on 14 May 2012
I managed to read this in three hours. It's more like a power point presentation then the book i expected however it does have some interesting points of note. Definitely not worth the £9 i paid for it.
Appilionaires is an easy enough read and quite interesting for those interested in developing Apps, have a dead good idea and want to find out how others hit the big time (perhaps to learn from their mistakes and read some short-cuts).
So what do you get for your money? It's spilt into 3 sections - each of a few chapters each.
The first section deals with Apps from their first inception, through bedroom developers to millionaire developers. This I found interesting as I'd not really read much on the history of app development before.
The second setion goes through 5 mega games (Doodle jump, Harbor Master, Pocket God, Stick Wars and Angry Birds- basically what the game is like, the story of its development, marketing problems/successes and finally its hitting the big time. For me this was the best part of the book - I was really interested in the trials and tribulations of a developer (having worked in I.T. as a software developer myself).
The last section gets back on track with teh first section - where the App market is at the moment and what might it's future developments be like.
An interesting book, had its highs and lows but failed to deliver on really inspiring me to write my own apps. Maybe I just haven't got what it takes?!
I was expecting this book to be more around the technical development of Apps for the various iDevices around. To some degree it is, but the main focus is in three sections - the birth of the App, the appillionaires, and the future of Apps.
I found the history/birth of the App section to be fascinating, I know a fair bit about the hacking scene of the iPhones and the jail breaking of the devices but found a good few nuggets in the book.
These chapters focus on how Apple did not want to have third party applications on it's devices initially, so the hacking community created their own App store (Cydia - which is still going strong today) to offer functionality and features that the phone did not. The success of Cydia directly led Apple to begin to create it's own App Store via iTunes. The rest as they say, is history and also a massive success.
The next part focuses on some well known apps, their creators, and their. Most people will have heard of Harbour Master, Doodle Jump, Pocket God and Angry Birds but most people will not realise for example that 52 games were failures before Angry Birds hit the big time.
This section is well written and stresses both the importance of hard work, development and luck as major factors as well as technical skill. It also shows how good marketing can prolong the life of a successful product by avoiding saturation.
The final (and smallest) section is around the difficulties of producing an App - $15 - $50,000 for a simple App being an example. There is an interesting debate on the pricing of Apps and why 99 cents may not be the best price point. There is also the future of Apps and how the market is likely to progress.
The author created and sold a successful App (Alice for iPad) which I downloaded on the strength of this book. I found the App to be terrible (3 stars average, out of 19 reviews) however that may just be me! The book was a far better success in my opinion. It is well written, has a lot of relevant research and the author knows his subject matter and presents it in an informative and amusing way.
My main criticism is that the book is not a long read at 200 pages and I just wanted more from it! It's a good read and recommended for anyone with an interest in Apps, Apple or just how the market has progressed. 4 stars due to the length of the book though
Chris Stevens' "Appillionaires" (dreadful made-up word!) purports to be "Secrets from developers who struck it rich on the App Store", which to me carries the clear implication that these are the secrets that enabled them to "strike it rich", thus enabling you to emulate their success. Errr - not quite.
What we have here is a few chapters about the history of mobile games, the iPhone itself, and the App Store - interesting background reading, but hardly useful for the aspiring App Store millionaire. There are then case studies of the history of the development of five individual apps, including the ubiquitous Angry Birds, and the book then wraps up with a few chapters about the current state of the app market, which basically lets you know that to make a million on the App Store, the main requirement is to be incredibly lucky.
The app case studies are interesting enough, but don't expect any of them to tell you anything that is going to change your life - pretty much all of them just had a good idea and were in the right place at the right time.
It's a shame - as a history of the mobile application market, it's not a bad read, but the whole experience is soured, for me, by the suggestion that the book is something else; your passport to a new life as a millionaire app developer. I wasn't really expecting that to be true - if there was a sure-fire way to make it big in software development, it would hardly be published in a book like this - but the marketing of the book implies it is something that it is not, and for that reason, I struggle to recommend it. It feels more like a bit of a bandwagon jump in the wake of Angry Birds - a book written purely for the money rather than having any particularly useful or interesting information to impart.
I was interested in becoming an iPhone developer when I owned an iPhone a few years ago (more on why this did not happen later) and I am now an Android developer with an app on the Google Play store with almost 3,000 active installs. This made the premise of this book an immediate draw for me - anyone who has considered, or has started to dabble in, app development must surely daydream about this interesting and stimulating hobby meaning they never need to work for anyone else again...
I wasn't disappointed that I had taken the time to read this slim volume and will come back to the positives in a moment, but before I do, a few thoughts when you are considering a purchase.
- the book is absolutely focused on the Apple app store and the Apple infrastructure. I know this is reasonably clear but still feel it worth stating. It is written with no mention of the Android or the new Windows 8 infrastructure
- it makes some assumptions about the "cost of entry" to writing an app being the purchase of the tools ($99 is the figure stated in the book). It neglects to mention that, of course, you need an Apple PC to develop on, it is not possible to use a Windows PC (this is what stopped me getting started on app development on my iPhone as I do not own a Mac). If you aren't already in the Apple world the cost of starting will be considerably higher as you need to invest in new hardware
- it is very much focused on games, almost all the examples and almost all the anecdotes are about games (the author wrote an interactive e-book and this topic gets a couple of mentions, gimmicks like virtual pints of beer and fart apps also get minor mentions). If you are more interested in developing a different type of app such as a utility or other type of software you won't find any examples that cover that type of domain
- it is very misleading to claim in the blurb on the Amazon product page that you will "get advice from the pros and turn your app ideas into millions of dollars". I realise a certain amount of marketing hype is to be expected but this book is definitely not a "how to" guide and, by the end of it, the author is almost saying "don't think you are going to make lots of money writing an app, almost no one does and it may already be too late to surf the wave". A much fairer appraisal but might not sell so many copies ;-)
It almost feels like a shame to have had to get all of that out of the way because I did still enjoy this book. I can't help but think think it would have been fairer to have positioned itself as "Appillionaires: stories from the trenches, how some intrepid developers struck it rich on the app store".
And this modified remit is one that it covers admirably.
It starts with a history lesson covering the emergence of the iPhone as an entirely new class of device which was initially completely closed to third party apps and the covers how some intrepid hackers managed to prise open the closed system and allow themselves to install their own software on this exciting new piece of hardware.
It covers the realisation by Apple that there was money to be made by embracing third party apps and the birth of the Apple app store and has a number of very well written anecdotes, stories and analyses of the independent developers who broke into the scene before the "big boys" realised that "there was gold in them thar hills", often as one or two man bands, and released games which took advantage of the iPhone's capabilities and captured the imagination of its users and, in some cases, did indeed go on to make these developers a great deal of money.
The economics and the cut-throat nature of the Apple rating system are nicely covered. How important it is to get your app into the Top 100, Top 50, Top 10 on the Apple store or to get the much coveted "featured" banner on the iTunes store. How most of these developers had many failures before they hit gold and what the impact of large venture capitalists and big game development houses such as EA have had on the scene for newcomers who hope to emulate the success of these trailblazers.
As noted, the conclusion is very cautious. Unless you have a great idea, great marketing, a great deal of luck and (perhaps) are prepared to engage in legal action when your brilliant app is copied...then you are unlikely to join the ranks of the so called Appillionaires.
This book won't help you get rich but it will educate and entertain you about the birth of this new market. As long as you are happy to become a few pounds poorer after its purchase rather than expecting to become hundreds of pounds richer then I recommend it.
"Appillionaires" is a pretty good introduction to the world of the App Store, from a developer's point of view. If you have had a great idea for a killer app and you're convinced it will make you your millions, this is the book you should read first- largely because it will be a big reality check for you.
Crucially though (depending on what book you're after), this is NOT a 'how to' guide to making apps- the actual details of how you go about programming an app is not dealt with here, except for the fact that there is a Software Development Kit. It's not to be confused with books like "Building iPhone Apps" or "Pro Objective-C for Mac and iPhone". This instead is a book about finance, marketing, and to a small degree, playability and what makes games addictive and successful (not necessarily the same thing).
It splits into three parts. Firstly you get a little potted history of phone apps, Apple's pre-iPhone experiments and the pre-App Store 'black market' in getting third-party software onto phones. This rolls along at a nice pace. Some facts and figures about the incredible expansion of the iPhone market are peppered among a few 'what might have been'
Secondly you get a section detailing the stories behind some of the high-profile app successes- Angry Birds (of course), Harbour Master, Pocket God, Stick Wars and Doodle Jump. This is the weakest section, as besides giving the biographies of the people who came up with the games- many of whom are, frankly, don't have particularly fascinating life stories- and explanations of the games themselves which you could find out just by buying them, there's little else in this section except for some timely reminders that these people did not simply strike it rich at their first attempt.
The third section feels like a natural continuation of the first, looking at the present and potential future of the App Store and looking at what a bedroom dreamer would have to do to make it rich on the App Store, and realistically what chances they've got. There are a few little stand-alone stories about iPhone developer copyright lawsuits and the like.
Some minor things bother me about this book. For example yes it's clearly about the App Store, but other platforms like Android and cross-platform successes are overlooked in a slightly too Apple-centric viewpoint; yes Android sales revenues are smaller, but not negligible. Each chapter has a summary, which feels a little bit like filler as none of the chapters were so complex that summarising felt necessary.
These are minor quibbles though in a generally strong book that'll interest anyone who's looked at an iPhone game and thought, "I want to do that".
on 2 January 2015
this book is for people who are setting out to create their first app. it takes you through a journey of how you can avoid many pitfalls that a novice may face when launching his or her first app. I genuinely think, this is one of the best books out there. I will be using it as a reference guide when launching my app, the sheer amount of useful information is incredible.
This book has been written by someone who's been there and done it so it has instant credibility. It contains a series of case studies into app development and outlines a number of consistent themes across those that have been successful.
However, it is also extremely realistic about the prospects for success for any particular game and also the number of apps each developer released before hitting the big time. Excellent, easy reading and a cautionary guide for those that believe there is gold in them thar hills.
As a part time app developer, I thought this would be a very interesting read. To hear from someone who has managed to have a hit app could be potentially very enlightening.
In the end, the book isn't really that insightful. If you haven't been through the Apple app store process, there is loads of good information about what to expect, and what the problems are.
I've released a couple of apps, and it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. Fortunately, the way the book talks about apps meant it wasn't a waste of time. The chapters about the whole history of apps, the early days of developing for it before it was official, were fascinating.
It's a good, interesting book, just slightly let down by the fact it is a bit lightweight - quite short, none of the secrets are really anything earth shattering, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it anyway.
This is a tricky one. I wanted it to be more than it actually was, but still enjoyed reading it.
What I liked:
Well laid out style with a summary at the end of each chapter listing the main parts, so if you wanted to you could just read the summary to get the feel of the book).
The background to a few app makers and how they got their apps into the world.
The story of how the app store was born - forced on to Apple by the hacker community looking for apps to install and phones had to be jailbreaked.
The future of apps - an insight to the way the apps are developing in cost, patent trolls etc.
What I disliked:
It was too short - read in less than a day - I wanted to read a more detailed book.
Highlighted paragraphs in light grey - you can hardly read the type. Better it stick to black.
Images in grey - There are some pictures/charts early on that make it impossible to differentiate which line is for what platform - they are all the same colour (perhaps the original was colour and it was a bad conversion to greyscale?).
What secrets? - The information contained is available from the internet in many forms - so not really any secrets.
What I learned was that early on the bedroom programmers got the app store running and populated it with their work, reminding me of the 80"s when everyone at school either had a ZX81, ZX Spectrum or C64 and were writing software. It seems that it has come full circle, Nowadays with so many apps, it is virtually impossible to get to be a millionaire from app sales. The popular apps get listed on the app store pages, otherwise you virtually have no hope.
Even now, I have friends who think that they can write an app, publish it and watch the money roll in and retire. Ah! I will tell them to get this book as one thing that sticks out is that the median revenue for an app developer s $682 per year. Taking into account some of the very big apps like angry birds etc, that leaves a very very very small revenue.
Overall, an average book with some good information scattered throughout. I wanted a better in depth story from the app developers, and a longer read than half a day. For information only, worth a punt but not a must have book.