According to Bloomberg Apple is working on a tool to allow app developers to create a single app that works on both iOS devices and Macs much like how Microsoft does for its own Universal Windows Platform (UWP) platform.
Why This Is Bad For App Developers
If followed by what Microsofts UWP apps are setup, this is great for the user experience where a user can buy your app once for one device but also get it freely on all other devices supported by the app. In Microsoft if you pay once for an app and that app supports Windows Phone and desktop, that means they get 2 copies of your app for 1 purchase. Right now iOS apps are separate from Mac purchases. So in the future if this is how Apple’s planning on operating than your 2 apps will only get 1 purchase instead of 2 app sales.
This Sounds Great For Us Users,
Why Are Developers So Greedy?
Let’s first cover how long it takes to make a simple app. Each device developers publish to has its own hardware requirements and guidelines we must follow. There are tons of requirements, design guidelines, legal, etc… that take into account for an app. This means time needed to learn these requirements, programming languages, etc..
What users see is the finished product, but if only they had a better understanding on how the process works will they then appreciate the work that goes behind the scenes. Making a simple app can take anywhere from a few hours to a few years. It all depends on its complexities, features, quality, how fast you can work, and budget. For most independent app developers like myself I like to keep costs down by putting on all hats of trade on. This includes coding, graphic design, UX, designing user interfaces, debugging, marketing, and all that good stuff. We have bills every month with expenses, rent, utilities, tools to pay. So after spending a few weeks to a month we publish a new app that hopefully helps people accomplish something valuable. While we need to eat and depend on income to survive instead of pricing our apps over $10 is because of the competitors. So when a newly polished app hits the stores for lets say $2.99, if I sold 1 copy, after Apple’s 30% cut the app developer gets $2.09 for that sale. Then after 30 days do we get a monthly deposit of revenues earned.
So for a user who spent $2.99 on a app that is continuously updated for the user for as long as they keep it installed, the app developer is providing free service, basically. We sold our soul for $2.09, and yet users still demand more. I only have 2 kidneys, which one do you want, sir?
If Pay Is So Low Then Why Do It At All?
For me, it’s all about learning new technologies, taking on challenges, helping people through apps, providing value, and taking risks.
Apps are available for purchase globally, instantly. The opportunity of the possibility of billions of users just a click away from buying your awesome app is thrilling. Just for fun let’s play with some numbers.
Let’s say we have an app in high demand on sale for $2.99. We know 30% app store cut is taken out so that leaves us with $2.09 earnings.
To be a millionaire the app needs to be sold for $2.09 X 478,469 to earn $1,000,000.21. That’s not impossible even though it looks like it, but still possible nonetheless. The exciting news is according to Fortune, there is almost 1 billion iOS users today. If everything goes well and you do reach that 478,469 app sales, that’s equivalent to about 20% of the iOS app market.
“Much risks comes with much rewards.” -Unknown
Just to be clear I do appreciate all my users who use my apps. My job is to make sure my software works and provides some kind of value. The way to look at this blog entry is a way of bringing awareness to what developers do and for the low prices with long hours, even weeks without pay. Most developers get lucky with high sales while most do not. It is said those who don’t adapt to changes wont be around much longer. So in that, I’ll be here even if my apps are paid once but available for multiple devices. At times if I only made apps for money alone then I wouldn’t even be here today. In the end, helping people is more valuable and that is one of the many reasons why I’m still here. I can’t wait to see what the future holds and the many more opportunities apps bring to developers.