A recent study conducted by GigaOM has shown that of the app developers surveyed, more than 50% of the respondents say they make less than $500/month from their paid apps (see graph below). Is this a surprise? Not so much, as we all know it’s tough to succeed in the App Store. If anything these numbers indicate that app development for most developers isn’t a full-time job.
In fact, according to the study, approximately 75% of 352 respondents also have another job or do app development only as a portion of their main job. What about developers who rely on in-app advertising to generate revenues? Over 30% of those developers make less than $100 a month in ad revenue. However, when it comes to the high end of the spectrum, approximately 5% of app developers in the survey make over $20,000/month.
As a user of Apple’s Mac OS X desktop operating system one of the things that I personally find to be most appealing about the entire “Mac experience” is the fact that there are so many independent developers out there who make flat-out fantastic applications for the system. Sure, I love the product that are developed by lesser-known companies like Panic and Realmac Software over the “big players” such as Adobe, but when I talk about “independent developers” I’m really referring to those one-man operations where one user is able to see a need for an application and develop it on their own from the ground up. The Mac App Store makes this phenomenon even better by allowing once small-time developers who previously had little to no chance of making a living off of their creative efforts to market and sell their applications in a store that is incredibly well-integrated into the OS.
Having said that, in order to have this type of development happening Apple has done quite a bit to make it easy for developers – both for iOS and the Macintosh platform – to get to the point where they can submit and publish their applications to the respective App Stores. At $99 per year per platform (iOS or OS X) prospective and experienced developers alike can sign up for Apple’s “Developer Connection” where they have access to “a wealth of technological resources” for developing their applications, including developer forums, access to a treasure-chest of documentation on the iOS and OS X APIs, and access to “developer previews” and developer-only betas of the Mac OS X and iOS operating systems.