But as the consumer, I have to admit I grow tired of paying for the same app three or four times.
I suspect this is a common refrain and I think there are more than a few issues compounding this:
- The iOS 7 update has certainly caused a lot of apps to charge for new versions and all together that gets expensive, but this is certainly not how a normal couple of months go for paid upgrades of apps.
- As Bowler notes, there is no reason to upgrade something that is working, but we often feel we must. Either because of a new design, new features, or what have you to an app that we use several times a day. It’s hard not to update something when you use it constantly and the upgrade is only a few dollars. That said, it adds up.
- There are some bad seed developers ruining the experience for others. Some that do barely anything to their app and then call it version 12 and charge for a new version. I’ve been seeing a lot of head scratchers lately, and that is also adding to customer frustrations.
There’s nothing easy to point at as the cause, but there are a lot of little factors that are adding up right now. Ultimately, I think more subscription pricing is the future — allowing developers to set expectations that you have to pay me $X.99 per year/month to use this app. I’d personally love to see apps start charging $1.99-2.99 a year for an app with free upgrades. There’s no surprises in that for users and it gives developers a way to keep money coming in without having to resort to shady tactics.