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Apple launches In-App Purchase for free apps

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, October 15, 2009
News Categories: Apps + Games

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Apple has sent out an e-mail communication to its paid iPhone developers announcing the availability of In-App Purchases in free applications. Prior to this announcement, Apple has repeatedly stated a “free stays free” mantra for keeping In-App Purchasing out of free apps. The announcement reads, “In App Purchase is being rapidly adopted by developers in their paid apps. Now you can use In App Purchase in your free apps to sell content, subscriptions, and digital services.”

The message continues, “You can also simplify your development by creating a single version of your app that uses In App Purchase to unlock additional functionality, eliminating the need to create Lite versions of your app. Using In App Purchase in your app can also help combat some of the problems of software piracy by allowing you to verify In App Purchases.”

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Comments

1

Bait and switch App frenzy incoming.

Posted by BeefJerky on October 15, 2009 at 2:57 PM (PDT)

2

Bait & Switch?  Maybe.  Actually, I think this is a step in the right direction- it makes iPhone apps function more like their desktop counterparts.  No longer will we need to have “lite” or “free” versions.  A developer can now have one app that is free, and if you like it, you can purchase the full thing.  Of course, this will apply more to games than other utilities such as Twitter apps.

Posted by Josh C. on October 15, 2009 at 3:18 PM (PDT)

3

But why did Apple ban these type of transactions in the first place? Because people can be lured into downloading “free” apps that require payment after a short period of time. I can see the business mdeol for this, but I can also see that a number of developers may take advtange of this as well.

Posted by Dave on October 16, 2009 at 9:52 AM (PDT)

4

Does this mean ‘proper’ MMOs for the iPhone/touch?

Posted by James_G on October 16, 2009 at 2:47 PM (PDT)

5

Who knows if this is a step in the right direction only time will tell. It really does open the door for bait and switch and rest assured there will be plenty of it.

In addition, this is more downward pressure on the price of an application as if $0.99 was not cheap enough.

Posted by PineappleApps on October 16, 2009 at 5:33 PM (PDT)

6

I think this is both good and bad.  I liked Apple’s original idea of “free stays free.”  I also like the idea that, if I get a good score in a lite game, I can just in-app purchase the rest of the game and save my score.  The only way I think any in-app purchases are going to work, though, is if they greatly lower the prices of in-app purchases.  Take, for example, Tap Tap Revenge 3.  A pack of 6 songs costs $3, which is 50 cents a song.  Still, it would more economical to simply buy the songs in the iTunes store, where you can use them without the app.

Posted by Mr. Morozov on October 17, 2009 at 12:03 PM (PDT)

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