Where does your App make it’s money

This week has been just as crazy as any other week, but I guess that’s a good thing. Had a great time this week at my first every iOS Meetup (a sister group of TMUG). While the group was small, we had a great time sharing new apps and ideas about using our respective devices. This got me thinking about all the cool apps I’ve been using on my iPhone and iPad, and how over time I keep rotating which apps I use. I’ve tried multiple news readers (Flipboard, Feedly, and others), but always come back to Reeder. I’ve played with multiple Podcast players, but alwayes come back to Downcast. I play so many games, but pretty much always come back to a variant of Angry Birds.

And so, as a developer I wonder how do others make their decisions on whether to create a new app verses upgrading their existing apps. New Apps, tend to mean new revenue, while updates are free on iOS. I recently picked up an Android device, and have yet to buy any apps on it, but I am loading many of the same apps that I use on iOS. I am betting; however, that on Android you will be able to paid upgrades in the long term, without having to release a new app name. The reason I think this will be the case is that we are starting to see parity in the number of apps between platforms. But iOS still makes app developers more money. Developers will not be content to give out free versions of their app and the upgrade path on iOS will not allow your to access your data between versions; making it even more difficult for your users to experience a seamless upgrade.

A recent story on TechCrunch shows that for now iOS is still the dominate platform for developers to make money. While more and more developers are working on multiple versions of their app (across platform), Android will need to do something to help developer make more money on that platform if app parity is to continue. Right now developers are investing in market reach, but unless that reach is profitable, that investment should end.

Apple’s cash and your app

Today Apple will announce what it is going to do with $100b in cash. Yes that’s right 100,000,000,000 in cash!! As app developers we have contributed a lot to that war chest. That doesn’t mean that apple will reduce it fees, or reduce the cost of the devices, no they will probably announce a dividend. At least that is the conventional wisdom on wall street.

I would like to suggest a completely different take, given that apple likes to control its supply chain. Can apple buy Foxconn? This would make them masters of their own manufacturing. Tim Cook has a history in supply chain, at IBM, compaq, and apple. They could both buy them and fix their image problem.

Nah, don’t think it will happen.