In this post, I’m going to try illuminate a tactical problem many application developers face, but unfortunately, I must claim upfront that I don’t know if any solution exists without a fundamental change occurring. The topic for this week’s column is to peel back the layers on mobile app distribution in Apple’s iOS, and in doing so, hopefully illuminate areas developers can exploit given the treacherous conditions that currently exist.
As is the case with many of these kinds of posts, I’ll get a few disclaimers out of the way. First, I’m focusing on the iOS app ecosystem because that’s what I’ve been mainly exposed to. Yes, I havetried Android products in the past and I do recognise its open system allows developers to build things faster and with less restrictions than would be the case within Apple’s universe. Second, I’m going to ask readers to, for this post, to put aside iOS apps that are games, communication utilities, extensions of large brands (I’m sure Target has a large install-base), native Apple apps (like iMovie), especially those that come preloaded, and basic utility apps like Fandango (for movie tickets) and so on — the apps that have the most downloads and the most competition. It goes without saying that these types of apps are downloaded most often, so with these cast aside for a moment, how do the rest of us who aren’t Instagram get real iOS distribution?