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 Apps will have to update to reflect that change, or risk looking old and outdated, and lose their place to newer, hotter updates and upstarts.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.