From the DF Archive: ‘iPhone Enterprise and SDK: First Impressions and Questions’

From my 6 March 2008 first-impressions post regarding Apple’s iPhone SDK and App Store announcement:

Apple’s 30/70 split with developers is steep, but initial reaction from the developers I follow on Twitter seems to be positive. Paul Kafasis of Rogue Amoeba told me via IM, “70%? That’s… that’s… livable,” which seems to sum up the consensus sentiment. […]

In short, what developers lose per-transaction from Apple’s 30 percent take, they can more than make up for in volume. This is going to be a gold rush.

I was correct that native apps on iPhone were going to be a huge thing, but I did not foresee how “free” apps would cripple/stunt/distort the market for selling them. The market for selling iOS apps never resembled the market for selling Mac apps pre-iPhone.

Calling it a “gold rush” was, arguably, more right than I knew. At the time I wrote that, I meant it in the common sense of a new market where many would have the opportunity to make a fortune. But in a real-life gold rush, do that many people make a fortune? It certainly wasn’t the boon to indie Mac developers that I predicted.

(Rogue Amoeba, for example, has a free iOS companion app for Airfoil, and in 2008 released Radioshift Touch for iPhone for the sky-high price of $10, but as a business, they are every bit as much a Mac developer today as they were in 2008.)

Tuesday, 9 March 2021