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Social Networking

A Developer's View on In-App Purchases for Free Apps

 Apple recently announced a major shift in how they treat free apps and I have been mulling over what it means to developers, in addition to end users.

In the past, "In-App Purchases", or the ability to add features to an app, were only available for paid apps.  Free apps could not be upgraded, short of purchasing the paid version separately.  Now, users of these free apps can purchase upgrades.

On one hand, more choices are a good thing.  But I have some concerns.

Tubey Lite tonight!


Tubey Lite (free) is fun, but you be the judge click here to view my quick video. Now whether you want to purchase the full version Tubey ($2.99) you’ll need to weigh, but it will get rid of those watermarks.I think that this app might have some real utility for High School sports enthusiasts wanting to get images out from the latest tournament, or for Real Estate professionals wanting to get their top listings out there and shown off in a really creative and accessible way.


Editor's ChoiceThe iPhone is a great travel aid all by itself, but some downloads from the App Store make it even better. The Facebook app for the iPhone is a quick and easy way to keep up with friends and family when you’re traveling. It lets me send updates about where we are, what we’re doing, and even share the cool pictures that I snapped along the way. I took a few the other day at the Nebraska Wildlife Safari. That evening, I used Facebook to share them. It’s like sending a postcard to multiple people—without the stamp.



This app lets you post and read tweets, but its most impressive features lets you see the location of tweets as they happen, on a world map. The map feature is hypnotic and fun, but not very useful in the long run.

Twittervision; (Free; new and casual users);


Like JustUpdate, Twitfire is focused on posting tweets. The app oncorporates a mini-browser for posting links, GPS-button for location tweets, and access to the iPhone camera for posting photos—all wrapped up in a minimalist icon-driven interface.

; (Free; casual and some power users);


This one has everything you'd expect from a full-featured Twitter client, including search with save, trends, an in-line browser, and fully integrated GPS functionality. All of its features are integrated into a polished user interface; a fantastic value.

; ($.99; power users).


There's no location-based functionality or multiple accounts in this one, but it does have trends, re-tweeting, the ability to search for favorites, and more. The default UI has a polished box-style design, but you have the option of changing it to a Tweetie/iChat bubble design. Nice app, but the $4.00 price tag is a bit steep.


($3.99; casual and some power users)


This app has no follower feed, no friends, and no other features: just a text box that lets you post directly to Twitter. It's a simple and efficient way to tell the world about the sandwich you just ate for lunch.

JustUpdate; (Free; new users)


An ultra-simple app with an SMS-influenced design, well suited to the infrequent tweeter. It lacks photo-support, trends, and search capability. There are better apps than this available for free.

; ($.99; new users)


Perfect for people with a penchant for amateur photography, Gyazickr is a simple app that lets you take a photo using the iPhone camera or pick one from the camera roll, add a caption, and twitter it.

Gyazickr; (Free; new and some casual users);

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