Yesterday I played for a while with my wife’s iPad. I found that the software you get with the machine is less than essential. For example you can download pictures from your pc, but you cannot organize them on the iPad (not even delete them from the iPad storage memory). The software that comes with the tablet is basically just a browser, an email client and a basic application to take notes.Basically you paid a lot of bucks for an empty platform waiting for you to spend more money on it.
So I decided to take a tour of the shop. AppStore is well organized, making easy to browse and search for applications. There is also a nice option for turning your shopping into gift for your friends and dears.
Applications price is usually low, many apps are below 5€ and most are below 10€. This pricing is strategic for lowering the wit defenses of the buyer (after all it is so cheap you nearly cannot by anything else for that money).
But there are free application as well. From my quick investigations there are two kinds of free application – the news reading and the demo. News reading application are sponsorized by some newspaper, so their goal is not to get directly the money from you, but to promote their sponsor.
I tried some game demos and I was surprised or their business model. Take smurfs for example. It is a nice game of building a city. You place fields and house and set up for simple missions or minigames. When you attempt to build a house you get a message about it is going to take one hour, two hours or other comparable time, to complete it… unless you spend a magic bean to build it instantly. You start the game with enough magic beans to complete the tutorial in a human time. So what’s the catch? The fact is that you cannot get magic beans from within the game. If you want them you must buy them with real money. It is not that you cannot play, you can, but you have to wait insane amount of time (hours, to get things done). I understand that from the business point of view this is better than releasing a tutorial/demo locked to a given point. But I feel it is nearly criminal for a game targeted at children and young people.
Not all free stuff is like this, but the overall impression is that after you paid big bucks for the iPad you are ready to spend a new lot of money to use it for real.