Friday, September 6, 2013

App Upgrades

iPhone apps are cheap.  Our GetRight Pro for Windows is $39.95.  FTP On The Go Pro is $9.99.

We did make a break when the iPad first came out, dropping FTP On The Go to a lower price (without optimized iPad support) and adding the PRO version with the iPad designed UI.  That worked well.

There have been many updates since then, and everybody has gotten them for free.  It makes us work our asses off trying to get new buyers, without any real way to get more money from many people who had bought 3+ years ago and are getting updated versions.

It's putting a strain on the business, competition is fierce.  Serious developers with decent success in the App Store struggling is NOT good for Apple.  Apple's deal so far has been "Free upgrades for life" however the "life" isn't your life, it's the life of the developer or business making the app.  If we fail, you don't get any updates anymore.

We put in a lot of work for iOS7 style UI, as well as cool new features that iOS7 allows like the line numbering in the text editor.

(Other apps of ours aren't so lucky--there are a number that just don't sell well enough to justify updating them for thew few new buyers they'll get, no matter how many people might still be using it.)

UPDATED ALL THIS.  We're doing it for iOS 7.  
If we go out of business nobody's getting upgrades anyway.

What We're Doing for iOS 7

We're going to roll our own upgrade pricing....
  • We are going to leave "FTP On The Go" and "FTP On The Go PRO" in the store, they'll get some updates, but won't be optimized for iOS 7, and won't get some of the new features (line numbers and color schemes in the text editor are some main ones, but it'll also look like iOS 6 on your new iOS 7 device too.)
  • We will release 3 new apps(!) "FTP On The Go for iOS 7" @ $5.99, "FTP On The Go PRO for iOS 7" @ $9.99, and the key one "FTPOnTheGoPRO Upgrade for iOS 7" that is free.  
  • The new paid ones are regular apps, optimized for iOS7 and with all the latest features.
  • The "Upgrade"version is the secret sauce.  You can browse and view files to see the cool new look and all the great stuff in the editor; but can't make changes or do the file management features.  (No upload/download/rename/delete/etc.)
  • When you tap one of the PRO features, it prompts that you need to Activate.  It checks which (if any) of the older iOS 6 versions of the apps are installed, and presents one of 3 In-App Purchases to Activate--each with a different price.  Voila!  Variable priced app upgrades.
  • !!!There's a big question mark about whether Apple will allow the Upgrader app.  I don't see any reason why not, it's doing everything within the App Store and SDK, but who knows.  If they don't allow the Upgrader, then it will just be the 2 new versions for iOS 7 at full price.  We had a big note in the Reviewer comments about what we're doing.  Apple approved it!  
  • After all the 3 new apps are approved we'll drop the prices on the iOS 6 ones a bit and do new versions of those.  We'll add to detect if they have iOS 7 and recommend the Upgrader app. With big notices in the description to look for the newer version if have iOS7.  But this keeps around apps that will work on older devices too.  
  • It can already do nice transitioning of bookmarks using the new Cloud Bookmarks feature; we'll add so it can export and send over all the Saved Files too.  All in some nice directions on a webpage we'll show them.  
If Apple allows it, the Upgrader will be great.  Existing customers get the upgrade for a discounted price.

If Apple doesn't allow it, we at least tried. Everybody who wants it for iOS7 would then have to buy at full price.

It would be so much easier if Apple would add some system of paid upgrades.  This is all going to be a pain, tracking and updating 5 versions of the app.  Not to mention when we get the language translations in; likely 30 from which did ContactClean.  Times 5 apps, times 3 localized screenshots per app (one for each screen size).  A boring couple days for Pete and Shawn, but Shawn said each click for new languages also clicked money which made it all good :)

Tim Ekl from the OmniGroup was at the NSCoder Night in Seattle and said that Omni was just making it OmniPlanner 2 and charging full price.  That's what got us talking today and totally switching up what we were going to do for iOS 7.

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