This week marks the 3rd anniversary of the App Store launch. It sounds, and feels like a lifetime ago. It’s sometimes hard to remember how “unconnected” our lives were before the iPhone, but I can say that prior to June of 2007 I absolutely hated every cell phone I owned. There was the Qualcomm clunker, the Motorola junker, the Samsung clamshell, etc. More often than not the phone was merely a device to slap the carrier’s label on to. People got a “verizon phone,” or an “at&t phone” if you lived in the U.S. We were, and still are, captives of the telcos, but that’s starting to change finally.
When the App Store opened, I dreamed of working for myself. After 26 years of service in academia and Corporate America I was tiring of enormous org charts and meaningless schedules. It took a little bit of time, but in late 2009 I finally quit my last day job. By then we had built up a little stable of apps, and the income was starting to pick up. I’ll never regret that decision, as many indie developers will tell you: once you work for yourself you’ll never want to go back to working for ‘the man’.
Year three on the App Store was an exciting one for us. Mundue apps have now been downloaded a total of 9.2 million times, about 95% of which are free apps. We released two new iOS apps this past year, and are working on a few more at the moment, and also created Mac and Android versions of reMovem. I gave a talk on ad network mediation at the Austin 360iDev conference, and met many new friends there and at other conferences. If you have the opportunity to attend the next 360iDev, this September in Denver, I highly recommend that you do so.
So what will year four be like? I’m very optimistic about the upcoming changes in iOS 5. With the sales of iOS devices still very strong, it looks like the next year or two will be even better for app developers. With over 400,000 apps in the store, the bad news is that your piece of the pie is constantly shrinking, but the good news is that the pie keeps growing ever larger with no slowdown in sight.