mobile Programming

#iOSDevUK: Steve Scott: Sherlocked! Deprecated! Changed! AKA “Do Apple Hate Developers?”

rose tinted glasses
Credit: Flickr / derekgavey

Helpful to take a step back and see where we are.

We all tend to view the world through rose tinted glasses. Depend to look through a lens that colours what we are seeing. Unless take them off, hard to see what the situation is.

Glasses worn by iOS is “we are indie devs”. Sense in community, the little guy, hacking away on the porch or in the evening. Stood for a long time, back when it was actually true. Now maintained even though probably one of the biggest communities of devs in the world.

Not unreasonable. Vast majority of companies producing apps are very small. Even “big” less than 30-40 people.

Is a sense of being small, see things through the lenses of being small.

When we look at Apple, relate to the apple that was Steve and Steve in their garage hacking. All about innovation, friendliness, camaraderie.

We see Apple, we like to see Apple. The Apple we want is the Apple of this 70s breakthrough, this small indie thing. However reality is, Apple is (depending on day of week and season of year) is one of the biggest companies in the world. No longer based in a garage somewhere in California. The thing that is most important to them is the stock price. This is true, because the law says it has to be. Has an obligation that every decision you make is in the best interest of your shareholders. If can be shown not, you can be imprisoned.

“How does this effect us as a public company” – reality, shareholders come first.

Not everyone. But Apple as a company, this has to be what it is about.

Have to ask, how can we make the best investment for investors. If you go to their website, clear they have done that by deciding to be a hardware manufacturer. Click around for a long time before any mention of software.

Chosen to make money through hardware. Strategy – build fanatical customers, who love the hardware. Carefully decided. Look at the presentations, the words they use.

“The every day man’s designer brand” – slightly more than most people than they can afford, but within reach.

Would never do a low end laptop, because it would destroy that brand. Target people with aspirations. Hence the margins on their laptops.

Strategic decisions are around these things. And nothing else. Desirable to customers. Maintain brand. Bottom line.

Apple are not the friendly garage of indie devs. They are a moneymaking machine.

Faster accept that, the easier it is to deal with reality.

Not going “developers developers developers”

Don’t hate developers. Just not their priority.

Do Developers Hate Developers?

Open source projects:

  • How many have considered users in code open sourced.
  • How many have sent money?
  • How many have contributed a significant fix or amount of code?

Argument hear again and again is “Apple should look after us as developers because we make significant contribution to their business”

Financially: tiny. So small they wouldn’t notice if it disappeared.

App ecosystem does enhance Apple’s attractiveness to customers. Will place some value for that reason. Because it creates value for customers who they want to be fanatical about their products.

As developers, the very people making that complaint, we don’t stop to think about people who are producing code that makes a significant contribution to the things that we make. Bit of a hypocrisy. If want that to be true, need to value people who make a contribution to people who help their code.

Don’t hate devs. Just value customers more than you.


Love is not about what you feel, it’s about what you do. It’s in your actions and your deeds.

Sherlocked. Apple have Sherlocked a number of apps. (Replacing a dominant player in the market as an independent – Watson replaced by Sherlock).

Not mean, evil, but because they want to give something to their customers. Just a business decision. Just an attitude about them making better products.

Deprecated. Deprecation is a curtoursy to devs, could just remove the API altogether. Good for customers, because forces things to do things in a better, more efficient way.

Microsoft for many years refused to deprecate anything. People are still running things on XP because they thought they must never get rid of anything that breaks anything. So we all had to live with an OS that is full of crap. So much was there for legacy purposes. But it didn’t make a good product. Better for people who were no longer giving MSFT money than for people who were (buying).

Not about devs. About building a better product for customers.

Changed. That is exactly why things change.

How do Apple Love Developers?

Apple, iOS dev centre membership. $99. Charge again to do the Mac. How much does it cost Apple to provide with what they provide? $99 doesn’t cover it. Nowhere near.

Apple known for small teams, people often shocked by how few people work on something. Doesn’t matter. Have very clever, very expensive California devs working on things for your benefit. Subsidising your career. That is how much they love you.

Windows, you pay 1200GBP every year for Visual studio and MSDN subscription. And that is still a subsidised price.

Next time you complain about the App store pricing. Remember if going to do that, going to start charging a realistic price for tools.

Short while with Mac app store. Xcode was $4. Was like the world had ended. “How could they charge me $5 for the thing that I make my living from?”

Apple understand value of devs, charge very little for tools that allow you to do your job.

Not because love you, but because you create value.

WWDC videos. 2006 would wait months for vids, be delivered on DVD. Apple gained nothing by investing millions of dollars in ensuring you can get the videos on the same day. Investing in you, because it helps them. If you have the latest information, can upgrade your apps faster.

Whichever title. Reality is. They understand your value, and provide reasonable practical support without taking their focus off of their main business and their customers.

Hopefully just like you do.

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