On the eve of the iPhone 3.0 event, rumors are once again circulating that Apple will introduce a Premium section of the iTunes App Store, in order to provide a venue for developers to present higher priced apps without having to vie for attention with the many, many cheap independent apps currently available. The existing average price point of applications for the iPhone, which is trending even further downward, makes it impossible for big studios to devote a lot of time and energy to the development of big budget titles.
When we first brought news of the rumored “boutique” app store, it was supposed to be reserved for games only. The latest rumors, courtesy of Wired.com, don’t limit the premium section to games, although it does say they will make up most of the section’s offerings. Wired doesn’t cite a source for the renewed rumors, but they do claim the possibility that the premium app store will be introduced alongside iPhone 3.0 at tomorrow’s official Apple event.
The base price for apps in the new section would start at $20. Considering the cost of the average DS or PSP new release, iPhone users would probably still be getting a better deal than most. Hopefully this will see iPhone and iPod touch users getting the best of both worlds, since the vast catalog of cheap apps will still be available, but there will also be ample room for better quality apps to occupy their own competitive space.
An introduction of this service at the iPhone 3.0 event does make sense, since it isn’t really news enough to merit its own separate event, but it will help add to the buzz surrounding the upcoming software overhaul. Add the fact that EA hasn’t introduced a big name title since Sim City, which makes it seem likely that there’s a reason they’re waiting, and I’d say the chances are pretty high that we will see the App Store get a little more classy in the near future.