Why I’m An iPhone Developer

Jon Buys on trying to buy an app legitimately on Android:

I love Angry Birds for iOS, so I thought I’d see how the game looked and felt on Android. I searched for “Angry Birds” on the HTC and found two screens worth of knock-offs. Some of these applications took the artwork and Angry Birds name directly from the real game. There was one game called “Angry Avians”, who’s icon looked like a closeup of the red bird from the real game. There were Angry Birds wallpapers, Angry Birds books, and Angry Birds unlockers. I can’t imagine that any of these apps were actually licensed to use either the Angry Birds name or the Angry Birds artwork. They are ripoffs riding the wave of the original games success.

If I were an iPhone developer of any consequence then people might ask me why I don’t make my apps for Android. This would be my answer. Android is open in all the wrong ways; for carriers to fragment the OS with custom releases, for shady developers to rip off my app, and most importantly it’s just open enough for my customers to lack confidence when buying my app. Can they tell it’s really mine and not a ripoff? Has anyone checked to make sure I’m not collecting personal information? Sure, I go crazy when I am waiting a week for Apple to approve my updates before they are available for download but because of that process I’m gaining legitimacy and my customers know my app won’t mess up their iPhone.

In my post-Apple career, I did briefly consider developing software for Android but in the end the extra flexibility wasn’t worth it when I realized I would have to account for every possible hardware and software configuration like a Windows developer. By going with iPhone I was able to develop TimeDroid in one restless week because I only had one iOS release to test for (TimeDroid only supports iOS 4.x) and I could account for nearly every use-case.

So far TimeDroid has been a small scale success. I have sold at least one copy every day since it’s release which is better than I expected to do. I have already started development on my second and third apps and am able to get them running quickly because the popularity of the platform means there is a huge pool of documentation available for free on the Internet. I’m definitely not saying developing for iPhone is easy for a newbie like me, I am constantly confronted with my ignorance and I’m sure that two years from now I’ll be disgusted by the code I’m writing today. Despite that, I am making actual money even in a highly saturated storefront and with no money spent on advertising, even the big boys can’t do that on Android.