Due to the new iOS 7 redesign, many developers took the opportunity to rewrite their apps. Some of them made some visual and UI changes, while others rebuilt their whole app from the ground up.
One of those apps is OmniFocus 2 for iPhone from the OmniGroup, which could be seen as a premium app (looking at it from a price perspective and how people use it).
This is where I want(ed) to go with this whole app update pricing debate.
While thinking where I wanted to go with this article, I had a short conversation with Nate Boateng on App.net about the fact that - I'm paraphrasing - "OmniFocus 2 has him tempted… and he promised himself he'd stop this switching madness."
In this short conversation you can see that it's not only about the price, but also about the fear of spending a certain amount of money and then ending up not using the app.
About the same time, I also talked to Jamie Smyth on Twitter about "[developers] charging a yearly subscription in order to support continued development."
The principle is about the same. To have a great app that has an ongoing development and gets great updates and features, and also enables the developer/company to work full-time on the app, you'll have to pay some money. Either by having something subscription-based or by charging for a new app/update.
Initially this article should have been a linked post, but there has always been a lot of buzz around this topic, and as we can see there's no end in sight.
At first I intended to get into why Apple doesn't offer updates in the iTunes and Mac App Store, and that this might be a good and reasonable way to try and explain that this is the best way to let developers deliver good work and earn money. But it is clear that there's much more to it than just updating an app for free or charging for a whole new experience.
Sven Fechner has a great paragraph on this in his OmniFocus 2 For iPhone review:
Professional applications cost money – every time there is a major upgrade (anyone sank buckets of money into Adobe applications in the past years?). That money pays the developers, designers, testers and all other people involved in creating the application. And yes, it also makes a profit for the company behind it. I seriously wonder what has happened that this is now wrong. Only because it is a product you cannot touch does not mean it is not worth something! Try to walk into a BMW dealership and upgrade 3 series to the latest version for free.
I get it that there could be a totally different way of dealing with all of this, but for now this is the only way developers can earn money for what they're doing.