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TUAW Poll: Do you use in-app purchasing?

David Winograd

One of my favorite apps is Night Stand [iTunes Link]. This app contains a variety of different themes (clock displays) and has an alarm, pretty basic but I use it every day. Last night when I ran it, I found that there was a new clock theme named Glow for in-app purchase. It looked interesting but there was no way to find out the cost without hitting the 'buy' button which I did. Luckily, before it was purchased, a confirmation screen came up with the price of US0.99. This was a bit surprising since US0.99 was the full price of the app which already came with six themes.

This got me thinking about whether in-app purchasing will work or not, or if there is any rhyme or reason to pricing? I wouldn't buy one-sixth of the value of an app for full price and I wonder who would? Last week we ran a story on how in-app buying is not working out so well for Pangea. I wonder if it's working out for anyone?

My feeling is that iPhone apps are looked upon differently than full Macintosh applications. They are cheaper and tend to do one thing only. Night Stand is a clock, it doesn't purport to be more than be a clock. So what should a new clock theme be worth?

I've started viewing apps as casual purchases and at the price I don't expect more than one thing, which if done well, is worth the buck. So I'm not seeing the value of highly priced in-app sales. I can see the reason for some expensive apps charging for major functionality increases, such as Navigon when they added a $US20 live traffic option to their $US90 Mobile Navigation app, but that seems to be the exception and not the rule.

I would guess that extra gaming levels would be an expected revenue source, but I just don't see the majority of people spending enough time with a game app to run out of levels and buy more.

Take the poll below and then comment on your feelings on in-app purchasing. Will this turn out to be something big, or is it just another solution looking for a problem?


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