Why I Don’t Develop iPhone Apps Anymore

Hi my name is Dan Shipper and I don’t develop iPhone apps any more. Let me give you a little bit of a backstory before I delve into why.

I started developing for the mobile platform in late 2006. Back then I used to tell people I was making “BlackBerry software.” The word app hadn’t even really started being used yet as applied to smartphone software. I really liked working in the mobile space because there weren’t a whole lot of developers in it yet and I felt like there was some untapped opportunity there. So as a sophomore in high school I created my first BlackBerry app in 2007 called FindIt which let you text your phone if it was lost and on silent and make it ring. I had some pretty good success with FindIt so I kept iterating it.

Then the app craze really started to hit. That’s when I decided to do iPhone apps. The process to apply for a developer account was a pain in the ass. I had to pay $100. After a few weeks of development I submitted my app. Then it was rejected. And then again. Each time was for a different reason. Finally after a few more weeks it got onto the App Store. It was in the “New Utilities” category for about a day before its space got swallowed up by the glut of new apps that were released just after mine. So after a month and a half of work my app was finally released and was completely out-competed, not because it wasn’t useful, just because there were so many more apps coming out at the time.

I kept developing for iPhone and BlackBerry until around early 2010. Then I started to do web development. I discovered that when I develop for the web it’s a whole different story. There’s no company who’s standards I have to meet before I release something. I answer to my own standards. I can get a project up, running and on the web in a few hours. Developing for web lets me release, and iterate in a constant uninterrupted cycle that let’s me see what works and what doesn’t quickly and easily. And I’m not competing with a billion other apps on a store. If I make something that looks good that is useful I’ll get users. And I don’t have to share my revenue with someone else easier.

Developing for the iPhone might make you money. But it’s so much easier and quicker to develop for the web that unless I have a truly groundbreaking iPhone app idea I’ll be sticking to the web.

1 Mar 2011, 2:31am | 1 comment


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