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The iPhone App Store Gold Rush May Be Running Low on Gold

Illustration for article titled The iPhone App Store Gold Rush May Be Running Low on Gold

We've heard the woes of app developers waiting for payments, but at least there were payments. Newsweek claims, in a sensational trend piece, that the App Store goldmine has dried out and some developers are barely getting by.

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I'd seen the "Look at the happy developers!" propaganda videos Apple produces, and I have to confess that I bought into them. Everyone just looks so happy and successful in Apple Land! But my feelings about iPhone app developers changed greatly over the past while: I went from being envious of the supposed overnight millionaires to realizing that perhaps some or even most may not be all that well off after all.

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Newsweek interviewed a handful of those developers, some of whom were in fact featured in the videos I so attentively watched, and they're saying that the money's run out.

It certainly starts out nicely enough: A developer might make $45,000 in revenue in less than three months, some might even make several hundred thousand over similar periods of time. But perhaps the market for apps is maturing and as the number of competing programs increases, it's becoming much harder to develop and sell a runaway hit than in the past.

Of course, like any trend story, we have no idea if the subjects were chosen to enhance sensationalism, or if the majority of app developers really are suffering. Either way, the app buying market chooses the best apps, and developers should set their prices knowing their costs. In the end, developers thinking of quitting the day job to develop apps should beware of fairytales of App Store riches. [Newsweek]

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DISCUSSION

Plus there's no guarantee that someone else won't come along and release an app that does pretty much the same thing as yours for free.

The reason I hate the app store is because Apple have locked everyone without a copy of OSX out from developing for iPhone OS. Considering that the app store is presumably a big money maker for Apple as well as a major feature driving the sales of their product you think they'd provide a more open development environment.

Realistically not many people are going to buy a Mac specifically for iPhone development when there are dozens more open platforms out there. Essentially what they're doing is telling all the Mac-less potential app developers to go develop for Android or WinMo. Which is a shame as I have access to three iPod Touches and one iPhone I could be using as test machines but I neither have the money to spare or the desire to buy any kind of Mac right now.