What’s your entry point to get your own app in the App Store?

During a workshop in Schwabing, one of Munich’s hippest areas, I was asked if it’s possible to produce an app with the (free) Test Drive version of QuarkXPress 9.1 and publish it to the App Store (and even charge for it).

Of course I first was interested in the motivation for the question. As I thought, it wasn’t so much a concern with testing the software as to trying to find the most cost effective way to publish to the iPad.

This is understandable for a new, emerging market that many businesses believe they have to be engaged with. The issue for an emerging market though is not wanting to invest too much in the early stages before you’ve experimented to see how you (or your client) might be successful. This is pretty much the advice that is given in regards to social media. Conduct small, discreet experiments, see how it works, be prepared to fail and move on to the next experiment until you find the approaches that will benefit your business.

I think you can take this same logic and apply it to digital publishing and specifically to the iPad. The challenge is that most of the tools for publishing to the iPad require a significant upfront investment and so it can be expensive to experiment and find what works for you and your market. This is made worse if you have to commit to 12 month+ contracts or could be hit at any moment with unpredictable download fees. Imagine you are doing a free magazine for a client and it is very successful, meaning lots of downloads. And you suddenly have to re-bill your client with double the amount you initially quoted…

To make a long story short, my answer to this was, “Of course, yes, you can publish to the App Store using the Test Drive”:

As the 30-day Test Drive isn’t crippled in any way and fully functional (for 30 days that is), you can export an App Studio layout for an iPad and use App Studio Factory to create an app and upload that to Apple. Of course you will need an Apple iOS Developer Account for this.

And as the Test Drive isn’t crippled, you can also create these scrollable areas I talked about in an early post.

So your entry costs are:
$149 (Single App for embedded issue)
$349 (one issue)
$99 (Apple iOS developer account)
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$597 total (plus tax), one-time fee

And as with Quark App Studio you only pay for what you publish, as a one-off fee, Quark doesn’t charge you any revenue share, no per download cost, no monthly commitment or other hidden costs. So you can conduct your first real life experiment with an app on the iPad for $597 (plus tax).

Since I was in Germany, I mentioned € prices to the German audience ;-) which is €477 (zzgl. MwSt.).

And if you are a student (or teacher or university), the price gets even more attractive as Quark is following the heavily discounted model also used for education versions of QuarkXPress.

So your entry point is:
$15 (Edu Single App for embedded issue)
$35 (Edu one issue)
$99 (Apple iOS developer account)
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$149 total (plus tax), one-time fee
(or for Germany: €122)

-> Of course you need to keep in mind that after 30 days you have to purchase a license of QuarkXPress 9 if you want to publish a new app or new content <-

The feedback from the audience was very positive and the common feeling was that this is an attractive way to test the app market for their company (or even their clients).