Hey, if Forbes magazine can get away with yellow journalism in the 21st century, certainly I’m allowed to abscond with one their cherished headline phrases and use it for the good of mankind.
Nasty surprise? What if you walked into your favorite grocery store to pick up a list of items and found none of them had price tags. You can pick up each item, place it into your shopping cart, and even take it home. The price comes later.
Let’s not fool ourselves. We live in a capitalist world where everyone wants your money. You want a raise. The boss wants to keep salaries down. Anyone who sells anything wants more of your money. You want to give less. How all that greed keeps things going still amazes me.
Apple is no different. Let’s use the recent hardware as an example before moving on to the fun stuff. Software. Apple introduced new iPhones, new Watch models, a new Mac mini and MacBook Air, and two new iPad Pros. What do they have in common? The prices are higher.
What about the App Store?
For years we coasted along on 99-cent throwaway apps but thanks to in-app purchases and subscription plans, those days are mostly gone. The App Store once had a simple In-App Purchase button sort of buried in the applications description and details. Once you found it, a simple click would reveal in-app purchase options. A free app might have a 99-cent price tag to remove advertising. A more worthy app might unlock additional features for a few dollars more.
Those days are gone.
Check out the App Store now. You can find many applications with an in-app purchase option but you won’t know how much it will cost until you download and install on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Sneaky, right?
Information that once was valuable to a customer has been hidden. You must download the app first, then you can find out how much it will cost you.
That’s wrong. That’s a nasty surprise.
Worse, subscription application prices have gone through the roof. I downloaded a simple diet tracker app last week. It’s worth a few dollars, yes, but if you want to track extra items it becomes a subscription app that charges $2.99 a month. Forever. Try that with half a dozen such in-app purchase and subscription options and suddenly you have expensive apps on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac– and Apple has more of your money.
Instead of being able to view the in-app purchase options before downloading an app, Apple makes you download the app first, then determine if it’s worth the upgrade price. Many are not.
Nasty surprise, indeed. I vote no.
UPDATE – In-App Purchase price options have returned to apps on the App Store. Noise helps.