If it’s Free, Leave it Free! (My Main iOS App Pet Peeve)

I like apps.

I have said for a long time that the thing that makes an iOS device work is the apps available for it. The iPad will live or die based on the apps that are written to take advantage of it’s hardware. The iPhone sells so well precisely because of the apps on it. Apple knows this, as you can see from their ads (“There’s an app for that…”).

And there are a ton of great ones. Some of them cost a bit, but you can find quite a few that are free and very functional.

I think it is admirable for developers work hard on a app and deliver it for free. I have no issue when developers charge for an app. People have a right to get paid for their work.

But do that up front. Do not release a free app, and then load up an update with annoying in app purchase notices and “donate” messages. If you want to capitalize on your free app’s popularity, release a 2nd version for pay.

My kids like an app that records their voice and plays it back through an animated cat. Nothing big, but it was a pretty popular app. Recently an update was released. Suddenly the main screen is crowded with in app purchase icons. My kids kept accidentally hitting them, launching the purchase dialogue. No fun for the kids. Pretty much ruined it for me. I deleted the app. An app that popular could have carried into a version 2 for a fee. Instead, they decided to tack it onto the free app, and clutter the interface.

I had a free note app for the iPad. It was great. Then an update added a pop up box, asking for money. And, incidentally, a bug that hampered the app. It became too annoying to use. Then the company launched a pay version of the same app, a “pro” version. I moved on to another note taking app.

Free apps should remain free. Don’t annoy your customers. If you think your app should cost something, do that on the front end. Don’t offer it for free and then try to stick to those of us that download it.


Things I Would Like for the iPad

Dear Developer,

As you are aware, Apple announced the iPad last week. It’s a new kind of tablet device that builds on the iPod Touch/iPhone interface. There are some things I would like for you to develop for it:

Apps I would like:

Boardgames- I would like to see some board games that fill the screen. Monopoly, Sorry, and other games that don’t require secrecy to play (like card games or scrabble do) could be developed. The iPad could become a staple of family entertainment.

Accessories I would like:

Headrest Mount- I want to be able to hang the iPad off the headrest in my car. I want to be able to watch any of the massive collection of videos I have available in my iTunes while driving. I don’t have a DVD player, so this would be much better than trying to let my kids watch my iPod. If you are really inventive, and the software allows it as hinted by some developers, you could devise a second mirrored screen for the other headrest.

Scanner- While I don’t really need one, I would like some sort of scanner. If the iPhone camera can scan barcodes and allow apps to catalogue or check prices, you can figure out how to do something similar. It will take the iPad more firmly into the business world as small businesses can use it to do inventory, etc…

If you take an idea from here, all I ask is for a free version of the final product.