Macworld: This Be the C4 of iPhone Developers' Discontent
Dan Moran of Macworld has an interesting post up about this year's C4 Independent Developers Conference, and how the indie devs seem to have cooled towards iPhone development and turned their attention back to the Mac. Why? Not the technology, of course. They're up on the handset and almost everyone had at least one. No, it was dissatisfaction with the state of how Apple runs the iTunes App Store, of course.
Lack of control over elements like release times was cited as one issue. Profitability, another:
The problem is that the prices in the App Store, which tend towards the lower end, make it harder to recoup the investment put into developing the program in the first place. Sure, there have been over two billion downloads from the App Store, but remember there’s more than 85,000 apps available. Even if your 99 cent application gets downloaded 10,000 times, after Apple’s 30 percent cut that’s just $7,000 in revenue—not profit, mind you, just revenue—and if you spent the last six months of your life working on that application, you better hope you’re still working a day job if you want to cover living expenses.
Rather than abandoning the platform, however, some devs had suggestions for how Apple could help make things better, including upgrade pricing (to avoid Tweetiegate situations), creating a mechanism for demos, and something we've heard before from Craig Hockenberry -- having a higher-priced developer account option that comes with a better service level from Apple ($999 platinum account, for example, in addition to the current $99 version).
With the current volume market, Apple may not care since they'll make their 30% off Apps and CrApps alike. But here's hoping their pride wins out, and Apple decides they don't merely want the most successful App Store, but the very best one as well -- for users and developers.