“I don’t buy apps.”
That’s the phrase I am hearing more and more from people when discussing apps on the iPad. I bring up a cool app that costs a couple of dollars and the person immediately states the above sentence. It seems as if buying apps is becoming more and more of the thing not to do. It is as if buying apps is a sin. Why buy apps when there are hundreds of free ones?
I can give you several reasons for buying apps, and here they are:
1. You get what you pay for. Yes, there are some great free apps out there. I have several of them. However, many of them are awful. Developers put a lot of time, and in some cases money, into their apps and it can be reflected in the price. Also, many of those free apps do not come with support from the developer. If you have an issue with the app you are on your own.
2. One word: ads. Many of the free apps are overflowing with ads that make the app close to impossible to use. I don’t want an ad popping up on the screen every ten seconds. I especially despize this practice in kids apps. I have downloaded several that are clones of popular paid baking apps. You can’t do anything in these apps without an ad covering the screen with the little tiny “x” to remove it. Young kids don’t notice that “x” (most adults don’t) and they just click through the ad and end up on a website or in the App Store. Some apps have an in-app-purchase to remove the ads and if the app is one you use often it is worth the money.
3. Speaking of in-app purchases, how many of those free apps are loaded with IAPs? The freemium model is very popular now, especially in games. You start playing without paying anything and then you can’t do anything else unless you make a purchase. I would rather spend more money for a full app without IAPs crippling a free one. I understand that many of the apps are in place of demos, and that is fine. However, many are not and those are the apps I don’t like.
4. Finally, apps let you get the most out of your device. There are outstanding apps that let you do things with your phone or iPad that you may have never thought of. Do they cost money? Possibly, but how much did that device you have in your hand cost? Would you buy apps for your computer? Well, this is just a smaller computer.
One might argue that another reason to buy apps is to support developers. I would say yes and no to this reasoning. Yes, buying an app supports developers who charge for their apps and helps them and others bring better apps to the store. I would argue against this statement because, as I mentioned earlier, there are many excellent free apps available. These apps may or may not have ads, and have no IAPs. The developer chooses to release the app for free. The best way to support that developer is to leave a positive review in iTunes. That developer might be providing the app for fun or for other reasons.
Do you buy apps? If not, what is your reasoning? Leave a comment below.