The Apple Developer Program, a Rant

Josh Burns,rant

Recently I've started playing around with Flutter for building native apps, specifically iOS. The development experience has been more or less wonderful. I love the framework and I don't mind the Dart language itself either. However there has been a pain point. The Apple Developer Program a $150 (AUD)/year subscription for the right to release and distribute your application (via the only available option for the platform).

This isn't something new, and it's something I was aware of well before even starting exploring that world. However, I just can't justify that expense. I have heard the argument that it prevents the app store from being flooded with no-good, half-baked apps written by 12 year olds....but does it really? it seems that even with a paywall imposed (and a steep one at that) it doesn't prevent countless notes apps, pomodoro timers, countdown clocks, and re-skins of pre-existing apps. The state of mobile app development is depressing to say the least. The fact we're forced to swallow a fairly decent chunk of money on a constant basis to even participate in that wasteland is ludicrous.

I'm now at the point where i've developed a couple of little small apps that i'd like to publish to have not only my friends/family use them and get feedback, but also for my own portfolio as well. However adding another $150 to the yearly subscription bill just won't happen for me.

I want to clarify that I am not saying that I expect or even want the ability to release a product on the app store should be open/free for everyone. I am saying however that the system should be re-designed. One suggestion off the top of my head would be to teir the pricing so if an App is released for free, without ads, and doesn't generate income for the developer, then that app should be published without cost, if the app generates income, start charging for hosting, processing, middle-manning, whatever. OR if that 150 was a once-off cost, we could swallow that maybe.

TL;DR - Apples Developer Program is too expensive, I'm sad about it.

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