Since Apple launched the App Store in 2008, our lives have got highly integrated with apps. From a simple calculator to high end banking apps, we depend on them.

All in all, mobile apps are the hot cakes in the new marketing world. No matter what business you are in, an app can be a serious potent marketing tool. If managed correctly, an app can drive unlimited traffic and revenue your way and its potential should not be underestimated.

iPhone App Development Cost

But just because most of the applications are free to download or cost very little, does not mean that the cost of app development is low. App development can cost you an arm and a leg and you will get what you pay for.

An iOS app can cost you starting from a Honda to a BMW and doesn’t even end on a Porsche. Loads of factors contribute in the development cost of an iOS app. UX & Wireframe Design, Number of User Interfaces, Integrations required, Database Dependency, Server Side Syncing, Offline Capability and other Functional features all add up to the cost.

And as the thumb rule says: You will only get what you pay for. You can pay for a Honda Civic, it’ll work, but may prove to be more troublesome for you than a BMW, and it won’t have the same driving experience as a Porsche. More the features, more the time and time is the new money.

Here is a quick overview of how the iphone app development cost compares to different types of mobile application –

Basic Mobile Applications

Simple iPhone applications that don’t have a back-end fall into this category. But by basic, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t big on logic. These apps have static and simple functionality and include 5-6 screens. Giving a miss to database or graphics, these types of applications cost less than other applications.

Examples: Calculator apps, simple diet planner apps and more

Avg Price Point – $12,000 – $20,000

Simple server or database based applications

These applications come with backend dependent functionality. They are just a little heavier than the basic applications as content gets exchanged back and forth between client side and server.

Device applications are also included in this category. These applications either enhance and modify device firmware or hardware like camera, or use in-built functionalities present in the device like GPS. Interacting with hardware can be more time consuming and labor-intensive, therefore increase in the price.

Examples: Messaging apps, news apps, weather apps etc.

Avg Price Point – $18,000 – $25,000

Database-driven applications (back-end dependent)

Apps that are heavily dependent on server-side or database make the cost go up. Functionalities like database design, exchange of data, content, images, sounds or videos and loading them onto the main framework, geo-location, pattern recognition, in-app purchases and social networking functionality will push the cost up. This makes the logic behind these apps really complex.

For example, if you want an audio app like Spotify, making the back end for streaming the audio will be an expensive part of the mobile application. The logic behind audio apps has to take in to account the number of users it can support at a time. The higher the number of simultaneous users, the costlier it will be for providing audio streaming to them.

Examples are: Amazon, Spotify and more.

Avg Price Point – $25,000 – $35,000

Complex graphics or games based Applications

Game based applications make the most expensive apps because they are rich in complex graphics (2D, 3D graphics, modes etc.) that are not used in other types of apps. Introduction of graphics alone, can make an app’s cost hard to ballpark.

Incorporating the complex graphics with functionality, requires frequent content management, intelligent algorithms, religious testing making them technically most complex to code.

It is very difficult to figure out just how much a gaming app will cost to develop. It depends entirely on the level of complexity of the app. Even simple games like Angry Birds cost more than other apps. More the functionality, more complex is the code. And code demands money.

Plus customized and complicated animation demands precision. This can take substantial development time, which ultimately results in more money being spent.

One of the most expensive apps on iTunes is this game called BallAHolic HD. It comes with a price tag of $349.99 and, is the most expensive game on the Apple app store. This game offers 3D graphics, 2 arcade modes, 3 different game control setups and different levels and genres combined into one (expensive) game.

Avg Price Point – $35,000 onwards


That’s not all

The last thing that should be considered while estimating the cost of an application is Maintenance cost. An app is an ever-growing process, but not all apps require high maintenance.

An app made for long run, will prove to be successful if it is maintained properly. Updates, bug management, inclusion of new features, change in UI etc. combined, makes up the maintenance cost. Plus, there is an annual fee of $ 99 – $ 299 for iTunes Store developer membership.

So the maintenance should be considered while setting budget for an app, according to its requirements.