When Apple released the iPad, they made a subtle change to Apple.com: they replaced the downloads tab with a link to the iPad page. Which makes sense. But then, shortly after removing the prominent link to the downloads page, Apple also stopped updating the page entirely. Developers who have submitted updates (including LittleFin) since March 26 have not seen their product updated.
There has been a lot of discussion about why this has happened, and what it means for developers. Ars Technica wrote a detailed article about it, and Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater software gave his take on his blog.
I basically agree with Daniel’s point of view, so I’ll just post a couple brief observations on the impact it has had on us:
The takedown and subsequent stoppage of updates at the Apple downloads page had a noticeable impact on us—traffic to littlefin.com dropped about 15 to 20% after the page was removed from its place of prominence. Chronicle is a Staff Pick, and consistently remained one of the top 3 or 4 most popular business and finance apps at the downloads page, so a lot of traffic came from Apple. I was certainly disappointed to see the link go away (of course the page is still accessible, just not prominent like it was).
Apple is clearly focusing more heavily on the mobile side of their business right now, as I think they should—it’s doing fantastically well. Macs are still selling well, however, and I don’t think they tend to ignore the Mac development community. I believe Daniel is right—Apple is stretched really thin right now, and they will get around to updating the page again, eventually.
But even if they don’t, I wouldn’t even be in business if it wasn’t for Apple, and the wonderful tools they provide that make development so easy, so I can’t complain. Apple shows a bold ability to make dramatic changes (Classic Mac OS to OSX, PowerPC to Intel, etc.)—that’s part of what makes them so great. While some of those changes might have been tough on developers, in the end, they made for better products and a bigger potential market for us as well. I’m confident that in the direction Apple is going, and I think they’ll make the right decisions to grow the company.
Posted on April 21, 2010