The new version of iKanji touch will introduce In App Purchase for the first time in the form of the Extras store. This is intended as a way to be able to offer cool new features while continuing to make working on iKanji touch financially viable.
The typical way software sells is that when you put out a new paid version you see an initial sales spike that slowly trails off over time. iKanji touch has done well and the huge growth of the iOS market has helped to slow this gradual decline for quite awhile but it’s starting to catch up with us now. To make future work on iKanji touch financially viable for me I need to put out a paid upgrade. However, for good or bad Apple has decided that paid upgrades aren’t allowed on the App Store. This is a problem for many developers who want to offer on-going support for their apps after the initial sales have died back. It’s a key reason why you’ll find so many abandoned apps on the store that no longer receive updates. Most of the options for releasing a major new version of an app and charging for it suck for existing customers and developers alike. Offering new features by In App Purchase (IAP) is the next best option after being able to do a proper paid update for existing customers.
No – I’ll keep adding new features over time, some of them will be free and some will be paid. Bug fixes and general maintenance releases will of course be free.
You don’t – the core functionality of iKanji touch should offer everything you need in a kanji study tool. The Extras are icing on the cake – useful additional features that may benefit some people. In an ideal world we’d just have a paid upgrade (with discount for existing customers) but sadly Apple doesn’t seem interested. The benefit of doing things this way is you can pick and choose the new features as and when you want them.
Some apps make decent money by showing ads it’s true – however I don’t like the idea of ads appearing in a paid app. I don’t use any ad supported applications myself and I don’t like the idea of putting them in my apps full stop. I’m sure some people prefer to pay nothing and see ads and that’s fine, I just don’t want to take that approach. I think given the insignificant cost of apps like iKanji touch vs. their useful value I think a few extra dollars now and then is far preferable and maintains the best possible user experience.
I hope to get it submitted for review by Monday and it should be on sale before Christmas with any luck.