WWDC 2013: Apple's focus on developers makes sense

Apple [AAPL] will increase its focus on developers in the weeks ahead as it works to ensure it maintains its position at the cutting-edge of software design, WWDC this year should feature better tools for Maps and app discovery.

WWDC looms

If you've been reading the news you'll have seen a growing focus on Apple's developer community in recent days -- that's hardly a surprise given the company's WWDC developer event takes place in June.

The focus on the company's vibrant developer community also represents a unique selling point for Apple, after all, even independent developers have a chance of making money on its platforms. This is driving Mac software design while also ensuring iOS app development far exceeds that for Android, (with the exception of malware authors, who love Google's OS).

With that in mind it seems clear Apple will woo developers with Siri and Maps. Developers already prefer Apple's developer tools for Maps in some cases, according to a recent FastCoLabs. Apple offers MapKit to developers, while Google offers an SDK to iOS developers.

Google's SDK seems to offer better location lookup services, directions, geocoding, and hybrid satellite imagery than does Apple's API, but MapKit has its own advantages above Google's recently introduced platform. It seems likely Apple will choose to match or exceed Google in other areas within any future SDKs for its mapping services as the company continues to improve its service. Might this one day include creating a cross-platform set of tools to put a little Apple inside other platforms?

"Cross-platform consistency is one reason Andrew Forster says developers go with Google’s Maps. “A developer looking to provide a multi-platform app can provide the same quality and consistency across all platforms that their app runs” by choosing Google’s Maps," the report observes.

Would it truly make no sense to make Apple Maps available to developers on other platforms as the service is improved?

Making app development pay (more)

The focus on developers was also visible earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published a report on app developer, Loren Brichter, who began his career at Apple working on technologies used inside the iPhone.

It seems likely the conversation will focus on developers across the coming weeks as Apple seeks to galvanize its substantial development community as part of work to express its message that its mobile platforms form the cutting-edge for new apps.

This isn't to say creating an iOS app is an immediate road to wealth and riches. A report in 2012 claimed 59 percent of apps don't break even and 80 percent of developers can't sustain a business on apps alone.

That makes it even more likely Apple will improve app discovery via the App Store, potentially implementing additional tools it got its hands on with the acquisition of Chomp. (The service may have been discontinued, but Apple still retains the inherent technologies).

The key mission Apple has in the coming months must be to continue to make its environments the most profitable available to developers as it attempts to make its powerful ecosystem one of the unique advantages it offers within the emerging mobile market.

Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when these items are published here first on Computerworld.

Computerworld's IT Salary Survey 2017 results
Shop Tech Products at Amazon