Reflecting on David Smith's Episode 206 of his podcast Developing Perspective, I don't believe that the iOS App Store is "functionally full" or will ever be full, assuming that Apple continues to make new devices and release new versions of their operating system. New devices will have new features, new OS versions with have new APIs available through their SDK. Each of these provide new opportunities for new apps to be imagined and created. I think David unfairly dismisses some of Apple's latest additions to the iOS8 SDK during the summer of 2014 as trivial and barely impactful to the end user. While APIs like HealthKit or HomeKit may not have reached their full potential, I think Today Widgets are a great addition. I've been waiting years for a more interactive experience with my phone outside of the context of an individual app, and I think the Today View in Notification Center has a chance of providing that.
There will continually be new customers either upgrading their devices or customers entering the market place for the first time. If the popularity of iOS devices continues, this means that there will be continued demand for the apps that run on the devices. Continued demand for apps means that people will continue to spend money in the app store. If people are spending money in the app store, there will be developers looking to provide value through new app features for the customers to spend money on.
Just as developers leave market themselves through retirement and changing interests, new developers will continue to enter the market. With new developers entering the market, new ideas come with them. New ideas can lead to fresh takes on existing ideas, or they can even lead to totally new products as well.
I like how David talks about how he reviewed some of the App Store's Top Lists to gain some insight into what's been popular this year. I didn't do that. I did think about the new apps that I've discovered this year: Day One, Overcast, Threes, Monument Valley, Waze, Untapped (to name a few). Some of these were created this year, some weren't. Regardless, I discovered them this year. They might as well have been created this year from my perspective. And consider Overcast for a moment. If the app store was "full," one could have dismissed creating a new podcast app as something destined for failure - even Apple has a podcast app. Well Overcast was created, and at least from me on the outside looking in, has been successful. Marco Arment took a fresh take on an existing idea, and I love the result.
I don't think the App Store is full. And as an end user of apps, I'm happy about it.
(I do think Apple could do a little bit to clean out some of the out of date apps that are no longer maintained. I thought David Smith had some valuable insights on some improvements that could be made which he discussed earlier this year.