Early adopters that immediately implement the new UI expectation have the opportunity to hold their ranking and highlight status on the iTunes App store, while laggers risk losing their store ranking to fast moving teams looking to capitalize on the change.
Regardless of functional updates that may take advantage of the new features (AirDrop, Control Center, notification and intent services, multi-tasking, background scheduling, or iCloud features) the UI update alone carries implementation and design costs for iOS developers and corporate app principals to remain relevant.
I have Monte Masters of BottleRocket fame to thank for my habit of estimating before implementing. His affinity for ‘Making Things happen’ by Scott Burkun left its mark when we worked on the American Airlines and Simply Organic Recipe iPhone Apps at Blockdot.
I shared an abridged version of my Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) as a Google Docs Spreadsheet so you can configure numbers relevant to your app and resource cost.
Estimating Overhaul cost
The Level of Effort SWAG for a simple iPhone/iPad application came out to 108 hours, resulting in a $16,000 cost with a blended rate of $148/hr (before any pre-risk multiplier).
Clearly your milage will vary, but this is consistent with the lower cost mark estimated by developers at around 80 to 100 hours (~2 weeks of design and dev work). At a $200 cost structure per corporate app, stakeholders should expect at least a $20,000 investment just to maintain a look and feel consistent with Apple’s new look. Apple released an iOS 7 UI Transition Guide to help developers adopt the new iOS Human Interface Guidelines.
The cost for such a UI overhaul may vary with each application. However, the value of an update clearly diminishes the longer app developers wait to update their app.
It’s unclear how the change will affect mobile platform developers using technology such as PhoneGap, Trigger.IO, Titanium or Xamarin. Platform adoption could lag (Xamarin announced their upcoming support yesterday) however there may be some efficiencies depending on the platform implementation and tooling.
Walk away along these guidelines:
- Early adopters win ranking
- To succeed on iOS, you have to stay at the forefront of development
- Execute your iOS 7 update now; agencies and developers will be swamped