Why Do Apps Cost Money?

We are very proud of our high user ratings in the app stores. Amongst the praise there are inevitably a number of bad reviews. However, the majority of 1-star reviews have a consistent theme …

“Of course it’s a pay to use app… Why even bother”

“This app is a money grab. Unless you plan on buying the Premium version, don’t bother.”

Yes, we’re talking about pricing. Why do some apps like ours cost money?

Many apps are free but a lot are not. SnoreLab sits somewhere in the middle. Like many other health apps SnoreLab has a free tier and a Premium version.

Whilst a new iPhone will easily cost you around $1000, it’s clear from reviews that many people don’t like the idea of paying for the mobile software that lives on it.

You can’t pick up SnoreLab and feel it, check its weight or give it a sniff. You don’t see our faces at the checkout and engage in some gentle smalltalk as you hand over some cash. Simply, our app – like so much in the modern marketplace – isn’t physical.

Does this mean that our product has less value or costs less to produce than physical stuff? In a word, no. If anything, SnoreLab and mobile apps in general have greater value than something you buy at a shop and take home. But to recreate the more traditional shopping experience, if SnoreLab had a label, these would be its ingredients:

  • 1,000,000+ lines of code
  • 100s of updates
  • A team of developers, designers and engineers
  • 7 years’ work and counting

When you purchase a subscription to SnoreLab Premium you not only purchase the app in its current form but in its future guises too. Updates, improvements and new features are all included in the purchase price. Just imagine the same for hardware – having free repairs and upgrades for your smartphone!

Such enhancements are created by our developers and therein lies the “why” in why apps cost money. The Premium purchase funds our dedicated team which is essential for creating and maintaining a high-quality app.

In some other lovely 1-star reviews we are sometimes told that our purchase price is too high and that our team is greedy. I can reassure you, as I look out of the window of our modest London office onto the bins in a drab, grey-walled courtyard, we are not rolling in it, rubbing shoulders with the big guns of Silicon Valley. It’s worth noting that said big guns like Google and Apple take a good chunk of our purchase price too!

Because our app isn’t tangible some context may help. Our year’s subscription price could barely get you two Big Macs, or four flat whites at Starbucks if you haggle. Slightly more relevant products to compare to are mouthpieces, the most popular snoring remedy. Even the cheapest models will set you back around $50 and when these inevitably wear out you’ll soon be spending 50 more.

Even in the digital space our purchase price pales in comparison to the charges in some other apps. Headspace – a leading meditation and mindfulness app – costs $95 per year at the time of writing. The popular diet and exercise app Lifesum is $44.99 for a year’s subscription.

If health apps aren’t your thing then what about Candy Crush? A lollipop hammer(?), just one of many, easily-repeated in-app purchases will set you back $1.99. It’s $4.99 if you want some of the good stuff!

But why, like some entirely free apps, don’t we just show more ads? We don’t because SnoreLab is an app designed for sleep. Plenty of design work has gone into making SnoreLab suitable for nighttime use – adverts completely ruin this experience.

Hopefully by now our Premium upgrade price should start to seem like a steal! However, if you remain unconvinced, the free tier will always be there.

SnoreLab’s free version still allows you to record your night just like the Premium tier. In the morning, once we present you with your snoring stats, you needn’t take our word for it – you can listen to some of the audio recordings of your snoring for yourself. There are many users worldwide who get great use from the free app and have used it to successfully combat their snoring.

The 1-star reviews are only part of the story. We’re always grateful when our work is appreciated and the Premium fee is understood in context:

“Very pleased with the features and capabilities of the paid version. The free version works, but the upgrade is well worth the price. I have started intermittent fasting and it is fascinating to see the results on my snoring. I have dropped from a snore score of around 70 down to 3.”

“This app is fantastic! I eventually did the upgrade. It’s definitely worth it. This app is TOP quality. Just get it and try it you will be amazed.”

Since the creation of our app in 2012, these reviews and the many conversations we’ve had with our users has helped us to understand the significance of snoring in people’s lives and the value of getting it under control.

There’s also the users who have identified risky breathing in their recordings. Many have gone on to get diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea they didn’t know they had. Does this have a price?

When apps were first launched, many were free so we understand the reservations some people have with apps that aren’t. However, mobile devices have moved on massively and so have the apps on them. These huge improvements over the years have been possible because paying for an app allows developers to continue making and improving them.

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