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Apple's path for Paid App Upgrades

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?

Reader Comments 11

Agreed, here in iOS land we are spoiled with the cost of apps; there are many examples of an iOS app costing a tiny amount of a desktop counterpart and even though it obviously doesn't have the same flexability or functionality, the fact that you have it at all, and on the same device that you do blah blah blah on, is awesome.
This move is a step too far though. Developers deserve to be compendated for the work and effort that goes into giving us these wonderful programs, and I'd have no problem at all with paid upgrades, if they could find a fair way to offer it. This though is certainly not the way to do it.

June 20, 2012  | person_outline Blebhead

Agreed, but using sugarbytes is probably not a good example as they are very expensive.

June 20, 2012  | person_outline Matt Hooper

Yea don't remove the old apps. Apple really needs to clean up the AppStore and put isome new rules/policies in place. However you can re-download an app that is removed if you go to your purchased section (the cloud) and browse for it, search don't always work wich can make it a pain the ass to browse for on your idevice.

June 20, 2012  | person_outline ChrisG

Cyclop was on my mind as it is the one trying to tempt my wallet presently!

It isn't that hugely expensive compared to other VSTis. Rob Papen's Blue is $179, Native Instruments Massive is $100. If any of those were $30 you'd hop on it and call it a good deal. When an App is $30 I'll actually say "Woah!" out-loud.

To get an old app that is no longer in the app store all you have to do is go to Updates / Purchased / Not on This Device. Problem solved.

June 20, 2012  | person_outline CG

Lol. Or just backup your stuff!
I have every version of every app I've ever bought; it's not as if external drives are that expensive. Three words: backup backup backup.
Sometimes OCD pays off!
I still have a massive Laserdisc collection.

June 20, 2012  | person_outline Blebhead

I beg to differ, CG.

Once an app is removed from the App Store, it doesn't show up in your purchased items no matter how you search for it. Can you give an example of an app that was removed that you were able to re-download through your purchased list at a later date?

June 20, 2012  | person_outline gatearray

Search doesn't work, you have to manually browse for it page by page. I think search under purchased items only works for apps that are still in the AppStore.

June 20, 2012  | person_outline ChrisG

Nope, manually searching through the pages produces no results, either, I just checked. Once it's gone, it's gone, and there is no way to "re-download" a removed app through iCloud in the Purchased section.

Again, do you have a specific example?

June 21, 2012  | person_outline HadToSayIt

And how about this?

- You buy an app, it sits on your computer and iPad for months then it gets pulled from the App Store. Will that app be removed from your iTunes and iPad automatically on your next update?


June 21, 2012  | person_outline TuneGuy

No. If you have the app on your iPhone/iPad or in your iTunes library, it stays there, and you can install and uninstall it however you want.
I've got lots of apps that have been pulled from the store (VLC mdia player, MAME etc,) and still have them installed after firmware updates; even if you uninstall them you can reinstall them when you want through iTunes Sync.

June 21, 2012  | person_outline Blebhead

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