I tend to chat regularly to other developers, both electronically and at conferences. I am increasingly getting the impression that people are starting to be more wary about creating iPhone applications. Similarly, developers who are solely developing for the iPhone are starting to investigate other platforms as ‘insurance’.
The problem isn’t one of app discoverability, success or lack of new ideas. In fact, there’s still a surplus of iPhone work at the moment. Instead, it’s a problem of predictability. People don’t know if their app will be accepted by Apple or whether it might be pulled in the future. Similarly, some tools vendors don’t know if their tools are acceptable any more. (I notice AppMakr no longer charges for its auto generated iPhone apps – I wonder if this is because of the degree of uncertainty?). People now have uncertainty as to whether they can include analytics or whether policies might change again in the future.
I have some sympathy for Apple. I have even previously agreed with some of Apple’s thoughts on frameworks and runtimes. Apple’s unpredictability has come about through the need to control every step of the process – this control being needed to maintain a ‘best in class’ user experience.
The question is whether Apple can continue to control everything in the long term without upsetting the people who feed it. The iPhone is now Apple’s most prized business. As well as Apple-only developers, I wonder what the risks are of Apple themselves also putting all their eggs in one (iOS) basket?