Financial-news websites are aflutter this week over news that Apple has seized 92 percent of the mobile-device industry’s total operating income; that’s up from 65 percent in 2014. According to financial-services firm Canaccord Genuity, which generated the data, Samsung and Apple pretty much divide the entirety of the mobile world’s profits between them.
Those estimates are great for Apple, but what does it mean for the mobile developers and app builders out there? First, Apple clearly has quite a bit of momentum behind it; if anyone ever doubted the long-term viability of iOS, numbers like these should settle that issue once and for all.
Second, the overall picture for third-party operating systems—including Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS—is bleaker than ever; manufacturers won’t build what isn’t profitable, and clearly iOS and Android are the only platforms at the moment capable of generating significant amounts of cash. Any developers who devoted time to building Windows Phone and BlackBerry apps will likely need to think very hard about whether they want to continue iterating on those products.
But third, Apple and iOS haven’t outright won the mobile-device wars. Although it swept up the vast majority of the profits, Apple sold less than 20 percent of the actual smartphones on the market. Even if most manufacturers aren’t making very much money off Android, there are millions of people using the OS, which means a massive market for app-builders. The idea of building apps for both iOS and Android remains a powerful one for many developers.