Regarding Tweetie 2.0 Costing $3

We were going to post some long preachy editorial about Tweetie 2.0 being a paid upgrade but it looks like everyblog and their siblingsite has already done that. So here's our quick take:

We're buying it, and happily. We asked developer Atebits why they went the route of a new app vs. an in-app purchase, and the response is worth quoting:

If all I were adding were features, then the in-app purchase route would have been an option (but then again, if all I were offering were features, I'd probably release it as a free update). Tweetie 2 is a fresh start, 100% rewritten, shares no code with the original :). The only thing they have in common is the name.

So bottom line, Apple doesn't (yet?) provide a mechanism for paid upgrades, and in-app purchase allows for more content, not for replacing an old app with a whole new one. So, yeah. This is the option Atebits took, and it works for us. New great app, same great price. And it is a great app, one which took considerable time and effort to make, and we want to support that because we want the developer to be successful enough to make Tweetie 3.0 just as big an update next time.

Sure, scale factors into that -- $3 is a no brainer, so if you ask us what we'll do if a GPS app wants $100 again next year, well... We'll

(And you believed that part up front about not being preachy... ha!)

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

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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Regarding Tweetie 2.0 Costing $3


I think it would be smart for them to offer a discount to previous owners, but that's certainly not something that the end user is entitled to.
If you go buy a 2010 car, you don't demand a free upgrade to the 2011 model when it comes out, do you? Your car works perfectly fine, and if you want the flashiest and newest model, then you pony up the cash for it.
I use tweetie on my iPhone, and I probably won't pay the $3 for the new app, as the old one works perfectly fine for me.

If Apple had a mechanism to offer upgrades to previous users, I am sure that atebits would go that route. Without that options, they have no other choice. It's a NEW app with the same name.

Yeah. I think they should've offered a reduced price to those who already purchased it. It is a great app but there's a lot of great Twitter apps. I don't feel the need to re-purchase this one when I've got at least two other great ones and one that pushes.

FL Studio has had free updates for life for as long as I remember. A friend of mine has been using it since version 5 or 6, and always gets the new versions for free.

Can't believe people are complaining about this. $3 is a low price for such a great app.
A discount? Come one, what discount do people want? 25 cents?
I paid 2.99 for Tweetie and even more for Twittelator Pro; Tweetie was way worth it, Twittelator Pro was not worth it.
Would I buy another product from Twittelator Pro's creators? Absolutely Not. From Atebits, creators of Tweetie, Absolutely Yes.

If I buy Madden 2008 and then Madden 2009 and then Madden 2010, I expect to pay full price each time. Despite the fact that the current version greatly builds on and improves on the previous version, I don't have any expectation of a free or even discounted upgrade.
How is this any different? I wouldn't even call this an upgrade. IMO, Atebits' biggest problem is using the same name. If he had simply called it something else, I bet we wouldn't even be having this conversation.
It's an entirely different app from a coding standpoint, and it's a drastically improved app from a features standpoint. That, to me, is plenty justification for equal pricing.

Also, it's only $2.99. I am very surprised at how so many people can buy an iPhone for hundreds of dollars, pay a huge amount for the service, then gripe about great apps that only cost 99¢ to $2.99
Come on. Really? You get less use out of a $2.99 hamburger but I am sure you happily eat it in less than 5 minutes.

Just one concern, Dropbox came to the iPhone requiring OS 3.1, but since it's not yet jailbreakable through redsn0w I and many others don't use it.
Is Tweetie 2.0 going to require it too or it'll work on 3.0?

I am still pissed that I must shell out money, when I just bought the old one prior to the announcement :P

Come on people. We're not talking about getting gouged for $500+ for a new version of a package we spent about the same for a year earlier. And I think we all know examples of software vendors who get away with this kind of practice.
Why is paying $3 for a highly reworked version of an app such a big deal? Have we really gotten to feeling so entitled for free everything that wr can't even tolerate compensating a developer who, working almost entirely on their own, completely revamps and expands on an application that we find useful?
I wonder if people felt the same way if employers suddenly decided they were going to stop paying us because they simply became accoustomed to the service we provide and no longer valued it the same way, and then got indignant with us when we stopped showing up for work. Sound ridiculous? Why, yes, it IS ridiculous.

Would it be possible to keep Tweetie 2 in the same listing in the App Store, costing 3 dollars, if you were a previous owner it would be a free download as per usual, but with an in app purchase of .99 or 1.99? It would not be elegant, but the possibility for discounted upgrading is there.
@Jason Comparing it to Madden is harmful to your cause, as the Madden franchise is actually a ripoff, with 60 dollar yearly roster updates, along with highly touted but ultimately minor features and tweaks.

I think people all over the internet who say things like "It's only 3 dollars" are missing the larger point (typical, I know).
While as a programming I completely understand that when you completely rewrite something it's new from the ground up, the problem here is it sets a nice precedence for other developers. If Tweetie can charge for a version 2 of an app, other developers are going to start charging full price for major version upgrades, defeating the whole idea of buy an app once and you get the updates for free. There is certainly an argument to be had over the whole "we should pay for a major version update" but that should be saved for another time.
Now, my understanding is that in the App Store there is ZERO way for the app developer to offer upgrade pricing to previous owners so I think this might be a hindrance at the distribution level rather than at the developer level.
Me, personally, I'm going to pay the 3 bucks. It is, again, only 3 dollars and I really like Tweetie so it's not really a big deal to me. But I did feel a little jilted when I first found out I'd have to pay again.

I was wondering when this would happen on the app store. It already happens to me on the BB

@jeffdc5 You're right. You shouldn't pay a dime. No one is forcing you to buy anything. Keep the old app and move on.

I always expected to have to pay for a new version. I will be buying the app as soon as it comes out, or at least after there are a few reviews so I know that it's not buggy.
On a side note, I cannot believe the results of this poll so far. I can't believe how greedy and self entitled you guys all are. Seriously. This generation of torrent sites and illegal music downloads is pathetic. You guys all think you're entitled to everything for free. I was so surprised when I got an iPod Touch and realized there were FREE apps. I thought I'd have to pay for everything. But I appreciated the free ones, whereas you guys don't appreciate them at all. You think they should all be free!
No wonder the economy is crap. Because you guys all think you shouldn't ever have to pay for anything. That's just pathetic.

@max have fun paying for version 2 of the app you already payed for. Thanks to jailbreaking I will be getting this for free

@waffles In-app purchase can only add content, not upgrade an app.
@others - I got paid yesterday and expect to get paid today. If the people who paid me said no, we already paid you yesterday, I'd be p!$$ed. If they wanted 50% off because they were "loyal" enough to pay me yesterday, I'd be just as p!$$ed.
Likewise, just because I bought Time Magazine yesterday, doesn't mean I get next weeks for free, and unless I subscribe, I don't get a discount either. Same goes for a similarly priced Big Mac at McDonalds.
@Michael Koby: You're right, however, that this might not scale if GPS App X wants $100 again next year, but that would depend on the content of the update.
Ultimately, however, it does fall on Apple for not providing an upgrade mechanism yet. Maybe 4.0? Then a popup could say "you already bought 2.0, 3.0 will only cost you $1.99".
Still the flip side of low volume pricing is that there's little room for discounts. $3 is nothing. If it was $30, then a better case could be made.

You say 3 dollars is nothing what happens when the developer of "things" or beejive decide to charge 15 dollars for version 2 of apps? Will you say its nothing then?

If it's really from the ground up, shares no code with Tweetie, a totally different app, he should call it something else. The problem is he's breaking faith with those who bought Tweetie with the reasonable expectation that -- like almost every other iPhone app out there -- they would get major updates. Why buy Tweetie 2? Maybe we should wait Tweetie 3, since that probably won't be a free upgrade to the 2 buyers.

You forgot a key demographic in your survey. People who really don't give a damn about twittering.

I don't think users are 'entitled' to anything in this case. Entitlement is saying 'I deserve to get all updates for this app because I already paid 3 dollars for it!'. Do you really deserve to get all updates for this app free because you paid 3 dollars once? Here comes the car analogy... do you deserve to get free upgraded parts for your car?
Some people write software because they want to. Some people write software because it makes money. Some people write software because they want to, and because it makes money. If the developer chooses to charge for an update or upgrade, then you can choose not to pay for it if you don't want the upgrade.
Whether or not you are entitled to discounts, you actually can't give a discounted paid upgrade via the App Store. You either give free upgrades, or you relist your app. (Well, I guess you could roll out a free update that had an in-app purchase for more functionality. I'm not sure if Apple allows that, or if they do allow it, if they allow it consistently.)

@jeffdc5 so you are saying that as the cost to upgrade goes up, so does your entitlement to getting it for free?
How about looking at the product and deciding if you should purchase it based on what it's offering?
I'm buying Tweetie 2.0 because it has some cool stuff in it.

@jeffdc5: What makes software different? If you bought Transformers on iTunes, should you get Transformers 2 on iTunes for free? On DVD? What line is being drawn and why?
@Lubsy: What faith did they break? Did Tweetie 2.0 description promise free updates for life? Why would anyone imagine they pay once, get forever. What else works that way in real life?

It's three fucking dollars. Come on now. Times are tough.....but three dollars. People deserve to get paid for their work. If they want to give it away for free that's great, but it's usually because they can. It isn't due to some altruistic nobility.

I can see the arguments both ways. Personally, I'm fine with paid updates - but perhaps limit it to once every 18 months.
Apps get updated ALOT, I'd hate to be paying "only $3" several times a day for those updates!!!!
The fact is though, this reduces the value of an App in my opinion. I'd not pay more than $0.99 for an App that is going out of date soon enough.

Tweetie 2 wouldn't exist if it were to be a free update. It flat out wouldn't be worth it to the developer. What, you think this update just took a couple days? This is a completely new app that took a lot of time to develop... and time is money. Why is it that people expect for so much to be free from developers? What about xbox games. Do you expect the next version of same game you own to be free for you? No.

When software costs $100 or $1,000 I don't expect free upgrades. People have to get used to the business model where you don't pay that much up front so you need to pay more later to get new versions. That's the price of getting 99 cent apps. You pay for the work that happens after you buy.
The fools who think they should get free updates for life, I hope they enjoy living in their socialist paradise. But please, tell me where I may find this Nirvana?

My only problem with this is that if my apps always need to have paid upgrades.. and upgrades come as often as they do.. I'll have a lot of little red bubbles above my apps.. and that will start to annoy me.. I don't want the badges telling me to update, if it also wants me to pay money.. Do I have a problem paying in this case.. no.. but if every app went this route.. I would stop getting apps, and start using Safari a lot more.

Sorry but when I buy an app I've come to expect free updates. Devs who don't stick to this will not get my money. I'm not about to be nickel and dimed by these devs.

These devs are playing on a slippery slope here because once buyers realize they'll be charged for updates they'll be more inclined to wait for later versions of the app to be released rather than buying early. In theory that would mean lower sales to begin with and the possibility that the developer never makes a second or third version due to the lack of sales.
As for those comparing this to large scale software sorry to break it to you but there is a huge difference between a desktop app that takes hundreds of people to develop over a three year period and a little app that takes one guy to make on his nights off over a months time.

Really. How do people expect to have real improvements over time if everything is free. So it's expected for tweetie 2 to get better and better over the next couple years and the poor developer doesn't make another dime off it? Do you really see that happening? Would YOU work that hard on a product for FREE?

Its an app, some are free of cost.. you are asking why those people are working for free.. yes, I do feel people are free to charge for the fruits of their labor.. but, you have to go about it in a way that makes sense.. This just doesn't.. he should have, if nothing else.. changed then name.. but like I said, in this case.. I would pay the fee, but if I choose not to, I do not want to be agrivated by the badge telling me I have an update everytime I look at my phone.. If Apple would allow me to just ignore, then I wouldn't have a problem with it as much.. unless every dev went this route.. As Miles said, this is one of those things were.. this extra $3 could lose him a lot more money then it will gain.

You seem to assume a zero sum game.
If the market for Tweetie 2 consisted ONLY of the previous purchers of Tweetie 1, then they have already lost, because with each new PAID upgrade, they will lose more customers.
You expand your market share by ADDING customers and "eating the other guy's lunch", not by doing something that a significant number of your existing users believe (rightly or wrongly) to be unfair.
FTR: I do software development for pay for a living. When products reach that point in their life where a total rewrite is required, its 1) a messy situation, and 2) the developer's fault and 3) poor life cycle management.
Never the less, when/if this happens you are far better off freezing the old version, while still making it available and introduce a new version with no pretense that it is the same product.
Three bucks is not worth the argument. but as Rene says above, if it were a $100 package or even a $20 package, Apple has to come up with an incremental upgrade fee.

My 2 cents: The app name says "Tweetie." If I buy Tweetie, I expect to get Tweetie and not have to pay again for it.


When software costs $100 or $1,000 I don’t expect free upgrades.

Do you expect to pay full price all over again?
The problem here is that the market place is broken. Apple needs to add an Upgrade capability without forcing you to use in-app purchases. The App store already knows what you purchased, so for those users, they could offer custom upgrade prices.

There are many different types of developers developing for the app store. There are those who are learning the sdk and make free apps for the experience and feedback. There are those who do it as a hobby and could care less about the money and provide their apps for free or $0.99. There are those who are trying to make good quality application and make a living out of it. Then there are those who work for large corporations who have the budget to develop free applications for customers who pay them by other means (Comcast, Starbucks, etc...). You also have those who make free applications because they are generating revenue from ads within the app.
I have no idea what you are talking about when you mention a badge telling you that you need to update. This is an entirely new application that in fact does have a new name - Tweetie 2. This is NOT an update, it's a new app.


I have no idea what you are talking about when you mention a badge telling you that you need to update.

If you had the old one, and went to the App store on the phone and checked for updates, does it show Tweetie 2 as an update to Tweetie?

@icebike I understand your point, but I don't think it's going to happen in this case. Yes, a lot of people are pissin and moanin about having to pay another $3, but I'm willing to bet my iPhone that most of them will still buy it. Yes, atebits will probably lose some his current customer base, but not enough that he'll be taking a loss as a result. I think some of the complainers are going to buy it, love it, and a week later forget they were ever even complaining about it.
I'm pretty sure a big reason atebits even started from scratch was because there was such a drastic change in available APIs once 3.0 came out. So I would't blame him for "needing" to start from scratch.

The problem is one of expectations and communication. Until now people expected to receive free updates forever, in particular for apps that are not free or >$1. Tweetie is $3 which is not cheap on the app store, even though it is objectively cheap. And yea, if the Things people ask for more money I will be mighty, mighty pissed.
But ok let's say the developer feels that despite expectations, its just not profitable for him to go $3 forever. Now we come to the communication issue. The developer was obviously working on this for a long time, so at the very least he should have said on his app page that a new version will be coming out soon and he will be charging for it. If I was one of the people who bought it over the past few months I would be mighty, mighty pissed. The developer was greedy and deceitful by not informing buyers that they soon will have an orphan app. It's just stupid to crap on customers like that, considering there are about 10 other twitter apps which are all pretty decent.
And that is the second point about communication. is the Tweetie app is an orphaned app and will not be updated? There were a few weeks where Tweetie was broken because of the Twitter apocalypse. Can we count on the developer to upgrade the old version? At least communicate with your customers.
In fact, if he cared about his customers, he would have developed a Tweetie 2 using the new code base, but feature equivalent to the current Tweetie, and given that for free to his exsisitng customers. Then he could have charged in-app for additional features like e.g. GPS (which personally I am not interested in). That is much fairer to his existing customers because they will continue to move along on the new code base but it allows him to continue to make money on his hard work. So his argument is just BS and a big FU to his customer base.
Personally I am using tweetDeck more and more and if I buy another Twitter app it will not be Tweetie. In fact, I will probably remove Tweetie from my phone.

@icebike NO! That's my point. This is a NEW APPLICATION. Tweetie will still be Tweetie and Tweetie 2 will be different. No different than Tap Tap Revenge and Tap Tap Revenge 2. Last time I checked, people didn't complain about paying for that "upgrade".

I have no problem paying for major upgrades or new apps. And given that the app was programmed fresh (which seems odd - they are throwing away all the old programming?), it seems clear this could just be an "update". But I am wary of developers creating some small new feature, then releasing it as a new version (and new cost). SOME updates and new features should be included, IMO. The Rolando/Rolando 2 comparison is valid, but were there ever ANY updates to Tweetie? Or did we buy it just to have it junked for Tweetie 2? Will Tweetie 2 be updated, or will we come out with a "new app Tweetie 3" next year?

I'm actually more pissed about hearing nothing from atebits till recently. I am mad that all these other paid or free Tweeter apps put push notification into their version or Twitter when 3.0 came out and atebits did nothing. I bought the app and still use it, but I will not upgrade to 2.0

Aron T has said exactly what I am thinking. I bought Tweetie just three months ago. I never wanted a whole new app, I really would have been happy with a few little things being added to Tweetie (like an indicator of new mentions and private messages) but with Tweetie 2 coming out, Tweetie will likely be abandoned so there is no chance of any features being added to it any more. The way this was handled by the dev has pissed me off so much that I am definitely not buying the new app and I have already removed Tweetie from my phone and replaced it with Twitterrific.

I think the real question is when does a release deserve to be a free update and when can it be a viable "new product"? Along the same lines, does a developer have any obligation to update old products, or should they simply have a new product release cycle?

I guess I don't understand the problem then.. I thought I read people mentioning that he should have changed the name.. I'm perfectly fine with it being a new app.

On drawing lines, and developer obligation:
The developer should draw their line wherever he/she feels they can continue development and make a living. As customers, we draw our line by deciding where we will plunk down our cash. The only problem here is that the App Store only lets Atebits draw two lines "full price" or "free" -- the former will (eventually) annoy customers who are used to the discounted upgrade practice common to shrinkwrapped software, and the latter (eventually) is not enough to make and sustain a living.
The App Store needs some mechanism for developers to draw at least a third line that can both attract new customers and make existing customers happy. This has not been much of a problem yet, but as more and more successful Apps reach new version milestones, this problem will crop up again and again.

For Apps like tweetie, paying 3$ for an upgrade is perfectly ok. But, if everyone starts adding new apps for new versions, it would only make the app store more difficult to find what we want. The only best way is, Apple should allow developers to charge for updates. This is lame. Will Apple give me a 3GS for free as I already have a 3G? Then why does it expect devs to give app updates for free?

I do not mind paying for a new upgrade. 3.0 to 4.0, but all of 3.0 3.1 and so on should be free. All bug fixed should be free. All paid apps should not have adds.

I'd like to see how this breaks down over diff age groups. I have no orb paying for a upgrade like this. Wouldn't expect win7 for free cause I have vista already. It's not like you old app stops working cause this new app (update) comes out so buy it if you just have to have the lates and greatest or stick with what you have that's been working. The guys got to make a living too get off his back maybe this thought is just cause I'm getting old and always have paid for the thngs I want and if I can't buy it oh well at least I got what I have. Getting older sux!!

Well seeing as those who paid for the original seem to be left unsupported and without updates, as the publisher hasn't really discussed much on his original Tweetie for iPhone I'm left out? What happens if he does this again will I have to pay out again? Too many unanswered questions left for old users. Plus he never released many updates an when the twit-apocolypse occurrd his app became dead for weeks practically. Hate to see what happens with a whole new app on his hands. Echofon Pro here I go.

Unfortunately, your poll is fairly useless. It depends on the company and some companies are less scrupulous than others. Saying, "paying for a new version is fine," is a ridiculous overstatement. I've seen apps that come out with a small upgrade, slap a number 2 on it and make people pay all over again. I'm not saying that's going on with this app, but the door is definitely open to that.
As far as this app is concerned, I have an app (Tweetie 1) that I paid for that becomes instantly useless if I decide to purchase Tweetie 2 and if I don't buy Tweetie 2, I know that no updates will ever come along to make Tweetie 1 any better. My cost for Tweetie 2 would essentially be $6, since I paid $3 for an app I'd be deleting and $3 for the new one. I don't think they're unreasonable for expecting payment, but I think it would be nice to give a discount for people who paid for an app that, if they buy the upgrade will be all but useless.
In short, I don't think they're wrong for charging the full amount, but I don't think they're exactly nice for doing it this way either. If you want to tweet me, I'll catch you on TweetDeck.

WTF!! It's 3 dollar application. It's not like your getting hosed for 99 bucks.
Most of the really good apps on the app store are worth more than the developer is able to charge for them. Because the perception is that it's on a tiny device so it should have taken 5 mins to produce. The app store prices are low people and the old model of I get a reduced price on the upgrade does not, and should not extend to it. In desktop software terms. You got the education version for the low low price and it has no upgrade path.
And once again let me remind you. It's 3 dollars!! Don't act like a linux freetard!