Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by Tim Webb
We're so spoiled. You think TC-11 or iMS-20 are expensive at $30? The latest buzz in VSTi land is for Sugar Byte's Cyclop, which comes in at over $100 more! App development is no less time consuming. If any of you participate in betas, you know how many iterations an app goes through in the bug-squashing phase alone!
The comments on a recent article here suggest that most folks are open to paying for new app versions. We're okay with supplementing further development. Especially if the new app was introduced at a discounted price! Apple subsidiary FileMaker Inc. thought this was a good idea too, so they released the latest version of their Bento software as a separate app, at half-off.
All well and good... However, they went the extra-step to force upgrades by removing the original app from iTunes! If you don't have a local backup of the app, you have no way of restoring it! This is fucked up, especially for people who decide they don't want the upgraded app now. If 3 months down the line they need to restore their iPads, and can't install a backup, they will be forced to pay full price for the new version!
Perhaps that's an edge-case, and only a few people will be inconvenienced by that. Here's something that could happen to anyone.
Developers deserve to be compensated for their time, and we all agree that the principle here is fair. So how about some fair play on your end? If you're going to do this sort of thing, please make customers aware of your plans in advance. If you know an entirely new app is going to be replacing your current one in a month, post something in the iTunes description to disclaim that! And for the love of Woz, don't remove the old version from iTunes! I realize this means trying to support multiple apps, but a reasonable window of future support should be a factor in the purchase of any app.
Possibly Handy-tip: In the comments here, CG and ChrisG (no relation), suggest that you can find apps that are removed from iTunes by browsing through your previously purchased apps. From your iPad: Updates > Purchased > Not on This Device... and then try to find it manually in that list. You cannot just search. If anyone can confirm or refute that, it would be handy to know! What apps have been removed? Does this work for apps that Apple has explicitly removed for violations?