Apple doesn’t have to do jack

Elia Freedman:

Let’s say that together now: the dearth of many viable iOS indie dev businesses is not Apple’s problem.

It’s ours.

Whether we like it or not, the game has changed. Trials are out. They’ve been out for six years now and we have no idea if they are ever coming back. Upgrades are out, too. Again, we have no idea if they will ever come back. Ask yourself, do you really want to sit here and wait another 10 months to find out if we will get trials and upgrades, and then wait another three months after that to see it available? Hell, no. I need to make a living now.

It’s time for us to adapt.

We’ve seen quite a bit of writing regarding this issue over the past week. I’m just a user so I have no idea of the issues involved but it is good to hear from another side of the equation.



  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    I disagree Elia. Apple needs to seriously revamp the stores discovery options. There’s no adapting capable of fixing that.

    They are finally giving devs better stats (iTunes Connect us horrible in the current state) so that should help a bit.

    • http://tewha.net/ Steven Fisher

      Sure there is: Don’t rely on the store for users to discover your apps. :)

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        So, as it is commonly said around these parts, the “best app store” on earth isn’t good enough for me to rely on it to present my app(s)?

        • DanielSw

          Relying on Apple to do everything for you is incredibly presumptious and naiive, and it IS the best app store on earth!

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Yet it can’t get the basics right.

            Marco puts it best: http://www.marco.org/2014/07/28/app-rot.

          • lucascott

            I disagree about Marco’s post being in any way right. He’s mixing up two very distinct issues. He’s putting the blame for laziness by developers on Apple. It’s not. Those apps aren’t getting updated because the developers are too lazy. period. Apple is not the issue. That Marco can’t understand that shows much about him.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Regardless of how you see Marco’s point, he illustrates clearly a problem Apple has on its hands. Touting massive numbers of apps optimized for iPad is awesome for marketing but not the case in reality [ie - app rot]. Devs go where the money is, right? That’s what I keep hearing here yet devs are abandoning apps purely ’cause they’re lazy? Look behind the curtain.

            In all fairness, Apple has made tremendous leaps in Xcode 6/iOS 8 to FINALLY provide better handling of different screen sizes [it SUCKED up to this point], a better iTunes Connect [http://9to5mac.com/2014/06/03/apple-shows-off-completely-redesigned-itunes-connect-coming-later-this-year/], usable app testing [TestFlight integration], etc.

            So it is getting there but Apple has left devs in the cold for quite a while. Honestly, 8 almost checks off the entire list of needs. I just hope they don’t sit around for another 6 years and think they did enough.

        • http://tewha.net/ Steven Fisher

          I was nice to you, John, but that was a douchey reply.

          If you are not satisfied with Apple’s store, you have three choices:

          1. Suffer.
          2. Quit.
          3. Do something else, too.

          Pick one.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Man…sensitive today, eh? That wasn’t a douche reply at all. It was a legit question.

            So again…it is so great the only options are those three.

            Look, it isn’t a garbage system but there isn’t one iOS developer/company that will tell you Apple gives them the analytics necessary to properly grow their user base.

            The options are terribly minimal: https://www.dropbox.com/s/62kbvo0fzhk5e2w/Screenshot%202014-08-02%2022.51.19.png.

          • lucascott

            If you are talking analytics like the age, location, gender of the users buying your app and/or its IAP, it’s not going to happen. Apple is too privacy focused.

            And guess what, it’s been like that since day one. No developer should have ever had the expectation of that information and if he/she can’t handle that then why was development ever started.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            No, I’m not talking about those stats. I’m mostly talking about knowing where users come [ie - referrals]. They tell you the primary category but not how people found your app [ex - search, featured in category, featured on main page, etc]. That sort of info would be very helpful.

            Just common info [to web dev at least] to better help w/ app descriptions, etc.

        • http://www.laugh-eat.com/ kyron

          repeat after me — “The App Store doesn’t replace marketing”. it’s a store. it has some lists. thats it. it’s up to YOU the developer to promote, advertise, and market your products.

          just like in every single industry.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Very true…it is not all on Apple but when Apple presents lists the majority of their users will use/see, they should at least make them good.

          • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

            Add one more piece of data to the analytics: device version.

            That kind of stuff not being there is what I mean by not getting the basics right. I can’t answer my bosses question ["Can we drop support for 6?"] without data. The new iTunes Connect needs to hurry.

  • Lukas

    Obviously, Apple doesn’t have to do anything. There’s no law that says that Apple needs to support good apps on its platforms. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a terrible idea for Apple to treat its devs the way it does.

    I don’t really understand the point of these “it’s not x’s problem” essays.

    • http://www.laugh-eat.com/ kyron

      how does apple treat its devs terribly?! by making the biggest-paying app store in the history of software?? get real, man…

      marketing your apps is part of YOUR business, not apples. no amount of magical “app discovery” is going to fix that, whatever you think that may be.

      • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

        The biggest-paying app store for the top, maybe, 2% of the devs. #clarity

  • lucascott

    Elia is a little wrong about something. “Trials are out. They’ve been out for six years now and we have no idea if they are ever coming back. Upgrades are out, too.”

    I don’t believe these were ever in.

    • http://tewha.net/ Steven Fisher

      Elia is referring to how Indy software is sold, not to only App Store history.

  • @monadical

    One the one had, Apple can do better. But they clearly don’t have to. On the other, it’s business and half is in the making and half is in the telling. At least half is in the telling, usually way more. Small developers don’t tend to be very good at marketing. Sadly some don’t even see the value in marketing. That could be ignored in the early gold rush days. Now it’s more like normal business. Think of the Apple store as just shelving at a massive software store. Getting an app on the shelves is step one. Step two of course is ???. Step three is profit. The ??? step, other than being a South Park underwear gnome joke, is a real thing you have to figure out.

  • Terry Maraccini

    Apple’s discovery process is weighted in favor of established developers. It’s not their doing, just the way the inertia goes. However, getting rid of meaningless top ten lists would be a fair start.