Creating an iPad App

The information below is to help give you ideas on creating an iPad app. Keep in mind that this is primarily an Apple-based endeavor… iPads, iPhones, and apps (Applications) created for these devices will only be applicable to Apple and it’s devices (iPad, iPhone, etc…). While iPad apps are currently very popular, it’s important to really explore your direct strategy in creating the “app” in the first place. That will help you determine whether an iPad exclusive app is ideal, and/or how to create an app that will either sell really well (if that’s in the plan) or at least be highly useful to your audience, as well as easily used by your audience.

Pre-Determination Phase

  1. Why do you want to create this app?
  2. Does it make sense to create an iPad exclusive app, or another type of multimedia app (web app, Nook app, etc…).
  3. Who is this marketed to?
  4. Selling the app, or free?
  5. Do you have a budget to create one? They can be very expensive…

Step 1. Find your niche, Develop a “Plan”

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What would be useful to the world?
  • Can it improve something?
  • Will it solve a problem?
  • What will it do?
  • Is it a book (epub), game, tool, etc…
  • Is it for entertainment/information only?
  • What will it cost?
  • Will it be distributed on or at the app store? or an app that you distribute on your own that can be used on an iPad?

Step 2. Research

  • What’s out there now like yours? (Go to app store, research your topic and see what’s out there… Google search your topic)
  • What’s the competition doing?
  • What will be different about yours?
  • Is it for iPad or iPad and iPhone?

Step 3. Layout and Design

  • Sketch out a rough idea about your app, it  needs to be functional, useful, and look good!
  • Use a site (like to help mock up your app idea, or create a sketch
  • Be clear, and precise. What will it look like all the way through?

Step 4. Hire a developer

  • If you are a programmer, or don’t mind tinkering— you can probably create something basic to moderate
  • Make sure you read and understand Apple’s detailed developer guidelines (
  • Be clear, and precise. What will it look like al the way through?
  • If you don’t understand any programming, hire one. Look at samples, or get pricing— larger firms cost more than smaller contractors.
  • Price will vary deepening on how complex it is. Expect anywhere from $5k — $30k upward. If you have NO experience at all and need help creating a more complex application, expect sometimes $50k-$100k plus (easily). Depends on how much of the work you have done— did you lay it out yet or need to be done? How complex a project is it?

Step 5. Pricing

  • How much will you charge?
  • Apple keeps about one-third the cost per download
  • Be careful, cheap pricing doesn’t always work. Sometimes amping up price makes it “look” more appealing and worthy…

Step 6. Submission, Review and Getting it Activated

  • There is a rather complex process of getting your app active on the Apple app store.
  • you need to submit an application for app
  • you need a paid iOS developer account ($99/year) in order to submit applications, free or otherwise, to the iTunes App Store.
  • review board reviews app for functionality, being free of offensive material, etc…
  • Read their basic guidelines:
  • Be sure your apps comply with all of Apple’s guidelines
  • Create an iTunes Connect account you need to set up an iBooks acount to sell or provide free ebooks on the Apple iTunes store…

Step 7. Marketing

  • How are you going to advertise it, distribute it, let the world know it’s there? You need to have a plan… otherwise it sits doing nothing.
  • Use word of mouth, social media, website, email newsletters, online banner ads, and make it part of your advertising and marketing plan…


  • level of complexity affects the cost, functionality, and time frame
  • you will need to manage profits on your end and pay federal taxes on any income generated
  • Apple’s review process (approving your ePub, App, etc… for distribution on Apple iTunes or iBook store) can be a bit tedious. Must be factored into the project…
  • Can be a very expensive endeavor
  • iPad exclusive, only iPad users can use these… you’d want to be sure there’s a large enough exclusivity here to warrant the cost
  • You may instead consider a web app. An app created like an online site that can be used and accessed on almost any device…


Apple review process links:

iTunes Connect Account

To set up an iTunes account

iBookstore publishing overview

You can submit your book for publication on the iBookstore, or export it in a variety of formats and distribute it yourself. Before you can publish to the iBookstore, you need to do the following:

Sign up for a Free or Paid Books Account. You can sign up during the publishing process (after you click Publish). Signing up for an account is free.

Free Books Account: If you are going to offer only books for free, create a Free Books Account. If you create a Free Books Account and decide to sell books, you need to create a Paid Books Account.

Paid Books Account: To sell books on the iBookstore, you need a Paid Books Account (you can still offer books for free if you like). With a Paid Books Account, you need to provide banking and tax information so that you can receive payments for the books you sell on the iBookstore. After you create your Paid Books Account, sign in and activate your contract.

Download iTunes Producer, the application you use to deliver your book to the iBookstore. You can download iTunes Producer for free as part of the publishing process.

Create a sample book (required with a Paid Books Account) for customers to view for free before deciding to purchase your book.

Make sure the file is no larger than 2 GB (the iBookstore file size limit). Also, note the following:

Readers using a 3G connection can’t download books larger than 20 MB. If you create your sample book manually, make sure you keep the size of your sample book smaller than 20 MB.

The larger the book, the longer it takes to download, and the more iPad storage it uses. Movies in particular can be very large. For best results, keep your book file smaller than 1 GB.

Books submitted to the iBookstore using a Paid Books Account can be protected by Apple’s proprietary FairPlay DRM (digital rights management) system, which helps prevent unauthorized duplication of your book. (Movies and audio included in HTML5 widgets are not DRM-protected.)

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