Who’s Apple’s ideal customer?

With the recent debacle about notifications and App rejections (or better: forced modifications) I’m wondering what’s going on. Is it an internal struggle at Apple between the App Store review team protected user experience and the development team pushing boundaries forward without any guidance from the management team about which side of the road developers should walk?Or is this a storm in a glass of water and is it us, the geek users, who are still believing in an App Store that doesn’t exist anymore?

When Twitter became mainstream it moved away from indie developed third party clients and it angered a lot of long time users. But, in reality, these users only are a small percentage of the entire Twitter ecosystem. Twitter doesn’t make profit by focusing on those users. It makes profit on the millions of Justin Bieber loving mainstream people.

When you look at the App Store these days three things come in mind: IAP, notifications and free. When you look at the iPhone of most regular users you won’t see apps developed by small shops. No, you see mostly free apps by big brands either ad supported or with in-app purchases. No matter how great apps like PCalc and Transmit may be, Apple earns millions from users downloading freemium games, it doesn’t earn any real money by selling OmniFocus to a couple thousands of users.

There’s a clear devide within Apple these days. On one side you have the people who bring you WWDC, new SDK’s and who feature LaunchCenter Pro as a top app in 2014. It’s those people who, I think, invite developers to push the boundaries of what’s possible in iOS forward.On the other side you have the people who promote these free apps, push IAP and who see those who develop differently as wrong and force them to remove those imaginative features.

And I wonder: does or should Apple care? In the end these forward thinking developers are a rounding error when you look at the massive amount of money the App Store generates. Does it hurt Apple when they kill a small indie app?On the other hand, the kind of apps they are targeting are the icing on the cake. They are the apps that made iOS what it is. It’s the kind of app that gave us pull to refresh. It’s the kind of app they feature in their promo’s.

But yet again I wonder: now that Apple is so big, does Apple care about this small crowd of users who focus on indie developed apps? Or will it do what Twitter did: ignore the long time users, focus on the big crowd and throw us a bone by ignoring the fact that we still use third party apps to tweet?

I really wonder who’s currently holding the gun over there.