Mobile app development is still a new technology. The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. iPhones, iPod touches, and later iPads now have a host of features, especially related to touch screen operation. The devices have internal tilt sensors, most have a built-in camera, Wi-Fi, 3G connectivity and a virtual keyboard.
Mobile app development and the App Store
In mid-2008, Apple introduced the iOS App Store for mobile application development, an online store for available application software maintained by Apple. The variety of apps available for iPhone and iPad (iPod touch uses whatever app the iPhone uses) spans many genres, from games to GPS, reference, social networking, online books, and audiobooks, to name a few.
In addition to using the app store through the device, apps can be managed through the computer’s iTunes software. Most modern computers can run iTunes, and solutions have been developed for older operating systems. iOS updates are provided free of charge through iTunes, as long as iTunes itself is up to date.
Around the same time that Apple released the App Store, they also released the Software Development Kit (SDK). This kit allowed third-party applications to be developed using the Objective C programming language. The applications had to share the way the iPhone looked and felt. Understanding the basics of Objective C is probably the most limiting part of learning how to build an iPhone app.
The SDK allowed third parties to develop software for the iPhone and test it using an iPhone simulator. There is a cost associated with launching an app on the App Store, and Apple requires developers to pay an Apple Developer Connection Fee.
Once an app has been submitted to the App Store, Apple has control over its distribution. The developer can charge any price they choose for an app (up to $1000 USD) and receives 70% of the profits. If the developer chooses to release the app for free, they do not pay any costs associated with the release beyond the developer fee.
Apple reserves the right to ban any app you choose, without giving a reason. In the past, it banned third-party apps that enabled iPhone functionality that they didn’t want public at the time, or planned to take advantage of. For example, an app that allowed direct downloading of podcasts was rejected, as was one that allowed connecting to the Internet.
Mobile app development: easier than ever
Since January 2011, more than 10 billion apps have been downloaded through the Apps Store. Since the development of the SDK, mobile app development has become considerably easier, with many tools available to help you build apps without any knowledge of the coding behind the interface.