The value of an App

Last week, I had a meeting with my accountant. Perhaps you're different, but I don't particularly enjoy meeting my accountant. Not that he isn't a nice man, or anything like that. For all I know, he spends his spare time helping old ladies cross the road and rescuing lost kittens from trees.

No, I don't enjoy meeting with my accountant for the simple reason that I don't much like accounting. Fiddly numbers, the burden of taxes and the worry that I've got something wrong. Essentially, that's what I pay him for, and for the most part things went as smoothly as could be expected.

Right up until he asked me for a bit of information that I flat out forgot to bring with me. A rather vital bit of information. I'm not going to say what it was (because it was private commercial information), but suffice it to say that without it I was going to have to book another meeting with him — and pay him for at least another hour of his time.

Luckily, I had my iPad on me, and a copy of LogMeIn Ignition on it. A bit of waiting for 3G, and I could log into my home system and grab the relevant information with ease. To say I was rather grateful I'd brought the iPad with me would be an understatement. To say that LogMeIn was rather worth its purchase price would equally be an understatement.

Quick ethical disclosure: The copy of LogMeIn Ignition running on my iPad was provided to me as a complimentary review copy. My point still stands, however, as it occurred to me as I was checking my home system that I could have bought it and downloaded it over 3G and still saved myself a bucketload of accountancy fees on the spot anyway.

I tweeted at the time how grateful I was for the combination, and got various feedback commenting that it was decent software, but "too expensive". The whole argument about what an App is worth is something that's often mulled over, and there's no doubt that as consumers we've benefited from low cost and plenty of free applications.

Still, I'd argue strongly that an application is worth to you exactly what benefit it conveys. I've purchased plenty of applications that have later gone "free", but that doesn't fuss me. I still feel like I've had decent value from them. The average purchase price of an App is still exceptionally low, so arguing over pennies seems particularly pointless. In the case of higher priced applications, however, if you're going to use them in a way that provides a direct benefit (as per my LogMeIn example above), they can still be excellent "value".

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