Saw today that Dan Grigsby of Mobile Orchard is abandoning iPhone development and ceasing publication of Mobile Orchard. This is a shame. Mobile Orchard is one of the few podcasts that's ever asked me on, and Dan is just a nice guy. The iPhone dev community is a tiny bit worse for his leaving.
And I'm not altogether unsympathetic to his reasons for going. Apple's tightening grip on the platform has me feeling very conflicted. Apple's stuff, both on the surface and under the hood is just better than their competitors as far as I'm concerned, and not just a little better. Their stuff is more fun and more intuitive to use, and it's far more fun to program. I love the platform so much that I made a fairly drastic career change to one where I could make considerably less money just so that I could work with it every day. So, for me, I'm not about to abandon the platform any time soon because I don't see a viable alternative. And by "viable" I mean, of course, "fun from my personal, subjective, and very biased perspective".
There are, of course, other "viable" mobile platforms in the more traditional sense of the word. I could get by using my Nexus One as my primary phone, but I don't love it and won't without drastic improvements and changes. I could program Java or C#, but I wouldn't enjoy either to the extent that I enjoy programming in Objective-C (I've worked with both in the past, Java quite a lot). I still love this platform way too much to willingly leave.
We all know Apple likes control, and the more they get, the more they're able to take, which is a bit of a vicious cycle that I hope gets broken before too many more developers get as frustrated as Dan and leave the platform. I have no illusion that people who leave won't be replaced. They will. But much of what I love about this platform is the community, a community that developed when it wasn't as profitable or lucrative than competing technologies. It's a community of people who love what they do. Every time someone who loves what they do leaves and is replaced, there's a chance they'll be replaced by someone doing it solely for the money; because it's the hottest mobile market. Too much of that, and we'll be no different than the "Microsoft Developer Community", which is to say… no longer a community, but just a bunch of people who made similar career choices.