Steve: I can’t make a photo happen from inside of a webpage, because a webpage is running on your server and the iPhone is just a window on to that.
Steve: So but with these, if all you had to do was fill out a form and submit, which of course you wouldn’t submit, we don’t submit. But you know, if we continue or find out, that would be OK as an app design. And it could be a good way to prototype a design.
James: Ah. The minimum viable product. Just get it out there and see if people will say, “This is great. It would be good if it could do this or that.”
Steve: Yeah. Exactly. So then the next level that you kind of step up to, once you start saying, “Well, I really want this to run as a native app,” because of course the other problem with a Web app is it has to be on the Internet. If I haven’t got an Internet access, I can’t play Angry Birds. So if I only use my app and it’s a Web app then it has to have an Internet. So then the next step is I really want this to run on the device. What you then hit is the problem that the two most popular platforms, which is iPhone and Android, are completely incompatible. They don’t talk to one another.
It’ll be kind of like if some websites only worked on Firefox and some only worked on Chrome, but you know, if you had a website, it could be one or the other and you couldn’t have both, that’s kind of what where we’re at at the moment with my mobile apps. And I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. You then go to decide, you can develop an app to run on a platform, which effectively will let the app run on either device. So it’s like an interpreter platform.
James: What do they call that?
Steve: An interpreter.
James: Oh really? That’s what they call it.
Steve: Yeah. It’s a runtime interpreter. So you write an app which works on the runtime interpreter platform. And then if it’s running on Android, the user then clicks the button and says, “Take a photo” and it makes the call, it translates that into the Android, please take a photo on the Android. And if it’s an iPhone, same thing.
The issue with that is that you don’t give access to all of the functionality of the device because it can only give you what’s available in all the devices. So it’s sort of the minimum available functionality if you only had a few basic things that might work. The other real problem is if you’re trying to make a bestselling app or something that’s actually going to succeed financially on its own as an app, there’s no apps in the top 100 that are…
James: Right. So you’ve got to basically be a hardcore specialist for that platform.
Steve: You really got to say, “I want to do an iPhone or I want to do an ios.”
James: And it is very expensive to develop multiple platforms?
Steve: Yes, because you can’t reuse. The only bits you could reuse is the graphics.
James: How much is some companies paying for these apps to get developed?
The cost of app development
Steve: Well, it comes down then to the complexity. The bit that I know about is I find out development, I don’t know anything about Android.
James: In Australia, I think they have a much higher iPhone. I think that’s 50% or something.
Steve: Yes. It’s quite high.
James: Massive marketshare.
Apple vs. Google
Steve: The interesting thing too is even though Apple has quite a small percentage overall of the phone market, they are the most profitable and the user base is kind of loyal. I’m looking for the right word there. They’re quite passionate about I think the devices and stuff. That’s the market that appeals to me. So I decided to go for it and said I want to specialize in iPhone. But everything I’m saying would be…
James: I think, correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s a more controlled environment so probably more reliable for you to depend on.
Steve: Yeah. And again, there’s two models here. I don’t know if you’ve read the Steve Jobs as well.
James: Yeah, yeah. Open and close.
Steve: Open and close.
James: Close gets high quality and open gets cracked.
Steve: High quality gives you experience.
James: Is that right? I think that was the summary.
Steve: That was the summary. So it’s almost like watching Apple and Windows again. This is exactly that sign battle. Only this time, it’s iPhone; you know, closed, high quality, reliable, dependable. But like to get an app…
James: Is it Apple versus Google now?
Steve: I think so. Yeah.
James: So Google loves to pick a fight, don’t they? They’ll take on Facebook and they’ll take on Apple. I think they lost the Facebook one though.
Steve: Oh Google Plus will come back (laughs).
James: Sure. You can Google Plus me the update about it.
Pick a horse
Steve: Oh, I will. I’ll be sure to. Yeah. So really, in the end, you sort of pick a horse. And for me, that was the iPhone. What you then hit is the fact that developing for the iPhone, it’s a much higher level language than your typical Web developer uses. So you can usually find developers like Visual Basic coders and those sorts of languages. iPhone apps are written in what’s called Objective-C, which is an object oriented language. It’s something that is a different way of thinking as a programmer, and it takes a bit of expectation.
James: So what you’re saying is it’s going to cost more.
Steve: It’s going to cost more. There’s the summary. And it does. I think that that’s the other thing that people are not prepared for. Now, the caveat I’ll put on this is if what you want is an iPhone app that just wraps your website, then companies have really got what you want.
James: Which I had for Internet Marketing Speed.
Steve: And how much was that? Was that a lot of money?
James: It was like a $99 or something. It like pulls in my YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Steve: So companies have got effectively cookie cutter templates for those sorts of basic app where they say, “Look, it’s a website. You give me this feed, this feed, this feed. I mash them all together and I give you an app with a couple of buttons and your content displayed.”
James: So basically what we’re saying is that apps are pretty much just like everything else.
Steve: They’re just like everything else.
James: There’s some high volume, low priced; there’s quality, rare, expensive.
Steve: It’s like websites. You can have a cookie cutter kind of website or you can have a custom website. Which one cost you more? The custom obviously.
James: So for your business and you want to have an application that extends something that you’ve got or it’s a marketing funnel, or it does something cool like calculate, mortgage your payments or whatever, where are those companies going to to get help? Do they find boutique builders? Do they go overseas?
Where to get help
Steve: So again there’s a few different options there. If you have somebody internally in your company who is a skilled project manager and good at hiring people, then you could certainly conceivably hire a team yourself. The things that you need to be careful of when hiring overseas, the same as for any overseas hire that you’re doing in any other role in your business, can I trust them? If I pay them x thousand dollars to build me some code, do they finish the job?
Will it be supported? It will be spaghetti code that nobody can understand, or only they can support it, or is it something that I could feasibly give to another developer in the future to add more enhancements to? Will I just take that code and resell it to somebody else? Or do I own it? Because some countries, there are copyright protection laws and contract for hire laws that say, “Well I paid for this. That’s mine. Once you finished the job, it’s all mine and you can’t reuse it.” Don’t ask them to abide by that. You really want to be sure that you’re working with a reliable team.
James: And so the other spectrum is I guess you’ll have a company that just does everything for you in the same country.
Steve: You’d have a company that takes care of that for you. And look, like with everything else, what a business should be asking themselves the same as if they’re building a website or getting SEO done, or any of those sort of activities. Is that part of my core business that I should be creating a specialty? And then they’re for hiring internally for it. Or is this really a function that is best left to a specialist? In that case, bring the specialist in. Because even though you want to pay more for that specially skill to get the job done, once the job is done, you’re not paying for them, they’re not on your staff wages for the rest of the time.
James: It’s a contract. Open close. That was really interesting. I think you’ve brought us up to speed with a little bit more app stuff. I guess we could call this the first “app-date.” I’d like to read questions to come through. Would you come back and answer some of them? This is like such a huge emerging field, and I want to get as up-to-date with it.
Steve: Sure mate. Happy to.
James: All right. Give us a final thought about apps to close on here.
Steve: Well, the thing that has attracted me to it is that it is such a growing market. I mean people are just consuming apps and content on mobile devices at a growth that’s just explosive. I was in Silicon Valley for the original tech bubble. I feel like I’m here for the next one. It’s just exciting to be a part of it all over again. I think it should be something that businesses are looking at and saying, “Does it fit my business?”
James: Starting to research and get a feel for.
Steve: Should I be getting into this? Exactly.
James: Thanks, Steve O! That’s Steve O from internetsoftwaresystems.com.
Steve: Thanks, mate!
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