how much to charge. Readers may know I have strong views on this because if Britain is to have any chance of generating jobs from the opportunities offered by the explosion of apps, we are going to have to get used to paying for products

At the end of the day much of what we do in the world revolves around money – it is after all how we trade our personal value back and forth – though God alone knows where wbankers fit into the equation!

For those of you still wrestling with the opening question, Vic puts things in a very neat nutshell towards the end of his article.

… we have already entered an era in which it is possible for anyone to dream up a service for their mobile phone at low cost, which can be sold to a potential market of billions of people as practically everyone has, or will have a mobile phone. Ours is a tiny example of this. I have no idea how many copies, if any, of our app will be sold but it has convinced me that there are awesome possibilities out there for people prepared to take a risk.

So don’t prevaricate any longer get yourself onto the developer community and learn those skills. With the recent release of the iPad in the USA, imminent release around the world and a whole new environment to play with, there is going to be a huge demand for those skills and huge demand for the off the wall idea that’s banging around in your head right now!!