Justifying $99/year for the iOS Developer Program

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by jimmyco2008, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. jimmyco2008 macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2014
    I've been doing that "Jailbreak so I can test my apps on my phone without paying" thing for a couple of years now, and I *want* to join the iOS Developer Program, but $99 is kind of tough for a student who doesn't "need" it per sé.

    I'm hoping someone can convince me to go for it, here's what I have so far:

    - Free OS X Server ($20) which is something I shell out for annually, anyway
    - *Official* access to Yosemite/iOS 8/Xcode/Server Betas (not all that appealing though, since I already have all of those)

    It's a short list... It would be an easy decision if I made iPhone apps all the time and was fluent in Objective-C/Swift, but the reality is while I have made apps before, I'm a long ways out from actually publishing anything in the app store. I wouldn't even know what to publish. Just as well, I still have to finish learning Swift.
  2. 1458279 Suspended


    May 1, 2010
    I paid 2 years in a row and haven't paid since. One problem is that things change so fast, it's a job just to keep up with the changes, let alone master ObjC and the APIs.

    When I started, we learned ref counting, now that it's been automatic for a good while, the time learning ref counting is a waste.

    I haven't jailbroken, but found I really don't need to run on the device, most of my work / studies can be done without loading on the device.

    This doesn't help support the $99 buy in, but IMO, until you are ready to release an app, there isn't much reason.
  3. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    There is no justification. If you're not publishing in the app store, don't bother.
  4. jimmyco2008 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2014
    Thanks for the replies.

    $99 is nothing for a corporation, but for individuals, it can be a little intimidating. Things I can also get for $99 (or less):

    - 1 year of Spotify ($60 w/student rate)
    - 1 year of Netflix ($96)
    - 1 year of Amazon Prime ($99)
    - 76 songs on iTunes :p

    I suppose I'd rather have Spotify :)

    Here's hoping Apple will merge the OS X and iOS Developer Programs... however vain that may be.
  5. 1458279 Suspended


    May 1, 2010
    Overall the "little" things can add up. I think I paid near $300 for an iPT to use as a test device. It now have very very little value on the open market because it's at least 2 generations old.

    If you add everything up:
    Computer: $600~$2,000
    Test device: $300~$1,800 (each)
    Dev Fees: $99/year

    The computer will be outdated in about 2 to 3 years, the test device will be outdated in about 1 to 2 years.

    As a business goes, this is dirt cheap, but if you consider the fact that MOST apps don't break even... it ends up more of a hobby than a business for most.

    Not trying to be the Neg Nelly, but this has clearly been a race to the bottom in a flooded market with no end in sight (yet).
  6. dantastic macrumors 6502a


    Jan 21, 2011
    One thing most people fail to mention are the 2 support requests included with your subscription. On their own, $99 for 2 support requests is just fantastic value.

    I use mine every year. If I come up to renewal and I haven't used them I use them to solve old problems. I've had great experience with Apple's dev support.

  7. jimmyco2008 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2014
    So true, although for many of us, the Macbook and iPhone are things we have anyway.

    I think you may be able to get more than 2-3 years out of a MacBook for development, same for iPhone/iPod Touch. You can run Xcode 5 on a 2007 MacBook Pro, that's seven years. Okay, so we can't go back seven years with the iPhone/ iPod Touch, but three (?) years isn't terrible. Okay I wish it was seven.

    I have a Google Play Developer Account, cost me $25 one time a few years ago, and those Java IDEs run on just about anything.

    I'm sure more often than not, devs go without using those two requests, though I would agree that it really goes a long way to justify the price tag. Google of course doesn't offer anything like that. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to get in touch with anyone at Google for support purposes (as opposed to sales, in which you can talk to a real, live Google employee in three minutes). I don't suppose the unused requests carry over into the next year? Doesn't sound like something Apple would do...
  8. Sean7512 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2005
    So I have never once used my support requests. What sort of issues do they help you out with? I am assuming not code (isn't Apple's Dev Forum or Stack Overflow good enough anyways?). I always wondered what I could use those requests for, its a shame to waste them year after year....
  9. sprezz macrumors regular


    May 28, 2014
    Zurich, Switzerland
    when joining the iOS Dev program, you don't get access to OSX Server or Yosemite, those are for the OSX Dev Program.

    I had to get both, because i deploy my apps to both universes.
  10. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    I considered the $99/annum part of the basic fee for a usable iPhone. I didn't even buy an iPhone until after Apple started the $99 iPhone developer program. A mobile device that I can't program (in a supported manner without hacking/rooting it) is useless to me.

    Being able to put apps in the iOS App store is a bonus extra. Lots of companies are hiring if they like that developer's apps. 1 or 2 hours of consulting might pay back more than the annual enrollment.
  11. Casiotone macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2008
  12. jimmyco2008 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2014
  13. Punkjumper macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2013
    You've been playing around for a couple of years, put something in the store already. Pay the $99.
  14. larswik macrumors 68000

    Sep 8, 2006
    I so agree with everything you said. It all changes so fast and for those who are learning it makes it ever more difficult since what they are struggling with to learn will be outdated soon enough.

    I really think Apple should allow people to test on their own devices with out paying the $99 bucks, and only charge that if they are selling on the app store.
  15. 1458279 Suspended


    May 1, 2010
    Although I was against Jailbreaking a device, I might do that for testing because the projects that I'm working on will take so long that everything new right now will be outdated by the time I'm ready.

    One other argument for jailbreaking is that we as developers lose money because Apple doesn't have a system in place to protect us from people steeling our apps.

    Example: Someone posted a problem he was having with an app he wrote. The problem was that he was paying for a server to serve the app and collecting money from the sale of the app. What he found was the 10X the number of people stole the app as those that paid for the app. He wasn't collecting enough money to support the demands on the server. He noticed the number of people accessing the server vs the number of apps sold.

    On the other hand, Apple want's to keep the number of low quality apps down, so charging for developers to put apps on the appstore beyond the 30% is a good idea, however, quality advanced apps can take time to develop and they change the system (iOS versions/ API versions / Xcode version / language usage changes / etc...)
  16. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    I'd just pay the $99 - sure, it's a fair amount for an individual, but the satisfaction of building an app and publishing it is great.

    I've just built my first app with my friend - we split the workload and edited all via a Dropbox shared folder. I had only "coded" in HTML/Javascript before, while he was coming from Java. In one month, we've learnt all the Objective-C we needed to create our app, which allows users to browse fonts, compare them and install their own for use in Pages, Numbers and Keynote etc. It's in review now.

    It's not particularly hard to build an app, but the experience you get from doing it is probably worth the $99.
  17. jimmyco2008 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2014
    What's the app called? I'd be down for downloading something like that!

    Of course I'm jailbroken, so I'll probably just steal it (kidding of course :p).

    Like others here, being able to deploy on my personal device is why I jailbreak, along with not paying to use my mobile data (which I already pay for) however I please (tethering).

    Still, can anyone confirm what I asked about in the OP? Would I be getting OS X Yosemite Server for free as an iOS Developer? Well, no one would *know* that, so I guess what I mean to ask is, is it likely? Devs got Mavericks Server for free, didn't they?
  18. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom

    The app's called iFont - hopefully it will be available early next week, as long as Apple approve it!
    Don't worry, it's completely free with no in-app purchases or ads - no stealing required :p

    And yes, most likely you'd get OS X Server along with prerelease versions of it and OS X. I've just logged in and it gives me the option to redeem a download code for it, and I'm only a member of the iOS programme.
  19. recoil80 macrumors 68020

    Jul 16, 2014
    Enroll only if you need to publish your app to the store. Otherwise is not worthwhile spending 99$ just to have access to betas or to load your apps on an actual device. If you really need to test on a device you can jailbreak at no costs.
    Anyway if you're going to the App store 99$ are a good investment. Your time has a value too, if you're polishing an app to be released the time you spend on it is worth more than 99$ a year, even if you're releasing if for free ;)
  20. AxoNeuron macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2012
    The Left Coast
    I find access to the developer forums and all the technical documentation alone to be well worth the $99. As well as the iOS 8 beta to keep up with the times. The beta doesn't really do much as far as learning how to program, I am about halfway through my course on Objective-C, but it is an interesting diversion and keeps me interested :) but the developer forums definitely do help.
  21. jimmyco2008 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2014
    Thanks, cambookpro, just the confirmation I was looking for!

    I think what I'll do is put an app together with Swift, and when Yosemite + Server officially come out in a few months, enroll to immediately save $20 on purchasing Server, and proceed to publish said app.

    Of course at the moment, I have to decide between testing on my device with iOS 7 (Obj-C only) or just not testing on my device at all.

    AxoNeuron, is that why you're learning Objective-C? Just as well, I heard companies aren't just dropping Obj-C completely, they say the move to Swift will take a few years, and employers still want you to know Obj-C.

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