THE PROBLEM, OF COURSE, has become saturation. Navigating Apples application-approval process -- described by Pope as pretty opaque, like going to Oz and waiting for that verdict from behind the curtain -- takes longer than ever now that the App Store has been flooded with submissions. The real challenge nowadays is getting an app noticed amid the clutter.
Youre a needle within a stack of needles, basically, says Jason Yim, president of digital marketing agency Trigger, which has the built-in awareness advantage of designing iPhone apps for films like Angels & Demons, G.I. Joe, and 2012. As a result, developers of less-high-profile apps are almost at the mercy of the iPhones hordes of reviewers, whose negative ratings can sink an app before it even has a chance to gain traction.
But for those apps that connect with the masses, the rewards can be huge. Ian Sefferman, cofounder of iPhone-app search-and-discovery site AppStoreHQ, cautions that million-dollar app bonanzas remain isolated occurrences, especially with so many developers adopting this gold-rush mentality, where they all feel like they have to put something out right now.
That said, the costs associated with a great majority of iPhone apps are slim: a $99 fee to use Apples software-development kit, plus whatever time it takes the creator to develop and fine-tune his creation. (Pope, for example, says he has several thousand dollars tied up in Wait Watchers.) Thus, the profits can flow quickly, with developers receiving 70 percent of sales revenue.
Its well within the realm of possibility to bring in six figures a year if you have two or three popular apps, Batton says, before adding with a laugh, But dont quit your day job until youve made the money.