I had a conversation with Randall Cross of Ethervision, a company focused on iPhone applications and web video optimization. Very interesting.
The reason I was interested in talking with him is that I believe (as does Randall) that there is a huge future in mobile computing. While we are still in the very early stages of development of this phenomenon, iPhone apps are simply pointing the way, an indicator of things to come (sort of like “Pong” was for the video game industry). I’m curious, and I like to keep a pulse on what’s going on out there. I wanted to hear what he had to say about the topic.
Here are some top-line takeaways from the conversation:
In case you don’t have an iPhone or live under a rock, there is an entire industry that has been created around apps—an industry of iPhone apps that has been exploded in the past two years.
Is anyone making money at it? Well, yes, certainly there are the much-touted millionaires made overnight, with the top ten apps being downloaded 6,00-7,000 times per day…But that only represents a very small portion of the population of developers. Some never see a dime….but then there are those who are creating something of value, looking at the long-term returns instead of “one-hit wonders.”
“There’s an app for that.” There is an application for just about anything…with new ones being created all the time. Some are very simplistic and take only a few days to build. Others can take up to twelve months to create, because they are integrated with correlative websites and such.
Are there any limitations? Certainly. The iPhone does not have the processing speed (yet) to deal with complicated programming and 3D imaging. The key is to keep it simple; less detail is better.
How can advertisers leverage this phenomenon? Well, certainly, if you have a product or service that lends itself to an iPhone app, you could stand to make A LOT of money. But that’s not all you should be thinking about. You could sponsor an app that would be relevant to your target audience. See it as another way to build a brand impression.
It’s a world I will be following. Is it a fad? Is it here to stay? Is it only for the iPhone afficianado? Let me know what you think!