The new iPad tablet computer from Apple is set to revolutionize web browsing, reading email and viewing photos and videos. This lightweight device has a large, 9.7-inch touchscreen, and offers enhanced mobile computing. Along with the standard Apple applications available on the iPad, users will also be able to purchase and download applications from the new iPad App Store, similar to the current iPhone app store.
Riding on the phenomenal success of Apple’s online App Store for iPhone apps, the company is now offering developers the chance to create apps for the iPad, as well. The iTunes store has sold over 2 billion apps in the past year, totaling over $910 million in revenue for the developers of those apps. Developers will be pleased to know that their current iPhone applications will run on the iPad, as well.
Applications can be displayed either in actual, iPhone size, or in a version stretched to better fit the iPad screen. But this is only a stop-gap, as the real market will be in the creation of apps specifically for the iPad’s large screen. A software development toolkit has been released by Apple, so that developers can begin to create applications specifically for the iPad.
Development Skills Can Be Brought In
Businesses who don’t have software development skills can still take advantage of the new iPad App Store by commissioning the creation of new apps. The key to doing this efficiently and economically, is to properly manage the application development process and hire reputable talent where required.
The emergence of this new, large-format tablet device represents a number of opportunities for small businesses around the globe. Businesses with an idea for a new app, should not feel shut out of the market because they lack software development skills. The process for app creation is fairly straightforward. (Gordon, Jen. Smashing Magazine) Businesses do, however, need to be quick to market and utilise strong supply chain management and project management skills.
Manage iPad App Development Like Any New Product Development Project
The creation of an iPad app should be treated as any business project. If the business doesn’t have the skills in-house to complete the task, qualified staff can be brought in on a short term, contract basis. Businesses should follow the standard new product development process (PDMA), ensuring that the target audience of the app is clearly identified.
Idea generation – Businesses should consider the possibilities of different applications their company can offer, taking into account the size and format of the iPad, as well as capabilities such as the touch screen and internet connectivity. A SWOT diagram should be created, listing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of ideas. The key here is to ensure that the proposed app fulfills a specific niche in the market. (Gordon, Jen. Smashing Magazine)
Idea screening – Factors such as technical feasibility of the proposed app should be taken into account, along with identification of the app’s target market and viability of the idea.
Concept development – If the business owners are adept at interface design, they should attempt to create a mock-up of the proposed app. However, if design skills are lacking, a freelance graphic designer should be consulted. Graphic designers can be found on freelancing sites, such as Elance. Businesses should request references and a portfolio from prospective designers.
Business analysis – Thorough market research should be done on the proposed app, taking into account competitors, pricing of similar apps, and the proposed users of the app. A budget analysis should be completed, estimating the costs of design and development, and weighing the up against the potential revenue from app sales.
Initial testing – The mock-up of the proposed app should be reviewed by representatives of the proposed user base, and feedback should be taken into account before development is commissioned.
Technical development – Assuming the business does not have internal development resources, an external developer should be contracted from a reputable source. Freelancing sites, such as Elance and Guru are good sources of quality talent at fair prices. When selecting a developer for the app, price should not be the sole criteria. Businesses should deliver a clear brief, with mock-up interface, outlining the scope of the project, and request references and portfolios from prospective developers.
Marketing – With hundreds of thousands of apps on sale in the App Store, business owners should prepare for stiff competition. Once the app has been developed, tested and submitted to the App Store, a full launch campaign should be undertaken to raise visibility of the product. A new media campaign, incorporating social networking sites and a pre-launch party are good ways to raise visibility of a new app. (Gordon, Jen. Smashing Magazine)
New product pricing – The new iPad app should be priced after careful consideration of the market. Often, a free initial trial or lite version of an app, can increase downloads and create a buzz in the marketplace. Businesses should consider the true value of the app, rather than try to recoup the cost of contracting development resources.
Enterprising businesses can undertake the development of iPhone and iPad apps, even without in-house design or software development skills, as long as strict controls as taken on budget, market research, vetting of potential suppliers and management of the development project in its complete lifecycle.