Awesome iPhone app ideas

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When people ask what I do, I used to tell them that I build apps. I soon learnt that this short-sighted response is a common segue to that person’s ‘awesome iphone app idea’.

Every man and his dog has an earth shattering idea for a ‘game changing’ app. Apparently these ideas escaped thousands of extremely talented and bright Apple iOS developers; yet the proverbial apple fell on your mate’s head while they were sinking beers at a pub. After making your ears bleed, this person then generously offers to ‘go you halves’ in this aforementioned venture. Cheers.

A recent taxi ride saw a cab driver (with Honours in Software Engineering no less) peppering me with questions on costs and timelines in regards to iOS apps. I’ve never even pushed a pixel on a mobile app, I focus more on web, but as a keen conversationalist I reciprocated. Out of curiosity I asked him a few questions on his idea. He became cagey. I’m not actually sure what fuels this fear, but people seem to think that idea’s are something that can be jotted down on a napkin and turned into a million dollars. Maybe this scene from Italian Job helped it along.

Shawn Fanning 'stealing' Napster from Seth Green's character

Shawn Fanning 'stealing' Napster from Seth Green's character

What springs to mind is a question on stackoverflow where someone asked how long it would take to build a typical iPhone app. Twitterrific was the app used as an example. Readers began estimating the piece of string and 160 hours quickly got voted to the top. This thread started to get some coverage which lead to an actual developer from the Twitterific development team putting in his 2 cents.

“I can tell you everyone who upvoted the estimate of 160 hours for development and 40 hours for design is fricken’ high.” – Chockenberry

Chockenberry went on to ballpark the cost of developing Twitterific at 1100 hours + existing code base for a conservative total of $200,000. It’s important to remember that most of what this app does is echo out what’s already coming from Twitter. It’s no Angry Birds or Bejeweled. Mark this cost down not as development, but execution.

The notion that ideas are worth nothing has been written about to death. Derek Sivers gives this movement some metrics in his seminal blog post, Ideas are just a multiplier of execution. The article suggests that a brilliant idea with poor execution is worth $2000, whilst a brilliant idea with great execution is worth $2,000,000. You can see why I felt like I was getting my pants pulled down in the opening paragraph’s offer.

Ideas don’t have to be original. First to market is not a stand alone strategy. Facebook wasn’t the first social networking site. Google wasn’t the first search engine. And Steve Jobs was more of a tweaker, or curator, than an inventor.

Apps that go gangbusters certainly get romanticised and there’s no doubt the story travels far and wide. The App Store took three years to reach 15 billion downloads. From that point it only took 8 months to hit 25 billion, which takes us to today.

App Store sales

The market is getting saturated. And it’s accelerating. It’s getting harder to replicate that user experience of Shazamming your first song, and there’s only so many ways you can warp your friend’s faces. As this happens, I can’t help but agree with the notion that idea’s are worth nothing and that execution is everything.


  • Cyberakash

    yep thats true

  • Robert Scheiner

    I so much agree with this. I came up with the app recently – Wordflex Touch Dictionary. It’s not a new idea, these “visual thesauruses” existed before. But Wordflex has really made an impact and is now seen as original and first comer (although it is not) just because of how it was executed……..

    • Dilruksha S

      Facebook wasnt the first social network and google isnt the first search engine. So it all depends on how you execute. Also square isnt the first mobile payment system. So everyone do what you love and trust in your idea and then work for it.

  • Seanoriain4

    A new idea is very rare

    • HUDSUP

      You guys, there is not one idea that is very rare, your imagination is what you use to make these damn apps. Steve jobs didnt think that his Idea to make a computer was new, but it was when he noticed it turned into a company and he got friken rich. Now look what he has done, you guys need to understand that if you have the littlest bit of hope or imagination in you, you can design something new, think of something that you have dreamed about when u were sleeping. Try and make that dream a story, then turn it into a game. Download sample code, and then tweak it and mess with it, by the time you know it, you will HAVE TWEAKED A CODE THAT “SOMEONE MADE” AND NOW THAT YOU DESIGNED SOMETHING NEW AND DIFFERENT FROM IT, ITS “NEW AND YOURS!”

      • It was Woz

        Steve jobs didn’t invent the computer Wozniak all Steve jobs did was marketed it

        • Dilruksha S

          Its true but HUDSUP has a great point. You need to trust on your idea and work towards it rather than having a doubt.

          Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

  • Szabi

    Somebody told me a crazy idea, I have searched and it is at Appstore already :D

  • Kyle Langille

    Nothing but truth. With the crowded stores, even the best apps can fall through the cracks

  • Nathanhousego

    Awesome website you have had it so studnts can get on to twitter

  • Bradley Joos

    i Got an Idea But Where can i put it ? 


      Point your mobile browser to No need to thanks…

  • Mohitebenezer

    if i have an idea that is indeed genuine and new, how d i go bout marketing it?

  • Daniel Steel

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    We’ve worked on a new guide for 2013 on how to develop your own applications even without having a strong developer background! Even if your already have iOS applications in the AppStore we can also help with marketing guides. 

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  • iphonereleasenet

     there is not such thing as new ideas. Whatever you’re thinking of it’s been done You can only make something better these days not invent.

  • frank

    good idea to create a app Technical Surveilance Counter Measures (tscm ) detector for iphonne

  • Dream It App

    Completely disagree. While an idea alone may not be worth a lot, what are you going to execute if not an idea?

    And to everyone that says all the good ideas are taken already, well that’s a load of nonsense. If that’s the case, humanity may just as well pack up and go home.

    Check out my site, to get some sense of ideas that are still out there ready to be executed.

    • Dilruksha S

      Spam Bomb

  • abhi

    I have an awesome mobile game concept which I want to share… It is around automobiles.. [Need for Speed.... Motogp.......]].

    I have detailed the concept and created concept sketches too..

    You can find it at…