For better or worse, Apple, has set a sort of Gold Standard for iPad apps by pricing their various iWork apps at $10 a piece.
That makes a decent utility like Things seem ridiculously overpriced at $20 and OmniGraffle disastrously inflated at $50.
I was comfortable laying out $10 for Pages and this purchase set the standard for my expectations of the prices of other apps. As a result, $8 for Autodesk’s excellent Sketchbook was just right, but $10 for Brushes was too much. A sketching app provides less functionality and usefulness than a full-powered word processing app, and should be priced suitably.
From this perspective, the general-purpose task management utility Things is priced too high, especially when you consider that potential early adopters of this app have probably already shelled out $60 for the desktop version, and $10 for the iPhone version (and I thought I was being extremely generous paying that much for the iPhone version). Things should be priced under Pages, at about $8.
Then there’s Omnigraffle. I’m an Omnigraffle devotee from way back, and I adore the app on my Mac. It’s primary tool for my day-to-day work as an information architect and designer. But $50 for the iPad version, in light of the iWork golden mean, seems ridiculous.
Of course the argument is obviously that Omnigraffle is a premium app designed for a professional niche. But speaking as a member of that demographic, I still find it overpriced.
iWork is a $80 desktop suite. If you average the price of each app therein to about $27, then the $10 price of the iPad app is just over 1/3 of that price. In comparison, Omnigraffle’s $50 iPad price tag is exactly half the cost of it’s desktop counterpart. Omnigraffle’s pricing should have followed the Apple pricing pattern and been offered for about $30. I would purchase it at that point almost without question, assuming the unique functional and utility qualities were there, and they seem to be.
The platform-heavy $50 price tag for Omnigraffle on the iPad encourages me to just stick with the product on my Mac; I’m not compelled to invest in it at $50 (especially when there’s not even trial version to sell me on the product).
But this whole discussion simply points to the fact that the iPad app economy is (obviously) young and in a state of flux. No one really, fully comprehends the value of the iPad yet, and therefore it’s tough to extrapolate what the true general value of any app on the platform is.
The prevailing mentality seems governed by two things: the iPad is bigger than an iPhone, and smaller than a notebook. Therefore pricing and utility value also fall into that fuzzy middle zone.
At lot of the value system in the iPad app store will depends on Apple’s successful positioning of the iPad itself in peoples’ minds, something it hasn’t done very well yet (observe Letterman’s Top Ten list). Only when we all agree on what the iPad is can we agree on what an iPad app is worth.
But in the current climate, I call Things and Omnigraffle overpriced.