Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programmers

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Friday, August 14, 2009

The next million-dollar iPhone application

I’m constantly surprised by questions such as this one. They invariably go along the lines:

I heard that I need to get a Mac to do iPhone development. I want to do iPhone development but do I have to buy a Mac? Is there any other way to develop iPhone software?

If the projected sales for your app don’t meet the cost of a new computer, whatever platform you’re developing on, it’s time to get a different idea for your app. I speak with the smug self-confidence of one who has yet to get his own app within smelling distance of the store.

posted by Graham Lee at 18:53  


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Comment by dom — 2009-08-14 @ 19:52

  2. I don't like the implication that one may only develop applications if one intends to make a fast buck. There are plenty of other reason too. See, for example, large swathes of the FOSS world. (Note that I'm not suggesting that people don't make money from FOSS projects, merely that it's not generally stated as a requirement!)

    Of course, the Apple Store can't make it easy to understand this notion. My own personal view is that I wouldn't touch a device that doesn't run an application I wrote except if a central authority said it was okay in any case, but it seems I'm in the minority these days.

    So I do understand these questions. I'd be much more likely to buy into hardware where I can develop for it with a variety of environments.

    Comment by dom — 2009-08-14 @ 20:30

  3. I can't believe that in order to partake in windsurfing as a hobby, I need to buy, rent or borrow a windsurfing board, a sail and a wetsuit along with other specialist equipment. I've already got a pair of speedos, a plank of wood I salvaged from the back of an old piano and a bedsheet; can't I just use that?

    Comment by Graham Lee — 2009-08-15 @ 00:45

  4. Hmm, but that's a different argument.
    I don't think it's unreasonable to wonder if you can develop for a mobile device from a platform you already have for other development.

    Of course I understand that there are good reasons why it's Mac only, and they're not all commercial. But I don't see why that should prevent people asking the question in the first place.

    For the record I only have Macs now, so this was never an issue for me developing my own app (vConqr, if you're interested ;-) ).

    Comment by Phil Nash — 2009-08-15 @ 17:58

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