Do we have to pay to create iOS apps?

I received this question in several occassion. I'd better write the answer here for others with similar question.

Short answer : YES, if you want to become serious iOS developer. How much? $99 annually.

Long answer:

For those with Android development background, they might thing developing for iOS would be the same. They can download IDE tools for free (Xcode for iOS developer), start developing apps and when ready try to install in their gadget for testing. Well, it's almost all true for iOS apps, except that you cannot just install your apps on your iPhone/iPad. You need a provisioning file to do that that restrict iPhone/iPad that can be installed. It is kind of security key. And only Apple developers with paid subscription (apple developers program) that can generate this provisioning file.

So? We need to pay membership just to start coding in Xcode?

Not really,  you can still download Xcode for free with free basic developers member account and start coding. You can try your apps in the iphone/iPad simulator provided in Xcode IDE. But you cannot install the apps onto real device! Well, you can if you want, install apps you develope using Xcode onto your own jailbroken gadget and bypass this provision thing. But, Apple does not recommend!

Unfortunately, not all iPhone/iPad features can be tested in sumulator. Things like accelerometer, bluetooth, certain gesture are not available in the simulator.

Other benefit of being Apple Developers Program member is that we are given access to new feature and kits prior to public release.