1. MoSin's Avatar

    I'm new to the iOS developper world and I need some information about a couple of subjects. I have a possibility to develop an application + hardware for a client. He wants hardware that fetches data from sensors and an application that communicate with the hardware over Bluetooth to gather the data read from sensors. For the process of developping all this I have several questions...

    #1 : Do I need to be part of the MFi program to develop that kind of application/hardware combination? The end product is to be sold to a small group of person by my client which all have iPads. IIf the Appstore can be bypassed it would be a plus.
    #2 : Where can I find information about the certification/validation process for an app? Do they look at the look'N'feel of the app, the code itself, tests it? I didn't find much information about that...
    #3 : Like I said above, is the app store always required? I saw that with an Enterprise account, you can do inHouse distribution... Does that mean that on your website you could sell to potential clients this app + hardware?

    On the apple website, I can find lots of information but when it's regarding these things, it looks like I need to be a developper or a MFi partner because everything is under NDA...

    If anybody could help me out with anything of the above, it would be really apreciated.

    Thanks a lot
    11-28-2011 01:30 PM
  2. Timhewitt's Avatar
    Though you don't have to be part of the hardware program to create hardware, it helps. You will save a great deal of time. The Bluetooth interface will work for keyboard interfaces and music, not raw data transfer, so be prepared for some limitations there. Things like barcode scanners emulate keyboards in order to function.

    The Enterprise license is something your customer purchases for use in deploying software in house. You cannot purchase this yourself unless you are a company with 500 employees. It is not for you to distribute software to your clients, rather for them to distribute software internally - developed by them or you for them.

    The only other distribution methods are the App Store or web apps.
    11-28-2011 06:21 PM
  3. mOOncOw interactive's Avatar
    Well, I'm not on the hardware side of things, so I can't say anything on that.

    In any case it's a good idea to join the developer program - it's only 99 dollars for a year, and you have access to all information on Apple's websites - then you can read many things up for yourself.

    For distribution there are quite some possibilities, not all of them equally convenient:

    * Sell it via iTunes: The normal and most convenient method. Disadvantage: of course 30% of the price go to Apple, and in principle everyone could download the app, not just your client(s).
    * Enterprise Program: Don't know much about that, but apparently there is no 500 people lower limit anymore - see here: Publish apps for iphone enterprise developer program - Stack Overflow. Of course, you have to be in the States for taking part *sigh*.
    * Ad-Hoc distribution: For each developer account 100 devices can be used for ad-hoc distribution, without using the App Store. This works by creating signed code installers that are put directly into iTunes, and contain a number of device identifiers for which they may be installed. Three big disadvantages here: the licenses are limited by time, so they have to be reinstalled every few months; you have to have an active developer account connected to the apps (so that's 99 $ per year per 100 devices); and every time you deploy a new version or a new license the app is completely installed anew, erasing any local data on the device. Plus points: Of course there's no App Store involved, and the apps themselves can be distributed for free ;-).
    * Since a few months you can also use the Volume Purchase Program to distribute apps to certain customers only, this is probably the best solution for your case - see here: Volume Purchase Program - iOS Developer Program - Support - Apple Developer. Again, only US *sigh* *sigh* *supersigh*.

    I hope this info helps you further - in any case success with your project!
    11-29-2011 04:11 AM