iOS. Apple. Indies. Plus Things.

The Best Change to Come From W.W.D.C. 2022

// Written by Jordan Morgan // Jun 20th, 2022 // Read it in about 2 minutes // RE: The Indie Dev Diaries

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The most impactful change to come out of W.W.D.C. had nothing to do with APIs, a new framework or any hardware announcement. Instead, it was a change I’ve been clamoring for the last several years - and it’s one that’s incredibly indie friendly. As you’ve no doubt heard by now, I’m of course talking about iCloud enabled apps now allowing app transfers:

If you’ve visited my internet home or have been my eFriend for the past few years, you know this is personal for me. I’ve never been one for open letters, but oh how I’ve constructed a pointed missive over and over again in my head about this. I’m glad there’s no reason to anymore.

When my last app, Spend Stack, was acquired - it took nearly four months to get settled. This was an experienced buyer who usually had things done and dusted in one week. Why did it take so long? Because I didn’t just sell Spend Stack, I had to sell my entire LLC, Dreaming In Binary, which I had owned for many years to that point. Instead of transferring the app, I had to manage a slew of logistical hurdles that neither I, or the acquirer, wanted to otherwise.

Now, there is no more creating an LLC per app (what!!!):

CloudKit is wonderful, and it offers so many advantages that most of us went through all of the riff raff you had to go through to form a LLC, open a business account, get your DUNS number and more just to freaking use it for one app! This is a directly pro-developer move from Apple, and one we can all hold hands and agree on. CloudKit gives you so much that Apple should really be pushing it 30 times harder than it has been:

  • Hardly any of us want to manage user logins or server data.
  • We (developers) all want to support sync, and all customers want sync.
  • Of our users, the majority have multiple devices they want to use our apps on.
  • No other syncing solution is as smooth as iCloud - we don’t have to tangle with logins or sign ups. People use our apps on their other device, and like magic - their data is there. That’s the most Apple “it just works” experience around. This is a rare user and developer experience win.
  • It’s maintained and trusted by one of the largest technology companies on the planet who rely on it. This won’t be another Parse.
  • And, not to mention, the best alternative is owned by Apple’s rival - Firebase from Google!

In short, it’s about time. People tend to think that an app getting acquired is only for the bigs, and that’s simply not true. This move allows indies to get a nice chunk of cash and let their project live on from another company taking it over so we can focus on new things…without selling an entire LLC along with it.

The long and short of it is this - many of us would skip iCloud sync altogether because it meant we couldn’t transfer any app using it in the future. In turn, we offered a worse user experience than we otherwise could’ve or we’d use a competitor which wasn’t as good and required user logins (with iCloud, the user is already “logged in” via their Apple ID). It was painful and agonizing every time, because we knew iCloud was the better sync option - but we couldn’t risk having to part with every single of our apps if just a single one using the iCloud entitlement was acquired. No more.

In another reality, if this one image was on a slide during W.W.D.C.’s keynote in 2022 - I venture to say it would’ve received the loudest applause out of anything else they could’ve said:

An official announcement from Apple mentioning that apps which use iCloud can now be transferred.

Until next time ✌️


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