Sending data from arduino to mobile device over the Internet

Hey guys,

So I am pretty new to these forums and to Arduino development in general but I have a question about a project I am trying to do.

The project involves gathering sensor data to an Arduino, which isn’t really a problem. My question is if there is a way to have communication between the arduino and a custom iOS app I write over the Internet, but without hosting a cloud server to act as an intermediary between the two. In other words I want to be able to control the arduino wirelessly over the web (so they are on different networks, not the same LAN) through my iPhone.

Now here is one BIG caveat that has hindered my search somewhat. I am looking to build a commercial product for consumers, and was planning on mass producing custom boards. Would there be a way to mass produce an out-of-the-box product that has very minimal setup (i.e. Connecting the arduino to your home router through wifi) that could then be paired over the Internet (i.e. Controlling it from a cellular connection) to a custom iPhone app without having to use a hosting solution to act as an intermediary?

I am looking at this from a business perspective and don’t want to have to pay monthly costs for server rental on AWS or tremboo or the like. My idea was to get an arduino with wifi capabilities built in, and then host a web server on the arduino, but for that kind of solution it seemed like you would have to reserve an IP address and port on your router, which is not some thing I would want a consumer to have to do to set up the system. Could that be automated?

I apologize for not really bringing much to the table electrical engineering wise (I am the software guy in our group), but if anyone could also provide some info on the process of mass manufacturing of one of these boards that would be most appreciated too. My main questions with that are if an arduino sketch firmware would be loaded onto the board during the PCB manufacturing process, and if I wanted to use a general purpose computer instead of a microcontroller if and how those could be mass produced with custom code for use as a consumer product.

If you made it this far thank you for bearing with me and hopefully this all makes sense. If you need more details let me know but I am really thinking long term here and want to make sure I start out with a good board to prototype with that will allow an easy transition to mass production of custom PCBs.

Thank you.