In-app feature could keep more apps on iPhone

Apple’s true motive behind the in-app feature seems keeping the iPhone at the development forefront of hot mobile apps.

While Apple's new in-app purchase feature for iPhones is being widely touted as an antipiracy measure, Apple's more overarching motive seems to be that of keeping the iPhone at the development forefront for the coolest new apps for mobile users.

At one time, the iPhone held that distinction more or less to itself. But particularly with the advent of online application stores for other smartphone applications, the iPhone now faces more and more competition -- among app developers along with consumers -- from Google's Android, Palm Pre, Microsoft's Windows Mobile, and other rivals.

If you haven't heard about it yet, Apple's new iPhone feature lets users of free apps upgrade to expanded capabilities from directly inside the apps; a visit to the online Apple App Store is no longer needed.

Some are arguing that this approach will stop interlopers from stealing apps by involving servers on both the Apple and third-party developer sides, thereby making developers more aware of who is using their software and how. Although others counter that a truly determined and crafty thief can steal an app anyway, just about everyone seems to acknowledge that the in-app feature will at least help to slow down application piracy, if only by a little.

There's much more agreement around the notion that the in-app upgrades will save time and resources for developers by ending the practice of creating free "lite" and non-free "full" editions of the same software program.

If either of these possible benefits for developers actually pans out, iPhone users could win, too, by continuing to be the first to get interesting new software apps.

Unthinkable as it might have sounded a year or two ago, this isn't necessarily happening anymore. For instance, before this week's announcement of a new content delivery app for iPhone, CBS News apparently introduced the app first -- or at least concurrently -- on the RIM Blackberry. The same app will be available later this fall for Android and Pre. Other examples are plentiful.

In fact, some app developers are now finding it so hard to make money on the iPhone platform that they're leaving it behind entirely, in favor of other platforms in either the mobile or non-mobile space.

For one, Second Gear developer Justin Williams has just quit the iPhone fold, selling his Fitness Track and Emergency Information apps to BitBQ's Patrick Burleson. According to Macworld, Williams complained that iPhone app development is "too much effort with too little reward when compared to distributing software on my own terms on the Mac platform."

Maybe Apple's new in-app purchase feature will help curb any emerging iPhone developer bleed.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iPhoneiphone apps

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jacqueline Emigh

PC World (US online)
Show Comments





Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?