Last updated on March 8th, 2017

I was following today’s iPhone OS3 announcement live event, and one thing in particular struck me:

Most of the advancements are focused on the app developer community, and while I agree that these will enable this community to produce far better and innovative apps, one feature in particular I think will change the application landscape for the iPhone completely: the ability to have optional paid content and subscription models within an app.

iPhone 3.0 in-application payments

In general I am in favor of multiple business models for developers to monetize their apps, however I do see this eventually resulting in a completely changed application landscape compared to what we know today, where freemium vs. free will reign, and where I believe a majority of applications will have limited functionality and some sort of premium concept.

Now Apple promised that free applications will indeed remain free, “no new taxes, read my lips”… But I think the temptation for re-designing existing apps to build in monetization will prove too tempting for the app dev community, and will result in fewer free apps in general, and fewer choices for consumers eventually.

Additionally, the concept of getting prompted via a fairly intrusive pop-up boxes to purchase content, or sign up for a subscription, rankles me a bit. My iPhone experience is based on being used to pay for an app once, and then enjoy seamless service, and the user experience of reading something only to be then prompted for premium content mid-stream does not sit well with me. Signing a once a year subscription may be OK too, if I value the service, but I don’t know if I’ll like to “pay as you go” for content.

Let’s hope that the bevy of OS3 features announced will make it all worth it in the end, and that the resulting increase in innovative apps will be just so cool, we will all be happy to pay for them, one subscription at a time.

What do you think?