My Love Hate Relationship with the App Store.


Every few weeks I peruse the App Store for the newest and/or highest rated apps. I usually download 5 or 10 apps to either keep or “test-and-toss”. Eventually, this net casting yields some of my most loved apps, like Feedly or Blinkist.

But today, when downloading my new bundle of app joy, I realized that half the apps were actually pay-to-play/pay-to-enjoy. The majority of the features, for which I bought/downloaded the app, are on complete lockdown. I imagine it’s like having your child tell you that they hate pizza but will eat it without sauce or cheese, or that the only thing they like about Star Wars is Jar Jar Binks.

Many apps make money by upgrades or subscriptions and I am totally okay that if they offer useful enough features within the basic version. But I have noticed two problems more and more often. Firstly, apps you currently own often do updates that take away a massive amount of the previously free features and add them to the subscription only features. Secondly, new apps often hook you with a great purpose and design, but offer nothing without subscription. I guess dad was right, nothing in life is free (or at least it’s starting to feel more and more like that reality).


My issue is when the “extra features” are really the entirety of the app and without them the app is rendered useless.  And considering that I do not want to give my soul away in subscription payments to an app that oftentimes isn’t wholly different from other apps in its category; I’ll stick to the basics and only pay for the truly unique apps.

Although, I completely understand the need to make revenue and have a profit, especially considering app creation and upkeep can be very expensive. All I ask is that all apps are *marked in some say to denote hidden $$ within the app or perhaps a pre-down pop-up. I can guarantee this would also save Apple more headaches with legal issues of minors making in-app purchases on parents accounts. Just Sayin’.

Summary: Perhaps I am over thinking this, but honestly in the streamlined, hyper-categorized world that we live in I expect companies to be more transparent and value their customer’s experience more.

Solution: save our precious time (and data) and be warned when apps have a little bit more hidden commitment than they let on.

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