Would you pay again for iOS 7 versions of your favorite apps?

Would you pay again for iOS 7 versions of your favorite apps?

iOS 7 is coming, and with it an all-new design language. Apps will have to update to reflect that change, or risk looking old and outdated, and lose their place to newer, hotter updates and upstarts. But great design and development aren't free -- they're expensive. So how will companies afford to restart in a post-iOS 7 world. Apple has shown their answer - charge again for the app. Will customers accept this, however? Hall of famer Gedeon Maheux of the Iconfactory wrestles with the upcoming reality on his Gedblog:

At the Iconfactory, we typically offer new paid version of our apps (xScope, Twitterrific) about every 18 months with many free upgrades in between. Though there are always users who will complain about having to pay for all-new versions, the vast majority know that in order for an app to survive and flourish, they occasionally have to do their part and support its development. Hopefully the upcoming wave of apps updated for iOS 7, both free and paid, will help people fall in love with their apps all over again.

Part of this is expectational legacy: old timers are used to upgrade pricing for software. People who's first computer was an iPhone or iPad have no such expectation. However, no one is teaching the value of software these days either. If you go and see Star Trek in the theater, you don't expect to get in to see Star Trek: Into Darkness for free. If you paid an employee to work yesterday, you don't expect to have them work for free today. Yet many people have exactly that expectation, and developers and designers like Ged face that challenge every day. They get told, over and over again, that something they spent days, weeks, months and years on, missed sleep and weekends and their families for, isn't worth as much as a fancy cup of coffee. Isn't worth as much as an ebook. Is barely worth as much as an MP3 file. (Which, by the way, you have to pay again for every time there's a remix...)

Willing great software into existence, crafting great functionality and user experience, is difficult enough. Continuing to do so when everyone from the platform you love to the customers you serve tell you it has little or no value to them? I can't even imagine.

I bought the first version of Twitterrific on the App Store day one. I've bought every version since. I'll buy every version hence. I use it every day. It makes my life a little more delightful. I value it. I want more of it. It already looks great on iOS 7, and I can't imagine what they'll do with it next. But I'm ready, willing, and super happy to pay for it and find out. And the same holds true for all the other apps I use, come iOS 7.

Now go read the smart stuff Ged says.

Source: Gedblog

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Would you pay again for iOS 7 versions of your favorite apps?


For me personally it would depend on the app and if there was any substantial enhancements to that app. I'd also be concerned over the real reasoning for the re-charge. Is it because of crazy changes Apple made that required a TON of reworking or does it really just come down to cosmetic changes? I'd hope the developer would be clear on that either way, so I can throw blame at the right person lol.

This to. Though, It would really make me mad if the apps I bought not even half a year ago decided to recharge. But I can see where they are coming from if they do.

If they did recharge, I'd likely be a lot more wary about buying apps again for the fear that the developer is just going to drop it after they make some money.

I'm with you. Most games? No. They don't have the same ui today as core iOS, so charging again is not going to do it. I won't pay so they can change the palatte of the icon.

However, the really useful apps? Sure. No problem. Take advantage of more than just the new UI though. Make the app better, not just a wardrobe change.

Hells no. I don't even like the look of ios 7 and that flat windows phoneish look plus i bought expecting NOT to have to pay again. I'd keep using the old version, use a free service, or go to a different paid one out of spite. But having an app isn't that important. I'm not trying to give away more of my money. I don't have many paid apps anyways. I already know of free alternatives.

This. I already bought it once, and hell, not even that long ago (6~ months). I think I the developer has an obligation to support the app for at least a little while. Or else, why hell should I buy apps instead of using free ones?

What if the dev applies the same philosophy, and don't update the app anymore, "Hell I worked on it once, why should I work on it again"

That philosophy is fine with me, provided you have developed a usable product with a decent lifespan.

If you sell an app you have an obligation to maintain it for a reasonable timeframe (at least 2 years from release date but longer is desirable) on the OS it was designed for. The OS has an obligation to maintain backwards compatibility for a reasonable period of time. If the OS is proven to be backwards compatible it is the developers responsibility to make sure the app is also. So if your app is still doing what it was supposed to do then go ahead and not do any more development work on it, I'm OK with that. I just don't want to be forced to replace something that should be working fine for me as it is.

If you want new bells and whistles at some point they cost, simple fact of life. But paying for a product you can use for 2+ years in todays software environment is not a bell or a whistle.

I feel if I bought an app (program), the developer has a responsibility to maintain it, at least, for a little while. Kind of like Microsoft and Apple do with bug fixes, and, adding new features some times (service packs in WIndows).

Or why should I spend money, if I know they won't support there app?

That really depends. I think I would re-evaluate those games that I bought months ago but are now boring. Unused or rarely used apps would be on the margin. For my go-to apps, I would have to bend over and take it. I would be more upset if it was something I've recently purchased. Maybe I should hold off purchasing any more apps and maybe developers would be wise to hold off releasing anything for a couple months.

I think that if you had to do that then you might as well evaluate you mobile OS platform and decide if you want to switch. I would think that one of the things that keeps someone with an iOS device from switching to android is that they are heavily invested in the apps for iOS.

Good point. If all of my apps had to be repurchased again, it would become an opportunity to jump ship if need be (or at least, an opportunity to check out other OS's).

Completely agree!! I feel that a lot of people stick with IOS because they are so invested in the eco-system. I feel that if people are required to start over it may be the point in which they may decide to make a switch. I believe it was on the launch of talk 2013 it was discussed that all the platforms are offering a great user experience now and the choices are there.

Nope. Aside from the fact that there's at best, one or two "new features" that I like, or would use in iOS7, it's not enough to overcome how much I detest the new visual appearance. Add onto that if I'll have to be paying again for the apps, then I'll be staying on iOS6 as long as I possible can, then moving to Android.

Yes for Downcast, Alien Blue, Tweetbot (probably), Reeder, other than that i'd have to think about it.

edit: i don't play games on my phone (although i will get PvZ 2 since it is not on PC) so i don't really worry about that.

I have no problem with this as long as the old version still works. Nevertheless, your Star Trek comparison is invalid. It would be more like the projector shuts down halfway through Into Darkness and they won't turn it back on unless I buy another ticket. I just bought Sky Gamblers Cold War, but if you wanted to charge me for an update to Sky Gamblers Supremacy, that wouldn't be right. In other words, I have no problem paying for a new version (or sequel), but I do have a problem paying for updates.

What about a song remix? Those aren't free either?

Let's say it takes 6 months to make an app, and 6 months to make version 2, why should version 2 be free?

But the original song still works and can be listened to indefinitely. That is not the case with apps no longer getting updates. Apple more or less forces you to update the firmware of your device. If an app no longer works after the firmware update, I shouldn't pay again to get the originally paid functionality back. That would be just a bug fix.

Large software updates can enhance the experience, add functionality and some can even add "game-changing" milestones. Small fixes are under-rated but very necessary (security patches, compatibility updates, other necessary maintenance that requires time & resources) and you would pay a mechanic for vehicle maintenance would you not?

MP3 are for the most part static. You download the MP3 and you listen to the exact same song again and again and again. It's probably not going to remix, enhance or change itself during it's lifespan(and if it does, you've got a headline story).

I think the comparison between static media(songs, movies, tv shows) and software is not valid. They're apples and oranges.

PS Regarding the game analogy:
Technically I think it's possible to download an iOS game into a device and play it for the lifespan of the hardware, as long as you don't make ANY updates to hardware/OS. You can keep playing that game in a silo-ed environment until its bitter end if that is your liking.

That's a great idea. Basically they should charge about half of the current app price for the update (given that the update is more than just aesthetic). I would be up for that.

Free updates for perpetuity just isn't sustainable. And I have no problem supporting continued development of an app I use frequently or even constantly, like Tweetbot. So the answer to the question is definitely yes.

That said, there's a balance and there should be some genuine differences in the new version to make up for charging again.

If they going to charge for just for changing looks to fit in with the new ui I would personally would not, hell they can charge but they better leave the old one still available to use. Also I thinkupgraders should get a discount if they plan to go this route because essentially an upgraded is paying more than a new buyer as they have sort of paid for it...I guess it all depends on the app too, if all they are doing is changing the look and not adding anything new features wise than I would not pay to upgrade...

One of the reason I haven't ventured off to try other phones and OS's is because of the amount of money and time I've invested in iOS apps. If I had to repurchase them all again I would more than likely take the opportunity to test the waters of Android or Windows Phone for a year just to see what I may be missing.

same as me....

i would not think twice to move to other OS available if i have to repurchase all my apps again...
it just ridiculous to paying some apps just for an updated version...

For me it will depend on the app but for the most part, I won't pay again just because of the new design for iOS7. You are basically ripping users off by charging them twice for the same app just for an updated design. I would hope most if not all developers would not like this. If I was a developer I would be against it. I'm not greedy.

It would not be a problem for me. I understand that developers have mouths to feed including their own. In a week i spend unnecessary money on things like snickers and twix bars so i would just deprive myself of them for a while so that i can re-up on all of my apps. People spend $5-7 at starbucks heck, at dunkin donuts i used to spend about $30 every month when i did the math, its not that big a deal to spend 99 cents on a app that i love and gets the job done...

people are chemically addicted to caffeine. I'm not addicted to an app. I have no need for it. Every cent counts. All 99 cents. And it's not my job to feed developers. If the market can't sustain their product the product isn't needed. And most paid apps I don't need.

I can't believe this is even being discussed. Google completely revamped their design language and no developers were charging for updates just so they could fund "being consistent with the system UI metaphors/design."

Only iOS developers would think about this, since they are used to a lot of users bending over and paying out.

True but it is also much easier to pirate things on googles open Os. On iOS it may be equally easy or a bit harder but people aren't as willing to make the effort at least in my opinion. What I think it really boils down to is wether or not someone understands, and appreciates the little things in life. Which many people today do not.

I would have no problem re-buying apps I use daily should there be new versions. Apps are cheap and development is expensive.

Some people posting here are just rationalising being cheap-skates. That's all there is to it.

Of the 27 apps I have currently installed 18 were free and the most I paid for the remaining ten was $6 as a donation to Shazam. I will happily buy the remaining 10 again should I have to.

This expectation of perpetual, free updates for a one-off minimal fee is just ludicrous and bad for developers and the eco-system in general.

"Some people posting here are just rationalising being cheap-skates. That's all there is to it."

Eh, not really. I have well over 150 apps installed on my iPod 5th Generation, and I've spent well over $300 on apps (I get mostly payed apps because I do want to support developers when I can), but if they decided to recharge me, I donno if I could afford it now (I now have to budget college with play). I'd also be pretty mad if all of my apps decided to charge me again, after just 6 months.

Maybe if they gave there user's a warning a couple months a head of time, and pulled the app from the store so new customers wouldn't end up buying an app that won't receive updates, I'd feel better about it.

I don't understand the mentality if people at all!! Rene wrote in the article that developers spend hours and hours on apps and games yet consumers today feel they are so freaking ENTITLED to FREE that they don't care about of the time or sacrifices these people had to make these apps so we can enjoy them.

For example my mom owns her own furniture store and she pours her time and effort into her customers even doing work on their orders during her off time and has even given up holidays but do those customers care, NO! Customers are so selfish today they don't give a rats ass about anyone but themselves.

When I was on a Android I tried to support as many developers as I could and pay for my apps but what did some of my friends do they downloaded Black Market to pirate everything.

In conclusion LOL I would repurchase apps that I value. For another example I had purchased tapatalk and tapatalk HD then when tapatalk 2 was released I didn't moan about paying again because they did an excellent job on the new version and there were a lot of new improved features.

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It's not really customers. You say customers but really it's the entire society of humankind. The majority of them have been conditioned to think that they are entitled to things they are not, as well as their view being skewed on what the proper value of something is. For instance skittles $1.59 at my local grocerecy store. Instant gratification no one complains. Tiny wings app $.99 with continuous gratification and new levels + the ability to interconnect with others and have more gratification. People complain and moan... Either one of two things have occurred their view has been skewed or they are immature..

I was a developer for a while. Created an app I worked hours and hours on. I would never recharge users for an upgrade. Like someone said, if they have 150 apps and 75% were paid, that would basically make them repay possibly a 100 bucks. Also, I just got an iPhone 4 months ago. Why should I have to repay for apps I bought not even half a year ago?? I spent probably a hundred bucks already. When I had android I would always buy an app I really liked apposed to just downloading it off the Internet. As a developer, I would understand that.

I see both sides. If it is necessary for the app to run on iOS 7, then Apple should pay or get absolutely no payment which means they provide server space and downloading free, Apple changed the UI not us. If it is just a cosmetic change to the icon and minor UI changes, no charge. If it requires serious upgrading and (re)coding, sure I'd pay for it, but only on my must have apps. I would be inclined to purchase future apps from those that provide free upgrades as a reward for doing this.

During the six months I've been in the iVerse I haven't paid for any apps yet. I mistakenly thought I would get quality apps within my OS. If I could try Fantastical or others I would pay for them, but I will NOT pay for an app without trying it on first.

This is one of the biggest problems in all of the app stores today. Not being able to try before you buy is only going to continue to hurt all of the Ecosystems.

Windows Phone Store supports this. Amazon's App Store, IIRC, supports this. Google Play supports refunds, though the window isn't especially large you can still peek around quickly after downloading it. Not sure what you're talking about, cause it just seems like you're taking one weakness of Apple's App Store and applying it to everyone it doesn't apply to :-)

Apple apps are either free or paid, as I understand it - no trials. Maybe the Windows Stores (what I previously used) allows trials because they are not number one and need get as many apps in users phones as possible. I miss it, because I did pay for a few apps after seeing their value.

Wow thanks for the clarification. I did not know that google play supports refund. That I actually think is dumb but if windows phone and amazon took the time trial before the actual purchase it would really help the greater apps to float to the top and stay there.

if that app is on my homescreen, i use it every day and I will gladly pay for the next version. Anything to minimize the adjustment time to iOS7.

If the one I have stopped working for example a twitter app but if the developer makes the old app not work then forget about them I will find an alternative.

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There are very few of my apps I would even consider purchasing again. I can't even understand separate iPad and iPhone versions if the only difference is higher resolution.

I don't expect unlimited improvements to an app for free, but I do expect unlimited free bug fixes within a reasonable time frame such as five years. To do less makes free apps more appealing than paid.

If you put in all kinds of changes and updates then release a version 2, 3, 4, etc., but don't make changes to the original and expect people to pay. I think of it like Microsoft office or Lightroom, where you can buy the new version with the bells and whistles, but the old one still works.

In the article you mentioned remixes and having to pay for those. To me that is understandable. However, you don't have to buy the remix, and if you don't it in no way impairs your original.

So far I am hating the look of iOS 7, but like the changes under the hood. If app developers do iOS 7 their apps in looks, I would definitely prefer to keep my original versions.

Stopping now before I turn this into a rant about iOS 7 losing the elegance that I expect from apple.

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If the upgrade is to only accommodate the cosmetic changes of iOS 7 then I will be consider other options before begrudgingly paying for an update and that's only if it's an app that I use everyday. If there's a bump in functionality Is feel better about paying to upgrade.

BTW what Twitter app is that?

The way the article tries to portray users as a bunch of cheap skates is a kind of misplaced aggression, in my opinion. That perspective seems to forget for just long enough that app success is a buzz phenomenon...the developers should WANT to make sure that people who've already purchased apps are still able to use and advertise their software. They simply cannot use the Star Trek sequel bs that was in the article as an example. If the app is worth buying again, people will buy it again if necessary. Don't attack customers when it's clear that this isn't the case with novelty applications.

I don't have a paid for app on my phone that I would be willing to pay for again. I would find a free alternative or do without. I'm OK with the apps that advertise.

I am in agreement with jtblackford and that is to charge a lesser fee if it is more than .99cents for a full OS number upgrade. But for those who have paid already or make it a limited time deal after the release of said new OS. In other words: I am willing to pay and would allocate the money for it. I have an app that changed the way the UI is but they didn't charge, they made it an incremental upgrade.
There are those like me who bought the full-version of apps for free, I don't remember all of which I did, but I believe I will pay for the upgrade, but I will have to see.

I think it is a complicated question. If Apples redesign of the IOS (which a lot of people love to hate or hate to love) causes developers to rework there Apps either because the upgrade "breaks" them or because they want to take advantage of new api's etc., or even to match the new esthetics of the os, can we fault the developers? We have all been asking for a refresh of IOS for sometime now and it is the reality of change and innovation. I agree with the thoughts of some that if you needed to repurchase apps that it may be a good time to look at other platforms. That being said it is Apple not the developers that will loose out in that case. We all have are favorite apps and more than likely we would search out there counterpart on another OS in there eco system made by the same developer. So from my perspective I realize that there is a cost to progress and change and I would happily pay for a refresh of an App that provided new features and takes advantages of changes to the OS, that better my experience or make my life easier. However I would not repurchase an app just because it changes its esthetics to match the OS.

on the fence. i think tweaking an app to run smooth on ios7 should if possible be free for existing users, if we are expected to pay, it should be for features, not just tweaks. i doubt i will have to repurchase Angry Birds again, the developer will tweak to work on the new ios. a true Version 2 should feature new benefits, make the app better, not just make it run on a new ios.

Definitely, I support iOS developers. The whiners who are complaining about having to pay $.99 to update a handful of their favorite apps they use every day are just that, whiners and tightwads to boot. Go ahead and jump to Android, it would probably suit the misers better. I wouldn't update every single app I've downloaded in my entire life. That would be stupid.

We use to buy software in boxes, it was a considered a finished and final product. Updates were usually sparse, if at all existent. If we take Microsoft as an example, we would wait years until the next office refresh came out, and then everyone would purchase the large update with a giant lump sum of money.

The same thing is happening, but the monetary amount and timeline that we're all use to has changed. Regular updates and maintenance are needed for software survive in our fast pace environment. So instead of paying larger amounts of money every few years, we're paying smaller amounts more frequently.

So to take the car analogy for another spin, instead of paying for a car, and not putting any money into it until it dies, you're paying for a car, and putting small amounts regularly to keep it running smoothly, or perhaps even to enhance it(add some rims, change up the stereo, tint some windows, paint job, body kit, tweak some ... okay getting carried away now).

So I'm happy to buy an Application again if I feel the developers are actually supporting their product properly. Obviously like in any market there are people trying to rip you off, and in those cases just turn your wallet away.

Why would developers release OS-specific apps? this will kill their older versions and produce fragmentation like Android.

Bad idea. Personally, I'll not pay.

All the whining about paying a few bucks for significant changes to an app are getting tiresome. There's never a shortage of the angry, cheap types, I guess.

Dear Developers, please don't get discouraged by the whiners--they're just a vocal minority. Thank you for all your hard work and making cool apps!

I don't see a problem with it but for me not a chance in hell. I very rarely pay for an app and have never done an in app purchase. I simply can't justify it when there are so many free versions offering well done, similar experiences.

Understandable from both the users and developers viewpoint, though, I would also think that users who have previously purchased the apps should get some sort of a discount for purchasing an app the second time. As for me, if I love the app enough and I feel like I use it quite frequently I will gladly pay full price for it again.

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It really depends. Do I have the option of using the old app? Or does the old app become un-usable when upgrading to iOS7? If I have the option of using the old app vs the new version, I would take it on a case-by-case basis.

BUT, if the old app becomes unusable, then I think the upgrade should be free. the customer has no option but upgrade to the newer iOS7 (yes I can stay behind, but then a lot of apps will become usable after awhile since they need to go to the latest version of iOS). Why should a paid app become unusable because of a system upgrade.

Just my 2 cents.

Why we have to pay again? It is competitive case. If an app wants to charge again probably I will use a substitute app or no use anything. Then it is an opportunity for competitors apps to gain customers. Apple could have a risk and loose more share against Android and also the apps that will charge again.

I tell you what. If I have to rebuy the products that I already paid for, then how about Apple rebuys their phone back from me at the price I paid?

Make significant changes (I mean significant enough to call it a new app) and market it under a different name. Twitterific 2 or something. Continue updates for the original to preserve the functionality they paid you for and anybody who wants the new one can buy it.