Wow. I honestly never expected my post on Tweetie 2 last night to stir up quite such a hornet ‘s nest. It obviously struck a nerve, or several nerves, with a lot of folks “ and has been getting a volume of comments that we ‘ve never really had here.
There are a lot of good points being made, opposing views (to mine) that have given me plenty of food for thought. There have been a whole lot of very strong attacking comments, and many of them have attacked me for arguments I have never put forward. For most of today I have intended to just mod the comments (all approved thus far), respond to some where there seemed a possibility of real conversation or exchange of thoughts, and carry on with other things.
But because it is tiresome being railed at for things I haven ‘t said or argued for, I wanted to do this further post to try to clarify a few points, respond to a few reactions I ‘ve seen to the post, and ask a few questions
Just to quickly recap, last night ‘s post was about the upcoming Tweetie 2 app. It is the follow-up to Tweetie, a hugely popular and very good iPhone Twitter app “ from Atebits.
More specifically, it was about my reaction to the news that Tweetie 2 is considered by its developer to be ‘a brand new app ‘, and that because of that, the app will be priced at $2.99, for all users including current users of Tweetie. My reaction was (and is) that this is a bad move. My take is that this is not truly a new app, and that there should be a way for current Tweetie users to get some sort of ‘upgrade price effect ‘.
Anyway, enough rehashing “ that post is linked above, in the first paragraph of this post. Here are some of the things I ‘d like to clarify, as some people seem to be continually putting words in my mouth on this subject:
No Expectation of FREE App Upgrades: I ‘ve never argued that there should be free upgrades ‘in perpetuity ‘ for Tweetie or any other app. I have not even said I want or expect this Tweetie 2 app to be a free upgrade, for me or anyone else.
I have just said that there should be a full price and a lower ‘upgrade price ‘ for current users. Or more accurately, because Apple does not make it possible to do things this way, there should be some equivalent of that worked out for current users. Having seen the feedback on my post, some of it from developers, maybe this is not very viable. If so, then it would be nice to hear from Atebits that they are at least exploring this, or have already done so.
It Is Not About $3.00, I ‘m not on minimum wage, and I don ‘t mind paying for refills: I have never said that I feel $3, or $6, or $10 is too high a price for Tweetie (1 or 2). I bought Tweetie for iPhone for $2.99, also paid for the Mac version of it, and have paid for quite a few other Twitter-related apps, probably totaling above the $20 mark. I ‘ve also very happily paid $9.99 for iPhone apps like Things (as well as $49 for its desktop version). So, this is not about any desire on my part to support a ‘drive to the bottom ‘ for iPhone app prices. I ‘ve never complained about paying for quality apps, and never will.
I Know Tweetie Is a Very Good App: Tweetie was my favorite iPhone Twitter app for a long while. I ‘ve always thought of it as one of the best apps I ‘ve used. My issue has never been about the app ‘s quality.
Some quick responses:
Why does it matter at all what anyone paid for their iPhone or data plan, in relation to this subject? And who cares what else someone could buy with their three dollars? Yes, $3 is a very small sum of money for most of us “ but why should that mean that I expect almost nothing from an app developer. Tweetie is not marketed to us as ‘just an app that costs less than a meal at Taco Bell ‘. It ‘s pitched as one of the very best iPhone Twitter apps. So when its developer decides that all the new features that make it continue to meet that description are not going into it, but into a new incarnation of it, that ‘s an issue in my book.
Even though I occasionally offend people with my opinions, I rarely do it intentionally. But in this case, I think certain people, like the author of the blog linked above, along with all the people echoing similar sentiments on Twitter deserve a little verbal slapping around. This kind of immature sense of entitlement should not be coddled or put up with.
That ‘s from Jeff Lamarche ‘s post mentioned below. My thought is that if you ‘re going to try to dish out a ‘verbal slapping around ‘ you may want to get your facts right on what you ‘re slapping someone for. He calls me out for feeling entitled to free app upgrades in perpetuity. Never said anything like that. He also shouts about how upgrades to products like MS Office are not free. True, and again, I ‘ve never argued that Tweetie 2 should be either “ there should just be some break for current users.
This response from Dan Hallock seems a fair and measured one. I think his third point is a good one, and is probably very good food for thought for me on this one. I also very much agree on the imperfections of the App Store and hope, like he does, that Apple will address upgrade pricing at some point.
So my main question comes down to
What Should an iPhone App Purchaser Feel Entitled To?
Many of the comments that have blasted me on this subject, and this post by Jeff LaMarche, have talked quite a lot about my misplaced sense of entitlement. So now I am keen to find out what anyone thinks an app purchaser should feel entitled to. I agree that free upgrades are absolutely not something to feel entitled to. Same for even major upgrades, like Tweetie 2 clearly is. But I also don ‘t expect a developer to veer off from improving App A for months, then present what looks to be simply a much improved version of it as App B and offer nothing to existing users.
Several people have pointed out that Tweetie ‘s current App Store description now advises users about the upcoming Tweetie 2 and suggests they may want to hold off for it. But this was added last night, when the new app is due to appear within a couple of weeks. If the developer was working for months on a ‘brand new app ‘ and knew he was not planning to add any of its features or functionality to the existing app, why not give users that advisory message months ago?
One more expectation I have is that good developers listen to their users, at least some of the time “ and that they should have some interest in what their current customers think about future pricing. That seems a sound idea for any business. From everything I can gather via Twitter and elsewhere though, the folks at Atebits think of users who have any qualms about their pricing approach as ‘not worthwhile ‘. Perhaps I ‘m wrong on that “ I ‘ve asked two people at Atebits and had no replies.
So what do you all think on the whole subject of ‘entitlement ‘. What should a buyer of an iPhone app expect in these sort of areas?
TAGS: iPhone Twitter apps, Tweetie, Tweetie 2