Marzipan and Free Trials

This year at WWDC we got free trials, sort of… 

In short, it’s not what I would call free trials, more like a hack of the in app purchase system. At this point, I remain hopeful that this is a step in the right direction, rather than the final solution.

The thing that gives me hope for real free trials is Marzipan. 

This is particularly timely for me as I’m in the process of designing a new app, and the idea is that it’ll run on iPhone, iPad and the Mac. 

What struck me when I was sketching out my UI, was how a screen for the iPad would end up looking very similar to the Mac, almost to the point where it made me worry I was fundamentally missing a trick. Surely the Mac app should be wildly different? Maybe not…

Given that Marzipan is coming and the iPad and the Mac have the potential to be so similar, I wonder if this could all come full circle and translate into richer, more powerful iOS apps.

For me, as a one man shop, I have to be super careful about where I allocate my resources, so having the ability to create a Mac and iOS app from the same codebase will hopefully afford me the time to create a better app for both iOS and the Mac. 

Assuming that more “pro” apps find their way to iOS, it’s plausible that users might be willing to pay more for these apps (crazy, right?), and with that, real free trials could become a necessity. 

The Mac has been able to get around this for years, developers can simply distribute their apps outside of the App Store and roll in free trials as they see fit. It’s worth noting, when I look at my dock, any serious piece of software that I paid for, started with a free trial. Just sayin’…

Given how there’s no official way to distribute iOS apps outside of the App Store, when the time is right, this might just create enough pressure to get real free trails the attention it needs. One can hope!