Should iPad Apps Be Free For Existing iPhone App Users?

iPad app pricing debate

When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad at the YBCA on January 27th, one of the significant revelations made was that the iPad could seamlessly accomodate all the existing iPhone apps on the App Store

In other words, iPad users who have already purchased an application for their iPhone need not have to pay for it on the iPad.

However, the larger pixel real estate on the iPad offers significant opportunities for app developers to provide more value-adding features for iPad users than what was offered on the iPhone. As a result, it is reported that several app developers have been working on "HD" or "XL" versions of their iPhone apps that will be offered exclusively for iPad users.

However, this is a contentious issue and raises several questions on the pricing strategy for iPad apps for users who have already purchased the iPhone app. 

Having said that, questions still remain on whether such an option is necessary in the first place. TiPb writes:

"If you bought a Super Mario game for the Nintendo DS, you don’t get Super Mario for the Wii for free. Likewise PSP and PS3 games. Of course, the differences between dedicated mobile gaming devices and their console cousins are far greater than between an iPhone and an iPad."

I think the pricing strategy should be as follows taking into consideration the interests of both developers and existing iPhone app users:

  • The iPad app should be free for iPhone app users if there is no major change in functionality and the UI has been tweaked for the iPad.
  • Developers should charge for iPad apps, if they have redesigned the UI and re-engineered the app for the iPad.

What's your take on this?

[via TiPb]