What Is Required for iOS App Development?
Apple has a whole set of resources and tools to help developers build apps that work on devices running iOS. That said, the iOS app development process is somewhat different from Android app development — to build an iOS app, you’ll need to equip yourself with prerequisite tools.
- an Apple Mac
- an Apple Developer account (priced $99 yearly, $299 for an enterprise account)
- and Xcode to sign and publish a native iOS application
While an Apple Mac and an Apple Developer account are self-explanatory, Xcode is an integrated development environment (IDE) built specifically for creating native apps for Apple’s devices.
You can’t publish an iOS app without Xcode and a valid Apple Developer Program membership.
Considering the necessary tools, it’s not exactly free to develop an iOS app (in contrast, Android calls for a one-time $25 fee, and that’s it).
But the Xcode requirement is hardly a nuisance — Xcode is a pretty decent IDE with a code editor, UI designer, testing features, and other essential tools for iOS mobile development.
Note: In cross-platform mobile development, Xcode is also required to sign and submit the app to the App Store.
What Programming Languages Are iOS Apps Written In?
Native iOS App Development
Swift or Objective-C are used for native iOS app development. Objective-C was created as far back as 1984, so it’s 30 years older than Swift (created in 2014).
Cross-Platform App Development
The biggest upside of cross-platform development is that it will let you reuse the code across iOS and Android, and even the desktop version of your application. For example, Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile lets you build the business logic and share it between iOS and Android.
What to Look at When Hiring an iOS Development Company?
First off, experience. A rich portfolio with apps developed for iOS is a sure-fire way to vet a mobile development agency. Past projects will give you information whether the company has done similar projects in the past. This way, they’ll be able to steer your app toward success from the get-go.
Checking reviews on external platforms such as review sites or simply the reviews left on the company’s social media profiles will give you a pretty clear idea about the software agency’s skills and capabilities.
Learn more about how to find a good mobile development agency.
When you have a complex and disruptive idea, a software agency should assume the role of an advisor on top of being a developer, suggesting the best approaches on how to build your product.
That said, be wary of mobile application agencies that see no issue in your app idea — a good mobile app development agency should validate your idea and let you know whether it’s viable and worth pursuing or not.
Not everything can or should be done. Look for an iOS app development company that is honest in that aspect.
Compare Costs of Different Software Agencies
When you find a software agency that you would like to work with, ask around for an estimate with a different iOS mobile development company. This way, you’ll confirm whether the offer is realistic.
But keep in mind that the two estimates can only be comparable if they include the same or at least a similar scope of work. For example, make sure both cost estimates include design, QA testing, development, or app release support.
Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to Keep Your Project Safe
It’s perfectly all right to worry about discussing your idea with a software agency.
In fact, a mobile app development company should let you start the conversation with an NDA if you wish to do so.
There should also be an option to sign the NDA later on, once your project picks up on speed.
You should feel comfortable talking about your product idea even when there are thousands of miles between you and the software agency you’d like to work with.
Check and Agree on Your iOS App Ownership Rights
Before any work commences, read the agreement carefully and make sure you’re the owner of the rights to every line of code of your project.
Ensure the Mobile Development Agency Provides Maintenance and Support
Once your product is released, it’s rarely a done deal — there’s going to be feedback from users that will paint the future direction in which your mobile application should be evolving.
Analytics will also start coming in, letting you identify areas for improvement and features that are redundant. Analytics are a great way to streamline user experience and should be implemented very early on during development.
Prepare a Solid Foundation for Project Handoff
Once your product is released by the iOS app development company you’re working with, you might want your in-house team to take over the project. If that’s the case, the code should be well-written, concise, and clear, allowing for a seamless transition and future app extensions.
Why Develop an App on iOS?
Consider that half of all website traffic comes from mobile phones, with some research reporting a 55.73% dominance of mobile traffic against 41.46% coming from desktop.
On top of that, a user's average daily time spent in a mobile app compared to a browser lengthens yearly.
Judging by the statistics, the first reason why you should think about developing an iOS app is the sheer number of potential customers to be reached via mobile.
Potentially Higher Revenue
Regardless of what app type and monetization strategy you plan, revenue from mobile apps is growing steadily every year.
The growth in revenue comes from all monetization types: subscription, ad revenue, in-app purchases, and app purchases.
iOS apps bring twice as much revenue compared to Android apps.
This has a lot to do with demographics.
Average iPhone users have higher income and tend to show greater in-app engagement, and are more likely to buy an app. Also, compared to Android, a statistical iOS user spends more in-app time and money.
Of course, these are just insights based on a statistical iOS and Android user — further deconstructing your audience can show contrary trends. The key therefore is to build an app that meets the user’s intent, regardless of the mobile platform. Here, extensive idea validation and discovery workshops will help.
Tip: To decide which platform you should build for first, check the source of traffic to your desktop website. Analytics should give you hard data whether more users come to you from iOS or Android, or maybe both.
Greater Operating System Stability
If you like iOS or not, one thing has to be said about the stability of iPhone's operating system. iOS works great. Crashes are a rare sighting as are abrupt black screens.
iOS gets its stability from consistent updates for all devices. Another reason is the App Store’s rigorous testing prior to app release.
Performance issues, bugs, unclear privacy policies, or poor UX/UI won’t go through the vetting process.
The small fragmentation of the iOS ecosystem makes iPhone apps work similarly across devices, different screen sizes, and system versions.
On the contrary, there are numerous companies that manufacture Android mobile phones, with different device specs. As a result, it might be trickier to retain the same level of user experience across such a plethora of different Android devices and system versions.
Fast Adoption Equals Seamless Experience
Apple is known for regular system updates that have high adoption rates across devices. For example, in December 2020, Apple reported that 72% of its devices were running the company’s newest OS iteration — iOS 14.
Another 18% run on iOS 13 and only 10% on an earlier iOS version. Now, when apps are developed, developers usually include support for the current and previous iOS version. This means that you get over 90% of user base coverage from the start — your app will work and look the same for 90% of iOS users.
Tighter iOS Security
Counting from Apple iOS 14 app developers are obliged to include a list of all tracking tools built into an iOS application.
Gold standard security and privacy measures are what makes Apple so popular among security-oriented consumers.
iPhone users have extensive control over an application’s permissions and access to sensors. Note, however, that Android 10 and up also feature granular permission control.
Powerful ARM-Based Processors
With the introduction of Apple’s new M1 chips, Apple has entered another phase for the whole ecosystem of its devices.
Macbooks running on Apple-built chips can natively run iOS applications. That’s right, not only your potential monetization sphere extends but also your reach.
By giving Mac users access to a huge collection of iOS apps, Apple has created a lucrative business opportunity for companies that want to tap into the now expanded market.
Opportunities of Apple’s LiDAR Scanner
While present only in Apple’s newest high-end iteration of devices, LiDAR technology offers great possibilities in the realm of augmented reality solutions.
With greater depth-recognition capabilities and night vision capacity, LiDAR can be harnessed to create business- or entertainment-focused products.
Who Are Top Mobile App Developers?
Top app developers are flexible. They deliver high-quality deliverables within a given context.
For example, if you have a detailed project scope and are interested only in development services, a software agency should provide you with all the necessary resources to build the app within the agreed timeframe and budget.
But a top mobile app development company should also be experienced enough to determine the future success of your app. The software agency should know how to steer the creation of your app so that it works within your business model.
The agency should be equipped with enough expertise to provide advice on what to do to help your product succeed. For example, implement and track key metrics to spot valuable features early on and do away with redundant ones before they incur costs.
The thing is, even if you have a detailed scope of work to be done, this doesn’t guarantee that no problems will crop up, either once the product goes live or during development when proposed features are simply not viable for development.
A top iOS app development company can swiftly transform from a doer to an advisor. This flexibility requires deep industry acumen as well as knowledge of different product methodologies.
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How to Find a Good Mobile App Development Agency — A Quick and Easy Tutorial
Picking a mobile development partner is one of the most important decisions in the life-cycle of your application. Check out how to look for a mobile app development agency using ranking websites.