Appifier is a new service, previously in beta, that turns WordPress sites into mobile apps. That’s not mobile websites, mind you, but actual mobile applications complete with push notifications, offline access, Twitter and Facebook sharing, plus a native look, feel and speed.
Unlike many DIY app creators (and there are many), Appifier isn’t doing a freemium offering. You can test out your app for free, but if you want to publish it in the app store, there are fees involved.
For non-coders/developers, the fees are reasonable. You can pay-as-you-go for $39.99 per month or you can bite the bullet and pay the “lifetime” fee of $499.99. The plans include same day iTunes App Store submission, unlimited push notifications, social media sharing features, custom design and branding, and analytics.
Says Co-founder Mike Gozzo (from his home office in Montreal), he and fellow Co-founder Steve Panetta, think they have something unique because other WordPress app builders don’t help you get into the app store and/or don’t create native apps. Think WPTouch, for example – the hugely popular WordPress plugin for turning a WordPress site into a mobile site. Or Weever Apps, another well-known option. But, says Gozzo, designers aren’t able to resell these creations as mobile apps. So the goal is to create a service they – or anyone – could use to build something a bit more elegant and packaged.
While it’s true that Appifier may stand out among the WordPress-to-app builder crowd, it isn’t just competing with them – it’s competing with all mobile app builders. And there are a lot of them out there. I mean, a lot. A year ago, I started making a spreadsheet (Google Docs link – and no you cannot edit it) to track all the services I could find, but had to stop around 55. That’s a crowded market. But the mobile app ecosystem is incredibly large, too, and growing still.
Appifier is at least focusing on a very popular vertical: WordPress and non-developers. In addition, the app-building process is short: 60 seconds the company claims. (See the video below).
Although there aren’t apps in the iTunes App Store yet (the service is launching today), there are a few in the Appifier Sandbox I could test. This is where potential customers will try-before-they-buy, too. Apps run a little slower in the Sandbox than they would natively, but you get the idea.
The apps are simple, with buttons for posts, categories and search, but they’re a heck of a lot prettier than WPTouch websites thanks to support for images, themes and other customizations. (It supports ads, too, if you must). Appifier will upgrade these customization options soon, in order to give designers even more control over the UI (user interface). All existing users will be upgraded for free.
And because the apps are native, the plan is to add support for more native features in the next update – like geolocation and text-to-speech, for example.
If you want to check out Appifier for yourself, you can test it out for free from here.