Apple kicked off its big conference this week by hammering one big message for developers: Yes, you can still make money with our App Store.Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, started off the Worldwide Developers Conference by citing two key statistics:
- There are now 400 million active accounts with credit cards in iTunes (far more than PayPal).
- Apple has paid out a whopping $5 billion to developers so far.
The implication here is clear: there is huge potential for developers to tap into peoples’ wallets and many have already been successful in doing so.
For all of the other exciting announcements that Apple made during the event, these two details may be the most important in differentiating its platform from others like Android. After all, one complaint we hear often from developers is that it’s hard to make money on Android.
That said, Cook and Apple left out a few key points that complicate this picture:
- The vast majority of iOS and Android developers (80%) don’t even earn enough money from their apps to support the costs of running a business, according to one recent survey of more than 100 developers released earlier this year.
- Horace Dediu, the noted Apple analyst, crunched some numbers and found that iOS developers made about $7.8 million per day in the first half of this year, which is up about 50% from the same period a year ago, but well below the $8.4 million a day they earned in the second half of 2011.
- Apple currently has more than 650,000 apps in the App Store, which is impressive, but also poses a daunting challenge for developers to get noticed. In fact, between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of this year, the number of apps in Apple’s App Store increased by ~71%. If this trend continues, there would be more than one million apps in the App Store by the same time next year. That’s a lot of competition to deal with.
None of this is to say that you can’t make money in Apple’s App Store, just that it’s not as easy as Apple’s stats might make it sound.