Steven Frank on the App Store

August 05, 2009

Steven Frank, of Panic co-founder fame, is taking a stand against the iPhone.

When the app store first opened, there were some questionable decisions, and like most everyone, I was willing to forgive Apple a few transgressions as they were navigating new, exciting (and rocky) territory. Historically, Apple has made bad decisions, but they’ve generally corrected them. (The $100 refunds for original launch-day iPhone purchasers after the price dropped come to mind.) The boat may turn slowly, but nothing before has ever suggested to me that Apple are actively malicious. But after an entire year of continuous bad decisions that are hostile to developers and consumers alike, we’ve moved on from “working out the kinks” to good old-fashioned getting fucked.

Every week it seems like there’s more and more developer backlash about App Store policies and the viability of making a living as an independent iPhone developer. I don’t blame them; right now the App Store is not a platform I would want to commit to. At the same time though, I’m not about to give up my own plans for the iPhone. Most of the apps I have in mind are companion apps to desktop Macintosh applications I’ve been working on over the past year or two. While I might make money on the iPhone apps alone, I don’t see them as a way to make rent as much as I see them as a way to augment and improve the work I’m already doing on the Mac. And I think most Cocoa developers will agree with me when I say that OS X is still a pretty sweet platform to write software for.

Marc Charbonneau is a mobile software engineer in Portland, OR. Want to reply to this article? Get in touch on Twitter @mbcharbonneau.