Jens Alfke has a great point on the possibilities of the Apps Store for developers.
Interesting is the conversation which had grown/could have continued in the comments had I hijacked the comments even more.
Sure, it’s peanuts, but it’s a significant step up compared to nothing at all. Also, $35/year for hosting, if that was static, is nothing compared to hosting on your own and potentially seeing your hosting costs skyrocket to hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month.
On the whole, though, I just don’t think the comparison with Sourceforge will hold once this all goes live. The two have very different (developer) communities and, more importantly, audiences. [Faruk]
The point of this comment was my comparison to an eventual Sourceforge alike, jungle which might grow based on $.99 applications.
I entirely agree with Faruk that both platforms (iPhone and Sourceforge) have a different audience. But the iPhone platform is only 10 months old and already heading for 10m users (not counting the multiple iPod Touch users – I use a touch at work as well, an iPhone in private life).
What does this mean? The iPhone/Apps Store surely has the potential to reach out to even more people than Sourceforge does. Not that long ago it costed $35/year to host an (open source) application at Sourceforge. The Apple digital certificate costs $99 (for a lifetime probably since no edits pointing at a yearly fee have been made since yesterday).
Let’s bring things back to reality now. Until little more than 2 years ago I ran several Windows communities, with around 20 k members and more than 4k daily active forum nerds. My voice pretty much was law in those communities. Yesterday I applied as Enterprise developer for the iPhone platform. It cost me $99.
If I hadn’t sold on those Windows communities (I’m on Mac now), I could have pitched no matter what sh|tty iPhone application to around 20k people without much of an effort. Apple takes care of the
effort hosting and distribution. And highly improves the visibility of my crappy application, even more than the 2-3k nerds who will blindly throw in a buck to test/use my stuff.
Does my popularity guarantee that I deliver quality? Nope, but probably the fact of running a community soon will see my application among the most popular apps and boost my sales even more.
Did I say Sourceforge Jungle? $99 Is nothing compared to hosting on your own and potentially seeing your hosting costs skyrocket to hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month.