Last week I noticed that the excellent Pocket Informant had been updated, and when checking out the update I knew I needed to capture that screen – I mean, just LOOK at the image above to see some of what was updated! This is version 3.0, which introduced major interface changes as well as integration with other apps and so on. It is an app I bought early on in the App Store days, and one that AT MOST would have cost $15 (I think I got it on an early sale for $6.99, but can’t recall).
This is an app that I bought several years ago for one nominal price, and have been enjoying ever since, with more and more functionality and integration delivered FREE on a regular basis.
The fact that the majority of you reading this are thinking “… and, your point IS? … ” just illustrates how far we have come in recent years.
I mean, just to compare with Pocket Informant, think back to a program like Lotus Organizer. I use that because it is a very similar program in many ways. Back in ~1999 when Organizer was one of the top calendar and schedule programs, it cost ~$80. I noted 1999, because that is when they first introduced the ability to synchronize contacts with mobile phones. This came with the integration of a program called FoneSync, which you could buy separately for ~$45 to work with your existing Lotus Organizer install … and yes, all it did was play go-between from your Organizer contacts to your supported cell phone plugged into your PC.
However, if you wanted to get the latest and greatest version 5.0 of Organizer with FoneSync integrated, you could buy it for $80. If you were an existing user of Organizer 4.x, you could get $20 off … so yes, the upgrade would cost you $60.
This is just how things were done – major updates ALWAYS cost money. For many programs they still do – I love Mark of the Unicorn’s ‘Digital Performer’ music production software, and have been using it for nearly 30 years now, since the early days of MIDI. Yet with every version I need to pay $199 to keep my program up to date. That has gone through 6 versions of the original Performer and now 8 versions of Digital Performer … or nearly $3000 of upgrades on top of the original $400 I paid for the program.
For the last couple of weeks I have been reviewing a pre-release version of another major app update, this time on an iPad music making app. My review will be up after the update is released, but suffice to say it is the sort of update that merits a new review. And the cost to users? Nothing.
And for me, that is one of the amazing things about the Apple/Android ‘app economy’ – how developers have found a way to create useful apps in a short time that they can charge a reasonable fee to buy, and then can continue releasing significant updates that will at once reward user loyalty and draw in new users with the added functionality.
So when you check out your new updates on your iOS or Android devices, be sure to take a look at all of the added stuff the developers are packing in – and then head to their page on the app stores and take a minute to rate and perhaps even review the app. These reviews make a huge difference in the visibility of apps and can impact sales, and they allow them to continue doing the great things that caused you to download the app in the first place!