in Books, iOS

The Business of iPhone and iPad App Development

Business coverFull disclosure: Apress asked me to review this book and sent me a free copy. I agreed with my usual condition of being able to really say what I thought about the book, good or bad. So here it is.


Great book for someone starting out on iOS development. You would be at a severe disadvantage if you don’t know about most practices described in the book. Single resource for lots of good practices you’d have to pick up from blogs or Twitter otherwise.

In More Detail…

Don’t be fooled by the title. The Business of iPhone and iPad App Development by Dave Wooldridge and Michael Schneider isn’t one of your boss’ stuffy business book. This is a practical, hands on, guide to making a successful iOS app. It assumes you already have an idea and know how to develop it, but it guides you through the steps of focusing the app, designing it so it can be profitable, and releasing it with the best possible chance of becoming a good seller.

You’ve probably heard a dozen stories of developers who create a great app, submit it to the App Store, and then wonder why they only sold a dozen copies. This is the book they need to go along with that great app.

The book roughly follows the development timeline of an app, from the initial concept, design, implementation, testing, and release. At each of the stages, it covers any aspects that can have a significant impact in the sales success of the app. Even though you can read the book cover to cover, the chapters are very well defined, so it’s easy to jump directly to the part that interests you the most.

With Casey’s Contraptions almost ready to submit to Apple, I read with particular interest the chapters on creating prerelease buzz and increasing awareness of the app. Lots of good advice there.

Don’t expect anything groundbreaking though. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, or you’ve been hanging out on Twitter with all the iOS developers, you will know most of what the book has to offer. It might still be worth it for a few pearls of wisdom here and there to fill some blind spot. However, the book should be required reading for any new iOS developer. Easily the best $20 you can spend as far as impact in the final app sales.

I usually have no patience for technical books with filler chapters and sections. This book is very good about getting to the point, although it has a few sections that feel a bit out of place in that they’re quite basic and technical (like details of generating provisioning profiles, did we really need that in this book?). All in all, that’s a pretty minor point and easy to get around them.

Delayed Release

Probably my main criticism is that the book doesn’t mention one release technique that I consider to be a requirement for any major launch these days: The delayed launch. As the authors mention several times in the last few chapters, once you submit your app, you have no control over when Apple approves it, so you have to play some guessing games.

Instead, you can delay the release of the app once it has been approved, and set it to a known, fixed date in the future (say, a week from approval). At that point, you can really kick in your PR in high gear, contact media outlets, and, most importantly, send them promo codes for your app, even though it’s not available for sale yet.

The goal is to have all the PR hit on launch day or shortly after. The more you can make that happen, the more successful any PR efforts will be, and the bigger the initial launch (and hopefully the following sales) will be.

All in all, The Business of iPhone and iPad App Development is an easy recommendation for the new iOS developer. Go read it right now before you even think of shipping another app.


  1. Do you feel it may be suitable for mobile development in general (ie android or win mobile), or it is only related to iphone / ipad development?

    • Federico, The book is *very* heavily focused on iPhone and iPad. However, it also covers some general aspects that apply to all mobile development (design, testing, how to promote your app, etc). I’d say it’s probably worth it if you’re looking for one source for all that material.

  2. I don’t get the release delayed thing, I tried it and got next to no PR Coverage and because of the delayed release it didn’t appear when sorted by Release Date as the Release Date was the date it was approved rather the date it first appeared in the App Store, was I doing something wrong or does the PR Coverage when you get it make up for the few sales you get from people randomly browsing the new lists?

    • The New Release list used to be a huge deal a couple of years ago. Now I don’t think it’s worth more than a few extra sales. The benefits you can get from a delayed release are orders of magnitude higher than what you get from being on the list, so the choice is clear for me. But yes, it means you need to get some good coverage during that time. You should be confident that your product is great, that there’s a need for it, and you should already have contacts with the media so you know you’ll get some coverage.

      Apart from that, I thought I heard recently that even if you put off the delay, you still show up in the New Releases list. I could be wrong on that though. Maybe someone else can confirm it?

      • “you should already have contacts with the media so you know you’ll get some coverage.”
        We are really struggling to get contacts. Any advice on that? (Perhaps a new blog post? Hint, hint! 😉

  3. I completely agree with your assessment of this book. I recently purchased it on the kindle store for $9.99. Definitely money well spent. I am relatively new to iOS development, but very new to deployment and the App Store. This books has been invaluable in helping me determine the things I need to be thinking about when creating, developing, and releasing a new app.

  4. Great Post, Here you can bit more info on what we’re doing on iPad and iPhone application development.I dont have practise on iOS development so that this bokk really helpful for me.

  5. Nice post. Surely this book will help me in iPad application development. And its really helpful to those who just started iOS app development.

Comments are closed.