New Trend-Charging to Upgrade apps w/ea OS Upgrade

Discussion in 'iOS 7' started by biosci, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. biosci macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2010
    Chicagoland, IL
    Do you guys think this will be the new norm? Having to essentially repurchase every single app we use daily each year or when new major OS updates come out? I've just noticed it a lot lately... Clear, OmniFocus, Reeder (go ahead and add your favorite to the list). This can be expensive every year a 'free' OS release comes out. I know OmniFocus hasn't charged or shall I say remained basically unchanged for a couple of years but 'you gotta start sometime' seems to be raining true lately...

    What do you guys think?
  2. Armen macrumors 604


    Apr 30, 2013
    You're looking at it from a consumer point of view.

    Should a developer also give you updates for free forever because you paid for the app once?
  3. Tyler23 macrumors 603


    Dec 2, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    iOS 7 is so radically different from previous versions of iOS, and many design elements are included in that change. Therefore, many apps had to go through a major redesign process to match the changes featured in iOS 7.

    Because of this added work in developing for the new version of iOS, some developers released new, paid versions of their existing apps.

    However, none of my major apps have had paid upgrades, and if any did, I'd have to seriously consider buying the new versions.

    I don't think this will be the norm, as the change from iOS 7 to iOS 8, and so on will likely not be as dramatic as the change from iOS 6 to iOS 7 was. It will happen for sure again in the future, but likely not for at least a few iterations of iOS.
  4. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    That pretty much reflects my thinking about this as well.
  5. tateu macrumors 6502

    Jan 27, 2012
    A lot (most?) desktop apps charge an "upgrade" fee when a new version is released. Apple doesn't have anything like that for iOS*** so developers have to release a new version and charge for it if they want to make money on new features and changes that they have implemented.

    Let's say a developer spent 100 hours on an initial version and you paid 99 cents for it. Then, the developer spends another 50 hours adding new features and updating it to work with a new iOS version. Why shouldn't he also get paid for those 50 hours of work he put in?

    Feel free to not pay for the new version and continue using the old one.

    ***I'm not to clear on in app purchases. Maybe they could somehow be used as a pseudo upgrade fee?
  6. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    What if the old version doesn't work on the new OS without updating it? Seems they would almost ensure that it doesn't to make people have to pay.

    And we all know you have no choice in going back in iOS... so you may be forced to pay to upgrade your app, once Apple has twisted your arm to update your OS.
  7. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    In theory that can certainly make sense. However, I wonder, has that really been happening where an update to at least get the existing version back into working state would be one that costs money?
  8. tateu macrumors 6502

    Jan 27, 2012
    I'm still not sure why some people think the developer should have to eat those costs? You are free to not to update your iOS version, too.
  9. KALLT, Nov 5, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013

    KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    Not necessarily. If you buy a new iPhone or restore your current one, then there is no escape.

    I understand that software maintenance is valuable and not a trivial thing. Development costs are difficult to monetise in the long run, especially in an environment where customers expect to always receive updates for free. In principle, there is nothing wrong with extra charges for new updates. The customers decide whether they are going to pay for it.

    But the problem is that some developers are completely disregarding existing customers by placing a brand new app into the App Store and selling it for 100% of the previous price. Suppose you bought the app two months ago, you have never received the benefit of free upgrades and are paying again purely because of iOS 7. I think the actual problem is that Apple does not offer developers the marketing tools they need. It is obvious that those developers could have chosen for an upgrade pricing to get a bit of revenue from existing users while new users pay the full price as usual. The solution to add a new app is not elegant but a necessity, and it is customer unfriendly. It does not have to be like that.
  10. tateu macrumors 6502

    Jan 27, 2012
    I don't think it's the individual developers at all. It's Apple and their policies which force developers to do this in order to continue to make money when they spend time on additions and updates to their software. Why doesn't Apple foot the bill for app updates? They're the big bad that created this ridiculously restrictive ecosystem. That's not necessarily fair to Apple, though. I think the solution is for Apple to add app upgrade features to the App store. I don't see them ever doing that. I tend to look on Apple in a very unfavorable light, when it comes to them doing things for their user base.

  11. joejoejoe macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2006

    The app store is the most successful online store for applications bar none. It makes developers more money than any other similar ecosystem on any other platform. Apple is putting more money in the pockets of developers than google, windows phone, or web os did.

    This tied up/restrictive rules you reference and frown upon are what keep viruses/system crashes out of your phone, amongst many other helpful things.

    Developers could charge an in-app-purchase for updates.

    Apple is also very anti-fragmentation, which is great for the ecosystem and ultimately the user above all else. Allowing developers to explicitly charge for upgrades could lead to a lot of fragmentation. YES--the same can happen when developers release alternative new apps, so the current solution isn't that great either.

    But please, to say that Apple isn't good to users or developers and calling the restrictions of the app store ridiculous... that's absurd. Especially when they are clearly so far in the lead when it comes to 1) how much people spend in the app store and 2) how much money goes into developer pockets.
  12. tateu macrumors 6502

    Jan 27, 2012
    I don't think I ever said it wasn't good for developers. This thread wasn't started by a developer claiming that they weren't able to charge their customers and make money. It was started by a user who complained that they had to spend more and more money because developers don't offer existing customers upgrades free for life.
  13. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    You do have a point. Perhaps the up-front cost should take this future updating cost into account, or Apple should have to assist in it since they are effectively breaking the current version. There's a lot to it.
  14. Nanasaki macrumors 6502


    Oct 26, 2010
    I think the trend is App itself goes free. Developer gets money from content and in app purchase and advertisements.
  15. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    For mere artwork? No. It's inconsequential.

    An app like Reeder. Where Google trashed their entire backend, and they completely reworked their UI. Sure.
  16. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    This. I do not mind paying if there was actual work put into the app. I would not pay for a game that simply added another set of levels (or change the theme from Christmas to Halloween -- Angry Birds). I have to find value in the changes. I am all for devs getting their due, but to charge just because the iOS version changed is not okay by me.
  17. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    I think when the discussion goes toward should devs update their product every year to match the iOS compatibility versus forcing you to pay for updates, there can be no clear winner. Consumers will be upset and developers need to make money.

    Devs should absolutely update their software to work on iOS as it updates. They committed to selling a product in the Appstore, then they should commit to ensuring the app works. However, this is why the pricing model is beginning to change. The app should work and should be updated free of charge but the features within the app is what we will be paying for as a yearly subscription or however it makes sense. Paying once for lifetime access to the app is going to go by the wayside soon.

    What doesn't make sense is forcing a paid user to have to upgrade (and pay again), and that's why the model is changing. So I wouldn't worry too much about this in the future except for some slow devs who will continue to operate in the old paradigm.
  18. CTHarrryH macrumors 68000

    Jul 4, 2012
    I'm not a developer but I thought Apple rules said you had to give free updates for appliation that was bought. Obviously, a way around it is to come out with a completely new application that does almost exactly what the old one did.
    I guess I'd have to see if new application has value for me before I'm buy another version. Honestly, I've found a lot of updates make applications worse and not better - the original version was better.

    What bothers me more is that I have free apps that update with BUG fixes and all that changes is more ads.

    I know developers need to make money and I have no issue paying for new things of value but that also isn't a reason to not make sure your application works with current IOS.
  19. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    iOS apps are often dirt cheap to begin with, I'm happy to pay "again" if I have the option to use old version unsupported.

    What is it with iOS that makes people this entitled after having spent 99 cents?
  20. charlituna, Nov 6, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013

    charlituna macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Catch is that as I recall Apple rules are that if you just updating for maintenance, including new iOS compatibility you can't charge. There has to be some kind of new features to justify calling it a new version and charge again.

    But some companies will basically do an upgrade and add one new feature to get past that rule. And often something that wasn't really that hard to add so why not just make it an IAP or such. Angry Birds was a culprit of this game with their Seasons version. No new physics just new graphics but they call it a new game and made everyone pay again. Very irking.

    And if the rules don't allow IAP in a paid app right now nothing is stopping developers from sending that feedback to Apple to change the rule. If they make a good argument they could convince Apple, even Steve if he were still around

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