Friday, October 12, 2012

Overcoming my Cultural Biases Against Apple

Seattle is a tech area.  There are a plethora of developers.  It is the home of big names like Microsoft, Amazon, and Nintendo. Google and Facebook have some offices here as well.  But Apple is king of the app world and Apple doesn't have a presence in the area.

It isn't like people in Seattle don’t use Apple products, it is just that programmers in the area don’t use Apple products.  I started to notice that I have a deep cultural bias that makes it hard for me to be an iOS app developer. 

Windows has been fed to me since I was a small child.  I received scholarships and free software from Microsoft as a college student.   My boss at my first job was a Microsoft groomed developer and I received lots of training and knowledge from him.  I don’t think of myself as a Microsoft devotee, but it is what I am used to.  

Me as a young girl playing Tetris on a PC running M.S. DOS
I feel like I am late to the app game.  When Apple first advertising, “There is an app for that,” I didn't really understand why you would want apps on a phone.  I didn't have any curiosity about the app store because I dismissed it as an Apple thing.

When the iPad was released I decided it was a device I wanted.  I wanted to be able to read ebooks and blogs from the couch. Yet I cringed at the price, and deep down I felt a bit traitorous in wanting one.  I lucked out and Barnes and Noble came out with the Nook Color. It was cheaper than an iPad and it wasn't Apple. 

Once I had a mobile device, apps started making sense, and I wrote my first Android app. Android is Google and Amazon.  I could get on board with that.  

The kid's app market is mature on iOS, but isn't on Android.  Most of the kid's app developers I have met online sell only on iOS, they use a Mac for all of their development, they have an iPhone and an iPad, and they don’t live in Seattle.  Not one.1 It seemed so odd to me.  Where were all the Seattle developers?2 

The final wake up call, that Seattle isn't the place to be an iOS developer, and that there is a cultural bias at work, is when my friend was able to hook me up with a free Windows Phone.  Perfect!  I have a device to test on so I can release my apps in the Windows app store-- a market often mocked as desolate and thus pointless to target.  

It is said that identifying the problem is the first step to resolving it.  Maybe now that I recognize my aversion to Apple, I can get over it and embrace the platform…  while I work on Android and Windows as well. 
1 I did find a group in Vancouver, CA so I guess that is kind of close, though in a different country.
2 There are plenty of Seattle Android developers, but since so few Android developers target kids I have yet to find any in the area.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Laura, we have our edu book apps on both iOS and Android and find that about 90% of our sales are on iOS. I've heard other developers say the same. That might explain why there are more educational apps available for iOS... that's where the money is.

So, work on your biases and go for it! Bite the Apple!