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    Jan 20, 2016

    Apple charges at least 20 cents more for apps

    APPLE has increased the price of its App Store apps in seven countries, including Singapore.

    In an e-mail sent to iOS developers yesterday, the Cupertino tech giant cited changing foreign exchange rates as the reason for the hike. It added that the update will take place over the next 72 hours.

    This change means that the cheapest app in the Singapore App Store will cost $1.48.

    This would be 20 cents more than the current lowest price of $1.28. The cheapest app in the United States App Store is US$0.99 (S$1.42).

    The six other affected countries are Canada, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia and South Africa.

    Apple regularly revises prices to keep the international rates in line with prices in the US, for both online and physical products.

    For example, last October, it upped the price of a MacBook Pro in Malaysia from RM4,769 (S$1,570) to RM5,899, after the ringgit weakened against the US dollar.

    It has also adjusted its prices downwards. In 2011, the strengthening Australian dollar led to Apple slashing prices in the Australian App Store by up to 25 per cent.

    Developers here do not think that the revised pricing will have a significant long-term effect.

    Aldric Chang, chief executive of mobile app developer Swag Soft, noted that higher prices may benefit developers in the short term but ultimately the gains will be ploughed back into development.

    "Customers may be more demanding due to the price hike and expect higher standards of development," he said.

    "This means that app developers will have to put in more effort and time into our products, which translates to higher costs of production."

    Adrian Ng, founder and director of app developer Codigo, pointed out that many apps do not rely solely on direct app sales for revenue.

    "I don't see a lot of users being affected, as a lot of people use mostly free apps anyway," he said.

    "Perhaps the only apps that will be affected are games.

    "But even then, a lot of them rely on in-app purchases, instead of charging users a high price up front."

    Other developers think that users will not mind paying more for well-made apps.

    "It's really the quality of the content that matters and we think users won't mind paying a little more if they like the game. If the game is not good... even if the price is slashed by half, consumers won't bite," said Jeffrey Chee, founder of game studio Happy Labs.

    Consumers The Straits Times spoke to are not fazed by the price change. Law student Chen Jian Rong, 24, said: "Many apps that my friends and I use, such as WhatsApp and Facebook, are free.

    "But if I really wanted an app, I would buy it. Twenty cents is not a lot if you are buying apps only once in a while."