Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cheap apps! All good?

Seriously, iPhone and iPad apps are now ridiculously cheap! Just see this app, for instance. It's an app which allows for numerous interesting effects to apply to your photos, many of them for a vintage look. The price? Two dollars!

And that's not unusual. Very few apps cost more than five bucks. But I'm actually in doubt whether it's viable in the long run, for the profitability of the developers. OK, it's true that many of the best apps are done for fun or for "conviction", but also, many cost a lot of money to develop, and at these prices the only way they can make the money back is if they happen to be one of those mega-hits we hear about sometimes. And the chances are small.

I think iPhone/iPad users have in a very short time gotten used to expect that any app should cost less then five dollars. Maybe ten if it is really special. But I think it might be good for the platform if those expectations were modified a little bit. How much software can you get for Windows or Mac for ten dollars? Not friggin' much.

Sure, a little game or a flashlight app or something, two dollars, fine. But to expect to pay five or ten dollars for any and all apps, even those who cost tens or perhaps even hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop, that's silly.

Not that I'm blaming the users, I got into those expectations myself too, very quickly. But I think that Apple could take a little responsibility in this area, by sometimes featuring premium apps, and perhaps educate everybody a little about these issues. It will only be good for the platform if mature, premium apps are also available. Apple can afford to sell a full, mature app like iWork very cheaply, because it helps to sell the hardware, but other developers don't have that luxury.

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