iPhone Dev Program Broken?

Time.com begs the question as to whether consumers would be, and should be, willing to pay for App Store apps:

So why can't all iPhone apps be free? Well, quite simply, because people are still willing to pay for them.

Er... No. All apps can't be free because all developers don't get free housing, food, and a healthy cash allowance for themselves and their families to live off of while they develop all these fantastical free apps.

It's the same reason why the Time.com writer probably doesn't work for free, even though the web page containing the article has advertising on it.

There will, no doubt, be tons of apps offered for free. We've already heard about Apple's iTunes remote as well as free apps from Ebay and AOL AIM from the looks of the recent Guided Tour video. These will all be released because their business model supports releasing them for free. Their companies feel that they will either be able to generate sufficient revenue from other sources (like advertising, or paid pro versions) or are willing to eat the cost as part of their marketing (hoping it will serve as a loss-leader to drive the products or services that really pay their bills).

Personally, I'd love apps to be free. I'd love gas to be free. I'd love a new Mac Pro to be free. But it's really economics 101 at work here, isn't it?

I'm sure I'll find a free app or several that'll be useful, just as I'm sure I'll find some commercial apps I feel are worth paying $9.99 (or whatever) for. And if I don't think a particular app is worth paying for, I just won't buy it. Simple as that.

What about you? Do you think there will be some apps worth paying for?

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