So how much money can you make out of developing iPad apps?

May 2011

Today there are over 80,000 iPad Apps and an estimated 250,000 iPad compatible iPhone Apps available for download in the App Store . Each day over 600 Apps are submitted to the App Store for approval. So I guess the question needs to be asked: Can you make money out of developing iPad Apps?

Well I don't have any up to date figures to share with you but back in December when there was 40,000 iPad apps in the store I did some thumbnail numbers based on some numbers published by IA and Apple Insider that suggested if you take Tomi Ahonen's estimates of $30,000 as the average cost of developing an iPhone app to be the benchmark for developing an iPad app and then placed it in the App Store with a RRP of $0.99 then it would take less than a week in the Top Spot in the App Store to achieve an ROI. As we move further down the app store's long tail we discover that it would take a couple of weeks in the Top 10, 6 Weeks in the Top 50 and 9 months in the Top 100.

These estimates of course did not account for the marketing and promotion costs that have the potential to increase the cost of entry somewhere between 2-10x the development costs.

Since then the number of Apps has doubled while the number of iPads has grown from 15 to 20 Million.

So although the number of iPads has increased the probability of success has actually been reduced. If you consider the raw stat that you have a 1 in 800 chance of making it into Top 100 then it is fairly obvious it doesn't need a coin toss to figure out that a night out at the casino is offering better odds at the moment for the average wannabe App Store developer.

Having said that even a cursory glance at the Top 100 Paid iPad Apps would reveal that the overall quality of market is relatively poor by Windows standards. There appears to be a lot of "shareware" developers sitting it out on the long tail of the App Store Economy.

This in itself suggests that anyone who enters the market with a "Killer" iPad App is going to do very well. The challenge is to discover that special "something" - be it an App or a Game - that proves itself to be indispensible to those 20 Million iPad owners.

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