Another common gripe I didn’t touch on in Monday’s article is Apple making its iWork apps available free to new iOS device owners. (As a side-note, I think it would be fair to assume the same will be true of any new Macs that are on the horizon. Remember: one of Apple’s yet-to-be-played cards from WWDC is “awesome new releases for both Mac and iOS [iWork] suites” - but I digress).
Lots of folks posited that as a result of iWork going free, the bar for apps to prove their value has been raised - particularly those paid-for upfront.
I think there’s certainly an element of truth there, particularly in an App Store that expects apps for Free*. After all “If Apple can make their world-class productivity and creative apps free, why can’t you?”.
However, I firmly believe that the risk of devaluing apps isn’t as important to Apple as ensuring the platform continues to extend its reach. Apple’s job is to act in the best interests of the iOS (and OS X) platforms, ensuring the platform and its devices remain best-in-class. Remember how the Surface was marketed as the “only tablet with Office”?
Making the iApps free is an important strategic play - and it’s more important than any implication for paid apps - apps which Christina points out are possibly on life support at this point anyway (at least in certain categories on iOS). iLife has worked wonders to attract people to the Mac. The depth and full-featured-ness of the iApps echoed across each Apple device you buy is a force to be reckoned with - and a force of attraction for the platform that developers should consider to be in their longer-term best interests.
If you’re going to build a paid app, now would be a good hone your marketing plan. There’s still a market - a smaller market, perhaps, but a market nonetheless. The market “just” needs to know more about you, and the app you’ve been building.