Free Trials and Tire Kickers – Marco.org: “But PC-class pricing would fundamentally change iOS buying habits, and we may not like the results.
Browsing the App Store and getting new apps, often spending a few bucks along the way, is a form of casual entertainment for a lot of people. This role used to be filled by movies and music. Today, it’s filled by browsing the internet and playing with mobile apps. Usually, they’re games, but not always — modern mainstream culture, especially younger people, seem to be more interested in media and social apps than games.
This apps-as-entertainment market falls apart if app pricing rises above casual-disposable levels for most people. Few people balk at spending $1-3 for something that doesn’t end up being that great, but when someone’s $30 app is disappointing, that’s going to stick with them and inhibit future purchases.”
Marco is absolutely right when he says that free trials on iOS wouldn’t solve every developer’s problems, and could actually hurt certain categories of apps.
The thing is though, for anyone making apps that aren’t games or “tire-kicker” experiences, the lack of free trials is absolutely crippling. I don’t want the average selling price on the App Store to be $50 for weather apps. I’m fine with casual apps that are priced according to their purpose. I just want my phone and my iPad to do a lot more than “apps-as-entertainment” allow them to do, too.
We’re not seeing a more sophisticated level of software on iOS not because the iPad is a weak computer. Not because touch interfaces are toys. But because the economics of the App Store make sustaining such an app near impossible. It’s simply not worth the investment.
That’s not just bad for developers. It’s terrible for Apple in the long run, too. And it’s terrible for customers.