Future Belongs to Apps, According to Developer Luke Irvin of PrivacyStar

Luke Irvin started learning to build iPhone and iPad apps in 2010. Since then, he’s developed several apps available on Apple’s app store, including a resume builder and a multimedia program for popular YouTuber and Arkansan Joseph Birdsong.

While not building or improving his own apps, Irvin works in programming and analytics for Innovate Arkansas firm PrivacyStar of Conway.

Q: What is the demand like for new app developers?

A: Huge. It’s growing constantly. Universities are starting to teach app development, and I have been requested to speak to some elementary students on app development. It’s the hot thing, and everyone either wants an app or wants to learn how to make an app.

How do app developers make money on free versions of apps?

In different ways. Many may release a “lite” version of their app which is free and then a paid version that has more features. I have done this approach. In-app purchases, meaning the app is free but you can buy things within the app, is another way. You see this in many games. Advertising is another popular way, and there are many new ad platforms available to incorporate apps.

The other way is to be acquired. The best example is when Facebook bought Instagram. Instagram was making no money at all, seriously, but it was a high-demand app, and they were disrupting the photo-sharing space, so it was smart for them to get acquired.

What made you choose iOS over Android for developing?

It comes down to a few different things. Android is an open-source platform. [On Android], many apps are free, and if you are smart, it’s a lot easier to pirate apps. The revenue source was much lower for developers on Android than iOS; this is changing, though. Google is aware of this and is working on ways to prevent things like pirating apps from happening.

Also, I think of it this way: iOS is like the movie theater. You go to that first [showing] to get the best experience. IOS apps, in my opinion, have a much better look and presentation to themselves rather than Android. You can do much cooler animations that make them more engaging to the users. Eyeballs seem to look to the iPhone before the Android. This is the way most developers view this. They’ll build their audience on iPhone first, to create the demand, and then build for Android.

It seems that smaller, cheaper apps are slowly encroaching on the larger, more expensive programs like Word, Photoshop, etc. What do you think the future of that business will look like?

I don’t agree fully on this at the current time. Apple has iWorks, which is what competes with Microsoft’s Office, and there are apps for these programs for the iPhone and iPad. It’s already rumored that Microsoft Office could be released for iPad this year. These programs will still go on strong for many years.

I do believe the future of business will go toward the tablet. The tablet will replace the computer. Desktop computers are fading away. Everyone is on the move now. They need portable access. Because of programs like Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut and Xcode (which is what I use to make apps), computers will still be around. You can’t do everything on a tablet. But for basic business needs, you can. Many of my friends have already shifted to this and use their iPads daily and never have to touch a computer.