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iPhone Apps As A Business Model

Posted by: Colleen Debaise on May 7, 2009

I attended an event the other night at Soho House in Manhattan, and it wasn’t just for the Cinco de Mayo margaritas (although please note, this could become a dangerous trend). This was a launch party for a new iPhone application called FitnessBuilder.

Now, I’m all about fitness, being a fan of long-distance running and Pilates, but…I personally don’t have an iPhone or an iPod. Therefore, I’ve got no way to download this appealing application, which contains more than 400 ready-made workouts and tons of useful exercise images and videos. My question: How scalable is this product? How do you sell to the masses, when the masses don’t all have the same smart phone?

That doesn’t seem to be a concern to Craig Schlossberg and Declan Condron, co-founders of PumpOne, who met at a gym a while back and have spent the last four years developing FitnessBuilder. (And while the focus is iPhone, they do sell a version for BlackBerry and Treo). They’re enthused by how well FitnessBuilder, which sells for $19.99, is doing. It’s currently ranked #15 on this list of Top 50 Paid Health & Fitness Apps.

But this does raise the question - when you’re developing a consumer product that can only be used by consumers of another product (in this case, the iPhone, BlackBerry and Treo), are you limited in your potential earnings? Or is this the ultimate niche market? Let us know what you think.

Reader Comments


May 7, 2009 3:48 PM

Colleen DeBaise

May 7, 2009 4:37 PM

Thanks, BizBox. Enjoyed your post - especially the part about Stanford offering a course on how to develop an iPhone app (and the fact you can download it to an iPhone as a video podcast).

Ron Curry

May 18, 2009 11:55 PM

I was surprised by Standord's course. One only need do the math to understand that the iPhone app market can support mom and pop and boutique software houses at best. Nothing wrong with that. The larger opportunity lies in building apps which can be potted across multiple phone platforms. However it's still a relatively small opportunity.

While it it is easy to do quick and dirty apps like "iFart", more complex and business quality apps are much more difficult due to some of the deficiencies of the system architecture (some artificially imposed by Apple) and tools (lack of memory management for instance. The investment in a quality app is no less than a PC app but the ASP is $3 and Apple takes 1/3 plus the developer is wholly responsible for refunds - including covering Apples cut. Without some significant changes it will remain a cottage industry and so will the profits.

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