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Thursday, 01 June 2017 22:48

iOS developers earn US$70 billion from iOS app store

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Android might have millions more users, but the most valuable users who buy the most apps are on iOS, with developer earnings topping US$70 billion being a prime piece of evidence.

Google might boast that it has many more Android users out there, but no-one questions the fact that Apple makes the most money on sales of smartphones while the rest of the industry wallows in losses.

There’s also the issue of iOS having the richest app library targeting a small yet powerful set of flagship iOS devices over the past few years, as compared with literally thousands of Android compatible handsets with every imaginable processor type, memory size, graphics capability and storage size, giving a great example of why the lowest common denominator does little good for those with the best handsets.

And, while Android smartphone makers tinker with different screen sizes, huge amounts of RAM, features specific to one brand or model of Android smartphone rather than every Android in existence and more, Apple’s consistently powerful hardware and high levels of app purchasing by iOS users gives developers the peace of mind that developing for iOS first will give the profits and user base that will fund future iOS and Android app development once the bills are paid and time is available to cater to the Fandroids, too.

We see a great example of this with today’s news of Apple announcing its “global developer community has earned over US$70 billion since the App Store launched in 2008”, with even Apple itself proudly and unsurprisingly boasting that "the App Store is home to the most innovative apps in the world and in the past 12 months alone, downloads have grown over 70%".

Apple lauds “breakout hits like Pokémon GO and Super Mario Run to other standout launches such as CancerAid, SPACE by THIX, Zones for Training with Exercise Intensity, Vanido and Ace Tennis", and notes that its customers “discover and experience new apps and games every day on the App Store".

It’s true. I can even see Netflix advertising its new House of Cards Season 5 content as part of its Netflix app on the App Store, with even Netflix knowing a damn good thing when it sees it.

As for Apple’s senior vice-president of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, he also points out the stats and facts which must make Google shiver, knowing its own Android ecosystem is full of users with low-end models, so much so that Google has launched yet another initiative, this time called Android Go, for low-end phones with as little as a pitiful 512MB of RAM.

Schiller is too classy to mention any of that, leaving it to journalists with their eyes wide open, and instead said: “People everywhere love apps and our customers are downloading them in record numbers.

“Seventy billion dollars earned by developers is simply mind-blowing. We are amazed at all of the great new apps our developers create and can’t wait to see them again next week at our Worldwide Developers Conference," Schiller concludes. 

Naturally, Apple talks up its impressive achievements, stating that “since the release of iOS 10 last spring, iPhone and iPad users have also experienced new engaging and creative ways to connect, such as collaborating on a fashion design sketch using Prêt à Template, or making someone smile with an endless assortment of stickers".

There’s the all-important subscription business model in the App Store too, which Apple notes is “now available to developers across all 25 app categories".

Can we expect good news here, too? Of course.

Apple states that “the App Store’s active paid subscriptions are up 58% year over year”, and that its “customers are enjoying subscriptions across a wide variety of services, including longtime favourites such as Netflix and newcomers like Tastemade, the modern, mobile-first cooking network, and photo editing apps like Over and Enlight".

We’re not just talking the first world, either, with Apple noting that App Store “developers from around the world create apps for customers in 155 countries that improve lives, rethink industries and shape culture".

We’re told that “Gaming and Entertainment are top-grossing categories, and Lifestyle apps, as well as Health and Fitness, have experienced over 70% growth in the past year. The Photo and Video category is also among the fastest-growing at nearly 90% growth.”

These are healthy figures that Apple’s competitors can only dream of, especially given that most of its competitors don’t own any app stores of their own, but instead must promote Google’s, which continually ends up being sprayed with “cloak and dagger” style hack attacks, Stagefrights and worse, like the millions of Android users infected by the popular Judy game only just reported as this article is published

Yes, there are attacks against iOS, too, but rather than the supposed ramp-up in iOS attacks that have falsely been predicted, it’s Android that keeps on getting the headlines and the true ramp-up in attacks, alongside completely fake anti-Wannacry-ransomware Android apps that are totally useless, making a mockery of those who insist iOS is unsafe when reality, facts, figures, and approaches to delivering updated OS versions tell the true story.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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