Is Apple app fatigue starting to show among developers?

An online jobs site shows first-ever drop in gigs for iPad and iPhone developers.

CNET

By some measures, over a million iOS apps have been developed by this point, and Apple reports over 40 billion total app downloads from the App Store. Yet there are some indicators that developers are becoming less interested in continuing to push out more grist for the Apple app mill.

According to data from Freelancer.com (PDF), which maintains the biggest online outsourcing marketplace in the world with 4 million job postings and 7 million users, iOS development job postings dropped in the final quarter of 2012 for the first time ever. iPhone jobs dropped 3.8 percent to 5,298 jobs from the previous quarter, the site noted, and iPad jobs fell 14 percent to 2,036 jobs from Q3.

Meanwhile, during the same period, Android development gigs were up by 7 percent to 4,282 jobs and postings for Microsoft desktop app makers more than tripled to 1,923 jobs with the release of Windows 8.

At first glance, these context-less factoids seem to bolster the argument I've made recently that iOS has jumped the shark and that enthusiasm for the iPhone in particular seems to be waning, but there's much more to parse here.

It's possible there could be some sort of inherent bias in Freelancer.com's community toward Android more than iOS, or it could simply be that most of the outfits looking to make iOS apps have already made them and that developers are still working on the Android versions of those Apple apps.

In other words, it's possible this data has nothing to do with some sort of worldwide Age of Aquarius-type shift in the collective consciousness away from the Apple obsession of the past several years. But if you like to do your speculating and data-synthesizing while wielding Occam's Razor, then it might seem that the simplest explanation is that developers see Android's lead in sheer global numbers and are developing accordingly.

 

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