iPhone Apps: Keep an Eye on Your iPhone Updates

iPhone Apps

This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.

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What’s up with iPhone application updates…

I started collecting iPhone apps back in March, two months before I receiving my Apple 3G iPhone. I know exactly when it was because just this morning I did a mad scramble through my bills from iTunes. Why? Well, because of an unexpected invoice totaling £19.88.

Ok, £8.95 of that particular bill went to Stephen Fry for his Selection of Oscar Wilde’s Short Stories … but still… an unexpected £10.93 (US$17.82) is still unexpected.

Scanning through the emails from iTunes, I did a double take on bills for products I thought were already paid for. And I believe that in at least one case, the app went from free to… not free at all (but I still need to do some checking).

Being curious, I copied my iTunes bills into an Excel spread sheet and went at it.

As it turns out nothing serious was going on. But (me being me), I googled and came up with this explanation from Dan Moren at Macworld.com:


The App Store, you see, has very strict rules on pricing. Among those is “no paid updates.” It’s an all-or-nothing proposition: either every upgrade to an application is free for everybody, regardless of how much work the developer puts into it, or the upgrade is delivered as a “new” application that everybody has to pay for it. There’s no facility—none—for developers to give some customers a break on a upgrade price without sending each and every one a check for the discount.

Now, I don’t begrudge iPhone app programmers their due, especially as some are pricing their products so dirt cheap it hurts. But some are not. And especially not when an upgrade could mean paying £14.00++ (US$28.00++). Again. And again. And again.

And there is that GPS iPhone app I’ve been eyeing…

But like I said, I am not begrudging. I am just saying that in the future not only will I be careful of what I buy, but what I upgrade. Especially as some apps need more development time (preferably, not on my dime).

Another iPhone app attribute to watch out for…

Here I go again with the, ‘I have been quite busy these past months’. And I have. And when the iPhone application app alerted me of updates, to save time, each time I chose to update the lot with one click of my finger (nice of Apple to give us that option, yes?)

Updating on the fly also meant that I didn’t pay attention to which iPhone applications increased their prices or moved from free to not free. Because apparently, iPhone apps go up and down in prices like a yo yo on a string.


So while going for a blind update might be a timesaver, as the App Store stands now, it is not very clever.

(Neither was my not reading the small print before iPhone app hopping… but… there you go.)

7 thoughts on “iPhone Apps: Keep an Eye on Your iPhone Updates”

  1. Steven, Good question. I did a brief look and there are a number of pdf readers for the iPhone. For one, apparently what you do is download additional software for your computer to transfer files over. I’ll check it out in a later post.

  2. Just curious, any recommendations on PDF readers, especially ones that might work with those PDFs from the TCU Open Courseware?

  3. And all to the tune of ‘if I were a rich man’…


    I doubt many iPhone app programmers are making much out of their venture. First off, the apps are not that easy to find at the Apple store. It is getting easier but a search does not always bring everything on offer. And if your app cannot be found… well… you know.

    So marketing does come into it too. And if they are not clued in, then… you know.

  4. Technology isn’t it wonderful 🙂

    I think I’m going to make an iPhone app that looks like a money tree and you can watch the money grow…all the while my little $2.00 app will be re billing at $100 a month. Gotta love the gadgets.

  5. Laser stun gun? Sounds good.

    I’d get an iPhone tomorrow if there was an app that went to the dentist for me. Or an app that took me back to 2000 and had me buy a Mac.

  6. David, If it takes you as long to get an iPhone as it did to switch to Mac, the Apple Apps store will have changed immensely by then 😀

    (I couldn’t resist as I can’t get over you not being on a Mac from the beginning… as you are soooo not PC…)

    I’m hoping for the addition of a laser stun gun myself.

    Of a more practical nature… The perfect iPhone would print money. Money to pay for unlimited iPhone app updates.


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