Updated in July 2015:
The original An App for That ran in fall, 2013. These numbers are current as of May 2015, according to Statistica.com. Android user could choose from 1.5 million apps and Apple Store browsers had 1.4 million apps available.
The numbers are staggering and increasing daily. Much of the world does not have access to apps, but eventually they will. This means more opportunities in various languages and cultures.
Apple even offers a free iOS developers class here: https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/referencelibrary/GettingStarted/RoadMapiOS/index.html .
Udemy also offers a free app developer class here: https://www.udemy.com/iosdevelopment/
If you are interested in developing an app, there is no reason you can’t create one yourself. The market and resources are available.
We all hear the phrase: There’s an app for that. As of October, 2013, the Apple store broke a million downloaded apps or applications. That’s a lot of code and software and money. Even in those million apps, there are millions more that can and need to be created. How many are written in Spanish, Portuguese or Arabic? How many apps tell you how to make a million dollars? Apps for getting a job? How many apps tell you how to write apps? Surprisingly, not many. I’ve looked.
Google is the biggest player in the mobile industry with 900 million users, Apple is second with 600 million users for its mobile devices, and Microsoft is third with about 12 million Windows phones sold. Apple claimed at its WorldWide Developer conference that it paid $5 billion dollars to developers. Recent data from Google suggests 150,000 developers receiving $900 million dollars. Google is the largest Android developer.
This table illustrates the major mobile application developers and sales:
I know, you want a piece of the app pie. As this next table shows, application developers don’t make a ton of money, on average. Since this is based on averages, some will make much more, but many will make little. Consider some of the big current games: Candy Crush, Words With Friends, Scramble. I know I’ve put money into these games, though not huge amounts. But if I represent the average person, there are billions more like me in the world. The money is made in large scale sales, not with individuals.
Take a look at this next table – it shows what the average developer makes:
If you develop for Apple, you can at least afford to buy something, like a car. Google? It may pay rent for 6 to 8 months. Microsoft will at least send you on a nice vacation somewhere. Clearly, developing apps exclusively isn’t the way to really big money, at least not yet.
Where are the opportunities?
There is, however, some hope. While Apple has developed a rich market for developers, Google and Microsoft both have opportunities to improve. For Google, the focus should be on improving the numbers by helping developers monetize their apps so they can come more in line with what Apple can offer. Even if they only reached half of what Apple does in terms of revenue per download, they would be able to match the revenue developers make. For Microsoft, the story is all about the number of users. If they were to manage their average revenue per app while growing their user base, they could potentially out-earn all the other platforms.(1)
If you are interested in developing an app – maybe for personal satisfaction or as a second income, there is some real potential. Tablets and smartphones are here to stay. So are people. People need apps to use on their devices. Apps need developers. Interested?
Informational tables in this post are also from the above link.