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.