Under the Radar

122: Ten Years of the iPhone SDK


00:00:00   - Welcome to Under the Radar,

00:00:01   a show about independent iOS app development.

00:00:04   I'm Mark Orment.

00:00:05   - And I'm David Smith.

00:00:06   Under the Radar is never longer than 30 minutes,

00:00:08   so let's get started.

00:00:09   - So this show is about independent iOS app development,

00:00:12   and this is a thing that did not exist

00:00:15   until about 10 years ago,

00:00:18   because this week was the 10-year anniversary

00:00:22   of the original iPhone SDK becoming available.

00:00:26   Now, App Store hadn't launched until the following summer,

00:00:29   but, or rather, I guess this summer,

00:00:32   so like a few months later.

00:00:33   But we had a few months before the App Store's launch,

00:00:37   where in March 2008, we were given the very first version

00:00:40   of the iPhone SDK that had been announced,

00:00:42   I think a couple of months beforehand,

00:00:45   and we were finally able, for the very first time,

00:00:49   to make our own native iPhone apps

00:00:53   without weird hacks like jailbreaking or anything else.

00:00:56   So it was the very first time that anybody could sign up,

00:00:59   get a developer account, and download the SDK,

00:01:03   and build their own apps that ran on their iPhones.

00:01:06   We couldn't distribute them until the App Store

00:01:08   a few months later, but this was the beginning

00:01:12   of mainstream iPhone app development.

00:01:15   And there's been a number of good comments on it this week.

00:01:20   Craig Hockenberry wrote an excellent blog post.

00:01:24   That's probably the best one to refer to.

00:01:27   And I kind of wanted to look back this week

00:01:30   and think about what this did for us,

00:01:35   maybe think about some alternate future

00:01:37   in which this didn't happen, and then, I don't know,

00:01:41   kind of reflect on that it's been 10 years

00:01:45   of being able to make iPhone apps,

00:01:46   and what that means to us.

00:01:49   So I guess the initial road I wanna go down here

00:01:54   is what if the iPhone didn't happen?

00:02:00   Like the entire iPhone, not just the SDK,

00:02:03   what if the entire iPhone never had happened?

00:02:07   Where do you think we'd be today?

00:02:09   - I think I would be making web apps, or web websites.

00:02:13   Like that's what I did before I did this.

00:02:16   And it's kind of a strange thing to think about,

00:02:19   but I would probably still be doing that.

00:02:21   Before I got into iPhone development,

00:02:23   I was a Ruby on Rails web developer.

00:02:26   That was my job.

00:02:28   And I mean, more likely than not,

00:02:30   that's what I would still be doing,

00:02:31   'cause that's what I had gotten good at

00:02:33   and had kind of built up a skill set for.

00:02:37   And so it's a weird thought,

00:02:39   but I would probably still be doing that.

00:02:41   Like in a world where there is no kind of

00:02:43   mobile revolution type of situation,

00:02:47   and it's still just the web,

00:02:49   it's like I would still just be making

00:02:51   front ends for databases, basically,

00:02:54   which is what I was doing before I ever saw an iPhone.

00:02:59   - Yeah, I think I'd probably have a similar outcome.

00:03:01   I mean, I do think that the mobile revolution,

00:03:06   like the smartphone revolution,

00:03:07   was going to happen regardless.

00:03:09   And so it might not have happened as soon.

00:03:13   It might have taken a few more years,

00:03:15   because there were already phones before the iPhone

00:03:17   that were running like the Windows Mobile Pocket Edition

00:03:21   and very early versions of Android

00:03:24   that look like the clone of BlackBerry OS,

00:03:26   and of course the BlackBerry itself.

00:03:28   Those were pretty big platforms at the time,

00:03:31   not big by today's standards,

00:03:33   but for the smartphone world of 2006,

00:03:36   those were big platforms.

00:03:38   And so I think I would probably have tried,

00:03:41   once those platforms got sophisticated enough

00:03:45   to have app development that wasn't really painful

00:03:49   and really limited the way it was

00:03:50   back in the old Palm days,

00:03:52   I think I probably would have tried to make apps for it,

00:03:54   because as soon as I got one of those phones

00:03:56   that I actually liked and had to use every day,

00:04:01   I would have had the itch to write stuff for it.

00:04:03   So I think I would have tried it.

00:04:06   But there's a huge question there

00:04:07   of whether it would have been able to become a career or not.

00:04:12   - Yeah, I don't know.

00:04:12   I actually spent a lot of time making apps

00:04:16   for Palm and Pocket OS and Windows Mobile.

00:04:21   That was actually my first job out of,

00:04:23   when I was actually still in high school.

00:04:25   So I have experienced the pain and joy

00:04:27   that was making mobile apps

00:04:29   back before mobile apps was a thing.

00:04:31   And it is kind of weird to think

00:04:33   that that's where my career started,

00:04:35   but it is weird to think if Windows Mobile

00:04:38   had become the thing that had progressed

00:04:42   and become the main thing down the road,

00:04:46   because that was an interesting platform to make apps for.

00:04:49   I think I remember I was making most of my apps for that

00:04:52   in Visual Basic, I think it was.

00:04:55   'Cause it was all Microsoft, like in Visual Studio,

00:05:00   and I'd make apps.

00:05:04   My first job was making apps for railroad inspectors.

00:05:07   They used Palm devices and then Windows Mobile devices.

00:05:12   I think it was a Compaq, iPad, I think is what they called it.

00:05:16   Yeah, I feel like that was my first mobile development.

00:05:21   And I went down that road for a while,

00:05:22   but then I just changed jobs and got into web development.

00:05:25   So I guess maybe I would have been well served

00:05:27   if the iPhone had never happened

00:05:28   and Windows Mobile development had grown up to be

00:05:33   the big revolution in mobile computing.

00:05:38   I guess I could have dived back into that.

00:05:39   But that was a really weird,

00:05:42   it's a really strange platform because it was sort of like,

00:05:47   it was sort of like developing desktop applications,

00:05:49   but everything was just smaller.

00:05:51   I don't think it had really,

00:05:54   it hadn't gotten to a point where it really took advantage

00:05:58   of the fact that it was a different thing,

00:06:01   that it was really the way that you would build an app

00:06:04   to be mobile and to be mobile first

00:06:07   and to be always connected, which of course, they weren't.

00:06:10   They were all, you'd have to develop all manner

00:06:13   of syncing, like physical syncing software

00:06:17   where you plug in your device to your computer

00:06:20   and let it sit for five minutes and then you'd unplug it

00:06:23   and you'd have whatever you had stored onto it

00:06:25   at that point.

00:06:26   But it just did not have quite the same,

00:06:30   I don't know, that sense of elegance and connectivity

00:06:33   that we just take for granted now, I suppose.

00:06:36   - I can totally see an alternate route for history

00:06:41   in which the iPhone didn't come out,

00:06:43   other platforms came out, whether it be Android

00:06:48   or Blackberry or Windows Phone or WebOS,

00:06:52   one of those would have become the dominant platform

00:06:54   and we'd have probably two like we have today.

00:06:58   And I think it would be, it's not hard to imagine Apple

00:07:01   just sitting back and missing it or sitting back

00:07:03   and not succeeding because maybe they tried and it failed

00:07:07   because that happened to Microsoft.

00:07:08   You can see, Microsoft is also this big web,

00:07:12   this big software platform company

00:07:13   that had a very successful OS and they just didn't,

00:07:16   it just didn't work out for them in mobile.

00:07:18   So Apple could have been there and so I don't think

00:07:20   this is that unreasonable a future to imagine.

00:07:25   And I think what we would have been doing is probably

00:07:29   the way a lot of Windows people look at their world

00:07:33   is like we'd still be using Macs as our platform of choice

00:07:38   for our desktops and laptops, but we'd have to be

00:07:40   using someone else's phone and developing apps maybe

00:07:44   if that's our job for other people's phone platforms.

00:07:47   That would just be a thing.

00:07:47   Just like Android developers now,

00:07:49   like a lot of Android developers do it from a Mac

00:07:51   and it would be like that.

00:07:54   And that might even be what we are doing.

00:07:57   We might be Android developers.

00:07:58   And it would, I think the thing about that

00:08:00   that would make me sad, besides that many other things,

00:08:05   is that I really like Apple's Objective-C language

00:08:11   and I'll get to, you know, Swift I would have eventually

00:08:14   gotten into as well and I really like Apple's frameworks.

00:08:18   Like one of the things that made iOS so awesome

00:08:21   to develop for is that you had many of Apple's

00:08:25   same frameworks.

00:08:26   You know, you had all Foundation and then you had

00:08:29   a lot of the same like media and other like advanced

00:08:32   frameworks that you had on Mac OS.

00:08:35   And it was always so nice, like Mac developers

00:08:38   always have appreciated the awesome Apple frameworks

00:08:42   that they got to use, but you always got to use it

00:08:45   on the Mac in like this like small specialized market

00:08:48   of Mac software.

00:08:49   And the iPhone let you use amazing frameworks

00:08:52   on the mass market platform.

00:08:54   Like the one, like the high profile, high market,

00:08:58   high value platform.

00:08:59   You could use these awesome frameworks.

00:09:01   That was never the case before.

00:09:02   And because you know before like, you know,

00:09:04   the high powered, high market platforms would be

00:09:08   either Windows or the web.

00:09:10   And Windows development was always kind of all over

00:09:12   the place and there were some bright spots,

00:09:14   but you know, not a lot.

00:09:17   And the frameworks were nowhere near what Apple

00:09:18   had going for them.

00:09:20   And the web, you know, the web is a mess even today,

00:09:24   but at least today it's a lot more capable.

00:09:26   Back in 2006 the web was not very capable

00:09:29   for making any kind of sophisticated application,

00:09:32   especially one that had to depend on things like

00:09:34   intermittent connectivity.

00:09:36   And so that was, you know, it was a lot worse back then.

00:09:39   So yeah, I think that alternate world would have been fine.

00:09:43   I too would probably mostly be a web developer

00:09:45   and maybe I'd make apps for my Windows or Android phone

00:09:49   as a hobby on the side.

00:09:51   But I think that would be the extent of it.

00:09:53   - And I think that's crazy about that though too

00:09:55   is the degree to which it isn't just so much

00:09:58   that the iPhone existed.

00:10:00   It was the advent later of the App Store

00:10:03   that I think really from a personal like career perspective

00:10:07   changed it from, I remember seeing that they announced

00:10:11   that there was going to be an App Store

00:10:12   on just deciding that like, I'm just going to try this.

00:10:16   And I had no background at all in this,

00:10:19   in Mac development at all.

00:10:21   Like I'd never written, I didn't really even know

00:10:23   Objective-C was a thing, but I just,

00:10:25   when they decided that that was going to be a thing

00:10:28   that that existed, that was the point for me.

00:10:31   That even when the iPhone had come out

00:10:33   and the iPhone SDK had come out,

00:10:34   if it had just been those things,

00:10:36   I'm not sure if I, like at the time I didn't own an iPhone.

00:10:39   I had a Sony Ericsson flip phone I think,

00:10:42   and I was perfectly happy with that.

00:10:44   And it was, I think even more so than the advent of the SDK

00:10:48   was the advent of the App Store and saying that,

00:10:51   we're going to create this platform by which anybody

00:10:55   in the world can sell applications for this hot new device.

00:11:00   That change was I think really the pivotal thing

00:11:03   for me personally.

00:11:04   And then if that hadn't been there, I would be,

00:11:07   I'm not even sure if I would have gotten into it,

00:11:09   developing apps for the iPhone

00:11:11   or getting into mobile development at all.

00:11:12   I'd just be staying as a web developer

00:11:14   where I was pretty happy at the time.

00:11:17   - So one other alternate feature to consider

00:11:19   before we move on and talk about what actually happened

00:11:21   with us is what if the iPhone had happened

00:11:25   and everything, and it succeeded,

00:11:28   but the SDK never did.

00:11:31   So the iPhone, like assume the iPhone happened,

00:11:34   it became as popular as it did,

00:11:36   which honestly I don't think would have happened

00:11:37   without native apps, but let's set that aside for now.

00:11:40   In this alternate future, the iPhone is out,

00:11:43   is as popular as it is today,

00:11:45   but we can still only make web apps for it.

00:11:48   How do you think that would have changed things?

00:11:50   - I mean, I think the big thing

00:11:52   that it would have struggled with is the,

00:11:56   like I guess we would have gotten really good

00:11:57   at web development and HTML5 and all that type of stuff.

00:12:01   But I think the biggest impediment

00:12:03   would have continued to be distribution.

00:12:05   'Cause the blessing and the curse

00:12:07   of when apps were just websites,

00:12:10   then you have all of the sort of implications

00:12:13   that you had for just websites in general.

00:12:16   That it's, you have to get people to your app

00:12:21   and to find it and to use it.

00:12:22   And if that, I think at a technical level,

00:12:24   there's a lot of things

00:12:25   that could have been problematic about that.

00:12:27   You know, in terms of access to hardware or performance,

00:12:30   or the sophistication and the robustness

00:12:33   of an application you can make,

00:12:34   is just always, you know,

00:12:35   is gonna be more deep and significant

00:12:38   when it's a native app than when it's a web app.

00:12:41   But I think it would have struggled just from a,

00:12:44   you know, to make that a viable career or viable business,

00:12:48   it would have been, I think, a really steep uphill battle

00:12:52   compared to what we had.

00:12:53   That it's, well, the technical side of it,

00:12:55   I think is, you know, is significant.

00:12:58   And I think you're right.

00:12:58   I don't think the iPhone would have caught on

00:13:01   in the same way, because I don't think Apple

00:13:03   would have been able to add capability to it fast enough

00:13:07   to have the just, you know, this explosion in utility

00:13:11   that they were able to take advantage of

00:13:14   if it hadn't been for third-party developers.

00:13:16   But yeah, it's like if we had just been sort of stuck there

00:13:20   with that, without a native SDK,

00:13:22   I mean, either that or I guess jailbreaking

00:13:24   could have been a really significant thing

00:13:27   where if Apple had just decided,

00:13:29   we're not gonna do this at a certain point,

00:13:32   like jailbreaking may have just been a very common activity

00:13:35   that everyone did when they bought their iPhone

00:13:37   so they could get actual applications for it,

00:13:40   even if it wasn't, you know, endorsed by Apple or supported.

00:13:44   - Web development, it would be like

00:13:47   starting the entire platform in fifth gear.

00:13:50   You know, it's like you'd eventually build up speed

00:13:53   and momentum and have this be a robust platform,

00:13:57   but I don't think it would ever be as good as native apps

00:14:01   for a while, if ever.

00:14:03   And it would definitely have slowed down

00:14:05   how much this platform exploded,

00:14:09   because I think you're right,

00:14:10   distribution, discovery, monetization

00:14:13   are all way harder with web stuff,

00:14:15   and especially they were back then.

00:14:17   You know, you think it's hard to get someone

00:14:19   to pay for an app, try to get someone

00:14:21   to pay for a website in 2007.

00:14:22   Heck, even today, it's not an easy thing.

00:14:25   So, you know, I think it would have been,

00:14:28   it would have worked out okay,

00:14:30   but it wouldn't have been anything special.

00:14:32   Just like other platforms, you know,

00:14:33   if you have one that never existed,

00:14:34   like we'd all be using Windows and phone or whatever,

00:14:36   like it would have been fine, it would have been,

00:14:38   you know, we would have gotten by just fine,

00:14:40   some people would succeed,

00:14:42   but I don't think it would be what it was.

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00:16:11   So the iPhone SDK fortunately did happen,

00:16:15   and we didn't have to travel

00:16:16   to any of those alternate timelines.

00:16:18   That would have been horrible in various ways.

00:16:20   So it did happen, and I think it's kind of fun now

00:16:24   to spend the rest of the episode

00:16:26   talking about the very first things that we did.

00:16:29   Like how did we get started?

00:16:31   What were we doing 10 years ago today?

00:16:33   - Well, and it's slightly amazing.

00:16:36   I always love keeping an archive of email

00:16:38   and having emails that go back,

00:16:39   because it lets you kind of reminisce

00:16:41   and find things that,

00:16:43   while you may remember in general,

00:16:46   you wouldn't remember in specifics.

00:16:47   And right before we sat down to record,

00:16:50   I found the email that I got back from Apple

00:16:54   saying that I had successfully enrolled

00:16:56   in the iPhone developer program.

00:16:59   And the email almost to the minute was 10 years ago.

00:17:04   And it's kind of wild, so that Apple announced it.

00:17:08   And I went and I created a developer account.

00:17:11   I didn't have one before.

00:17:13   I remember, at the time, so much of the developer stuff

00:17:17   was all about the Mac, which fair enough.

00:17:19   Like it was the Apple developer connection

00:17:22   had all this stuff about the Mac,

00:17:23   and you could, you know, like it was,

00:17:25   all of a sudden there was this whole new thing

00:17:27   called the iPhone developer program

00:17:29   that you had to kind of navigate for.

00:17:31   But a lot of everything had been set up

00:17:33   around the Mac, and the Mac was still a big part of it.

00:17:37   But I went and I signed up,

00:17:38   and I knew absolutely nothing

00:17:40   about developing for this platform.

00:17:43   I didn't know how to do it, like what Xcode was,

00:17:46   what Interface Builder was.

00:17:48   I didn't know what Objective-C was or how it worked.

00:17:52   At the time, I was coming from a background

00:17:54   of Ruby development, and before that,

00:17:56   it was Java development, and before that,

00:17:58   it was Visual Basic development.

00:18:01   So I remember retain release memory management

00:18:05   being this just like mind-bending world

00:18:08   for the first like year or two,

00:18:10   where I was going from a world of garbage collection

00:18:12   to all of a sudden having to get into it.

00:18:13   But it all started with that, you know,

00:18:15   that email that I got back 10 years ago

00:18:17   that, you know, kicked off all the rest of this process.

00:18:21   - Yeah, and I got the same email on the same day,

00:18:23   March 7th, 2008, and you know, at the time, for me,

00:18:27   I too had very little experience.

00:18:31   I think I had a little more than you,

00:18:32   in that I had made a couple of like little hobby apps

00:18:34   on Mac OS, but you know, very trivial things,

00:18:39   and I had almost no knowledge of Objective-C

00:18:42   or any of the frameworks, really.

00:18:44   But a few months prior, I had launched Instapaper,

00:18:48   which at the time was a web app.

00:18:50   I was dying to have some kind of offline access.

00:18:54   And so I was very, very focused right from the beginning

00:18:57   on getting a specific app done and in the store for day one.

00:19:02   'Cause you know, it came out in March,

00:19:04   they started accepting applications for the App Store

00:19:07   on June 26th, '08, and then the App Store opened,

00:19:11   I think what it was like July 5th or something like that.

00:19:14   - Something like that.

00:19:15   Unfortunately, I was not there for day one

00:19:17   'cause my developer, my App Store account

00:19:19   took I think until October to be approved.

00:19:22   - Oh wow.

00:19:23   Yeah, 'cause that was a big, they had a big problem

00:19:26   back then where basically it seemed like way more

00:19:29   developers signed up than what Apple had expected.

00:19:31   And so you would register for the account

00:19:33   and you could download the SDK immediately,

00:19:35   but you couldn't actually submit anything to the store

00:19:38   until they approve your account,

00:19:39   which I think they still do.

00:19:41   But there was this huge backlog and a lot of people

00:19:44   kind of seemed like they fell on the floor.

00:19:46   Like it seemed like their application

00:19:48   just got stuck somewhere or got lost somewhere.

00:19:51   And a lot of people, like I was lucky,

00:19:53   I was approved pretty soon after submitting it,

00:19:57   but a lot of people were not so lucky.

00:20:00   And a lot of people like you had to wait months

00:20:03   for their applications to be approved.

00:20:05   And so it was a very, very, you know,

00:20:08   just kind of luck-driven process

00:20:10   on whether you were there or not.

00:20:11   And I also missed day one, not because I missed

00:20:14   the deadline to submit, but because I made the deadline

00:20:17   to submit to be there on day one.

00:20:19   But they just got way too many application submissions

00:20:20   and they couldn't review them on time.

00:20:23   So even though they said if you submit by this date,

00:20:25   you'll be there on day one, in reality they couldn't

00:20:28   keep that up because there was just a huge influx

00:20:30   that they probably, again, were not expecting.

00:20:32   So I was there like day three, I think,

00:20:35   or day two or three I got in.

00:20:37   But it was a crazy time back then

00:20:39   because nobody knew what to expect.

00:20:42   That was, I think, one of the biggest points of stress

00:20:47   and anxiety for me back then is like all we knew

00:20:49   was that the iPhone was doing great

00:20:52   and we're gonna make apps for it

00:20:54   and it's gonna be probably awesome.

00:20:56   But there were major questions around things

00:20:59   like pricing and expectations around pricing.

00:21:01   There were also major questions about what Apple

00:21:04   would require from App Review.

00:21:06   You know, I think a lot of us thought,

00:21:08   myself definitely included, a lot of us thought back then

00:21:10   that App Review would be a lot more strict

00:21:13   about interface quality.

00:21:14   Like we really thought that they would reject your app

00:21:18   if it was ugly or didn't follow

00:21:20   the human interface guidelines or whatever.

00:21:23   And in fact, that really didn't,

00:21:25   it was very clear from day one that that wasn't

00:21:26   going to happen.

00:21:27   But we also had no idea what to price things at.

00:21:32   We had the desktop software and shareware world,

00:21:36   so everyone was at first kind of thinking,

00:21:38   well I guess we can put our popular Mac productivity app

00:21:41   onto the iPhone for 30 bucks, right?

00:21:43   That sounds reasonable.

00:21:45   And then I remember at WWDC that year,

00:21:48   which was about a month before the App Store launched,

00:21:50   they had a demo from Sega, I think it was Monkey Ball,

00:21:55   some version of Monkey Ball.

00:21:56   And this was the only time in the entire lead up

00:21:59   to the App Store where anybody threw out a price in public.

00:22:03   Or anybody big, right?

00:22:04   And so what happened was, Sega was on stage,

00:22:07   they gave their demo and they said their game,

00:22:10   this high profile game was gonna be $9.99.

00:22:14   And I remember me and a couple of other friends

00:22:16   I was talking to all said, oh crap,

00:22:18   they've now set a price ceiling.

00:22:20   Like if this high profile AAA game is only $10,

00:22:25   no one can charge more than $10 for anything.

00:22:28   And that proved to be true.

00:22:30   In fact, it collapsed pretty quickly after that too.

00:22:32   But what did you think at that time?

00:22:34   Did you expect what we got in terms of quality and pricing?

00:22:39   - I'm not sure I really knew what to expect, if I'm honest.

00:22:43   I mean, the funny part of the story is

00:22:44   I didn't actually own an iPhone.

00:22:45   And I didn't actually own an iPhone until the following,

00:22:49   almost a year after I signed up to be an iPhone developer.

00:22:53   I think I got an iPhone for Christmas that year.

00:22:56   So it had been almost a full year

00:22:59   since I started being an iPhone developer

00:23:01   before I actually got an iPhone.

00:23:02   So I didn't have very, very big expectations

00:23:06   or even I didn't download apps from the app store

00:23:09   until I got a phone, obviously.

00:23:11   So I think the thing that I had in my back of my mind

00:23:15   was it was just the sense that there's so much interest here

00:23:20   that irrespective of what the pricing structure

00:23:24   it looks like or the quality is,

00:23:27   there is just such an opportunity.

00:23:29   There's just gonna be so much interest.

00:23:30   And I think that part turned out to be true.

00:23:32   And I think I had the similar feeling of

00:23:34   because I was coming to Apple development

00:23:37   from without much of a background,

00:23:40   I kind of drank all the Kool-Aid I could find

00:23:43   to try and immerse myself into the culture.

00:23:45   And it seemed like if you come in that way

00:23:48   that Apple is all about the polish and attention to detail

00:23:52   and that the apps that everyone talks about at the time,

00:23:56   and there's all these developers like Omni or Panic

00:23:59   are the ones that everyone talks about

00:24:01   and that sort of exemplify this,

00:24:04   that's what the Apple Design Awards were all about,

00:24:06   was promoting that kind of development.

00:24:08   And so I think I certainly had in the back of my mind

00:24:10   that that was the kind of application

00:24:14   that Apple was going to require,

00:24:15   whether that necessarily be require

00:24:17   in the sense of from an app review perspective

00:24:20   or that that's the bar that I would need to strive towards

00:24:24   before I was gonna be able to be successful.

00:24:27   The quality bar was gonna be so important and significant

00:24:32   to being successful.

00:24:34   And turns out that that wasn't actually the case.

00:24:36   And I mean, my first app that I launched on the App Store

00:24:39   was not winning any Apple Design Awards,

00:24:41   but it served a purpose and put something out there.

00:24:44   And I think so much of that early time

00:24:46   was just a question of,

00:24:47   it was just anything you could imagine,

00:24:50   like now if I have an idea for an app,

00:24:53   I go to the App Store, I search for it,

00:24:55   it probably already exists.

00:24:57   I remember sitting down and coming up with a list of,

00:24:59   I don't even know, it was probably 40 or 50 ideas

00:25:02   for things that could be apps, and none of them existed.

00:25:05   Like it was all this complete open world

00:25:08   of anything that you wanted to do, you could do.

00:25:11   And so I very quickly lost a little bit of the desire

00:25:16   to be perfect and to strive towards building

00:25:20   a really amazing application from a polished perspective

00:25:25   and to just explore the world of,

00:25:27   now we have this whole wide world of applications

00:25:31   that can be made that don't exist,

00:25:33   and at least at that point, that people would pay for.

00:25:36   You're definitely right in the sense

00:25:40   that there was a very quick cap put on pricing,

00:25:42   and then that very quickly collapsed down to,

00:25:45   I don't know, between one and four,

00:25:47   well, one in four, one in five dollars at most.

00:25:50   But for the first few years at least,

00:25:53   there was still a strong sense of,

00:25:57   that people would pay for applications.

00:26:00   And I think largely because there weren't

00:26:01   any advertising platforms at that point.

00:26:03   There wasn't any other way.

00:26:04   If you had a free app, it was free forever basically,

00:26:06   and you'd have no income from it.

00:26:08   And so the only people who had free apps

00:26:11   were large companies who want you to download their app,

00:26:14   and you're a customer for other reasons.

00:26:18   So people would still pay for apps,

00:26:19   even if they wouldn't give you very much.

00:26:21   But there's enough interest to sustain

00:26:23   a one-person developer.

00:26:25   - Well, and also, back then, when the App Store launched,

00:26:28   there was a huge rush.

00:26:29   Like I remember the first, I mean,

00:26:30   I guess you didn't have the phone, so you didn't do this,

00:26:32   but when the App Store launched,

00:26:34   I remember it launched midday sometime.

00:26:37   I was out to lunch with my friends,

00:26:39   and a few of us had iPhones.

00:26:41   And all we did the whole rest of the day

00:26:43   was buy a bunch of apps and try them out,

00:26:44   because it was novel.

00:26:46   It was this novelty that like,

00:26:48   here's this phone that we've been enjoying

00:26:49   for up to a year, depending on when in the year we got it,

00:26:53   and it could only do this small handful of things,

00:26:55   and we wanted to do more.

00:26:56   And so part of what drove that initial wave of app success

00:27:01   was just people wanted to do more stuff with their phone,

00:27:03   and so they were willing to set money on fire to do it,

00:27:06   'cause it was this novel thing,

00:27:08   and there still were not that many apps.

00:27:09   I mean, the App Store launched with something like

00:27:12   a few thousand apps, I think, or at least 500,

00:27:14   and it quickly blew in from there.

00:27:16   So there wasn't a shortage of apps,

00:27:17   but there was a shortage of,

00:27:20   people were so starved for new stuff on their phone

00:27:23   that they were willing to throw money away on stupid stuff,

00:27:26   like the iBeer app or the lighter apps or things like that,

00:27:28   just because it was novel.

00:27:31   But the reason it got harder after that over time

00:27:34   is because that novelty wore off.

00:27:36   Now all phones can do this,

00:27:38   and there's a billion apps in the store,

00:27:39   and so there isn't that hunger anymore for,

00:27:42   oh my god, I guess I'll pay money for anything

00:27:44   my phone can do.

00:27:45   And in some ways, that makes things harder,

00:27:47   but I think that's just part of the maturing of the platform.

00:27:50   - Yeah, I mean, I remember in the early days

00:27:52   that you would try and have as many app updates

00:27:55   as you could reasonably do.

00:27:57   This was back when App Review was like one to two weeks.

00:28:00   Because when you were in the recently updated part

00:28:04   of the App Store, you had a tremendous spike in downloads,

00:28:08   because that list didn't turn over very quickly.

00:28:11   And so people were always looking for new apps.

00:28:14   They would go to the recently updated section

00:28:16   of the App Store and find your app.

00:28:19   And I remember consciously trying to,

00:28:22   as soon as one update was approved,

00:28:24   I would submit the next one,

00:28:25   just to try and stay there because you got this big spike,

00:28:29   because the App Store was so small.

00:28:30   - Oh, that's great.

00:28:31   - Sometimes I miss those days,

00:28:33   but sometimes I am glad that they're past.

00:28:35   That I feel like it's nice that we now work

00:28:37   in a mature ecosystem that I can make a reliable,

00:28:41   dependable income from, and that I don't have

00:28:45   this constant sense of, if I'm not frantically

00:28:48   making new apps and exploiting new opportunities

00:28:51   that I'm missing out.

00:28:52   I can just make a good, basic, straightforward,

00:28:57   living in business from it.

00:28:58   So as much as I look back to those days

00:29:00   with warm nostalgia, I don't miss them necessarily.

00:29:05   - Yeah, it's kind of like looking back

00:29:07   on when you were in school.

00:29:08   It's like, I'm glad I did that.

00:29:09   That was fun, I don't wanna go back.

00:29:12   I'm only looking forward now.

00:29:14   So anyway, hey, it's been a great 10 years,

00:29:16   and maybe here's to 10 more.

00:29:19   - Yeah.

00:29:20   - Thanks, everyone, we'll talk to you next week.

00:29:22   Bye.

00:29:22   [ Silence ]