We hear this question all the time: How Much Does It Cost To Develop an App?

Compared to client expectations about app development costs from three years ago, there is increasing evidence that apps are not “cheap” to develop. Perhaps this is in part due to the fact that most apps are expected to be cloud connected and social.

Asking “How much does an app cost to develop” is much like asking “how much does it cost to build a house”, there is no definitive or easy answer.

Great Expectations

But any expectations around a mobile app costing only a few thousand dollars, and being easier easier to build than a web site, have largely disappeared. For those interested in factors contributing to application build costs, this article on provides a good read and food for thought.

So What Stats Are there?

A survey of IT professionals by AnyPresence, a backend-as-a-service company, asked about the initial cost of developing a typical mobile application. Over half reported spending more than three months and over $50,000 developing a typical app. Very nearly a quarter reported spending over $100,000.
Read full story on Cost To Develop an App

Cost To Develop an App

For some additional resources and recent app cost calculators, see the following links:

KinveyKinvey’s App Cost Estimator
John RaineyHow much does it cost to develop an app?
Carter, Bluecloud SolutionsHow Much Will my Mobile App Cost to Create?
By Aaron Maxwell, MashableIs Developing a Mobile App Worth the Cost?

In Pounds Sterling:

This post provided some very detailed estimates by the CTO of 5App and his conclusion:

It’s safe to assume that using traditional development techniques to create a cross-platform enterprise app won’t come in under £100K.


Here is a brief section of an interview by with Borders CEO Mike Edwards about the ongoing bankruptcy, and his surprised reaction to how fast e-books and tablets have impacted the publishing industry. With e-books, how fast do you see the transition occurring? Are you surprised by how fast it’s occurring already?


Yes. I joined the company just a little over a year and a half ago. When I joined, e-books were less than 1 percent of the market. The Kindle was out but it didn’t have the traction. The Nook had just been released. The Apple product wasn’t even on the market.

Within a year it went from 1 percent to almost 10 to 11 percent of the total publishing sales. That is a radical transformation. And that comes at the expense of physical books.

That profound impact on the retail traffic puts a lot of pressure on not just our bookstore, but all bookstores. So I was surprised to see it move that fast. I don’t anticipate it slowing down any time soon.


Apple announced the terms of their new digital magazine subscription model yesterday in an agreement with app developer and digital publisher Texterity, which they posted on their web site last night. It clears up a number of concerns to the publishing industry, and finally clears the hurdle for existing subscribers of print content not having to pay again for a digital version of the same magazine.

From the Texterity Web Post:

Publishers can sell print subscriptions, and offer “digital companion” access through an app as long as there is no additional fee for those subscribers. It’s a way to offer another incentive for print subs to stay loyal and engaged. Read more

Unlike other new technologies, this revolution is not about the technology itself, but rather, about the role that content plays in people’s lives

The above is my favorite quote from the Harrison Survey on the impact that the iPad and other tablet devices are having on the digital publishing and technology landscape in general. I also thought it interesting that the “early adopter” persona / stigma is in fact changing:

“Early adopters of eReading are more likely to see themselves as fashionable, playful, family-focused and kind, as opposed to the technology and leadership orientation of early adopters in prior technological revolutions”

Other Key Points:

  • Tablet users spend 50% more time reading magazines, 75% more time reading newspapers, and 25% more time reading books.
  • Accelerated estimates of 20 million tablets sold in 2011, with 13% of all consumers expressing interest in purchasing a tablet in the next 12 months.
  • Inevitability of tablets as the delivery mechanism for digital magazines
  • Comfort with digital payment systems that debit accounts
  • Multi function tablet devices instead of single purpose e-readers
  • Continued privacy concerns and acknowledgment of the importance solutions in that space
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Is it just me, or does it seem that European magazines are way more active in developing iPad and tablet digital publications?

Recently there have been a slew of digital magazines released in Europe, and Axel Springer Verlag is just the latest examples of this. It would also appear to me that the pricing and subscription models are more consumer friendly in the EU compared to the US, where publishers seem determined to set an example and train tablet users to expect high pricing models for Magazine Content.

So which is the better strategy? Attracting loyal readership with low pricing and making money through sales volume is one way, or hold out for higher pricing and risk fewer readers of the digital editions?

While I think the production costs for digital content may seem high to publishers initially, I feel the exponential growth of the tablet market on multiple platforms is being ignored in the US approach. Production costs may be high, but ultimately the distribution costs are not when scaling to potentially millions of readers. To me the scalability of the digital platforms are the real differentiation to print, where each additional copy costs extra ink, paper, packaging, transportation, distribution, warehousing, inventory and waste copies.

So I guess personally I come down on the side of lower pricing and future volume, even if this initially means subsidizing the effort slightly. Plus, establishing and automating digital publishing work flows is an experience best had in the beginning of the upcoming rush to tablet publishing.

What do you think?

If you’re a regular reader of the Sports Illustrated (SI) publication for the iPad, you may have noticed something unusual / different in the latest issue. The SI iPad edition is now only viewable in landscape mode, no longer supporting portrait mode as it did in previous issues.

I am amazed at how much negative feedback there is for iPad digital magazines that do not offer a way for existing subscribers to receive the iPad content free, or at least for a substantially discounted amount.

The many 100’s of one star ratings dwarf and seem to negate the few good reviews the magazine may have received for interactive content features, and I wonder if this is leading to reducing production costs already and only supporting one orientation.

Sports Illustrated is not the only one suffering, Wired Magazine, The New Yorker, Fortune, Times, the list goes on with overwhelmingly bad reviews.

While the reading experiences are compelling, the lack of subscription business models are really hurting the potential of this entire medium, and I do hope that Apple, the publishing industry and tool providers can come up with a solution, soon…

Click through to read the rest of Matt’s Tinsley’s article…


I think this confirms my hypothesis of tablet devices driving a trend towards the mainstream web adaptation of multi-touch, interactive, “digital magazine” like experiences on the browser…

read the full story via

An Online Forum for Sharing Best Practices and Inspiring Others to Build Highly Effective Digital Publications for Various Business Cases and Markets

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS–(Marketwire – Aug. 12, 2010) – Today, Zmags Corporation announced the launch of the Zmags Showcase, a website featuring a collection of the best ‘zmags’ selected from more than 100,000 digital publications created by the 2,500 Zmags customers. The Showcase site provides the fast-growing online publication community with examples of highly effective digital publications created for various business cases and markets. In the Showcase, visitors can join discussions, share ideas, vote on the best ‘zmags’, and discover best practices on using digital publications to improve ROI. Read more

I love apps that help personalize my news:

Flipboard started the trend, the latest entry in this genre is a real-time discovery engine that continuously delivers the latest relevant content.

Additional demographics about wireless internet usage indicate that most laptop owners use their device wirelessly, a factor that bodes well for the rapid rise in tablet device usage. Interesting too to note the relatively even split between male and female users.