Though the App Store is one of the best in the business, it certainly could stand a few changes. One of the refinements users have been calling for is the ability to take apps for a test spin.
The current policy calls for users to pay for applications before they get a chance to try them out. This isn’t a huge deal with $0.99 applications, but you could potentially pay $20 or $30 for a program that ends up not working out…
While it’s an inconvenience to most folks, it’s actually against the law in Taiwan. The lack of a return policy actually violates the government’s Consumer Protection Act, which calls for all mobile applications to have a 7 day trial period.
The capital city’s government found that both Google and Apple’s mobile storefronts violated the mandate, and on June 8th ordered the companies to change their policies.
It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the Economic Times of India is reporting that Apple has changed its policy. Their Taiwanese version of the popular App Store now offers users an option to return apps within 7 days if unsatisfied.
Now, this presents an interesting situation. On one hand, a 7 day trial period is a definite win for consumers. But on the other hand, it could certainly stifle profits that have made iOS app-making so attractive to developers.
Let’s throw in another dynamic. Would a trial period in the App Store deter anyone from downloading pirated apps? After all, the App Store’s lack of a refund policy tends to be the common scape goat among cracked app users.
I think Apple should offer some sort of test period for apps. But I’m thinking more of like a 24 or 48 hour trial period. Otherwise it seems like applications made for short-term uses like vacationing or travel would cease to make money.
Should Apple allow trial periods for apps?