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The State of the Apple Developer Ecosystem

Introduction

The 10 hours in a metal tube between London and San Francisco provide for some great thinking space. The flights to and from WWDC last year as every year offered plenty of time to take stock of where things are, what could be, and on the way back what it all means. With all the focus on iOS 7’s new aesthetic, understandably the “iOS 7-only” mantra was top of everyone’s minds. But as I sat in sessions eagerly watching talks about all the new technologies on iOS, something bigger struck me. Something that’s taken almost an entire year to fully analyse.

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Thoughts on the new OS X Beta Program

Apple’s announcement yesterday of a more accessible OS X Beta Program is a surprising, and interesting, move both for Apple and third-party developers.

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Apple’s Mac Apps and the Sandbox

Each time Apple updates iLife or iWork, I always try to take a look at the updates’ usage of the OS X Sandbox. Apple is of course free to do whatever it wants (after all it’s Apple’s platform), and in the past Apple has simply used temporary entitlements to effectively escape the sandbox. However the lack of visible dog-fooding of the sandbox on Apple’s part to date has provided little reassurance to developers who may still be working to adopt the technology themselves.

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The Task of Proving Value for Paid Apps

Another common gripe I didn’t touch on in Monday’s article is Apple making its iWork apps available free to new iOS device owners. (As a side-note, I think it would be fair to assume the same will be true of any new Macs that are on the horizon. Remember: one of Apple’s yet-to-be-played cards from WWDC is “awesome new releases for both Mac and iOS [iWork] suites” - but I digress).

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“Offers In-App Purchases”

“Offers In-App Purchases”. That’s a phrase that’s become more and more common on the iOS App Store in the last year - and starting with iOS 7 you’ll likely see even more frequently as there’s some interesting new additions to the world of In-App Purchase that will further change how developers monetise their apps.

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