“We need an iPhone app fast!”
We have heard this quite often over the past year, from current and new clients alike. The question we immediately ask is “Are you sure?” It’s not that we don’t want the business, but rather we want to make sure the client understands what is involved in designing and building a native Apple app. Putting aside the red tape and aggravation of getting an app listed in the iTunes store for a minute (it can take months to get your app approved and listed on iTunes), building a true native app isn’t a 1, 2, 3 type of project (and beware anyone who tries to sell you that it is).
Most of all, if you are not looking to charge for your app, then maybe a native Apple app is not for you. Just maybe a mobile web-app is more of what you need. A mobile web-app runs on most smart phones and not just on a single platform (like how an Apple app only runs on Apple devices). You won’t need to get anyone’s approval to share your app, and best of all integrating a mobile web-app with your current website is often quite easy. The drawbacks to the mobile web-app approach mostly have to do with the app getting access to the higher features of the newer smartphones (like the phone’s camera or GPS chip). But that is changing as most mobile phone manufacturers are starting to allow developers to access to these features without having to write device specific apps.
As with anything “tech”, there are always alternatives. Our advice? Do your best to start all new projects with an open mind and be open to your developer’s suggestions.