I like paying for apps. I’m happy to support developers. But I don’t like overpaying for apps.
If a new app comes to my attention, looks like something I’d use, garners positive reviews and costs a few dollars or less, I’ll buy it. If it’s more expensive than that or if it I’m not sure I really need another ‘best’ weather app1 I’ll look it up on the invaluable AppShopper.
If it’s an app that’s been out for a while AppShopper can tell me if it’s been on sale before. If it has, I’ll likely wait it out for the next cut. If its price has remained static over time then I’m more comfortable buying straight away, pretty confident my stingy side won’t come to regret the purchase any time soon.
Past performance has been a reliable indicator of future activity, saving me a substantial sum over the years.
For example, 1Password is a fantastic app but if you buy it at full price you’re a mug. Same for Yoink or CleanMyMac. You don’t have to wait very long for them to be on sale again.
SuperDuper on the other hand, or Things, have never been offered at a discount as far as I’m aware. And the developers of Ember have made clear their app will never be on sale. So go and buy them today, there’s no point waiting.
There lies the difficult decision for a developer. Offering a price cut entices buyers (including tightwads like me who’ve been waiting for such munificence) at the time, but makes it less likely people will pay the full price. Whether that makes long term business sense is for the individual developer to decide.
Which bring us to Writer Pro. Let’s be clear, this is not a review, it is not a comment on the quality of the app.2: This is a post on pricing and a gentle warning to price-sensitive prospective buyers.
You see, Writer Pro is $20 for each of the Mac and iOS versions. That’s reasonable (for the Mac version at least) but if history is any guide you’d be a fool to pay it.
iA Writer, the predecessor to Writer Pro launched for $18, a price it maintained for less than two months before falling to $10. In the two years since, it had adopted various price points between $5 and $10.
The iOS version of iA Writer launched for $5 before falling to just $0.99. Among numerous price changes it has hit the $0.99 level six times.
I paid $18 for The Mac version3 and every one of its subsequent price drops made me less and less likely to pay full price for any other iA product.
So when Writer Pro is released in a few hours I’ll read all the reviews and I’ll likely covet the software but I won’t be buying. Yet.