2009-02-15

Why Apple charges 99 cents for "Keynote Remote"

It is well known, both in literature and in practice, that customers will rather voice their complaints, than their gratification regarding products or services. We complain quickly, but keep our joy to ourselves. It is difficult for vendors to find out what exactly customers like and want. In the end it can frequently only be done in reverse: When customers don't complain, it seems to be an indication that you've done the right thing.

A really intelligent person at Apple had a bright idea: Each time you delete an application on the iPhone, you will be asked if you'd like to rate the app. You can leave a star rating from 1 to 5, meaning one star for "total crap" and five stars for "really great". It is imaginable how many people will leave a five star rating when deleting an app and how many will leave one star. Apple comes in, right at the point where the user is in a "deleting" and and thus a destructive stage.

Now when regarding our app Live TV for example: A Mac and a TV Stick is required in order to use this companion app. This is explicitly stated in the program description in the App Store. Live TV itself is available free of charge from the App Store.

It is well imaginable that especially Windows users, download the app and are disappointed that Live TV only works with a Mac. Our surveys have shown, that about 65% of App Store users are PC users and about 35% use a Mac. When a windows user deletes the app from the iPhone, it is only natural to give it one star out of resentment. This will drastically lower the rating, since thousands of customers download the app accidentally and then delete it.

On the other hand, when looking at the satisfied customers, who own a Mac and fulfill the system-requirements: These Mac users obviously do not delete the app and thus will not leave a rating.

What then is the solution to the dilemma?

"Charge for apps with complex system requirements".

This is exactly what Apple has done with the "Keynote Remote". Many have shaken their head in January, when the app was released. 99 cents for a companion app to iWork '09? When you already have to purchase iWork anyway? Many people thought that Apple wants its bread buttered on both sides. The truth lies elsewhere: "The 99 cents help the customer to read, before downloading. Keep people away from the app, who will not be able to use your app anyway." Very wise. These 99 cents will save you from a number of bad reviews.

5 comments:

  1. Even worse, I've been told that upon deletion of an app a rating of 1 star is left also when the user cancels the dialog. This really makes sense, Apple :-(

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  2. Nice insight. When the time comes, maybe we shall be wise as well. :)

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  3. I have tried everything today to contact your company for support with the stationary pack i purchased from you!! the product does not download, there is no human on your phone number and no "ichat" person and I have not heard back from the form I filled out. this is the WORST experience I have ever had with a product!!!! I have notified paypal and my bank re payment to you and I have notified the better business bureau.

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  4. I've asked the support team about your case (Thanks, Adrian). We've checked your email ticket and it seems to be resolved. If not, please reply to the support email. I will personally follow up with your case until it's solved.

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  5. Well yes, and because they charge 99 cents for it you might expect the App to actually work...

    Mine doesn't: and I also do not get any response to my tickets. In short: it installs links and sees if keynote is open or not but as far as remote control functionality is concerned.... uh-uh no way!

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