Apple claims the first week of January set a new record for App Store revenue – over half a billion dollars has been spent on apps and in-app purchases so far – and New Year’s Day 2015 saw the biggest number of apps sold in a single day ever. App Store developers have earned a cumulative $25 billion from the sale of apps and games, Apple said.
In a press release announcing the news, developers from ustwo, Hipster Whale and Sirvo praised new iOS 8 features such as Swift, Metal and HealthKit and HomeKit for the fresh development opportunities they bring.
The setting sun
In the other corner, Samsung is warning of its first annual profit decline since 2011 as sales of its smartphones plummet as the message gets out that Apple makes better phones. Apple’s new smartphones are so in vogue people will go to incredible lengths to get hold of one.
It’s not just Samsung. Android share fell by 2 percentage points, Kantar Worldpanel said. It fell 3 percentage points across Europe’s five biggest countries, and tanked by an astonishing 6.7 percentage points in the UK.
That’s the environment we find ourselves in as Apple enters 2015, a year in which developers have a reasonable chance to make a lot of cash developing for iOS.
Apple’s keeping the furnace nicely stoked, of course. Expectation of a 12.9-inch iPad, an iPhone 6S, even the Apple Watch (or Apple TV) will open new developer frontiers. And will the new MacBook Air run both OS X and iOS? Even the speculation ignites interest in Apple’s platforms.
Fans of Instapaper dev, Marco Arment should note that while his warning that Apple needs to slow development to make sure its OS’ “just work” were widely reported by the usual ‘Apple Must’ hatchet brigade, the inference that competing platforms need far more improvement were not.
The main competing mobile platforms simply don’t match the App Store advantage, driving developers to focus on the Apple platform. This feeds back into the platform, giving the company good feedback with which to improve its offer.
Action and reaction
Meanwhile it looks like people are beginning to understand that Android is a compromised choice: around 18% of iPhone 6 customers are switching to iOS from Android. "Android fatigue is setting in," Neil Mawston, Strategy Analytics analyst told CNBC.
So, what does this mean?
It means that as Apple makes its long-planned iPhone 6-led grab to regain ground lost since its close partners became its competitors, it will see its market share grow. As its share grows, the activity levels of the user base will grow, developers will sell more apps and the momentum will continue to build.
Adding a little more pain, Apple seems set to terminate its search deal with Google this year – this will have consequences, just look at the impact of the Yahoo Mozilla deal. How much of this lost cash is Google really going to claw back on strength of a mobile OS with a marketshare built around low-end device sales?
Apple CEO Tim Cook certainly seems to have put Apple in the catbird seat for 2015.
“This year is off to a tremendous start after a record-breaking year for the App Store and our developer community,” said Apple’s senior vice president of software and services Eddy Cue.
He got that one right.
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