Apple announces In App Purchases for free App Store software

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple has announced that developers who offer free App Store applications can now take advantage of in-app transactions -- a feature that was previously allowed only for paid software.



The In App Purchase feature, which was implemented in the iPhone 3.0 software update for paid applications, has now been expanded for use in free applications. Previously, some developers were forced to charge a nominal $0.99 fee for their software to have In App Purchase capabilities.



The new policy has already affected some prominent applications, including MapQuest's Navigator. MapQuest had previously offered a $.99 price for a 14-day trial. Now due to what the MapQuest blog called "App Store restrictions," they now initially offer the application for $3.99 for one month of use.



TechCrunch suggested that this change will have a major impact the structure of paid and free applications. Due to the previous paid-app restriction, premium app makers have often offered both full and light versions of their software. Now that free applications are essentially upgradeable, developers will not face this problem.



The note sent to developers Thursday reads:



"In App Purchase is being rapidly adopted by developers in their paid apps. Now you can use In App Purchase in your free apps to sell content, subscriptions, and digital services.



"You can also simplify your development by creating a single version of your app that uses In App Purchase to unlock additional functionality, eliminating the need to create Lite versions of your app. Using In App Purchase in your app can also help combat some of the problems of software piracy by allowing you to verify In App Purchases.



Visit the App Store Resource Center*for more details about how you can add In*App*Purchases to your free apps."



Image credit AppleInsider reader Mark Gurman.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I’m not a fan of this. I liked the idea of free apps always being free. Then again, this might limit developers creating a limited free app that they don’t update/fix and a paid for app that they do update/fix. I guess we’ll see.
  • Reply 2 of 49
    I think it's great

    - there's no need for the 'Lite' version of every app any more

    - just make the basic version free, and have In-app purchases to enable all the features



    - makes perfect sense to me



    Also e-books, it's ideal - the reader is free, and the you have to pay for the books...



  • Reply 3 of 49
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by samurai1999 View Post


    I think it's great

    - there's no need for the 'Lite' version of every app any more

    - just make the basic version free, and have In-app purchases to enable all the features



    - makes perfect sense to me



    Also e-books, it's ideal - the reader is free, and the you have to pay for the books...



    Could be good could be bad. People being what they are I am certain many "developers" will abuse the privilege.



    It will cut down on piracy and that's good, but there's nothing worse than a free app that bugs you every five seconds to buy something.



    it seems perfect for books as you say, but it will also create walled gardens. For instance there is a "Comix" app on the store now that I bought to read comics with. Even though there are standard comic formats and comic readers though, this one refuses to let you read any content that you don't buy through the app in their proprietary format.



    That's just plain awful (and mean as well).



    No doubt we will see a lot more of that kind of crap, but if it cuts down on the theft I guess that's a good thing.
  • Reply 4 of 49
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,522member
    I think it's a great idea. Yes, some developers will abuse it, that's not new, is it?



    But users will weed them out.



    In the meantime, in app purchasing has been great for me. My latest app is Audio Tools, a professional program for extensive audio testing. The basic program costs $19, and add ons cost from about $5 all the way to $99 for one.



    This is a great way to pay for only those tests you need, with the ability to easily add new ones later. In addition, they will have hardware coming out in mid November that adds to the ability of the program, and you don't need to pay for the extra tests that require the hardware (even though most of the others will benefit from it) until you buy the hardware, and need those tests.



    This would be a real pain to do otherwise. The company told me at the AES convention last week, where I first found out about this stuff that they would have had to charge over $100 for the basic program otherwise, and come out with the other extras as separate programs, duplicating a number of functions along the way, bringing their cost up as well.



    I'm not advertising this program, but it's a great example, as there are a large bunch of extra tests available from within the program if you press the "Install" button. In addition, they will be adding a large number of other tests and filters from another well known pro audio test software company in the near future.



    Without in program buying, this would all be much more complex and expensive for many people.



    As far as buying an upgrade from within a free program, well, that's great too.



    Many developers have been complaining of the need to build, and submit two different apps. This will make that much simpler for them, and for the customer who wants to upgrade from the free version.
  • Reply 5 of 49
    cu10cu10 Posts: 294member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I?m not a fan of this. I liked the idea of free apps always being free.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    ...I am certain many "developers" will abuse the privilege.



    How dare those developers try to make money and be reimbursed for their time. From now on, I'm making my own apps!
  • Reply 6 of 49
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CU10 View Post


    How dare those developers try to make money and be reimbursed for their time. From now on, I'm making my own apps!



    No one is saying they can?t make money. I expressed my desire for in-app purchases over a year ago and stated that it would help push new levels or periodicals and such. When Apple stated that free apps can?t have in-app purchases I applauded that move as it would limit the bait and switch moves by some developers, but they could still do it with 99¢ apps and having a Lite version is a pain in the ass. I guess in the end t?s 6 of one half dozen of the other, but I still wish it wasn?t changed.
  • Reply 7 of 49
    irelandireland Posts: 17,223member
    It's handy, but I can see this getting abused very easily.
  • Reply 8 of 49
    I'm a fan of a model where users can 'test' a full featured app for a limited time and return it if they are unsatisfied. And, when I say limited time, I mean an hour or just minutes. Long enough to get a feel for the app.



    We've all downloaded an app that has limited screenshots in it's description. After it's installed, you find the graphics actually stink, the controls are shotty, or the mechanics don't deliver. You can usually tell within the first few minutes of messing with the app.



    Wouldn't it be great if within an hour (or even 15 minutes) of downloading an app, you could return it for a full refund?
  • Reply 9 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Many developers have been complaining of the need to build, and submit two different apps. This will make that much simpler for them, and for the customer who wants to upgrade from the free version.



    It'll also make it much easier for Apple (iTunes Connect), who won't have to review two versions of each app release.



    Looks like a win-win all around.



    Just one caveat: Developers, DO NOT NAG YOUR USERS TO UPGRADE!! If the app is good enough, users will spring without extra prodding.
  • Reply 10 of 49
    Finally!! This is long overdue and welcome!!



    This is exactly how the real world of software works for our Macs... download a free trial, and then pay to unlock the rest of the app!
  • Reply 11 of 49
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CU10 View Post


    How dare those developers try to make money and be reimbursed for their time. From now on, I'm making my own apps!



    I guess you are only trying to be funny here, but ...



    You've completely mischaracterised what I said, and what the other person said as well.



    The first comment just restated what was Apple *policy* up until about a half hour ago (free apps should always be free). My comment was only that given the fact that many so-called "developers" are closer to scam artists than talented programmers, there will of course be abuse. This is just human nature.



    I'd like to see Apple change the categorisation a bit with this move. If there are going to be now 3 different types of "free," ("free", "free-with-ads", "free but reduced functionality"), I'd like them to be separated out.



    I am only interested in "free" or "paid" myself.

    The whole "it's sorta free" thing is annoying and deceptive IMO.
  • Reply 12 of 49
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I’m not a fan of this. I liked the idea of free apps always being free. Then again, this might limit developers creating a limited free app that they don’t update/fix and a paid for app that they do update/fix. I guess we’ll see.



    Free apps never WERE always free--many were just teasers for paid apps, which it was then additional effort to download and delete the "demo."



    I think this has LOTS of benefits, and few disadvantages. Most of which, if you think about, already existed before anyway.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    I am only interested in "free" or "paid" myself.

    The whole "it's sorta free" thing is annoying and deceptive IMO.



    Not me--I greatly prefer to try-before-I-buy, with as little effort as possible. "Sorta free" already describes plenty of "free" apps even before this change--it WAS deceptive at times (which is why intelligent reviews are important) and it was even MORE annoying than now, because the upgrade process was not direct.
  • Reply 13 of 49
    justflybobjustflybob Posts: 1,337member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I?m not a fan of this. I liked the idea of free apps always being free. Then again, this might limit developers creating a limited free app that they don?t update/fix and a paid for app that they do update/fix. I guess we?ll see.



    I think you are missing the point of this decision. Free apps can and will still be free. But now I don't need to compile and present a "free" demo version of any of the apps I intend for sale.



    Developers, at least, will welcome this with open arms. It just makes the process of managing our apps in the store that much easier.
  • Reply 14 of 49
    justflybobjustflybob Posts: 1,337member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sippincider View Post


    Just one caveat: Developers, DO NOT NAG YOUR USERS TO UPGRADE!! If the app is good enough, users will spring without extra prodding.



    True enough.
  • Reply 15 of 49
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post


    I'm a fan of a model where users can 'test' a full featured app for a limited time and return it if they are unsatisfied. And, when I say limited time, I mean an hour or just minutes. Long enough to get a feel for the app.



    We've all downloaded an app that has limited screenshots in it's description. After it's installed, you find the graphics actually stink, the controls are shotty, or the mechanics don't deliver. You can usually tell within the first few minutes of messing with the app.



    Wouldn't it be great if within an hour (or even 15 minutes) of downloading an app, you could return it for a full refund?



    Apps aren't allowed to be time limited, only feature limited. This is the reason why lite apps have reduced functionality instead of full functionality with a time limit.
  • Reply 16 of 49
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,522member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sippincider View Post


    It'll also make it much easier for Apple (iTunes Connect), who won't have to review two versions of each app release.



    Looks like a win-win all around.



    Just one caveat: Developers, DO NOT NAG YOUR USERS TO UPGRADE!! If the app is good enough, users will spring without extra prodding.



    For all those who worry about that, all I can say, is that no doubt some developer will do it.



    But those who review that app either professionally, or in the app store, will mention that, and it will either kill the app, or the developer will be forced to change it.



    i don't think it's a major concern.
  • Reply 17 of 49
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,522member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    I guess you are only trying to be funny here, but ...



    You've completely mischaracterised what I said, and what the other person said as well.



    The first comment just restated what was Apple *policy* up until about a half hour ago (free apps should always be free). My comment was only that given the fact that many so-called "developers" are closer to scam artists than talented programmers, there will of course be abuse. This is just human nature.



    I'd like to see Apple change the categorisation a bit with this move. If there are going to be now 3 different types of "free," ("free", "free-with-ads", "free but reduced functionality"), I'd like them to be separated out.



    I am only interested in "free" or "paid" myself.

    The whole "it's sorta free" thing is annoying and deceptive IMO.



    I would like to think that just "some" developers are scam artists. And their apps don't do too well.



    But there are users who cheat as well. Pirated software, and jailbreaking the phone are two examples.



    A free app will still be a free app. You're under the misapprehension that that will change. It will not.
  • Reply 18 of 49
    bucetabuceta Posts: 141member
    Wohoo!! Let the nickel and dimming begin!!!
  • Reply 19 of 49
    cu10cu10 Posts: 294member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    ...You've completely mischaracterised what I said, and what the other person said as well.



    I'd like to see Apple change the categorisation a bit with this move...



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    No one is saying they can?t make money...I guess in the end it?s 6 of one half dozen of the other, but I still wish it wasn?t changed.



    You're right, there's more nuance to this "free" app than I realize. If I were a developer, and I release the app as being free + optional paid feature unlocking, then it wasn't really free- it was "free" but not really free because to let the app do more the user has to pay, hence, it was not a "free" app, it was a "bait and switch" as solipsism said, hence there potentially will no longer be a totally "free" app as a category.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by justflybob View Post


    I think you are missing the point of this decision. Free apps can and will still be free. But now I don't need to compile and present a "free" demo version of any of the apps I intend for sale.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    ...A free app will still be a free app. You're under the misapprehension that that will change. It will not.



  • Reply 20 of 49
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,522member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CU10 View Post


    You're right, there's more nuance to this "free" app than I realize. If I were a developer, and I release the app as being free + optional paid feature unlocking, then it wasn't really free- it was "free" but not really free because to let the app do more the user has to pay, hence, it was not a "free" app, it was a "bait and switch" as solipsism said, hence there potentially will no longer be a totally "free" app as a category.



    That's not correct. Right now, free versions of apps are feature limited. So they must also be "bait and switch".



    In addition, much shareware is feature limited, also "bait and switch"?



    What about shareware that is limited time? Just as you really get to depend on it (which you shouldn't do under the circumstances), "pop", it stops and asks you to upgrade. "Bait and switch"?



    In fact you can say that about any application that has add-ons, such as most audio and video editing programs, even though you do pay for the program itself.



    It's absurd to think that.



    Free will still be free.



    What's the matter with you people? Are you all that cynical?
Sign In or Register to comment.