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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 www.total911.com a site dedicated to er…Porsche 911’s. He also promotes affordable Porsche ownership on his site www.findaporsche.com.

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.

Apps

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 (www.iphoneipodapps.net) 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.

eBooks

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.

Magazines

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 (www.total911.com), 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.