Jan 01

Push API

The push API that was announced at WWDC ’08, and scheduled to be live in September 2008, will finally debut in 2009.

Side prediction: There will be per-message fees associated with the push service.

MobileMe API

An API that was hinted at during WWDC ’08 to allow programmatic access to your data in MobileMe will be introduced.

I can’t think of a better way to lock in users to the iPhone/Apple world than an API to MobileMe. This will allow iPhone apps to really use and integrate deeply with your calendar and other features of MobileMe.

More APIs

Apple will release more official APIs that allow developers to access more features of the iPhone, e.g. SMS, Bluetooth, video recording, iTunes music, the phone itself.

Much of Apple’s marketing depends on being the purveyor of the coolest gadgets. So Apple cannot afford to see the most innovative mobile apps to be developed only for other competing platforms. 

No Major Hardware Releases

In 2009 there will only be incremental updates to the iPhone platform such as more memory, better camera, better battery, etc.

Developers are just beginning to understand the iPhone and we are starting to see some innovative apps. Fragmenting the platform with new form factors at this point would be bad. Ask any J2ME developer how much fun it is to play the “write once, test everywhere” game.

Better App Store

The organization of the App Store will be vastly improved with more categories, better keyword search, top lists that are not completely tilted towards $0.99 apps.

Reusing the iTunes infrastructure for the App Store was a stroke of genius, and probably necessary to launch the App Store in the given timeline. But now it’s clear that apps and music have diverging characteristics: 

  • You typically don’t search for music to meet a specific need. 
  • Pricing.
  • For music, audiobooks and video, iTunes is just one of many distribution channels.

More App Store Commerce

Apple will introduce more commerce options for the App Store, e.g. subscriptions and separate billing for content.

The proliferation of ebooks as separate apps that clutter up the App Store and your iPhone home screen, could easily be avoided if there was a way to charge for content separately from apps. Add the ability to sell subscriptions or other means for developers to get recurring revenue, and we’ll see some really innovative apps and business models in the App Store.

No Trials

Probably the App Store feature most requested by developers of serious/expensive apps is to allow for free trials. I predict that this wish will not be fulfilled in 2009.

There should not be any major technical reasons preventing free trial versions of apps since FairPlay DRM already supports rentals that expire after a set time. My guess is that it’s a business decision and Apple makes too much money from “regretware”. It would be very interesting to be a fly on the wall at Apple during the discussions of revenue vs. a better quality App Store. Personally I hope I’m wrong in this prediction. 

What are your iPhone predictions for 2009?

written by Nick \\ tags:

5 Responses to “iPhone Predictions for 2009”

  1. David K Says:

    Automobiles that you can steer using your iphone accelerometer?

    Actually, I’m just hoping for an API that allows me to do fast blits.

  2. DeeNiri Says:

    I like your predictions. They seem grounded in the modus operendi apple’s shown us for the past 10 years. I think simple iphone apps are the key to greatness. That’s why I like your site so much. Thanks for all the tutorials, I’m learning a lot.

  3. Cute Machine Says:

    Great article.

    Being an iPhone developer myself I really hope that Apple introduces trials in 2009. At the moment the store gets flooded by lite versions. Just before christmas I published my lite versions to the App Store and it’s really helping my sales. I disagree with you regarding the implications trial apps would have. I think trials would drive the sales, like the lite versions already do. There are lots of apps I would like to test before buying.

    Trials would be a win for both the buyers and the sellers.

    Thanks again for the great article.

  4. James B Says:

    I also agree about the trial software comment and that the store needs to be separated from the general store of music and movies.

    I’d like to see the App Store placed underneath the “iTunes Store”, also a none linear means of viewing the store, where I’m able to open multiple apps at once and compare. I find having a name, category and icon not the best means to determine the appropriateness of an app, a list view with a brief blurb about the app and ability to click on screen shots that open over the list would be great that can easily be closed.

    Cheers and a great read, thanks.

  5. iPhoneKicks.com Says:

    iPhone Predictions for 2009…

    You’ve been kicked (a good thing) – Trackback from iPhoneKicks.com – iPhone SDK links, community driven…

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