10 reasons to love developing for the App Store

Graham Clarke
5 June, 2010
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Amidst recent controversy regarding Apple’s approach to what is and isn’t allowed in its tightly-guarded App Store, there are still thousands of developers making software for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. We invited local developer Graham Clarke from Glasshouse Apps to tell us what he thinks of the App Store before he jets off to WWDC:

If you haven’t read anything negative about being an iPhone developer since the App Store opened two years ago, you’ve either been living under a rock or perhaps an uncharted island with a resident smoke-monster. Chances are that you’ve already heard the doom and gloom about app development, so I’d like to share some observations about the bright side of the App Store from my perspective.

I’ve worked on three apps over the last 18 months and so far I’m loving it. Here are my top 10 reasons to love developing for the App Store:

1. The App Store is open.

For all the complaints about how closed the App Store ecosystem is, I think it’s actually incredibly open. Anyone can sign up for a developer account and have a crack at it. Some have famously done so from the computer in their bedroom and been wildly successful.

2. The App Store is simple.

Apple understands the power of simplicity possibly better than any other company. When Steve Jobs announced the deal for third party developers it was incredibly easy. The developer sets the price. Apple handles the transactions. 70% goes to the developer. 30% goes to Apple. Free apps don’t cost a dime to either the customer or the developer. Once you’ve purchased an app, you can’t be charged for it again. I could go on but you get the picture.

3. The App Store can give you a free leg up.

Not only does Apple handle all of the hidden costs with selling software, it even provides free marketing. The featured tiles, App of the Week, New & Noteworthy, What’s Hot and Staff Favourites positions each provide developers with amazing sales opportunities at absolutely no cost. Then there’s Apple’s press ads, Guided Tour videos, App Store banners and demo versions, the Apple website, and the list goes on. Developers don’t get charged a dime to be featured in Apple’s marketing.

4. The App Store is accessible.

There’s an App Store on your desktop, your laptop, your iPhone, your iPod Touch and now your iPad. If you’ve developed an iPhone or iPad app, it’s available just about everywhere. Even PC users get iTunes love!

5. The App Store is exciting.

Let’s face it, it’s hard to go to the App Store and not find something incredibly cool. The fact that it gets updated each and every week, throwing new apps into the spotlight and highlighting apps that do things you never thought possible – it’s a weekly smorgasbord of new apps to sink your teeth into or be inspired by.

6. The App Store works.

Three billion app downloads as of January this year. Enough said.

7. The App Store is global.

Okay, not every country in the world has an App Store, but there are 90 that do! Even Madagascar has one. So if you’re prepared to put some time into it, a single app can handle just about any language you like – that’s great for non-English speaking customers and also for your sales.

8. The App Store is supported by great developer tools

The tools and SDK that Apple provide when you sign up for a developer account are excellent. I must confess that I’m the designer of our development duo, so I don’t use them like my partner does. But I’ve heard numerous stories of iPhone developers dipping their toes into other platforms’ development tools, only to be greeted with confusion and frustration.

9. The App Store has unprecedented diversity.

I don’t know of any other computing platform past or present, that has inspired the breadth of variety and creativity that the App Store has in such a short period of time. There’s a very good reason that Apple coined the phrase “There’s an app for that”: have a look at the App Store homepage and you’ll instantly know why.

10. The App Store has WWDC.

This will be my first year at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, but from what I’ve heard it’s an invaluable week of note taking, meeting brilliant people and getting tonnes of advice on how to take your app(s) to the next level. I’m leaving tomorrow and I can’t wait!

Glasshouse Apps’ newest app is The Early Edition, a newspaper-themed RSS reader for iPad.

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