Home Your Tech Home Tech Apple's apps crunch to a cheaper tune at last, but not for all

Apple's apps crunch to a cheaper tune at last, but not for all

The day before the rumoured launch of Apple's new Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, new MacBook Airs, a new Mac Mini and a new MacBook comes newly lowered pricing for iOS and Mac OS apps, finally reflecting the Aussie dollars strength - while those in the UK find prices going higher!

With Apple expected to launch updated new hardware and its brand new Mac OS X 10.7 Lion operating system tomorrow, and if not, sometime very, very soon, Apple has chosen to start off with some adjustments to its international App Store pricing.

For Australians, who have enjoyed a very strong Australian dollar for several months now when compared to the US dollar, this means a reduction in App Store prices of up to 25%.

An easy way to instantly recognise this is in the realm of games or other apps that sell for AUD $1.19. These will now sell for AUD 99c, matching the US price of 99c.

Happily for Australians, the AUD 99c figure includes GST, while US customers in most US States need to pay some level of sales tax on top, making our App Store pricing even better value than it looks at first glance.

Prices have fallen in both the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch App Store and the Mac App Store for apps, but the same can't be said for movies, TV shows, books or music, which remain at their current prices, with Apple's hands presumably tied by the local arms of international media companies and local media companies.

The move to make apps cheaper also lowers income for developers, as they will now be receiving less money per app, but lower prices will presumably lead to even more impulse and/or considered purchases than ever.

We'll have to see what developers report, but you'd be hard pressed to find too many consumers unhappy about lower consumer prices.

Whether Apple will further lower its prices on any of its hardware tomorrow (or whenever it decides to launch some of its various new Macs) is yet to be seen, but we can always live in hope!

While Australians are enjoying some lower pricing from Apple, the same can't be said for app buyers in the UK, as reported by iTWire colleague Stephen Withers earlier today in his article entitled 'Apple finally adjusts Australian apps store prices for A$/$US shift'.

Continued on page two, please read on!

Stephen noted than the UK equivalent of the 99c app is the 59 pence app, or 59p. This has risen to 69p as the UK Pound has remained a weak currency while Australia's soared.

{loadpostion alex08}As has happened before when currencies drop or rise in value, Apple will raise or lower its prices in affected markets, but sometimes, it takes a while to happen - and as with non-app content on iTunes - it still hasn't happened yet.

It's also important to remember that Australia does have higher taxes, wages and other costs than you'd traditionally find in the US, and this needs to be taken into account alongside whatever other 'manufacturer tax' has been applied to other countries, and a historically weaker currency (that is no longer) as part of a real reason for why prices were higher than they were in the US.

These days, with the US dollar having lost so much value, higher prices outside the US have likely helped manufacturers subsidise US pricing, and one can only wonder how long it will be before prices start rising in the US after decades of being such good value when compared to most of the rest of the world.

That's all yet to come, however, with the eyes of many keen to see Apple's new MacBook Airs, Mac Minis and MacBooks make an appearance, alongside the highly anticipated OS X 10.7 Lion.

The lowering of app prices is a very welcome development, hopefully putting pressure on the digital media companies that license Apple's Australian sales of digital media to likewise lower pricing - and on the rest of the industry that has yet to pass on some of the high exchange rate savings.

Sadly Australian businesses are, for now at least, missing out on the US Apple App volume bulk-buying program, but Apple does take its time to release things, and while this program isn't here yet, it's very likely to get here eventually - hopefully sooner rather than later.

So, now you know... and if you're an Australian iDevice or Mac owner, it certainly is a day to be 'appy!



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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.