Try before you buy at the iPhone App Store?

August 5, 2008 7:27 PM

Why is it that, in absolute opposition to the last fifteen years of software industry trends, there's no way to try an iPhone app before you buy it? How do I know which of the six dozen different Solitaire apps I want to buy if I don't get the chance to play any of them first?

You'd think it was a no-brainer. Every App Store application is wrapped in DRM1 anyway. Presumably, it would only take a minor software update and Apple could wrap downloads in 30-day time bombs, just like they do with rental movies, without any need to change the apps themselves.

1 I know I should get up in arms about the closed-source, walled garden, DRM-wrapped, "it's not your phone it's ours" nature of the iPhone, but I can't muster the energy. It's a shiny toy that in a few years I will replace with another shiny toy.

4 Comments

You sure do like to complain don't you. And over nothing. As of this moment there are 30 "lite" programs in the App store that you can get for free. Each of them allows you to preview their for pay equivalents forever - not just for 30 days. Their might even be other similar free previews not called "lite". I didn't want to do all your research for you.

You're right about one thing. You shouldn't get "up in arms" over this. Because it's a non-issue. Next time, try doing a little homework before you decide to criticize the work of another.

Wow, did I piss in your cornflakes or something?

I was going to mention the Lite apps in my post, but I figured it was an obvious enough point that I didn't have to mention it. I hope that this comment doesn't mean I have to start talking down to my readership.

Lite app: Very specific business model where either some subset of your app is worth paying for instead of the entire thing or you have to deal with advertising, and a significant engineering effort is required by each ISV to produce multiple versions of their product.

App Store trial: Checkbox the vendor ticks when they submit an app to the App Store.

I want to see the exact same feature for apt-get.

I think the strongest reason there's no demo feature is that you wouldn't want to buy most of the apps if you had as little as 24 hours to play with them...

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