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Mike Kreuzer

Full communism of the App Store

2 June 2015

Articles, tweets, blog posts, all complaining about a paucity of good third party apps developed for the Apple Watch, and on the cusp of WWDC Eve itself. I have seen the light brothers and sisters. Now let me share the old time religion of my highly speculative WWDC predictions with you.

I still don't wear a watch mind you. I decided not to get one & I didn't. Go me, all decisive and stuff. I did eventually pluck up the courage to take my dropped iPhone to the Apple Store to see how much it would cost me to replace it - and it an act of astounding generosity on Apple's part the answer was nothing at all. So keep that in mind when I give Apple more than the odd benefit of the doubt from now on, they were extremely nice to me when they didn't have to be, and I appreciate it.

A lack of good third party apps made for the watch has got to be at least partly a function of the watch's newness. Developers lacked real hardware to grok ahead of the watch's release, and a full watch SDK hasn't been made available even now. But it could also be a sign of things to come. There could be a time in the not too distant future when the same thing could happen with the latest iPhone. (One possible future, I don't know tech stuff, etc.)

In some ways it would be no different to how it was during the height of the PC era. So you could call it market maturity I suppose. A bigger market, with fewer, bigger players. Small players would exist for bespoke business software, or to service niche hobbies or game genres, but there wouldn't be an App Store, at least not one most people could make a living off.

There are plenty of signs of just how big this market has become too. I read the news this last week that IBM of all people were allowing their employees the choice of whether to go Mac or PC. IBM! The war's over it seems. The good guys won. So iPhones already are the only game in town. But what would happen if the players on the supply side in that game were mostly big software houses like IBM, with indy developers not figuring, at least not as much as they do now?

I think it'd be a shame. As a customer I tend to seek out odd little apps - ones not mentioned by the usual cabal of big bloggers & podcasters, and without any huge companies behind them. I think they're often the more interesting apps to be had. And as someone who's thought more than once of trying the indy life, of course I'd rather spend more time at home with my family, and also more time tinkering with apps. Who wouldn't. The life of an indy developer would suit me just fine. The hard truth though is being an an indy developer now and increasingly into the future would mean taking a hefty pay cut, but I'd like it at least to stay an option.

Oh yeah, and as for WWDC: A streaming music service. Obviously.