Over on Safe From the Losing Fight, Andy Finnell posted about the wrong way to price iPhone apps, and I have to say that I agree.

If you look at the pricing for other phone apps on other mobile platforms, prices are much higher, enabling developers to at least stand a fighting chance to make a living. In particular, the apps on mobile phones usually are $4.95 or higher. On the Palm, a reasonably good Sodoku game runs around $9.99 or even higher. The same apps on the iPhone are either free or $0.99. How in the heck can a developer make a living doing that?

The real killer of pricing at $0.99 (or even $4.95) is that the support you can provide at that price is virtually nothing. Really the only thing you can do is write a web page with an FAQ. Answering that support e-mail actually costs you money if it ends up just being a “user error”, rather than a real bug.

Now, don’t get me wrong… You need to make sure your apps are as bug free as possible and getting reports from users is important, but at $0.99 answering questions for confused users that don’t understand how to use your application can kill a product, because you can spend all your time doing support, and not developing know apps.

Apple (and Sega) set expectations for what applications should be priced by making Monkey Ball $9.99. On any other mobile platform, a game like that would run between $19.99 and $24.99. I think developers are in the mindset, “Well, this thing isn’t as good as Monkey Ball….I have to price it lower”. But a year from now, how many of those people are still going to be around?

Apple made the following announcement today:

We have decided to drop the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for released iPhone software.

We put the NDA in place because the iPhone OS includes many Apple inventions and innovations that we would like to protect, so that others don’t steal our work. It has happened before. While we have filed for hundreds of patents on iPhone technology, the NDA added yet another level of protection. We put it in place as one more way to help protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others.

However, the NDA has created too much of a burden on developers, authors and others interested in helping further the iPhone’s success, so we are dropping it for released software. Developers will receive a new agreement without an NDA covering released software within a week or so. Please note that unreleased software and features will remain under NDA until they are released.

Thanks to everyone who provided us constructive feedback on this matter.

Via Apple

The iPhone 2.1 software update is out. It promises to increase battery life, fix dropped called problems, and increase your IQ by 10 points.

Ok….not the last one. But the update is out.

Techcrunch is reporting that Flixster bought an iPhone application called Movies.app last week, and re-released it last night. It’s basically an app that shows movie times, has maps to local theaters, and lets you watch movie trailers.

I’m a little surprised that Flixster went out and bought the App, when it could have been developed internally. Maybe they learned a thing or two from the Hasbro vs Scrabbulous fight – if you see a great program, buy it. Now Flixster has a popular app under it’s umbrella. Hasbro has a replacement app for Scrabbulous, but I hear it’s not as popular.

Update Techcrunch says that Scrabbulous has been taken down world-wide now