A thought: what good would upgrade pricing do on the iOS App Store, where the de facto maximum full price is $4.99?
Is anyone really going to be able to build a sustainable business off 99c annual upgrades?
My Unsustainable Productivity post despaired pretty badly for the future of one-time purchases in the iOS App Store, and I’ve only gotten more pessimistic in light of the evidence that Apple may release iWork for iOS for free with iOS 7. The polish and functionality of the iWork apps means they likely cost Apple several million dollars to develop… if they’re to be given away free, what does that do to user expectations? Basically it tells users they should expect to pay nothing for best-of-breed productivity apps.
I thought $10 each was too low for the iLife apps when they debuted, that it set a price ceiling that would make life difficult for other app makers. If Apple actually makes them free then — mark my words — it will mean the end of third-party productivity apps of any significance on iOS.
Set against this, what do we make of Apple’s release of Logic Pro X for the Mac, at $199? For starters, there’s the much-made point that they clearly don’t intend to offer an upgrade pricing system, when they’re demanding full price for the app on Mac, from new and current users alike.
But look at the contrast with the above, where iLife goes from cheap to (possibly) free on iOS, while Apple still thinks Mac software can demand a price in the hundreds of dollars. They’ve egged on and contributed to the Race To The Bottom on iOS, but not on the Mac. And that just means we’ll all need our “trucks” longer than we would otherwise, because the productivity apps we’d need to go iPad-only will never be written for iOS (or even ported), because it’s not viable for any third-party developer to do so, whereas Mac development remains as viable as it ever was.