The iPhone App Store - Yet Another Reason Why Apple Is Stupid...
I'm so fired up. Let's talk business strategy for a moment, shall we?
Innumerable articles have sprouted up over the past few weeks about the iPhone's glittering success and how its App Store is becoming the next gold rush. As BusinessWeek explained, the App Store has grown into "a sprawling bazaar of software" with over 25,000 software applications available on its virtual shelves.
The App Store is quickly becoming viewed as Apple's next cash cow because 1) the number of mobile phones that can browse the Web and handle other advanced tasks is expected to surge from 139 million last year to 295 million in 2010 (putting them on pace to soon eclipse the 300 million-unit PC market, as a standard for comparison), and 2) Apple takes a 30% cut of every single application bought through the App Store. The average iPhone user has downloaded 20 applications, and that number is expected to increase sharply as more high-quality applications become available.
The key to the company's success with the App Store, thus far, has been the fact that anybody with a little bit of programming knowledge can write iPhone applications and sell them. This open process means that there is essentially an army of programmers out there who are writing software for the iPhone, who are all generating 30% sales revenue for Apple, and all while Apple itself isn't doing anything but sitting back and collecting the money.
So, buying into the hype and wanting to get in on this gold rush, I set out to start making a few apps myself. I downloaded the SDK (Standard Development Kit) and read a few tutorials on Objective-C Programming, and figured I was ready to give it a shot.
Only one problem... you have to own a Mac!
Now picture this. Here I am, a pretty decent programmer with some potentially great ideas for iPhone apps - not to mention a Computer Science instructor interested in maybe integrating such skills into my course curriculum so students can learn to write iPhone apps as well - basically ready, willing, and able to help Apple generate more profits without anyone from the company having to lift a finger...
And they won't let me do it.
This is why Apple is, and always has been, so bang-your-head-against-the-wall-frustrating. If the name of the game is selling apps through the App Store, then why do they care which platform I'm using to write my code? That's really all we're talking about here! I'm DYING for the chance to create some programs for the iPhone, and sell them through the App Store, and don't mind at all that Apple is going to collect a hefty 30% cut. This is completely a win-win situation for the company. I just need a place to write my freakin' code!
Well, needless to say, I'm pretty angry at Apple for being so obtuse. There is no advantage for them, whatsoever, in requiring me to own a Mac in order to develop software for the App Store. People like me aren't about to race out and buy a Mac just to write our schmucky "Hello World" programs. There is, however, a pretty large downside...an army of programmers, desperate for the chance to contribute and make Apple money, are being driven away in hoards.
Does this make any sense at all? Can someone please, for the love of God, explain this logic to me?