iOS dev’s sales test shows value in iPad/iPhone universal apps

iOS developer Kevin Ng has released results from an experiment he conducted with his app Kick Flick 2010. Early last month, Ng released a free update to the iPhone and iPod touch version of his app adding support for both the iPad and the iPhone 4 Retina Display, bundling this into a single $1 application rather than following the approach of other game developers in releasing a separate premium “HD” version of the game. In reviewing the past month of sales results, Ng believes that the figures make a “compelling argument” for iPhone developers to include iPad support for free in existing apps rather than charging customers twice for the same product.

iOS dev’s sales test shows value in iPad/iPhone universal apps 2

Ng constructed a graph of sales starting with its initial release in July, noting that additional purchases following the update almost matched the launch spike. Two weeks after its initial launch, Apple chose to feature the game in the iPad section of the App Store, leading to an even larger surge. Ng believes that providing support for both iPhone and iPad in the same, inexpensive app resulted in the application getting better exposure by being noticed and featured by Apple and by hitting top application charts in both the iPhone and iPad sections of the App Store. Ng notes that since the iPad and iPhone versions are the same product in the App Store, sales on either platform contribute toward the sales rankings in both sections. From this experience, Ng concludes that it makes sense for developers to add iPad support to their existing apps rather than charging extra and feels that this situation is “Win-win for the developer and the customer.”



4 thoughts on “iOS dev’s sales test shows value in iPad/iPhone universal apps”

  1. As someone who owned an iPod touch before picking up my iPad, I can say that developers who make universal apps are high on my must-purchase-from list. I wince every time I see an “HD” appended to an app that cost 99 cents for the iPhone version and $9.99 for the iPad version. Intensely annoying, especially since I intend to buy one of the new model iPod touches and really don’t feel like owning two versions of the same program.

    Its like saying that, if I want to run the PC version of Plants vs Zombies on a netbook I pay $9, but I’d have to buy a special “Windows 7” version of the game to play on my desktop machine and pay $10 more. Just silly. (Note: Popcap Games does NOT do this, this is a made-up example. 😉 )

  2. And as I make this comment, I do realize that Popcap DID do this with the iPhone and iPad versions,but the price difference for PvZ is not massive compared to other apps. And also, I can live without the iPod touch version what with having it on my iPad and the desktop version purchased via Steam…

  3. I own just an iPhone 4. Ultimately, I’m sure I’ll be buying an iPad. So when I buy apps I love when I find a “Universal version”. I hate the idea of having two app libraries and it just makes sense for me to think ahead. My point is, I don’t even own an iPad and I’m already leaning toward universal apps. Keep it up Devs.

  4. The other thing, which this data doesn’t address, is the value people put in iPad only versions.

    We have a touch and an iPad in our household. I find the genius of the app store is it works more or less the same way protected music used to work. We buy the app once and then me and my wife (and, eventually, my daughter) can have it on their iOS device of choice.

    Even without the majority of touch/iPhone apps updated for the retina display, they still look perfectly acceptable on the iPad. And, as more and more are updated for retina display, that difference is going to all but vanish. As a result, we pass on the iPad only editions when there are two versions out there and just buy the cheaper touch/iPhone version.

    So-called universal versions seem the best solution for everyone, including the devs. It gives them a reason to *modestly* raise the price over what the iPhone/touch app ecosystem has forced them to price apps at while avoiding the issue of users staying away from the questionable value of iPad only versions of apps that obviously aren’t different enough.


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