Investing Time in iPhone Development

Much has been said about Apple’s policies on the App Store. John Gruber rightly states that there is something broken with the App Store today. Paul Kafasis denounces Apple of being anti-competitive in his latest post for O’Reilly. Fraser Speirs has written a great piece explaining why he will not longer devote time to writing new apps on the iPhone (He will continue to support his current apps). These are all people I respect and admire quite a bit, and I agree with them to a great extent.

I am a relative newcomer to the Apple development scene.  I have never written an opinion blog before this. So I will admit to being *VERY* nervous to go against some of what has been said. I do not wish to be a contrarian, but I do want to express my personal opinion.

All the above articles seem to imply that good developers will shy away from developing for the iPhone. Essentially, there is no way of knowing whether Apple will reject you app or not until you finish it and submit for approval. The reasoning is that most developer will not want to risk their investment of time and money to develop in such an uncertain environment. I agree, and yet, risk has not changed that much in my mind.

To me the biggest threat to my personal success is not Apple’s approval. Yes, it is a threat, but only one of many that I will not be able to confront until I am done with my app. Personally, I am interested in developing apps for music creation on the iPhone. It has been really hard for me. I have to contend with Core Audio (a nasty foe, to say the least), synthesizer design (of which I had no clue), and all the other things new iPhone developers have to deal with. I have always known there is big risk in what I do.

There is a none zero chance that I will infringe on somebody’s patent without knowing it. I fear the day, a lawyer comes to me with a cease and desist notice because of XYZ patent or technology.

A much bigger risk is of course competition. I have already seen more and more apps come to market with similar ideas to mine (my idea is of course *FAR* superior, so I’m not worried. <gulp/>). I have no idea what will be out there when my app finally comes out. It is very likely after I spent so much time and effort on this, some competitor will come along and eat my lunch.

The iPhone being an Apple platform, there is a good chance I might get crushed by the press because my icon is not pleasing enough, or my typographical choices suck. (Does this ampersand make my app look fat?)

The economy could crash, musicians might never care for the iPhone, Apple might decide to release Logic Touch, whatever… In the end, it is quite possible that just nobody plain cares about my app. I am aware of these risks. I also know that they probably won’t rear their ugly head until the end. On the other hand, I know that the App Store is an incredible opportunity. While there is much controversy, there is still a look of business going on out there, and you know what? I want in. And so does everybody else.

My time is precious to me. Every hour that I spend on iPhone development is time I could have spent with my lovely family. Doing this constitutes a great sacrifice, not only for me but for them as well. I would be distraught if my app doesn’t work out in the end. But I love, doing it and not for the money per say, but for the dream of being a full time indie. To be able to craft beautiful apps that I passionately care about. To be able to stay at home and have lunch with my kids. These are the things I care about.

Let me be clear, I think Apple is making a mess of things and they really owe us much better guidelines on their policies. I *HATE* the NDA as much as the next developer. I want much better documentation! (Core Audio, anyone?) I could always use a CorePonies Framework while I’m at it. Seriously, I am not saying we should let Apple off the hook even for a second. What I am trying to say is this new added risk should not scare us away from doing what we love to do. Even if said risk is arbitrary, silly, and completely unnecessary.

I apologize for any crimes I might have committed against the English language in this post. No ponies were harmed in the writing of this entry. My opinions are mine and most likely no one else’s (really no one else with me on this one??)

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4 Comments on “Investing Time in iPhone Development”

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