A premium section or a tiered App Store could help change [the low average App Store prices]. The premium section could offer a channel for the more expensive products and protect the $20 price point.
I’m not sure this addresses the problem very efficiently. App prices are mostly in the gutter because of two problems:
- Apple doesn’t allow demos or trial versions, and is very restrictive with “light” versions, so it’s usually worthwhile to just have one version at an easy-risk-to-take price point in the $1-4 range instead of trying to build a higher-quality product that you need to sell for $10-30.
- The main publicity system in the App Store is the top-list, as measured by quantity of sales, and apps at all price points are competing in the same ranking. To secure a spot in the top-paid-apps list, you need to be below $3 because you’re competing with apps that are almost free — I think people are starting to consider $0 and $0.99 equivalent when making an app-download decision.
Separate rankings for each price tier would help more, and this “premium” section will help a bit in that regard because it will separate “expensive” apps from the top-25 flea market.
But what we really need is more emphasis on high-quality apps in the store’s promotional sections, even if they cost $10 or $20 or $50. This could include larger and more carefully curated staff-picks sections and a larger emphasis on the category system (possibly with the addition of subcategories).
Something to think about: What if Apple removed the global top-50 lists and just kept the category-specific lists?