The Paid Apps Strike Back?

Over Half of Vision Pro-Only Apps are Paid Downloads
Some promising early data from the Vision Pro App Store....

Well this is sort of interesting:

Apple’s Vision Pro offers consumers a new way to interact with apps via spatial computing, but it also offers app developers a way to generate revenue without subscriptions. According to a recently released report from app intelligence firm Appfigures, over half of Vision Pro-only apps (52%) are paid downloads — a surprising percentage given that across the wider App Store, only 5% of apps monetize this way.

It's hard to read too much into these numbers since we're just over a week into the life of the Vision Pro in the wild.1 At the same time, you can't help but wonder if this isn't the start of a new trend back towards non-SaaS paid software. I mean, probably not, because that model is great for both developers and, as Sarah Perez notes, Apple. But at least in these early days, a new premium device, with a new premium price, is causing some consumers to be open to paying more than free for apps again.

Or, at least, it's causing some developers to rush towards the potential gold mine that just opened for business. They must know that the people buying Vision Pro in these early days clearly are less price conscious than your typical consumer. So why not strike with the face computer is hot?2

Of course, paid apps were a thing in the early days of the App Store as well. $0.99 apps quickly rose to prominence – FART APPS GALORE – but there were some $1,000 apps too! But most apps eventually settled into the $1 - $5 range, with even more going free, again, with the SaaS model for monetization. Apps in the $20 - $30 range never really became a thing. Even $10 apps were a challenge.

Appfigures tells TechCrunch a further analysis of all apps made for the Vison Pro indicates the apps have an average price of $5.67, with the highest price at $98 (for an interactive periodic table of elements). Most apps are priced at $9.99 or below. And if you bought all the paid apps, it would cost you $1,089.07 — which is still less than the cost of the device itself, which starts at $3,499.

It will be interesting if this holds at all – again, I'm skeptical – if ~$5 becomes the norm for a paid Vision Pro app. Again, hard to know for sure, and there's a lot working against this model. But maybe the timing is right to go back to paying for software to own, with a one-time fee. At least until the Face Fart apps come along and ruin everything.

1 I finally have mine, many more thoughts to come, hello from Ohio!

2 Certainly if you have no intention of creating a SaaS business here -- or if your app is taking advantage of a hole in the market that isn't likely to last -- selling apps one-off makes a lot of sense.