Apple's Answer on Upgrade Pricing

Since the App Store was first launched 5 years ago (and the Mac App Store in 2011) there has been a continuous thread of discussion asking Apple to provide a direct mechanism for upgrade pricing for apps. This would allow developers to charge existing customers for access to a major update of their software. Apple has thus far been entirely silent on this, though their silence has spoken volumes.

It seems like most discussions of this ultimately ended up with a conclusion that Apple would only add upgrade pricing if they themselves needed/wanted it for their own apps. This morning’s launch of Logic Pro X seems to settle the matter on that front.

Logic Pro X is a Major (with a capital M) update to their professional audio editing suite. It appears to represent a significant investment in both time and resources. So how is it being sold, especially to people who already paid $200 for the previous version (Logic Pro 9)? It is a separate app download with a full cost purchase. No upgrades, no introductory pricing, just straight forward sale.

I’d say that this is the best indication of Apple’s intentions and expectations for the App Stores going forward. I wouldn’t expect anything like upgrade pricing to appear in the Stores. It seems like the message is to either give your upgrades to your customers as free updates or to launch a new app and charge everyone again. Neither approach is perfect but I am now very confident that this is going to be the situation for the foreseeable future.

David Smith