The landscape of mobile apps has clearly evolved in the recent years. This is all due to the increasing penetration of mobile devices around the world. Recent research predicts that by the end of this year, 1 in 5 people will own a smart phone, while 1 in 17 people will own a tablet. In fact, the penetration rate for smart phones is expected to exceed that of PC’s by 2%. Indeed, there is a paradigm shift in the way people consume their technology.
With more and more people getting hold of mobile devices, delving into mobile marketing makes perfect sense to many businesses, especially this early in the ballgame. Of course, mobile marketing means exploring the world of mobile apps. This has been manifested by the increase in the number of branded apps around the world. A classic example would be the popular Nike Plus. Not only have brands entered into the realm of mobile apps, but publishing companies as well.
The Problem With Mobile App Development
It is no secret that developing mobile apps is quite expensive. It can cost a few thousand dollars, which is why only established brands and developers with enough capital to invest can afford it. To give ballpark figures, developing a mobile app can cost anywhere between $2,000 and $250,000. For example, developing a racing game app can cost roughly $125,000. It is no question that these figures limit the market for mobile app development. Small business owners may find the importance of delving into mobile apps, but may be strongly concerned with finding enough capital as well as achieving a sound return on their investment.
Apple's Breakthrough New Development Tool
Herewith comes the good news for fans of the iOS: Apple has recently announced that it is working on making app development accessible to non-developers. Should the company keep its promise, it will be releasing an app developing tool that allows the average person to produce an app without having to learn the intricacies of software coding. This is big news considering how app development used to be restricted only to those with sophisticated technical skills.
In the early stages of app development, one would require solid programming skills in order to create a good mobile app. While companies such as Apple and Google provided software development kits, commonly referred to SDKs, these kits were still too intricate to use. It was nearly impossible for an average person to utilize them.
Since then, SDK’s have come a long way. For instance, Apple used to refuse to provide SDKs for the iPhone in the past. Developers had to work around developing web apps in order to provide content for the popular smart phone. This made it hard for developers to develop apps for the iPhone, thus leading people to think that the iPhone could never be the game-changing smart phone that it is today. Apple eventually realized the importance of providing an SDK for iPhone. This gave them advantage in the market for mobile apps.
Apple Continues to Innovate
As a company that takes pride in innovation, it is no surprise that Apple continues to push it limits by developing an app developer tool for the rest of us who are not the most savvy when it comes to technology. Recent reports say that Apple is currently working on “a new digital content authoring tool that could make it simple for people without a background in programming to build their own iOS applications for the iPhone and iPad.”
This completely changes the game, especially for small business owners who can not afford to spend thousands of dollars only to develop their own app. In fact, an Average person could even create his own apps for personal use. Imagine having your own apps for planning, playing music, or tracking expenses, all customized to suit your own needs and design taste.
Comparison to Google's App Development Tool
While Apple has yet to release their user-friendly app development kit, Google has already released a similar tool back in 2010 called the Google App Inventor. It is a non-developer toolkit being maintained by no less than the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This toolkit lets average people create their own applications for the Android operating system. This should not come as a surprise since Google has been diversifying its business from being merely a search engine giant into web publishing through Blogger, communications through Gmail, video streaming through YouTube, and mobile programming through Android, among others.
Following the Path of Website Design
It is interesting to note how apps are merely following the footsteps of previous technological advances that used to be inaccessible to everyday people. The perfect example of this would be website design. Decides ago, website design and development used to be quite complicated. In order to create your own website, you need to know at least the basics of design and coding. While these can definitely be learned with a college degree on computer science, it is not as user-friendly and as convenient as it is today. Nowadays, anybody can create his or her own website and publish it for the world to see. This has been made possible by content management systems such as WordPress and Blogger. These systems have let non-web designers and programmers create their own beautiful websites through convenient tools at a much cheaper cost.
New Tools for App Development
The current trends with app developments clearly show some parallelism with how web design has evolved. App development used to be limited to only those with the technical know-how, but today, it has become more and more accessible to people without the technical skills. In fact, there are already various user-friendly tools and services that you can use to create your own apps. Some of these are AppMakr, GENWI, Mippin, MobBase, AppInstitute, and MyAppBuilder. These app development tools allow tech-savvy business owners to develop mobile apps without having to learn programming codes. Most of these tools are available for free; however, in order to use more advanced features, some of them charge a one-time or a monthly fee.
This move made by Apple is quite an indication of where the landscape of mobile app development is headed.