Coder’s Half-Million-Dollar Baby Proves iPhone App Development Gold Rush Is Still On

Despite the App Store being more crowded than a Rihanna concert, with in excess of 100,000 now apps available, one independent developer still managed to rake in $600,000 in a single month!

Online PR News – 01-February-2010 – – Ethan Nicholas, developer of a tank artillery game called iShoot, told how he quit his job the day his app rose to No. 1 in the App Store, earning him $37,000 in a single day.

“I’m not going to be a millionaire in the next month, but I’d be shocked if it didn’t happen at the end of the year,” he said in a phone interview. “If it weren’t for taxes I would be a millionaire right now.”

Until recently, there has been no realistic way for individual programmers to make serious money on their own. Most of the software market is dominated by big companies, and the traditional distribution method for independent developers — shareware — isn’t conducive to striking it rich. By contrast, Apple’s iTunes App Store provides a platform for marketing, selling and distributing software; all iphone app developers need to provide is a good idea and some working code.

Nicholas’ success story proves that there’s still plenty of potential to strike it rich in Apple’s App Store. In September 2008, iPhone developer Steve Demeter made $250,000 in just two months with his puzzle game Trism. But as the App Store expanded rapidly, many developers thought the store would get too crowded with apps and business would inevitably slow down.

It wasn’t easy for Nicholas, either. After getting off his shift as an engineer at Sun Microsystems, he worked on iShoot eight hours a day, cradling his 1-year-old son in one hand and coding with the other. He didn’t have the money to buy books to learn how to write an iPhone app, so he taught himself by reading websites.

When iShoot launched in October 2008, business was slow for a while. And then Nicholas found some spare time to code a free version of the app — iShoot Lite, which he released January 2009. Here’s how that helped: Inside iShoot Lite he advertised the $3, full version of iShoot. Users downloaded the free version 2.4 million times. And that led 320,000 satisfied iShoot Lite players to pay for iShoot. The game soared to the No. 1 spot — and it stayed there for 26 days.

Rana Sobhany, vice president of iPhone app analytics company Medialets, said the math made sense.

Nicholas’ story shows how a clever marketing strategy can pay off with money and recognition on the iPhone store — and he didn’t even have to hire a PR agent. He said the ingredients to his success were simply word of mouth, luck and a quality game.

What compelled him to code an iPhone game? Hard times for him and his family — and he was inspired by Trism, he said.

“I never expected to get anywhere near where I did,” Nicholas said. “And of course I’ve more than doubled [what Trism accomplished] in one month.”

Despite nearly becoming a millionaire, Nicholas said he and his family haven’t made any lifestyle changes — yet. The first item on his agenda is to hire a nanny.

"Success stories such as those of Ethan Nicholas have helped to create the legend of the iPhone millionaire," says Ian Maskell, principal of, a company aiming to make it possible to get your idea into the App Store without technical knowledge and minimal financial outlay.

"Everywhere we went people would say: 'I've got a great idea for an app.' - but invariable that is all they had - an idea. We saw an opportunity to level the playing field and allow anyone the ability to become the next success story, regardless of their ability to program or write code."

So Maskell launched, a website offering the ability to turn great ideas into apps with little or no programming knowledge.

The first of its kind, iPhone App Freelancer embodies the true entrepreneurial spirit that Apple intended to create when pioneering the cell phone market with its iPhone App Store. "Bringing entrepreneurs and businesses together with experienced iPhone application developers in the most cost effective manner possible, enables anyone with an application idea the opportunity to emulate success stories such as Nicholas" - says Maskell.

"Much like an auction, employers' post projects and interested iPhone application developers bid to complete the work." - continues Maskell. "We have approximately 800 members, and a pool of about 300 developers who receive notification whenever someone posts a new project," he says. "I would estimate we've had close to 100 projects completed."

Maskell says he has seen "pretty basic" app ideas built for around $500 through his website, but more complicated apps, such as games, tend to command development fees upwards of $5,000 - "but figures can vary a lot depending upon factors such as the developers experiences, technical abilities and geographical location."

For further information please contact iPhoneAppFreelancer at or visit the website at -

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