"But folks are talking less about Tweetbot’s features and more about its price: $20."
"but I can’t help but notice a key point missing within it: Tapbots doesn’t want to charge $20."
This argument makes me think of another app, OmniFocus and its suite of apps. For the most part, that seems to be the source of a lot of complaints — does OmniFocus give me an experience that is equivalent to the money spent? At $80 for the Mac app, $40 for the iPad app, and $20 for the iPhone app, these apps clearly aren't cheap.
Should they be cheap?
Some will argue that there's a clear difference between OmniFocus and Tweetbot. One is used professionally and one, typically, is used for leisure and entertainment.
But does it matter what it's usage is?
At $20 for a leisure/entertainment app, there are a lot of "cup of coffee" type of comparisons you can make with it.
- A ticket to a 3D movie
- A new DVD
- A pint of good beer
- A bag of really good coffee beans
Sadly, software is still balked upon when prices hit a double digit pricetag. Does having the experience that Tweetbot gives you equate to a ticket to see a movie in 3D?
In my opinion, yes. Yes — and more.
Looking at Brian Lam's post in the New York Times, he says:
"You can [work out a] new gadget’s true cost over the number of hours you are likely to use it."
As for upgrading his iPhone:
"But since I use my phone more than most people use laptops, the cost to upgrade my 32-gigabyte iPhone every year is less than 10 cents an hour based on 16-hour days, on top of the 15 cents an hour I spend on service."
If you use that same logic on purchasing Tweetbot — how many hours a day are you on Twitter? Assuming the developers don't charge for an update (which they have all the right to), the more you use it, the more value you get from it.
Instead of trying to justify a $20 "entertainment" app purchase, what you should really be considering is:
- How often do you use it? And
- How do you feel when you use it?
Of course, if you feel that Tweetbot is an enabler of a time-wasting activity such as keeping up with your Twitter stream, then you have other issues.