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Why iOS is a Mixed Bag for Your Next App

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Just in case you’re in the camp of folks thinking of funneling your cash into developing an app for the iOS, here’s a quick primer on the current climate on the company Steve Jobs helped make so, so successful. Since Jobs’ death, the company has been, I feel, too self-conscious to do anything major for fear of deviating too far from his vision. But the fact is, nobody knew where he would have taken things, and that is a powerful thing — it could have liberated Apple, but instead it’s kept them from making waves.

    What has Apple done since Jobs’ passed away? The iPhones 4S came out, but that was already being developed, along with Siri, while he was still around. The iPad 4, the iPad Mini and the iPhone 5 are it, alongside iOS 6. The response to all of these have been underwhelming: Siri, Apple’s digital assistant has lots of potential that isn’t being capitalized on and is spotty at best; iOS 6 Maps, which replaced Google Maps, was so wildly inaccurate that it reportedly caused Apple to fire a manager who oversaw its development; iOS 6; the list goes on and on.

    Despite all this, app sales have been growing steadily. Last year saw 40 billion downloads, with half of those coming in December alone.

    The growing rumble that I am hearing, though, is that iPhone users are getting frustrated and many are considering switching to a different platform if the next iPhone doesn’t represent a bold innovation or change. iPhones aren’t changing that much, and yet new ones are coming out year to year. It’s tough to tell whether Apple is getting fussy or just lazy, and other platforms are continuing to grow more and more viable. Android still hasn’t overtaken the iPhone, but it is becoming more popular. If both these trends continue, in time, there could be a much more level play field.

    iPhone is still the gold standard, but that may not always be the case.

    David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.