As the App Stores don’t have a paid update mechanism, many developers toil away, updating apps for free, forever. Many developers took iOS 7 as an opportunity to drop support for legacy versions of iOS 7, give their app a visual overhaul and charge again for it.
It didn’t go well for Realmac and Clear.
via Clearly We Have a Problem — 512 Pixels.
Look, as a developer, I totally understand the need to have some kind of payment system for updates. Developers work long and hard to write their programs. It’s not fair to them to not get rewarded for giving their users what they ask for.
From Apple’s point of view, I can see a problem if they were to have update pricing in the App Store. I could see developers abusing the system. I’m not saying all developers would and I’m certainly not saying that Reammac would.
The problem with the way Realmac wanted to handle the update was (I think) to eliminate the old version of Clear from the App Store. This causes huge problems for users. If they lose the copy on their device, they won’t be able to re-download it again. Now, I and probably many others don’t have this problem because I store all my apps on my computer. However, in this age of tablets and smartphones, many users may not even have a computer to have the app backed up on. They need a way to restore the app if necessary.
Updating the existing app to iOS 7 only is also not a solution. At least it wasn’t. Before Apple implemented the policy of downloading the latest version for the OS the user is running, a user would lose the ability to use the updated software if their device couldn’t run the version of the OS that the software was updated to. I personally had this happen to two $40 apps and I was not pleased! Apple’s new policy allowed me to re-download those $40 apps so that I can use them again.
Keeping the old version of Clear in the store and creating a new version “Clear 2″ or something like that really is the only viable option. Sure, that causes some feathers to be ruffled. If Realmac can’t handle that, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what mobile platforms they develop for. I personally don’t have a problem paying a few dollars to update to a new version if I am going to use it. The world of 99¢ or free apps is not conducive to developers making back the money they spend to develop the software we use.
Realmac, let the users complain. You need to make back the money you spend developing Clear’s update to iOS 7. If your some of your users are pissy about it, how is that the rest of your users problem? If all your users are complaining, then maybe you don’t have good enough users to justify developing for Apple’s platform.
This actually happened back with Tweetie for iOS back in the day. Tweetie wanted to update to a new 2.0 version, but would have had to give it away for free. So he created Tweetie 2 and charged $2.99 for it. I never saw so many complaints in my life. I couldn’t believe that people couldn’t afford to pay what amounts to spare change for an update that was truly amazing.
The bottom line here is that if Apple doesn’t come up with some kind of a way for developers to get paid for the work they do (even when it comes to updates), I suspect developers are going to get annoyed and start seriously looking at Android for an alternative.