iPhone App Store: Where Are the Free Trials?

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Matt Miller at ZDNet beat me to the punch about the lack of free trials in the iPhone App Store, but boy have I been thinking that all day. I spent the last 8 hours downloading applications to determine which ones we liked the best. I downloaded tons of stuff, including applications like the MLB At Bat, which costs $4.99, and Moo-Cow-Music's Band for a hefty $9.99. Granted, I don't pay out of my own pocket for software, but I racked up a bill of about $75 today in iPhone applications.

Sure, there are loads of free applications—and it turns out some of the best applications are the free ones—such as Facebook and Pandora. But other apps, such as games, can cost anywhere between $2.99 and $20. (LionClock Lite, which God knows what that is, costs $29.99.) Why download a $10 application that you may not even like? This is the reason software companies offer full, or even limited, versions of its software for 15- to 30-day trials. (Plus, it's a great way to reel in the addicts; after 30 days of playing Bejeweled, you try to live without it.)

So why has Apple decided against free trials? Probably because they want you to pay for a non-refundable game or application. On the other hand, this will probably mean the end user will want to read more reviews of mobile applications, so in the end that keeps the money coming to me, and then I can buy all the iPhone Apps I want.