iOS Developer Survey Pt. 3 - Your Projects

By Jeff Vincent|

August 20, 2020

Parts one and two of this series broke down Dave Verwer’s iOS Developer Community Survey’s methodology and technical trends within the Mac development space. In this third and final installment in the series, we’ll look at the sorts of projects iOS developers are working on, at both the personal and professional level.

And if you want a peek into the methodology we used on our end, check out part one, where we explain everything.

Platforms You’re Targeting


Far and away, the most popular platform among survey respondents was iOS. On a scale of 1 to 10 rating personal interest in iOS-specific development, developers reported an average of 8.7 – indicating a great deal of interest. Survey respondent’s employers were just behind that figure in terms of their interest in targeting the iOS platform, with an average level of interest coming in at 8.5 out of 10.

It’s worth noting, these developer’s employers were reported as seeing the devs’ professional success as being intimately tied to iOS, with an average score of 7.9 out of 10 in terms of importance to the company’s success. Moreover, 85% of respondents reported shipping a product that targets iOS within the past 12 months.


There seems to be less demand in the marketplace for macOS development, with respondents reporting only a 3 out of 10 in terms of their respective business' interest in this arena. That said, there is clearly a passionate following amongst developers, as their reported personal interest came in at just under 6 out of 10. That said, only 19% of respondents have shipped a macOS application within the past twelve months – this figure holds true for both personal and professional projects.

In addition to the above data points, the survey unearthed some exciting trends surrounding the tools of choice for macOS development. It is quite clear that for those developers and teams who are targeting macOS, AppKit is the leading tool of choice. Catalyst, Apple’s multi-platform tool, followed somewhat distantly, as only 18% of those who have worked on macOS projects in the past year used it.

For the larger body of developers who have not been targeting macOS specifically – which is dominated by iOS-focused folks – almost exclusively said they would choose an already familiar tool in the form of SwiftUI if they were to tackle a macOS project in the near future.

Apple Watch & Apple TV

The decidedly more niche markets of Apple Watch and Apple TV both seem to have sparked more interest personally among developers than professionally among their employers. Interestingly, the Apple Watch platform has garnered roughly the same level of interest among the Apple developer community as macOS projects, with respondents averaging 4.9 out of 10 in terms of their personal interest in developing for the platform.

As seems to be the case across the board, professional interest is still somewhat tepid, with respondents sharing that their business’ interest came in at a 3 out of 10. Likewise, Apple TV is receiving something of a lukewarm response from the community. This arena seems to be least exciting to individual developers and businesses alike, with a 3.5 and 2.3 out of ten reported, respectively.

Features You’re Building

Machine Learning

Machine learning is increasing in appeal to iOS teams, with a reported personal interest level of 5.8 out of 10, and a reported business interest of 5.3 out of 10.

That said, it still has a way to go before achieving general adoption. Of the 14% of developers who answered this series of questions, in the past 12 months, only 5.3% included ML in a personal project, and 10.2% shipped an ML feature in a professional project.

The relatively stout business-interest rating and the relatively small field of those with experience in this niche might mean high demand for knowledgeable ML engineers in a growing market.

Augmented Reality

With a smaller following, AR was reported to have an overall interest level of 4.6 out of 10 among iOS developers generally. This is perhaps driven by the perception of limited business applications, as is supported by a reported business interest at a 3.3 out of 10.

This lukewarm take is underpinned by the fact that less than one percent of respondents shipped AR features in the past year. And it seems that sentiment will remain unchanged if Apple releases AR hardware – interest would be a four out of 10 among respondents.

Read the Full Analysis

In case you missed it, in Part 1, we discussed where developers and teams keep their Macs, and in Part 2, we took a look at what specific teams are working on day-to-day.

What projects are you working on right now? Let us know! The MacStadium Community Slack is the best place to mingle with your fellow MacStadium fans, hear about the latest blog post or webinar, talk to the experts, and ask questions that could be featured in one of our webinars.‍

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