Marco Arment (creator of Instapaper) has a great post up about what he sees as an excellent opportunity for startups to create apps for iOS in categories that are dominated by other developers on the iPhone or iPad. His basic theory is that those with a lot invested in the current look, feel, and navigation structure of their successful apps in the app store, will have a great deal of trouble rapidly adapting them to iOS 7 and that leaves the door open to new apps in a category gaining a user base, because they look and function the way they are supposed to on iOS 7. I really like this concept and think there may be some truth to it.
Apple has set fire to iOS. Everything’s in flux. Those with the least to lose have the most to gain, because this fall, hundreds of millions of people will start demanding apps for a platform with thousands of old, stale players and not many new, nimble alternatives. If you want to enter a category that’s crowded on iOS 6, and you’re one of the few that exclusively targets iOS 7, your app can look better, work better, and be faster and cheaper to develop than most competing apps.
It’s just like anything you create in the mobile world, if the fundamental interface of the platform changes, then you need to change your app, but you have a ton of legacy code that is based upon the old functionality and interface paradigm. How do you completely revamp that interface to match the experience that the user now expects. It’s not only the look and feel either, because the functionality of the navigation is changing too. I am sure there are plenty of mobile development shops that architected their apps to make the changes a little bit easier in terms of how they feel, but it is still a big job and as Marco mentions in the post, it also requires you to support your old users that have not upgraded to iOS 7. The new app in your category though, doesn’t have to worry about the old users and can just move forward to satisfy users of iOS7.
No one can predict what the ultimate outcome of this will be, but it certainly looks like a window of opportunity to be seized.
What are your thoughts?
What category would you attack?
Do you have an app that needs to adjust?Do you think your sales will be impacted? How many developers out there have been in development, but haven’t released on the old paradigm and now have to revamp everything?