IPhone app without AppStore


We have an industrial app that currently runs on a very expensive ruggedized PDA.
Since most of the engineers we sell to have iPhones we are considering moving to the much nicer newer platform.

A couple of questions:
Is it possible to sell iPhone apps with out the app store? Apple taking a 40% cut of a 99c iFart app is one thing but this is a $3000 engineering calculation app. We have also heard of the hassles some people have had getting apps approved.

Can we sell an iPod touch (I understand selling an iPhone without a contract is trickier) with pre-packaged software.

ps. Sorry for the anonymous posting, the company is a little nervous about our relationship with the PDA maker.

Best Solution

There are basically three different official iPhone application distribution methods that I am aware of:

- App store

With this method anyone with an iPhone can have access to the application. You can distribute an unlimited number of applications like this. Apple gets a 30% cut. Of course Apple must approve your applicaion.

- Ad hoc

You can distribute applications using ad hoc without going through the app store, but you are limited to a maximum of 100 devices. With this method you can distribute you application from a web site, email, etc.

- Enterprise

The method is for internal distribution in companies with more than 500 employees. Apple does not provide any more public detail that I could find on this method.

It doesn't sound like any of these methods meet your criteria unless you have fewer than 100 customers and don't plan to exceed that number. It sounds like from the question your customers are not internal to your company.

I would advise contacting Apple. They might be able to work out some kind of custom distribution deal.

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