I follow about 30 iPhone developers’ blogs who, until a month or two ago, were writing prolifically. Now, silence. This is a bad sign.
Who were these people? Many of the early developers for iPhone, many of whom wrote “productivity” or other apps aimed at business (instead of entertainment, although there were a few of those also). But now none are writing.
Could this be because they are so busy they don’t have time to write? Could they be head’s down on their next great app? Could they have all been on vacation since July and just not writing?
All are possible, but I don’t think that’s it.
I think they’ve gotten discouraged. I think they aren’t making more than a few hundred, maybe a thousand dollars a month, and that the sales have been so inconsistent that they’ve stopped caring. Maybe they started doing custom work — one of the few bright spots in the mobile app economy for the 13th straight year — or maybe they went back to their day jobs. But I don’t think they are writing apps for the App Store anymore.
This is a troubling sign, to me. I’m concerned that the small, independent developers are disappearing. Who’s going to be the Google and Facebook and Twitter of mobile? Or is the market not even capable of supporting a company like this?
I’ve come to a different conclusion over my too many years in mobile. I’ve come to the conclusion that mobile development needs to be a part of a bigger company strategy, but it by no means should be the only focal point. In other words, saying you’re a mobile company won’t get you two pennies to rub together. But focusing on being a web company or products company that will utilize mobile, now that’s a different conversation.