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Home » Business Owners

Are you getting a bite of the Apple?

On a Friday, we feature guest posts from great people who are changing the world one step at a time. One such person is Phil Raby. Phil is a British motoring journalist specialising in my favourite car – Porsche. He founded the magazine a site dedicated to er…Porsche 911’s. He also promotes affordable Porsche ownership on his site

Phil is today’s Friday Follow, over to you Phil!

It sounds silly (and perhaps a little sad) but my iPhone has changed my life. It allows me to organise my time (using Calendar, Things and Awesome Notes), helps me find my way around (Maps, TomTom), answers those tricky questions the kids ask (Wikipanian), keeps track of all my RSS feeds (NetNewsWire), is great for texting, and even lets me make phone calls. It’s brilliant.

However, I’m not here today to talk about using the iPhone as a tool, but rather as a way of making money. And the opportunities are about to balloon with the launch of the iPad.

Now, some say the iPad is ‘Nothing but a big iPhone’, while others say ‘Fantastic, it’s like a big iPhone’. I err towards the latter. It offers everything that an iPhone does (apart from telecommunications, of course) but with a lovely, crisp 10inch screen. I’ve used one and it’s astonishing. It’s a great way of browsing the web, reading blogs, watching videos and reading books. I’m getting one as soon as they’re officially on sale in the UK.

So, how can the iPhone and iPad make you money? There are lots of exciting ways. Here are some I’ve identified.


OK, so you need some knowledge of programming to create an app (or work with someone who has) and, let’s be honest, few iPhone/iPad apps make huge money – most only cost a pound or so, so you have to sell lots and lots to make a nice income. There have been some killer apps that have made their creators big money, but not many.

There is, though, a way of making eBooks as apps. In other words, take your existing content, bundle it into an app and sell it for £1.79 or whatever. Apple takes a 60% slice and you get the rest. OK, it may not make you rich but it’s income and can help promote your other services. Remember, about 90million iPhones and iPod Touches have been sold – so that’s a huge market to tap into.

I’ve worked with a developer to create apps listing every model of Porsche and every Formula One driver ever ( and they are really no more than eBooks. OK, they’re not going to set the world on fire in terms of programming but they contain information that people want, and they’re selling steadily.


There’s nothing new about eBooks but they’ve never really made the big time. However, I believe that’s about to change with the iPad. It’s a great eBook reader and Apple’s iBooks store will do for music what the iTunes store did for music. It will also be accessible through all those iPhones out there.

I’m planning on getting content on the iBooks store very soon and have been doing some research. It appears that registering as a publisher direct with Apple is complicated but there is an alternative. Smashwords is an established eBook site and has set up a deal to make content available on the iBooks store. It’s easy and free to register with Smashwords and publish your content. My only concern is that the books have to be little more than text – images and diagrams aren’t handled well by Smashwords. If anyone’s got any thoughts on this, I’d be keen to hear them.

Like the apps, getting into iBooks will allow you to tap into a huge worldwide market.


Sadly, Apple hasn’t created an iMag store, although many are saying that the iPad is going to change magazine publishing in a big way.

I can’t see print magazines disappearing in the near future, but we have ensured that Total 911 magazine (, which I edit, is the first Porsche magazine in the world to be available on the iPad. We used a third-party company called Pixel Mags to facilitate this and reaction has been very positive.

The magazine is available by downloading an app for a small price and that includes a free issue. You can then, from within the app, buy back-issues or take out a subscription.

You may not be in the business of producing magazines, but what about newsletters and journals? It’s a cheap way of producing and distributing periodicals.

Podcasts and video podcasts

OK, I’ll be honest, this isn’t an area I’ve explored fully yet, although I must do. Podcasts and video podcasts are available on the iTunes store and the system works really well from the user’s point of view, and videos look great on the iPad. The trouble is, most casts are free so there’s no direct moneymaking potential, but they can be great promotion.

I’m sure as the market develops we’ll see many more ways of making money from the iPhone and iPad.


  • Rick Byrd said:

    I still have not purchased an Apple product. Mostly because I am cheap. My mother-in-law did give me her old iTouch. I use it as an mp3 player and I do have some games on it for the kids (okay for me too!).

    My cell phone is an old fashion (that’s funny for me to say) because all I can do is make calls. No texting, no internet, no nothing (now I am starting to sound like an old fart, I’m only 40).

    My wife just bought an iPhone and she loves it. I wish we would have waited another month to get the newest one but oh well.

    I think Apple products are good and someday once I grow my business some more I am sure I will need an iPhone to stay in touch.

    I am going to wait on the iPad. To me it is a little to fragile. I have a 9 year old son and a 6 year old daughter and I am sure it would get broken and broken quickly.

    – Rick

  • Matthew Needham said:

    One of my best friends just posted on Facebook he had secumed to the iPad.

    If you could create as much buzz about your products as Apple do, then that would be amazing!

  • Eleanor Edwards said:

    Some great ideas here. My biggest worry about investing lots of time into this is that the app market is flooded. Nothing to stop someone totally rocking it with an awesome app but awesome takes top notch coding. Until I meet the wonderful person who offers to create a fantastic app for Give A Brick I shall remain sceptical. That said, I’m to be proven wrong if one of your readers cares to oblige 😉

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hello Eleanor, have you noticed that Starbucks are running a ‘Buy a Brick Campaign’?

  • Karen said:

    Hi Phil,

    You’ve given me a lot to think about. I love Apple products and would be too embarassed to list the ones I’ve bought. But, I’ve held off on the iPad (so far) as I am expecting v2.0 to really knock our socks off.

    I have heard about Smashwords and think it’s a great idea to get your ebook out there.

    Another thing to consider is having your current blog mobile-friendly for those people who do use their iPhones, iTouches or iPads to view your site. There are plugins that can optimize your site for mobiles. That’s not a direct way to make money, but your mobile visitors will thank you.


  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hi Karen, this is a really good point. I held off on the iPhone and bought the 3GS version and can’t say that it’s perfect. I’m hoping iPhone 4 will be better, but no doubt next year will bring iPhone 5! But, that’s the price of progress. On TV tonight they advertised Windows 7. Now I remeber using a version sometime ago called Windows 3.1….

  • Dr Egg said:

    I love my iPhone 3G but will undoubtedly upgrade to the version 4 OS as soon as it is released (almost went for the beta version but nervous as I love it too much if it went wrong). However, I’ve been thinking the same as Karen – if they can do this with the iPhone, they must be planning the same for the iPad and I am a major multiuser normally, flitting between applications rapidly.

    I also spoke to a friend who has one – can’t get his hands on it because the rest of the family are all addicted! Everyone I’ve spoken to who has one is impressed. Can’t wait but will have to.

  • Matthew Needham said:

    I know what you mean. A friend of mine was telling his girlfriend last weekend that the iPad is flawed and she should wait until she bought one. Then funnily enough she’s out the country this weekend and he goes out and buys one. 🙂

    Needless to say, he’s probably going to be buying another one next weekend!

  • Steve Scott Site said:

    I think that anything that can help you get organized is probably a good investment– that is, if you actually use it to keep track of things and schedule reminders. And who knows, the eBook reader might wind up helping us all if it gets people comfy with reading things on their computer / handheld device … some people still aren’t totally sold on eBooks.

  • Phil Raby said:

    Hi guys

    Thanks for all the feedback.

    Yes, there’s always going to be a better version around the corner. I’ve still got an iPhone 3G and it’s served me well but I’ll be first in the queue for iPhone 4.

    The iPad has the advantage of years of iPhone development behind it and is far from flawed – it just does what it’s meant to do, very well. Only thing I’d say is that a larger version would be nice – something that will show a magazine at full size on.

    Agreed that there are a lot of apps out there, so it’s not a holy grail to riches unless you’re very lucky.

    iPhone and iPad are great organisational tools, especially when synced to a Mac – mostly I use iCal, Things, Awesome Notes and Contacts.



  • Matthew Needham said:

    Great article Phil, really good insights. I’ve downloaded awesome notes, it really is a nice little app.

    O2 have quoted me £120 to swap to the new iPhone, plus cost of handset, so can’t decide if I’m going to upgrade now or wait until September.