I have been working with the web for years now, and I have attempted to keep my distance from closed systems like the one Apple uses. I have always felt that the app environment was oddly specialized and unnecessary- a modern web browser has the capacity to do exactly the same thing as an app(there are some performance differences for a few things, but generally they can be mitigated). Websites aren’t device specific, which allows me to write familiar code once, rather than write unfamiliar code multiple times.
In fact, I am not as familiar with Cocoa or the Android SDK as I would like to be. If I am forced to write an app in a devices’ native language I wold spend all of my time sifting through documentation and what code I would write would be sub-standard. If I have a client that insists no making an app over an optimized I turn to Appcellerator or Phonegap.
Google makes this easy- pay $25 for a developer account and upload your APK. Boom, you have an Android app ready to be used.
Apple doesn’t. An Apple developer account is $99 a year. When I was first starting out as a baby developer, I was in school working a part-time job to pay for food. $100 to get internal documentation, test, and deploy apps? I couldn’t afford that. Then, once you are a developer, you have to use Apples’ ‘SDK’ – Xcode. In order for you to develop for the latest version of iOS/OSX, you have to have the most recent version of Xcode. This makes sense. In order for you to have the most recent version of Xcode, you need the most recent version App OSX. Because of this, you have to pay for the latest OS. I’m about ready to deploy an app, and I need to see if it is iOS 7 ready. My 2011 Macbook now needs 10.8. At $20 it isn’t painfully expensive, but it is inconvenient. The unfortunate part comes when I want to develop and am given a much older mac. A 2009 iMac isn’t terribly capable of running 10.8. You are forced to have modern technology to develop.
This is all without mentioning that you are required to develop on an Apple computer if you want to develop for iOS. I should thank my wherewithal for buying an Apple. But if a whim hits a developer and he has a Linux machine he is SOL, or is forced down some questionable paths.
It’s a toxic place fora developer to be, but until people stop spending wads of cash on the iPhone, and even more on Apps, this will never change.