Why do Mac & PC apps cost more than corresponding iPhone apps

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by gaanee, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. gaanee, Oct 15, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015

    gaanee macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    As the title says...

    There are several apps (calendars, password savers, basic photo editing) which are $5 on iPhone but $40-50 on Mac/PC.
    Most of the software logic in these apps remains the same on every platform, only difference being larger GUI which alone can't justify this huge difference in price.
    Any insights on why its more expensive on Mac/PC, even some iPad apps cost twice that of iPhone, or is it just because on bigger screen customers are likely to pay more?
     
  2. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #2
    I think it comes from in the past when everything came on physical media you only had a few developers making any kind of program so they could still compete and keep prices higher. With mobile app stores it is easy for anyone to publish an app, and if a major studio tries to sell their app for $20+ then someone will come out with a similar app for $.99 and while it may not be as good most people will look at the price and go for a cheaper one creating a race to the bottom. Also with Mac or PC programs you usually get the full program as opposed to a lot of mobile apps where they sell you part for $.99 and then to get full functionality you have to spend a lot more on in app purchases.
     
  3. gaanee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    I am talking about full versions of app (no in-app purchases) with basic functionality like calendars, password saver, photos etc...
    In fact I find it more convenient to use on the iPhone because of touch interface rather than using keyboard/mouse.
     
  4. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #4
    You'd have to give actual examples.

    Nothing wrong with preferring your phone over your computer, but it's different for everyone. I can do things on my Mac that take multiple taps on a phone/tablet with a simple keyboard command.
     
  5. mariusignorello macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Typically the desktop version of an app contains more advanced functionality (Pixelmator, for example), so there is a price difference. Plus, there are additional complications towards developing and distributing desktop apps, though the Mac App Store has helped greatly with that.
     
  6. gaanee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    e.g Fantastical, 1Password

     
  7. simon48 macrumors 65816

    simon48

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    #7
    Exactly, iOS kind of started the race to the bottom with with apps. PC and Mac haven't caught the trend as strongly.
     
  8. gaanee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    That's good for the customer because with competition developers are more responsive to customer needs and quality of iOS apps is as good as on the Mac/PC.
    It's hard to justify and thus make a purchase of equivalent $40-50 apps for storing passwords or calendar on the Mac.
    If they lower the prices, they might see more sale.


     
  9. Ritsuka macrumors 6502a

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  10. simon48 macrumors 65816

    simon48

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    #10
    No, it's the opposite. Race to the bottom prices are not good for the consumer. Developers sometimes resort to scam tactics like in-app purchases for features that should've been in the app in the first place without telling you. With app prices so low developers focus on whatever gets their app up the charts for high volume sales since that's the easiest way to break even most of the time.

    I support developers and if they make a quality product I'm happy to buy it at a price that gives them a solid margin.

    It's ironic that you bring this on an Apple focused forum as Apple has the best margins of anyone in their markets.
     
  11. gaanee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    I am specifically talking about apps with no in app purchases as I said above and simple functionality. Freemium model is a different case which I am not talking here.
    e.g. Fantastical on iPhone is $5, for iPad its $10 and Mac $40, its a calendar app with the same natural language processing engine on all platforms, and the difference in price is huge. Same thing for 1Password, using the same encryption tech but charging more on Mac/PC.


     
  12. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #12
    Because they're seen more as companion apps. The OS X/Windows counterparts being where you'd actually input information the most and the iOS versions where you'd pull up this information and have the alerts come through.

    Your smartphone keyboard is designed for sending text messages, not so much for setting up information in a password vault.

    If you price the app as $9.99 on the desktop, it doesn't mean you're going to get more sales. We live in a world where everything the general public does is through a browser and when it isn't, it's most likely something that is remedied with Microsoft Office or Photoshop. Are more people worried about their passwords on the internet? Sure, but for a lot of people a notepad text document or a piece of paper is still enough.

    For most people, the OS X/iOS Calendar and Reminder apps are enough too.

    So the "higher" prices keep them sustainable.

    Why not focus on another product? Because there are just enough people who want the product, who don't mind shelling money out every year/every other year, that it makes sense. Most of these apps exist because they solve problems that even the teams behind them have.

    1Password has ten years of work behind it too, Fantastical hasn't been around as long, but it's well built. I think alternatives like Locko and OneSafe are pretty good, but you can tell the difference, and once you get into the more cheaper stuff it's even more noticeable.
     
  13. WordsmithMR macrumors 6502

    WordsmithMR

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    #13
    Yea... Some app devs are crazy. Apps like 2Do or Clear have literally no different or added functions and the only difference that they added were full screen capabilities on OS X. But the app goes for $5-15 on iOS and $20-50 on OS X... There are some apps that have subtle things that warrant the price increase on a desktop/laptop... But many don't. I just wait for them to go on sale or buy them when they are bundled on one of the many websites that do sales for OS X apps.
     
  14. gaanee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Can you tell me which web sites have software bundle on sale?

     
  15. a7thton macrumors member

    a7thton

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    #15
    I don't think 1Password is more on ios vs PC. As I understand it, you buy 1Password and then have to pay a little more to use it on ios too. I don't think you can buy just an ios version.

    If I'm wrong I hope someone will correct me.
     
  16. gaanee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Well...I actually have 1Password on iPhone and I got the full version, it's quite useful and that's why I considered getting it on PC but that costs almost 7 times the iOS version.



     
  17. WordsmithMR macrumors 6502

    WordsmithMR

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    #17
    I have mainly used MacLife... Though there are others. MacLife tends to have great limited time promos on software and other Apple gadgets. Recently got Scrivener for $19.50, normally $45 (Great writing tool btw.) They also have name your price bundles sometimes. Def worth looking into. Also join their mailing list and they'll occasionally give out free ebooks, apps, etc.
     
  18. a7thton macrumors member

    a7thton

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    #18
    Yeah, for some reason ($$$) 1Password requires that you buy and license for Mac and Windows separately.

    I don't think LastPass does that though...
     
  19. hypermj macrumors newbie

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    #19
    IMO, the simplest explanation is the good'ol supply and demand law, a supply excess drives the prices down ... ( there are more mobile apps than desktop apps, if normalized against the same potential user base ... )
     
  20. ackmondual macrumors 6502a

    ackmondual

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    #20
    Several blogs and articles covered why "race to the bottom" has been pretty bad for the iOS community. Without sustainable pricing, they way to make $$ is to make as many "one-shot" apps as they possibly can. Since they can't charge for updates, and IAP is generally "criminalized", they don't make money by properly updating and polishing existing apps, so when something's released, they dump it on the AppStore and move on to the next one.

    Somebody posted on the Touch Arcade forums (I'll link to it by request if I can find it... I can't access now) how freemium didn't really ruin iOS gaming. It really was the "race to the bottom" syndrome when games went free or 99c to get to the top X charts that did it. $1 to $3 for games, with no other source of income (no spending any extra $$ like IAP, upgrades, nor subscription models for example) just didn't cut it. Freemium let them make enough $$, and the lifecycle of freemium meant they can add features more flexibly too. He also mentioned that if apps were $10 to $20, then thing may be different today.


    And while Apple has the best margins, that's only for iOS. The Mac AppStore is still a relatively barren, while the competition's gone REALLY fierce. Then you have the tech companies that underestimated the app markets and have now gotten in. The gold rush is over. They're the ones getting 80% or so of all the income to be had on the AppStore.
     
  21. eventailapp macrumors member

    eventailapp

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    #21
    Ben Thompson gives nice explanations on why has the race to the bottom occurred. And the basic jist is the already mentioned supply and demand argument. On the mac, both are incomparably lower.

    Also, your question could and should be returned: "why are the apps on the iPhone way cheaper than their Mac counterparts". The Mac apps came in first and they live in an ecosystem where people are in demand for high quality apps and are ready to pay for them. Having a high price point gives the developer an option to live with way fewer customers (selling a thousand 100 euro apps a year is a viable option). Customers who pay a high price are better because they are invested in the application and provide better feedback. On the Mac you can also have upgrade pricing and thus monetise your current customers which is always easier - provided that your current customers are happy.

    On iOS on the other hand you do not have that option. Either you have to forgo profits from your current customers, or you can accumulate bad will by selling the new version for the same price to everybody.
     

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