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Most apps for smart phones, whether iOS or Android, are relatively inexpensive. They are certainly cheaper than the programs for PCs and Macs over the past decade or so. As computing power increases and memory gets cheaper, software seems to pick up added bloatation, so it’s also nice to see powerful applications in a streamlined package.
Even though streamlined, powerful apps are fairly cost effective, there is on trend that bothers me – the “In-App Purchase.” You purchase a cheap application, or perhaps find a free one, only to find that inside the app you have to purchase additional components to get it to do what you want. I’ve found this to be the case with photography and music-related apps quite frequently.
For example, TC-Helicon’s VocalJam app is $6.99 in the app store.
By itself it’s a pretty good program. However, if you try to click on the effects buttons on the left side, you get the following message:
The Hard Tune and Correction effects are an additional $3.99. If you want the reverb effects, that’s an additional $1.99. Less than $12 for a really cool program isn’t bad at all, and it does save you some money if you don’t need these features. However, there is something that grates at me when I can’t use all of my software. Those little $2 and $4 purchases can add up.
iK Multimedia’s VocaLive is another offender. The “Lite” version is free. You can do some pretty cool stuff with it, but the app is limited. Each effect costs from $3.99 to $5.99, and there are a TON of them. However, the full version is $19.99, and all of the effects are included. If you know you’re going to be using several of the effects, it makes more sense to purchase the full app.
Unfortunately, VocaLive is satisfied with you just purchasing their app. You also get pop-up ads for other iK products, like this:
I don’t mind the In-App purchase as much if it truly is an addition to the program. The Camel Audio Alchemy Synth app comes with presets, but you can purchase additional ones.
This does not affect the way the software works, though, and you certainly don’t get annoying pop-ups when the program launches.
The concept really isn’t that new. I’ve gotten tons of Shareware and demo software for both PCs and Macs over the years. Some of it has been useful, and some, not so much. I guess I was just hoping that the app environment would be a bit more closed and complete than the software environment. It’s a forlorn dream, to be sure. The one constant truth is that if there is a way to get more money from a customer, a software or app company will find a way to do so.