How To Price Your iPhone Apps

This evening I got a hold of Google’s Voice Search App for the iPhone. Something struck me as it was downloading – I had not even checked to see the price. In fact, up to a certain price point I doubt I would’ve balked at downloading it even had I checked.

I am perceiving, as are others, that there are certain price thresholds for iPhone, and in time – other mobile, apps.

Let me run through them:

* Blind at price
The combination of a trusted source and high anticipation results in a “blind at price” threshold. As with the Google app – I would not have hesitated, but see later for the upper ceiling. The caveat here is that subconsciously I may have anticipated the app would be free given it is Google’s modus to give apps away for free and make money off ads.

*Buy to try
$2 seems to be the common wisdom of a price point at which most people are prepared to front up with the cash simply to try out an app. It is also a price point at which you are not likely to make much noise if you don’t get sufficient value for money. Adam Ostrow, in reviewing PhotoArtist, agrees as do a number of the people who commented on his story.

In contrast, when I downloaded CameraBag for $3.99 I was disappointed with the initial functionality and seriously considered creating a stink. Thankfully the app has since wobbled straight and I am loving it. In fact it is the primary photography app for me on the iPhone, which I am experimenting with as my primary photography device at present.

* Excellent marketing
Between $2 and $5 an app needs to both satisfy an immediate need and promise sufficient value. This translates into having excellent marketing of the app – a great picture, brand and blurb about the app and most of us will download it. This is what hooked me on CameraBag for example. It took about three “look sees” before I decided to take the plunge, but their story eventually thresholded me.

* Trusted name, compelling app

Between $5 and $15 there aren’t many apps that get me interested. However, with Will Wright’s Spore app I had no hesitation in putting the cash. The combination of his name, the corporate behind him and the actual app’s reputation had me hooked.

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