I will admit, I’m a free app lover. A real cheapo when it comes to my apps. I currently have a 5 row springboard with 4 pages of apps and a ton hidden with “Poof!”, and most are free. I have just found that most of the things I want apps for have one available for free. Or a lite version. However, I am an admitted (and proud) oldskool video game junkie.

So… when Square Enix recently released two Final Fantasy games for the iPhone I was in. I didn’t know what they would cost but I didn’t really care. I bought into the hype gladly. When the apps were released (finally!) I hopped into the App Store that day to buy them. $9 bucks! Wow!

Up until then my most expensive app was probably $1.99. And I saw that was for EACH game, not both. I went ahead and plunked down the $9.00 and I have to admit, it’s pretty great. Very authentic, not laggy, the graphics are old style & good.

However, I wasn’t willing to buy BOTH games at that price. Why? The fact that I couldn’t try them with a “lite” version first. Now I know that in the grand scheme of things $9 bucks isn’t a ton of money, but for me it’s an expensive app, especially since I’m still rockin’ a 1st gen and who knew how it would work?

I’ve seen several apps around the $5 dollar range that I could probably be persuaded to buy if only I could try them first. And I have certainly bought paid apps after trying the free version and liking it. So the question is… how much should an app cost to require, or at least desire, a free version first? Because I have no problem paying for it, I just want to see if I like it before I do. If it’s a good one I will definitely buy.

Are some of these app developers shooting themselves in the foot by not offering a lite version, or at least a few days trial period so us users can give it a try? I know for me personally, I would buy more if I could try more. Thoughts?

  • Most of my apps also are free. I’ve put a little bit of money into some pop cap games and some specialized tools but by and large, all seven screens are filled with free apps. The reason I pay out $40 to $100 to way way more $$ for computer software at a computer store is mostly due to my confidence in a reputable software company and the promise of necessary and timely updates. That’s simply not a possibility in the app store. Developers, weary of the approval process, don’t update until there is a major revision if at all. More than that developers disappear from the app store altogether (either because they move to another platform or they get caught in the path of Apple’s latest hissy-fit).

    So, to answer the question. I would pay up to $40 for an iPhone app from a reputable developer if they had a free functional lite trial version. If they don’t do that, or if the developer has a reputation for not being able to get updates approved, they have to respect the $3.99 price-cap.

  • Colten

    If you wanna try more, you should try downloading cracked apps and if u like them then u can go and buy them.

  • atavision

    I have bought some expensive apps, like the AHD when it first came out for $30 (what was I thinking?!) and a few others like Beatmaker (highly recommended) and a medical muscle finder app that were in the $20 range, but for the most part I agree with Sebastien, go for free trials to see if the app is worth your money.

    I try to keep my app purchases under $8 or so, and only after doing a little due diligence on the developer. I figure if the app is less than the price of a cheap lunch, then that’s okay (I’ll bring one from home this week).

    On a separate note, I too am still rockin’ the first gen. iPhone and would love to know about any turn by turn navigation apps that might be decent on a non-GPS phone.

  • atavision

    Oh and yes, I know that GPS is an important part of turn by turn direction apps, just wondering if there’s an alternative for those of us still living in the first gen?

  • I’ve spent over $300 on apps since December 2008, but I’ve never bought an app for over $10. If it’s from a trusted developer (such as EA or Gameloft) and reviews are largely positive then I’ll happily fork over up to $10. If I’ve never heard of the game/developer before then I will seek a free lite version before buying if it’s more than $5. Ultimately, paid apps are worth it – though I generally wait for sales for apps >$3.

  • .99 cents is the most i want to pay but since street fighter came out for $9.99. i am willing to pay 10 bucks if the apps is worthed.

  • j3553

    usually $.99-1.99

    if its really good, i may pay more.

  • Juan

    The most expensive app I’ve purchases is $25 for a navigation app. I waited until it was on sale. I don’t have issues paying $10 if the app is good. Most of my apps are around $2. I have very few free apps since I really dislike ads. I pay to get rid of ads.

  • I prefer free apps, too, and check out those possibilities first. When a developer puts a price tag, it can be justified. As an example, I have the HP 41CX app which costs 20 some $ and is worth every penny. For me there was no question about paying for it. The email support from the developer is great as well and that means his time taken which somehow must be covered by such costs.


  • iPhoNerd

    Hussein, I cam here to write a comment thinking that I am crazy to spend $70 on a single app. and $150+ altogether. But man, when I saw you spent more than 300 I feel better 🙂 just kidding…

    Well, I agree with Sebastien. If they think they made a good app, they should give a lite version for trial. Some of them do it which is great, but those who don’t give trial probably know their app is crap and they just want to make quick money or even if they wants to give a trial they will decided not to because of all the hurdles they had to go with Apple to get their product to app store.

    Talking about Cydia or Rock applications, some of them give a trial before you try it which is really good. But none of the themes doesnt come with a trial and I spent more than $50 on Cydia/Rock got get themes after seeing the nice screen shots, only to realize that I paid for shit :))

    well, cracked apps? thanks but no!!! lol I like my iphone and want to use it until its battery give up lmaoo… I dont want to pay apple to replace my battery and give away my phone for a refurbished replacement. 🙂

  • Spazbite

    I download cracked apps if they are more a pound, i paid 400pnds for my phone so why should i pay more to get things on it, should have half the things on it alreafy, but i do buy cheap apps tho.

  • Did you know that there is the possibility to get money back for apps, if you do not like them?
    I do not know if it works in US as well, but in Germany depending our law for online-selling it definitly is!

    If i buy an app, and it does not work as described, or i just do not like it, i can go into the iTunes store and klick “Problem melden”, i think in english its must be sth like “report problem” and than you can choose a reason and if its in the time of 14 days after the buy you will get your money back!

    Its awesome :p

  • @iPhoNerd Well, in this case, you agree with Angi because she’s the one who wrote this article, not me 🙂

  • iPhoNerd

    @Sebastien oops!, I didnt pay attention this time 🙂 I agree with Angi 🙂

  • The iphone has changed the way we all think about paying for games i must admit i like to try the free version first. If it good ill will pay more if not then i womt purchase