The modern day goldrush – application developers flock to Apple and the iPhone

When Apple first released the Software Developer Kit for the iPhone and iPod Touch there were perhaps the individual and more small time developers that saw the initial opportunity to create their own destiny by creating applications for this new platform – and such started the modern day gold rush that is seeing thousands of developers scramble for that next popular iPhone application.

Although many things can be said about the iTunes App Store business model platform adopted by Apple for the iPhone and iPod Touch, there is no doubt that it has created a more or less equal market platform for all developers, whether first time developer or big time application development company, and it is the users that decide which is best and which they prefer, not only marketing money and distribution control. That is the beauty of the application business model – it is open for everyone that wants to develop applications at any level, within the constraints of the Apple guidelines.

Some of the early application development adopters, like Kostas Eleftheriou who created the popular iSteam application making thousands of dollars, saw the opportunities in the early stages of the application gold rush, and for some of them there were fortunes to be made in the new market. As the application market is taking off and Apple is closing in on 1 billion applications downloaded throught the iTunes App Store, the market will be getting tougher for the small developers as big companies like Electronic Arts etc. enters the goldrush, and the consumers starts to become more picky about where they invest their money. I can just see it myself, how my application purchases have evolved with time, and how now i am more picky about the applications that i am willling to pay for.

However, developing applications for the iPhone still represents some great opportunities for “from rags to riches” stories, like Simon Oliver who wanted to be a games developer, and for whom the iPhone application market represented a unique opportunity to break into this ultra competitive market, the Rolando game was his ticket into creating his own business, a game that has received several hundrer thousands of downloads and become one of the most popular iPhone games. These are the stories that are inspiring other people with ideas and a can-do attitude to make a go for it, even if they have never developed anything on an Apple platform before, or written code at all. One of the beauties of the platform is that it is accessible for anyone with the desire to learn and participate in the goldrush.

With the new iPhone OS 3.0 being available for all iPhone and iPod Touch owners from June this year, it also means that there are new opportunities to make money off the applications, as Apple opens up for in-app paid upgrades and payment, meaning that developers can start thinking differently in terms of applying more product lifecycle thinking into their development. This is where the larger developers with more resources will have a competitive edge.

The beauty of this goldrush compared to the original one – you can never run out of ideas, and as long as you have ideas, there is a possible market out there.


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