A Taste Of Things To Come- Paying For Apps Over and Over Again

On April 29, 2009

We’ve been spoiled- all of us.

We know the drill… We are used to paying ten, twenty, fifty and sometimes a hundred dollars or more for a good computer application. From there, we expect that minor updates are free, but that version jumps that represent significant updates will cost additional money. (Often at a discounted price but additional money none-the-less.)

On our iPhone’s, however, it is an entirely different story.

Ten dollars is a lot for an iPhone app. There are some that cost more but most are in the $.99 – $9.99 range, with the latter making people stop and think before buying.

After the purchase, however, whether $.99 or $9.99, we expect that updates are free. And, for the most part, they have been.

When Twittelator Pro jumped to version 2.0 the developer, Big Stone Phone made it a FREE update.

When Todo just jumped to version 2.0 the developer, Appigo, made it a free update.

Heck, even Byline was a free update when it jumped to version 2.0 and is free again with its move to Version 2.5.

Not so Simplify Media.

When their app just jumped to Version 2.0 they changed the name from Simplify Media to Simplify Music and added some new features such as-

Search: Search by artist, album and title across all connected computers as though it’s one giant library

Favorites: Tag favorite music on the fly from personal libraries, or those of friends

Playlists: Create an on-the-fly playlist for later enjoyment right on your phone or touch

Seek: Use the scrub bar to easily move forward or back in a streamed podcast or audio book

(Worth a bump to an entirely new version number? I’m not sure.)


THEN… they charged an additional $2.99 for the "NEW" app.

Now look, I love Simplify Media and think it is one of the best apps out there. It is a simple concept- run a piece of software on your computer and a second piece of software on your iPhone and iPod Touch and allow up to 30 people to share your music legally. I currently share with only a few but those libraries alone have increased my musical access significantly.

IT IS A BARGAIN AT $2.99 AND IT IS WORTH EVERY PENNY! I just bought the update and think it is $2.99 well spent. BUT…

I think this is a taste of things to come. We’ve had a free ride thus far and the party is over. Why?

A. Developers are going to change their model. For many this IS THEIR JOB and they deserve to make a living. Thanks to WOiP I have become friendly with a number of developers. I have a deep respect for the time, effort and sweat that goes into making a good iPhone App. They work hard and deserve to benefit from their creativity. It is hard to make a living when the average price of an iPhone app is so low and when hard work goes into making a significantly improved app they SHOULD benefit. (And in turn we all benefit since they will then keep doing what they do.) THUS FAR, however, this has not been the case but for the long-term it will HAVE TO BE..

B. OS iPhone 3.0 will add in-app purchases. Now, as you are playing a game, it may well stop and say, "If you would like to do this or that please purchase this add-on for $.99. It sounds like a cool new feature but is, in truth, designed to do one thing and one thing only- separate us from a bit more cash.

As a result of these two elements… things are about to change… and in a big way. You see..

Keeping our iPhone’s apps up-to-date is about to get A WHOLE LOT MORE EXPENSIVE!