Devs on Apps: Charge Us More, Users Less
Craig Hockenberry, the widely acclaimed Mac developer of Twitterific, has had extensive experience developing for jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches. So, when he weighs in on the iPhone SDK, it's definitely worth a read.
From the 70/30 split to the $99 publishing fee, the lack of information about distributing 3rd party apps to beta testers, the possibility of try-before-you-buy demos, and the mechanism for paid upgrades, Hockenberry pulls no punches:
One thing that disappoints me about the iPhone SDK sign-up is that the entry fee of $99 is too low. I look at the entry fee as a way to filter out developers that aren’t fully committed to the platform. [...] A higher entry fee would lessen the chance of this becoming a bottleneck for getting my product into the system. Please charge me $499 and let move to the front of the line.
Wait... Charge developers MORE? And what, pass the costs on to the consumer?
So assume you spent some evenings and weekends writing a cool little utility or game. You submit it to the App Store and set the price at $1.43. You get $1 of pure, unadulterated profit from every user of the app. [...] Steve promises us there will be ten million iPhones in the world. If a tenth of a percent of them impulse-purchase your $1.43 app, that’s $100,000.
Alfke also covers the interesting possibility of Xbox-style game expansion packs as revenue streams, and takes a not-to-subtle swipe at carrier gouging and consumer gluttony via the ringtone market.
Hmm, serious developers charging no-brainer prices for "next great platform" apps? I'm in! What about you?