APP PRICES KEEP FALLING. IS APPLE TO BLAME?

Share

AppStore Ingles big

Last week I read a truly interesting piece by Nicholas Lovell on Gamesbrief. He spoke about Valve’s decision to let developers control pricing on Steam, and argued that it would take software prices to zero, just like in the App Store.

Lovell makes an interesting economic analysis on why free pricing and competition make prices plummet. In short, he believes that when there is enough competition, goods’ prices – in absence of marketing or perceived value considerations – tend towards their marginal cost, which in the case of digital goods is zero.

The point that I find most fascinating, though, is when he argues that the reason why the App Store is like that is a deliberate move by Apple:
“The Appstore is less than 1% of Apple’s revenue. Apple has become one of the most valuable companies in the world on the strength of making high-margin, well-designed, highly-desirable hardware. One of the things that makes its hardware desirable is that there are over a million apps available for the platform, many of them for free, that extend the capabilities of the phone in a way that Apple might never have imagined.
Steve Jobs wanted to enable the free price point for mobile apps because he hypothesised that having a competitive market of entrepreneurs striving to make their software work on his device would drive the desirability of his hardware. Boy, was he right.”

And goes on to add:
“In the case of both iOS and Android, keeping prices high for software would have been in direct opposition to the core businesses of Apple (hardware) and Google (search-related advertising).”

So, in his opinion, Apple created a hyper-competitive marketplace – by having a very low entry barrier and hardly any actual curation, see here – where practically anyone could publish – and yes, that includes ourselves :) – and pricing is not regulated, so the final result is what we’re seeing now: lots of free stuff.

Now, it’s not that the current state of the App Store is necessarily a bad thing, I guess it depends on who you ask. What seems likely anyway is that the trend is not stopping here. Free Apps are getting more relevant everyday – for a funny look back, please read this article fom 2009. In it $0.99 Apps are seen as a terrible thing. I bet its author wishes all Apps were at $0.99 now.

In all, I’ve always thought that Apple somehow was responsible for the rise of F2P, and some of their decisions (like making it easier to make an iAP app than a time-limited demo, for instance) seemed to point in that direction. This article has managed to turn that suspicion into certainty. Now what do you think? Do you agree?

 

THE APP STORE NAMING FIASCO

Share

A few days ago, I was doing my weekly App Store visit to look for new stuff and I noticed something weird. Lots of Apps in the Top 200 for each category had very long names.

The majority of them were something like “Jelly Candy Chocolate Sweet Blast”, “Dress Up Game for Girl Free – Virtual models, Queen style, Makeup, Outfit & Hair salon” or “Celebrity Little Ear & Throat Doctor: fun hospital nose care games for kids”.
But a few really stood out, like “Fruit Story: Pop farm diamond bubble hay spider my flow diner juice candy sonic jelly frozen pet dragon heads jewel coin free rescue vale city blast dash cubes witch horse heroes splash crush fall mania island dozer mobile saga day adventure games 2″  (please note the ’2′. Apparently, it’s a sequel).

But the best one was this:

TeCagas

Really Apple? I mean, really? Come on, it even has “super mario bros”, “spiderman” and “scribblenauts” in the title. There’s no way a human being has approved this name. So much for the superior curation of the App Store. And how come it’s still there? It looks like King wasted their time trademarking the word “Candy” when stuff like this is around  :)

Now I can understand that this sort of stuff must improve your App’s visibility – a flaw in the App Store search algorithm, if you ask me – but this is beyond ridiculous. Discoverability in the App Store is bad enough as it is, and these practices – and Apple allowing them – do not help.

Apple must get their act together and tweak their search engine to avoid this, while at the same time ban the most offensive titles like that last one.

On a side note, it’s funny that if you search for ASO (App Store Optimization) tips, many times you’ll find snippets like this: ‘Your App’s title is the most important piece of ASO, and it shouldn’t be over 25 characters long, because it would appear truncated and hurt user experience’. These App spammers seem to think otherwise.

Well, that was my rant. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to upload my latest App “Fun Grand Theft Auto Great Angry Birds Free Uncharted Halo Shooter Platform Kids Girls Fantastic”.

APPLE REDEFINES THE GIGABYTE

Share

apple byte

How many bytes does a megabyte have? Until last week, I would have said 1 048 576. This comes from the fact that a kilobyte has 1024 bytes, and a megabyte is 1024 kilobytes, therefore 1024 x 1024 = 1 048 576. Similarly, a gigabyte has 1024 megabytes, and so on.

This is what I was taught at school. But the other day, my Mac tried to challenge that knowledge. Let me explain:

I was trying to backup my XCode installation. According to Mountain Lion, a total of 1.67 GB. Cool. Copied to an external drive. A few days later I plugged that drive in a Windows system. What? XCode was only 1.55 GB. Something was wrong!!

Continue reading

IS THE IPHONE 5C TOO EXPENSIVE?

Share

iPhone 5C cheapThe recent reveal of the promised ‘low cost’ iPhone has stirred a good deal of controversy. A fair amount of people feel disappointed by what they deem too high a price.

The brand new iPhone 5c, expected by many to be the answer to Apple’s continuous market share loss, will finally launch at $549 with 16 GB of storage, slightly less than the brand new iPhone 5s. And specs wise, it’s roughly exactly like the previous iPhone 5, only that with a polycarbonate finish (and improved battery).
Continue reading

ON THE APPLE DEVELOPER SITE HACK

Share

space invaders apple hacks

A couple of weeks ago, Apple’s Developer Portal suddenly went down. In time we learnt it had been hacked, and some developer data had been compromised.
While many of you already know the full story, here is a quick rundown of what happened, and some of the implications for developers.

Continue reading