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Apple Should Enable 24-Hour Trials for All Paid Apps

Illustration for article titled Apple Should Enable 24-Hour Trials for All Paid Apps

Apple has a new App Store category called Try Before You Buy, which features free lite versions of popular paid apps. Nice idea, but not good enough. Apple, we want a full 24-hour trial period on all apps.

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Instead of having lite flavors of paid apps to try, Apple should implement an App Store-wide 24-hour trial mode. Right now, not all apps have free lite versions and, some of those lite versions, are feature limited. This is a problem, because it limits the user when they want to explore what's in the marketplace.

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How would it work

1. The user would be able to download any application at no cost. It will always be the full app
2. From the moment you start it up, the timer will start.
3. At the end of the trial period, a menu would appear asking the user to pay for the application.
4. If the user accepts, the application will remain in the device. If not, it would be automatically deleted.

This will also help the ratings of the apps: They could include the pay-through ratio in the algorithm to rate the apps, improving the ratings of applications that users choose to pay and keep.

Why is it good for (almost) everyone

Consumers would be able to explore freely, as they won't need the app to have a lite version in order to try it. This will also decrease the reliance on the App Store ratings and critiques, which are often dumb, or could be skewed by artificial promotion. Is there any other better method to vote than with your dollars?

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Developers will have the opportunity to show their full app to every consumer without having to maintain separate lite versions of their apps.

Apple will benefit from the consumer ability to explore any app, no matter if they have a lite version or not.

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This trial mode could only hurt one kind of application: The stupid ones. Those farty silly apps that have such a limited use that, after trying them for 5 minutes, you will never open them again. But if the app is good, people will keep it and everyone will be happier than now.

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DISCUSSION

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OCEntertainment

I'm not so sure that delaying payment for a day would be such a smart idea necessarily. If nothing else because, as we know, consumers as a whole are fairly stupid. It would be easy for this to get interpreted by some fool that "OMG! This app charged me the next day! IT'S VIRUS IN THE APP STORE." We'd know better, sure, but if there's one thing Apple likes to avoid at all cost, it's consumer confusion.

And that being said, a 24-hour-delay on payments would be a blanket solution that affects everyone, but only needs to affect some. There's some apps I buy knowing full-well I intend to keep them. Having read reviews or seen it on a friend's phone, I fully intend to keep it. So having a 24-hour delay in payment would just be an annoyance to me. A 24-hour refund window makes more sense and yields the same effect. The only minor difference is that you can't get your "trial period" if you don't have that $0.99 in your account. Which, if you can't even temporarily afford the few dollars most apps clock in at, maybe a smartphone is not for you.

That one minor logistics issue aside, though, I'm with you on this one Diaz. I currently use an Evo as my primary device, and have an iPhone 3G I carry around as an extra device because I like to stay up on both sides of the app world as much as possible. And it's an annoyance that I can't even try something without either committing to paying full price, or getting a gimped version.