Here’s How Apple Should Make Trial Version Apps Work In iOS 7

trialversion

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.

Here’s how Amy sees it working (via Macgasm). When you submit an app to the App Store, you can choose to either eschew trial versions entirely, or allow a trial for 1, 7 or 30 days.

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?

Related
  • technochick

    How is that any better than the current method of free with ads, remove them via IAP or free to level x/feature whatever, buy the rest with IAP that Apple set up. Nothing. The issue is that developers just don’t use it. Just like they would choose ‘no trial’ all the time. Because guess what? For the most part, developers don’t want trials

  • ElVox

    I agree with technochick…and so does Marco Armant in his blog…he posits (and I believe him to be right) that trial apps would kill a lot of mid and small developers, because we wouldn’t be buying 20 weather apps, just 1 or maybe 2…and prices would have to go up…so we users would be spending the same amount of money, but it’d concentrate on the top 1% of the developers and would kill the “middle class” hard.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , |