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Gerstein Science Information Centre


Recommended resources for research related to entrepreneurship, startups and commercialization: from science and technology literature to market research and patents.

So you want to make an app...

This page contains mainly open web resources about the mobile application market, including:

Costing your app
Design and development
Industry facts and figures
Other resources

Want hands-on support and advice building your app at U of T? Contact the MADLab.

Want help researching the apps market or a particular industry or segment? Contact your Entrepreneurship Librarian.

Infographic How long does it take to build an iOS or Android app?

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Costing your app

The App Development Cost Calculator
Factors in platform, graphics, security, data storage and other considerations to provide an estimate range.

How to Estimate Mobile App Costs
Gartner article (2018) walks through the process of designing an MVP for a mobile app and determining its cost at an early stage. Must log in with UTORid for access.

They make apps
Browse profiles of app developers for hire, including average fees.

Are app development costs decreasing in 2016?
Blog post discussing iPad apps includes links to app calculators to estimate costs for app development. (Note that methodology isn’t always available.)

Cost to build a mobile app - A survey
Research firm surveyed 12 iPhone app development companies to identify cost ranges and key variables that contribute to the cost of iPhone apps.

Survey: Mobile app development cost and time
Want to create the next Tindr, Uber, What’sApp, or Periscope? Find out how much it will cost you to develop an app with features similar to these and others.

Figuring the costs of custom business mobile app development
Numbers here reflect budgets for larger enterprises rather than startups or students on a shoestring.


Design and Development

A 12-step guide to building your first mobile app

All the resources you need for a successful app launch - From research to reviews
Need inspiration for the visual design and layout of your app? Pttrns has thousands of screenshots of real apps organized by category.

Apple iOS human interface guidelines
Find out what Apple has to say about designing great apps that are easy to use.

Start developing iOS apps
Follow Apple’s walkthrough to create your first iOS app.

Free Programming Books
A comprehensive list of free resources on hundreds of programming languages available via Github.

iOS developer blogs
Follow these blogs by professional iOS developers to keep up with the latest notable topics in app development, from App store marketing advice, to deep discussions on programming languages. – Hints at cool things to find in the iOS SDK  - Developer of Vesper, now works at Omni – Lots links to news and opinion from iOS developers – Classic blog with a number of articles diving deep into Objective-C, iOS, Mac OS, and now Swift

Android developer blogs - Google's Material Design Guidelines


Industry facts and figures


KPCB Internet Trends Report (analysis only)
Mary Meeker at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers releases an annual report on internet and mobile trends.
Full 2015 slides | Analysis

ComSCORE Global Mobile Report
2015 report from media measurement firm focuses on consumption and audience behaviours on mobile and multi-platform usage.
More app-related research from ComSCORE can be found here.

AppAnnie Mobile App Forecast
Key findings include global revenues, app store downloads, key market growth, and leading categories.

Average daily time spent with mobile internet (US adults)
2017 statistics from eMarketer breaking out mobile from other types of media

Mobile app revenue composition by country (2014)
Numbers provided by Statista (some content held behind paywall)

Most-used app monetization models
According to mobile developers as of 2015, from Statista

Consumer preference for in-app transactions
Gartner press release (full 2016 report behind paywall)

GSMA Intelligence
Global and country level data and research provided by international mobile operator association. Sign up required for free public account, with some content held behind paywall.

Mobile Marketing Association research
Research on mobile marketing from a non-profit trade association representing over 800 companies and brands worldwide.


The Canada Report: The Great White North Testing Ground
2015 report by Flurry by Yahoo, based activity across 92,000 Canadian devices in March 2015.

Mobile Drives Growth in Time Spent with Media in Canada - eMarketer
More free articles from eMarketer here (more behind paywall)

Employment numbers in Canadian apps economy (2014)
Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) report highlights jobs created by mobile apps industry, including forecasts to 2019.

Mobile app usage growth in Canada - Statista
2015 numbers provided by Statista (some content held behind paywall)

Total Retail Survey (2016)
Retail Council of Canada and PwC research includes statistics on mobile apps and purchase behavior.

Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association
Facts and figures on wireless phone subscribers in Canada, provided by an industry advocacy group.

Other resources

Analytics tools
Apple Developer site
Google Analytics
App Annie
Mobile Action

Advocacy associations:
The App Association represents more than 5,000 app companies and information technology firms in the mobile economy
WIP offers professional development via developer programs

Books and magazines:

Case study - Apps in education
Engaging Students with a Mobile App - Educause

Discovery tools (beyond your default app store)

Rating scale
Mobile App Rating Scale: A New Tool for Assessing the Quality of Health Mobile Apps
Accompanying article in JMIR

Research guides
Mobile apps - MaRS Startup Library
Mobile Apps Guide - UBC Small Business Accelerator