Apple has introduced “Meet with Apple Experts” for developers, a global program providing “deep dives” into the company’s various operating systems and guidance on optimizing for the latest hardware.
The news coincides with the general availability of macOS 14 “Sonoma”, the recent release of iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and watchOS 10, and the release earlier this month of new iPhone and Apple Watch hardware.
Sessions available to developers include both face to face and online events, including a 25-minute online consultation “for advice on app design, technology implementation, issue resolution, and more.” There is also a “consultation series” on offer, a 75-day online program starting with initial feedback, continuing with support for updates and revisions, and ending with a review of progress and further advice. This is aimed at development teams and Apple recommends including the design lead, technology lead, and product owner in the meetings. While some events are open to all, consultations like this are restricted to active members of the Apple Developer, or Developer Enterprise, programs. The Developer Program costs US $99 per year, and Enterprise (for internal apps only) US $299 per year.
Despite the new macOS release, the focus of Meet the Experts is on mobile apps released via the App Store, as well as the forthcoming Vision Pro virtual reality headset, expected in the US early next year, which will include a new App Store. Developers can apply now for the loan of a developer kit, including Vision Pro hardware.
Apple’s mobile platform – dominated by iOS – is reportedly bigger than Android in terms of revenue for developers, despite its smaller global market share, a likely factor being that Apple devices are more popular in regions and among people with more income to spend on apps.
Some aspects of the platform can be frustrating for developers though, including Apple’s tight control over distribution via the App Store, the 30 percent fee on app revenue for apps earning more than $1 million per year (otherwise 15%), and the requirement to use a Mac for parts of the development process.
These constraints do not apply to macOS, which also has growing market share, though still small relative to Windows in desktop PCs. Analysts predict growing use of macOS in business though. IDC reported last month that “from a processor standpoint we are arguably seeing some of the biggest shifts in commercial PC history with AMD reaching 11% share in 2022 and Apple just over 5% in 2022.” Apple’s M1 and M2 ARM-based processors are more power-efficient than Intel or AMD chips, and the Unix-like operating system is more in tune with both internet and mobile platforms than Windows. “Windows 10 end of support comes in 2025 and this will drive commercial refresh regardless of whether companies are waiting on more advanced PCs or just needing to update an aging installed base. It seems clear that Apple sees an opportunity to continue its growth in the commercial segment,” said IDC group VP Ryan Reith.
That said, there are several reasons why targeting desktop macOS remains of limited appeal for business developers. Windows support remains necessary so increasing macOS usage is more likely to promote cross-platform technologies like web-based applications or perhaps the likes of Google’s Flutter, than a surge in native macOS development.