Federico Viticci today pointed to Apple’s brand-spanking-new Logic Pro X’s price and took it as “another data point” when trying to figure out what Apple intends — and intends others — to do about the App Stores’ upgrade model. I agree entirely, but what was more interesting to me was the article he linked to from last year by Gabe Glick:
Developers and longtime computer users may be used to the shareware, time trial, pay-full-price-once-upgrade-cheaply-forever model of buying and selling software, but regular people, the mass market that Apple continues to court first and foremost, aren’t. Adding demos (“I thought this app was free, but now it’s telling me I have to pay to keep using it? What a ripoff!”) and paid upgrades (“Wait, I bought this app last year and now I have to pay again to keep using it? Screw that!”) would introduce a layer of confusion and make buying an app a more arduous process, which would result in people buying fewer apps.
Gabe goes on to contend that the above are, he speculates, Apple’s motives. I disagree. The objections put forward seem unlikely to me.
“I thought this app was free, but now it’s telling me I have to pay to keep using it? What a ripoff!”
This first theorized objection is the stronger of the two in my mind. But, the iBookstore allows Samples. That model seems to be working for iBooks, I’m sure if Apple allowed App Store demos that would encourage people to try out more apps — possibly even more expensive apps — which might lead to more sales, and maybe even stem the race to the bottom.
“Wait, I bought this app last year and now I have to pay again to keep using it? Screw that!”
Anyone who has ever bought computer software knows that when you get new software (upgrade or otherwise) you need to pay for it. And besides, you don’t have to upgrade — you can keep using what you’ve been using, no extra charge. I think the real issue is support and bug-fixes for older software. That — it seems — would become a thing of the past.
Let me be clear — I don’t mean to say anything negative against Gabe or his piece for Macstories. He’s trying to come up with a theory as to why Apple is not giving developers the opportunity to offer an easy paid upgrade or trial mechanism in the App Store. The reasons, to me, are as opaque as the approval process of the App Store itself. It seems, at least to this observer, that Apple just doesn’t care — they don’t make their real money off software anyway.