Before we begin to talk about iPhone App development, let’s go through the tools you need to build your first app.

1. Get a Mac

Mac is the basic requirement for iOS development. To develop an iPhone (or iPad) app, you need to first get a Mac with Intel-based processor running on Mac OS X version 10.6 (or up). Probably you still own a PC, the cheapest option is to purchase the Mac Mini. The retail price of the entry model is  US$599  You can pair it with the monitor of your PC. The basic model of Mac mini comes with 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and 2GB memory. It should be well enough to run the iOS development tool smoothly. Of course, if you have more budget, get the higher model or iMac with better processing power.



2. Register an Apple Developer Account

Don’t mix this up with the iOS Developer Program that we’re going to talk about in later section. Everyone can register as an Apple developer for free.


You can go to Apple’s developer website for registration. The registration process is very straightforward. Simply create an Apple ID (if you don’t have) and fill in your personal profile.

3. Install Xcode

When you develop apps, you use the iOS software development kit (SDK) and Xcode, Apple’s integrated development environment (IDE). Xcode provides everything you need to create great apps for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It includes a source editor, a graphical user interface editor, and many other features. Xcode employs a single window, called the workspace window, that presents most of the tools you need to develop apps. Within this window you smoothly transition from writing code, to debugging, to designing your user interface. The iOS SDK extends the Xcode toolset to include the tools, compilers, and frameworks you need specifically for iOS.

It already bundles the latest version of iOS SDK (short for Software Development Kit), a built-in source code editor, graphic user interface (UI) editor, debugging tools and many more. Most importantly, Xcode comes with an iPhone (or iPad) simulator so you can test your app even without the physical devices.

Xcode provides tools to manage your entire development workflow—from creating your app and designing your user interface, to testing, optimizing, and shipping your app to the App Store. You can customize Xcode to suit your style of working, keeping you focused on the task at hand.

4. Enroll in iOS Developer Program (Optional)

A common question about developing iOS app is whether you need to enroll in the iOS Developer Program. The short answer is “optional”. As mentioned earlier, Xcode already includes a built-in iPhone and iPad simulator. You can develop and test out your app right on your Mac.

Without joining the iOS Developer Program, however, the simulator is the only mean to run your apps. You can’t deploy and test the app on your device. Needless to say, you’re not permitted to submit your app to App Store. In other words, you can’t sell your app!


So should you enroll in the program now? The iOS Developer Program costs US$99 per year. If you’re a new comer and just start exploring iOS development, you can rely on the simulator to test out your app first. You can wait until you have a solid plan to distribute your apps on App Store before enrolling in the program.



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