What’s the latest trend in apps? In-app subscriptions. That means you can browse through the App Store, try an app for free and if you like it or want additional features, the price tag goes up. By the month or by the year. Subscriptions are here to stay. Your money is not.
Welcome to the new age app subscription economy.
As much as Apple likes to tell the world how user friendly the company’s products are, one can ask a simple question: “Why is Apple hiding in-app subscription prices?”
The answer is simple. Money.
More money for Apple. Less money for you. More money for app developers. Less money for you. Allow me to declare a scourge from subscription apps thanks to Apple’s customer unfriendly policy regarding in-app price tags.
Not too long ago the App Stores changed and in-app subscription prices required an extra click to reveal the ongoing charges. The reveal wasn’t much of a reveal as detail for monthly vs. annual vs. various premium packages remained obscure.
That changed recently and not for the better.
Today, the iOS and Mac App Stores no longer list details of any kind for in-app purchases or subscriptions. There’ no click or button to be had. Instead, customers are required to download an app with an in-app subscription first, try the app, then search around to find the real price tag.
Sticker shock, folks.
If my aging memory serves me well, iPhone and Mac applications available on the App Stores were far less expensive a few years ago than they are now with in-app purchase and subscription options. For example, I wanted to add a calorie counter to my iPhone to track, well, daily calories.
A number of such calorie counter apps are free, yes, but most come with an in-app purchase to unlock additional features, and the good ones are worse– subscriptions by the month or by the year.
Many are $2 to $4. Per month. Think $20 to $40 on an annual basis; all easily added to your iTunes account and deducted from your credit card. You are not required to do anything except download the app and tap on the so-called premium option for in-app purchases and subscriptions.
This is a scourge because you are forced by Apple and the app developer to try the app first with a download before you can find out how much the in-app purchase or subscription costs.
Apple does not care if it’s not a customer friendly promotional method because both Apple and the app developers will make more money and customers will foot an ever increasing bill for applications.
This is the nature of life in a capitalist society. Everyone is out to get your money and the in-app purchase and subscription model is just another sneaky method to segregate you from your assets.
UPDATE – In-App Purchase price options have returned to apps on the App Store. It may not last but apparently it does not hurt to complain..