Whither native app developers?

I’ve noticed something interesting lately. Five years ago, senior developers with significant iOS experience available for new work seemed approximately as easy to find as unicorns who also laid golden eggs. Even two years ago, they were awfully hard to unearth. This year, though? Maybe it’s just a random blip — but this year, like the truth, they seem to be out there. And a few things make me suspect it’s not a blip.

App Annie’s “State of Mobile 2019” refers obliquely to “mobile maturity,” i.e. the point at which the number of downloads per year flattens out in a given market. That same report shows that the US is there; the number of app downloads in the US increased a paltry 5% from 2016 to 2018 — though it’s worth noting that app revenue which flowed through the app store increased 70% in that same time.

Meanwhile, the number of apps in the iOS App Store is essentially flat over the last two years — this has been influenced by more stringent approval standards from Apple, yes, but is still noteworthy.

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