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App Pricing Remains Confusing To Most Buyers

August 14, 2010

With its larger screen, the iPad gives app developers more real estate to create their masterpieces. With that comes higher prices for the end-user. But, are the higher costs justified? That depends.

While iPhone/iPod touch users see anything over $4.99 as a high price point, those using the iPad are seeing even higher prices on some of today's top-selling titles. For example, CHAOS RINGS for iPad is $15.99, while the Documents To Go Premium - Office Suite is available for $14.99. Increasingly, it appears that $9.99 is an average price for most of the better iPad titles. Universal Apps When the iPad debuted, we heard a lot about universal apps. Here, the app is the same and can be used on either device. Really, these types of apps give you the most bang for your buck! HD Next, iPad developers pasted an "HD" moniker on the app to differentiate it from their iPhone counterparts. Often times, however, this meant little more than two price points. The actual apps were more-or-less the same, but users had to pony up cash to purchase two separate apps. Current Developments Thankfully, developers have seemed to push the bar further in recent weeks. Now, some "HD" titles are actually quite different than their iPhone counterparts. And, having two apps (with two prices) is actually justified. Take, for example, the recently-released Madden NFL 11. Priced at $12.99 for the iPad, the iPhone version is being offered for $7.99. Each includes unique features that differentiate itself from the other title. Users aren't happy to have to spend nearly $21 to use the title on two separate platforms, but in the end, they are different. And, also cheaper than buying the game on the XBOX360, for example. Another game, Osmos, however doesn't seem to justify two different games or price points. First, let me say, both apps are amazing. In fact, I love them. However, I don't see a reason to plunk down $4.99 for the iPad version and $2.99 for its iPhone cousin. The central point is this: be aware of app differences. My advice to our iPad and iPhone readers is to make sure that the price justifies what you get. Universal apps (which are distinguished with a "+" next to the price) are the most economical. When two different versions of the same app exist, check sites like ours and see if it really is worth paying for the app twice. The iPad is still in its infancy. As such, developers are still trying to figure out what sells and what does not and at what price. What do our readers think? Leave your comments below.

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