Some apps & games stay on my iPhone out of guilt

Earlier today while perusing the feeds, I caught this snippet via DF concerning the Android Market (the app store for Android).

The Android Market business and program policies also include an item that says users can return any application for a full refund within 24 hours of the time of purchase. In the absence of a trial version of applications, this offer will let users return an application that might not deliver exactly what they expected.

A 24 hour window for Android users to act on buyers remorse by returning applications which fail to meet expectations if a trial version is unavailable. I see two great one-ups over Apple’s execution of the app store here: 1) trial versions of software, and 2) 24 hour period for refunds. Common consumer right(s).

Despite enjoying the iPhone 99% of the time, the final 1% when I receive a bank statement – which reminds me of app store purchases screaming FAIL – is not so great. I’ve learned to offset bad apps by skipping the morning coffee run and drinking drip instead.

The choices for finding worthwhile apps relies heavily on feedback from others:

  • Trust reviews within the App Store. Until recently, app reviews were open to anyone. Apple smartened up and now requires that customers purchase / download before reviewing. I may be wrong, but the overall weighted ratings for apps may still be calculated based on prior reviews from potential non-users.
  • Trust reviews on blogs. With the increasing number of fluff apps making their way into the App Store, it is hard to keep tabs on applications with real value. Generally, if an app is good enough for an honorable mention or review on high traffic blog it must be worthwhile. Right?

Feedback and reviews from others are great, but actual hands on time before making an assessment of whether or not that .99 cent tip calculator to the $999 joke of an app I Am Rich (removed) is worth keeping gives the consumer real control.

When I first started reading stories similar to Trism raking in $250,000 in a little over 2 months, I began to wonder what percentage of these hefty take homes should have been refund credits had the model been in place.

One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure… Or so the Cliche goes. I have bought a lot of apps. A couple keepers, a few mehs, and a couple pages worth of garbage. Some remain on the phone just because I feel guilty. $140. The total racks up quickly. A lucrative business model for both Apple and developers.

What are your thoughts on the App Store? How much have you dropped? And of the total dropped, what percentage would you have gladly accepted a refund for?

Yes, I am aware of the fact that most of the high profile App Store releases offer "lite" versions. To those developers, thank you!

Discuss - 9 Comments

  1. Wow $140 on just apps? You must have a lot of interesting apps. But the problem with the 24 hour return is that some apps require more time to learn/get use too or to actually show its full glory. But it certainly better than none.

  2. Michael says:

    I do understand why a 24 hour return policy for apps would be a good idea but quite frankly I don’t understand why more developers don’t release free “lite” versions of their applications and release paid for versions with much more functionality, it just seems logical to me. I have spent my fair share on applications too (probably around $120) but I quickly realized that I need to be a little bit more careful when deciding whether or not to buy an application. I read a lot of reviews on sites like TouchArcade before I make my decision but lately I haven’t been buying a whole lot of apps.

    I currently have 6 applications on my iPhone and I use all of them daily (except for a couple of games that I only open once or twice a week when I’m stuck in a situation where I have nothing else to do). All of those applications are for pay (with Twitterrific as an exception). Many of the other applications that I’ve purchased or downloaded I just don’t need and/or wouldn’t use even if they were on my phone. Most of those applications were purchased early on in the App Store when I was just anxious to play around with them but a lot of them were just purchased/downloaded when the app was on sale or temporarily free and I thought there was a possibility of some useful functionality there down the road.

    But I truly think that people should stop complaining about the App Store. There might be some things that Apple could do to make it a little more user friendly but I think that most of the fuss over the App Store is from a whole bunch of people who should just start taking responsibility for clicking that “Buy” button. Maybe the app is useless but at the same time, maybe you should have read some more reviews before purchasing the app.

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  4. Kevin says:

    I bought a couple apps that I didn’t like very much, but I keep them on my computer (not synched) in the hope that they will improve over time and may be worth having one day. In which case, I can just upgrade and not have to pay for them again.

  5. James says:

    Aren’t all apps on the store wrapped in FairPlay? Why can’t Apple just universally create trial versions of apps that auto-delete themselves after, say, 5 days? That would free developers from the burden of having to program and submit two different versions of the same app (one free, one paid), and would also guarantee that you could try every app before you buy it.

  6. Derek says:

    James, this is exactly what I don’t understand. Why couldn’t Apple have implemented a system to automatically delete and or disable apps beyond x trial period expires? Personally, I need less than a few hours to decide whether or not an application is worth keeping on the handset.

    I like the idea of disabling an app after 5 days – yet keeping any personal data inputted into the app saved. If a user wishes to continue using the app, pay for it. Otherwise, delete and move on. A few dollars here and there isn’t that bad. But developers who earn a nice chunk of income for creating apps should do so because they’ve earned it, not because customers had no choice but to dole out the equivalent of a latte just to try something.

  7. I guess the pricetags and the way the whole app store is set up helps Apple into generating more revenue and I am sure that’s what they were aiming for…revenue. Your story only proves that they did a hell of a job. Since anyone can upload something on the app sotre for others to buy for .99$ it is bound to happen. I guess we have to read a review or 2 before purchasing but just .99 is not even worth the trouble. The problem is that .99 multiplied by many apps add up to 140$…ohh well been there done that …still doing it 🙁

  8. iphone geek says:

    The 24 hour return policy would be helpful for both the consumer and the developers because many people choose not to purchase an app simply because they don’t know if it is what they are looking for.

    With most information products online they have at least a 30 day refund policy, this is ideal and should be implemented by Apple.

  9. Dimitris says:

    I’ve bought apps worth of ~100$. I regret for most of them, except for the experience they gave me: It’s all to early. I think the appstore revolution is great, but it needs to get better. The iPhone needs copy/paste, stability, better safari.
    I agree on a demo policy and/or solution.