iPhone App Store - Reality of Myth?

When I bought my iPhone around Christmas last year, I fully intended to play around with developing applications for it, but hadn't even downloaded the SDK ... until this past weekend.

So I downloaded and installed the SDK and was able to build a sample app and run it in the simulator, but now I wanted to get it on my phone to run it there.  This is where I started to learn more things than I had thought I'd wanted or needed to learn.

While I have the required Intel based Mac and am running OS X 10.5 (paid to upgrade it from 10.4), and I have an iPhone, it turns out that Apple hasn't made enough money off me yet and insist that I pay $99 to join the iPhone Developer Program to be able to put an app I develop onto a phone I already own.  Now, I'm just looking to play around with the SDK and apps on the phone and am not ready to start selling an app on the App Store to recoup my $99, so I go about researching what other options there are but in the process learn more about what would happen after I would pay my $99 if I chose to go that route, and this is where it gets more scary.

I found this record of Michael Ash's experience with going through the whole process and learn of delays and complications and other issues that all in all make the whole process sound somewhat less than what I'm looking for.  If I had an app I was ready to sell I'd probably have the incentive to wade through the whole process and figure out how to make it all work.  But for someone just wanting to try things out, Apple has put a pretty big barrier to entry in place.  And from many of the comments to Michael's experience, he isn't alone.  It boggles my mind how Apple can get away with this, but it appears there are enough developers who will endure what they have to do.

But since I'm not, at least yet, I continue looking, and as I've written about jailbreaking before, I look into what that provides for.  I discover that one can simply copy an app built with the SDK to a jailbroken iPhone, but you have to do self/pseudo signing of the app and there is a tool to do this on the iPhone, "ldid", but when I try to use it I'm getting the following error:

 util/ldid.cpp(418): _assert(0:arch != NULL)

So this isn't fully working for me yet, but I'm still working on it.

Last, it appears that if you sell your wares on the App Store and folks return your app, Apple will be taking money out of your pocket!  You'd think that the 30% they take from the sales would cover their costs, but alas, I guess not.

But the bottom line is that it would seem that for many (most?) folks, getting access to developing apps on the iPhone and ultimately getting them in the App Store may be a myth.  What are your thoughts or experiences?  And does anyone know how to get past the error above?

Comments:

Hi Kevin,

I've been trough all these last year too .

Check http://www.saurik.com/id/8

For other options.
Saurik aslo answers email questions quite frequently.

Erica's mailing list is a great resource too
http://box94.bluehost.com/mailman/listinfo/iphonesdk_ericasadun.com

Posted by Sébastien Stormacq on May 11, 2009 at 06:22 PM PDT #

$99 small price to be to be that millionaire ;-)

Posted by Mark Herring on May 11, 2009 at 11:42 PM PDT #

There are lots of apps being sold on the phone. They are making people money. I would suggest you needn't worry about Apple's problems. Worry about making Sun/Oracle money.

Posted by Charles Soto on May 12, 2009 at 01:37 AM PDT #

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