Logic Pro X and the Death of Software Upgrade Pricing

It only took a few hours after Logic Pro X’s release for several hastily prepared first impression videos to start appearing, as well as two professionally produced courses from training companies fortunate to have pre-release product access. Early adopters hungry for insight, instruction, or just a good software geek binge love a thoughtful tutorial or walk-through. It’s information at the speed of screen capture.

Now a few days later, the punditry starts to pour in. This is to be expected with a tent pole software release from Apple. Nothing stirs the opinion pot like a seemingly precedent-setting move from Cupertino. The theme of this weeks news cycle is the confirmed death by execution of software upgrade pricing.

To set the stage, the Apple App Store has yet to make available a system for discount purchasing of software upgrade. And after five years, it seems that they have no interest in doing so, much to the chagrin of many software consumers. Some vendors toy with workarounds, such as first week discounts on new releases. The theory is that it is a discount to customers astute enough to be tracking upgrade cycle of their favorite app. The technique is a nice kluge that does double duty as an awareness promotion for new patronage. But it’s a double-edged sword that cuts loyal customer that don’t happen to be poring over software release cycles with the diligence usually reserved for stock portfolios and Breaking Bad season premiers.

Leo Laporte laments the lack of upgrade pricing, “Why is that impossible in the App Store? We have computers now. Surely they can figure this out.” Take his semi-rhetorical question in the satirical manner it is presented and not as technological naïvety. Yes, they’ve done this before, and sure it may be another Apple industry-decreed vision of the future. But I think it is likely a subtler move; a pricing test balloon to judge public reaction from a niche market, rather than a hard hardware statement reminiscent of the overnight obsolescing of floppy discs or the FireWire force feeding of the past.

Not that those tough love tactics weren’t good for the industry, and the human race in general. But they did demonstrate a boldness that Apple has not shown since Steve’s passing. Perhaps the release of the new Mac Pro will “demonstrate the full power of this station” once again with a bold, definitive move. We will have to wait for the price reveal to fully know.

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Until then, it is safer for the more timid (like a fox) Tim to flex experimental muscles with the mushiness of product pricing. That’s easier to backtrack on (I’m looking at you iPad 2 $100 refund check) than are decisions set in the stone that is silicone, plastic, and aluminum.

As president of Tracy Evans Productions, Inc. for over 18 years Tracy splits his time between being an animator, director, producer, stage magician, graphic designer, art director, programmer, editor, consultant, speaker and writer of third-person autobiographical blurbs.

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