In-app feature could keep more apps on iPhone

Apple’s true motive behind the in-app feature seems keeping the iPhone at the development forefront of hot mobile apps.

While Apple's new in-app purchase feature for iPhones is being widely touted as an antipiracy measure, Apple's more overarching motive seems to be that of keeping the iPhone at the development forefront for the coolest new apps for mobile users.

At one time, the iPhone held that distinction more or less to itself. But particularly with the advent of online application stores for other smartphone applications, the iPhone now faces more and more competition -- among app developers along with consumers -- from Google's Android, Palm Pre, Microsoft's Windows Mobile, and other rivals.

If you haven't heard about it yet, Apple's new iPhone feature lets users of free apps upgrade to expanded capabilities from directly inside the apps; a visit to the online Apple App Store is no longer needed.

Some are arguing that this approach will stop interlopers from stealing apps by involving servers on both the Apple and third-party developer sides, thereby making developers more aware of who is using their software and how. Although others counter that a truly determined and crafty thief can steal an app anyway, just about everyone seems to acknowledge that the in-app feature will at least help to slow down application piracy, if only by a little.

There's much more agreement around the notion that the in-app upgrades will save time and resources for developers by ending the practice of creating free "lite" and non-free "full" editions of the same software program.

If either of these possible benefits for developers actually pans out, iPhone users could win, too, by continuing to be the first to get interesting new software apps.

Unthinkable as it might have sounded a year or two ago, this isn't necessarily happening anymore. For instance, before this week's announcement of a new content delivery app for iPhone, CBS News apparently introduced the app first -- or at least concurrently -- on the RIM Blackberry. The same app will be available later this fall for Android and Pre. Other examples are plentiful.

In fact, some app developers are now finding it so hard to make money on the iPhone platform that they're leaving it behind entirely, in favor of other platforms in either the mobile or non-mobile space.

For one, Second Gear developer Justin Williams has just quit the iPhone fold, selling his Fitness Track and Emergency Information apps to BitBQ's Patrick Burleson. According to Macworld, Williams complained that iPhone app development is "too much effort with too little reward when compared to distributing software on my own terms on the Mac platform."

Maybe Apple's new in-app purchase feature will help curb any emerging iPhone developer bleed.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags iPhoneiphone apps

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jacqueline Emigh

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?