For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to make some assumptions. We’ll assume we’re talking about an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), sometimes referred to as a Proof of Concept, and that it’s an app to control a new Smart Device.
This will be a super slimmed-down version of the app, with all of the non-essentials stripped out. This helps us to start thinking about a timeline.
This process will help you understand the users, what they want, and how they will use the app. Perhaps you will conduct some research, and define how each of your features will work. Take Registration and Login for example:
Will people be using Emails?
Do you want to use Social Media (Apple, Google, Facebook) to sign in?
Will you be using Magic Links?
Will users need to get Text Message Authentication codes to log in?
What information will you be collecting from people as part of the registration process?
Once you’ve mapped out all your features you can prioritise them to decide what is going to be in V1.0 of this app.
If you want to get through it quickly, you can probably condense this to 1-2 weeks for a simple app.
Great, What’s next?
What does it look like and how will users use it? Designers will help draw up plans for your app, starting by understanding the Userflows from the Discovery process. They use this to create some Wireframes, and next, you’ll see them come to life with your branding. Lastly, it’s then transformed into a clickable prototype. It’s checked thoroughly to make sure it works as you expect and developers can click through to understand it too.
An MVP can usually be pulled together in around 2 weeks.
What about building it?
First up, the basics:
Great, How long will that take?
This sort of stuff, for a fairly simple implementation, can normally be built in about a week
Okay, but my app still doesn’t really do anything. What’s next?
List all of your Devices
Add a new Device
Remove a Device
Name a Device
Change the state of the device
Schedule state changes (timers, alarms etc.)
Basic In-App Analytics
Alright, Then how long will that take?
Now you’re getting into a lot more detail, but let's say optimistically 6 weeks. But you’re not done yet.
Well, now you have to submit it to the app store and wait for it to be reviewed before it can go live. We published a link further up that took you to the Apple App Store Review Guidelines. This is a really in-depth guide to all of the things your app has to comply with to get approved, and there are further linked guides surrounding Design, or maybe you want to tie into the Apple Home Kit.
Apple says 90% of apps are reviewed within 48 hours.
I would advise that you leave time for at least one round of amend from Apple Review Feedback, maybe two.
Safe side, two weeks.
After that, version 1.0 of your app is out there in the wild. It took around 12 weeks to get here. Of course, this blueprint doesn’t fit everyone or every app. It’s possible sometimes to work faster, by having more developers working in parallel, but this won’t always be possible, and the trade-off is this comes at a higher cost.
Get feedback, read App Store reviews, and comments, check out ratings and iterate, look at what features come next, and see which existing features require improvement.