Before the iTunes App Store opened, Paul Kafasis had some questions about how it would work, and what it would mean for developers. Now, almost six months later, he’s put up the results of how the App store works from the perspective of a developer:
What exactly does Fairplay for apps mean?
Thus far, FairPlay has not appeared to be much of an issue for users. Applications are not tied to a single device, just to one store account. As well, applications can be re-downloaded freely from the App Store (unlike music and movies), so there’s no concerns about losing software.
How will developers get customer information?
In short, we don’t. iTunes handles notifications of all updates, so it’s not essential that developers have this information in order to alert users to updates. However, this does make it very difficult to do additional marketing, such as alerting your users to new products they in which they may be interested.
Most of the issues Kafasis writes about point out that developers lose some of their customer contact (and the power to market) by having to go through Apple: not just in terms of what information they get about who’s using their products, but in terms of how they sell their software (through coupons or discounts). It’s an all-or-nothing proposition.