It seems crazy that iOS is six years old now, and Apple still hasn’t introduced a way to trial apps before buying them. Apple’s motivations in this aren’t clear — are they concerned that trialing apps will give users less incentive to buy them, and therefore make it less likely for Apple to get a 30% cut? — but it seems obvious to me that trial versions of apps would ultimately be a boon to the platform, allowing app developers to command higher prices on apps than they currently can.
How would such a system be implemented, though? iOS and Mac developer Amy Worral has some really smart ideas. And the best thing of all, they’re simple for Apple to implement.
There’s no other options: on an App Store page, you can either opt for the free trial, or buy it outright. If a trial app is downloaded, a “Trial” banner is draped over the app icon, just like how iOS 6 handles New apps. And when you run the app, the status bar always alerts you to the fact that you’re using a trial app, and tapping on the bar lets you buy the app outright.
What happens when the trial expires? Amy explains:
Once a trial is used up, you can’t get a trial of that app again on the same Apple ID. When the trial is used up, the app icon still remains on your device, but the flag says “Expired” and tapping on it takes you to the App Store rather than opening the app.
It seems really simple to me, and the genius of this idea to me is it doesn’t lock any app functionality away. I’d love to see this implemented with iOS 7, wouldn’t you?