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A Consumer iPhone App That Boldly Goes Beyond The $9.99 Threshold

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picture-37Though you may not ever see them, there are apps in the App Store that sell for over $9.99. Mostly they’re for doctors or stupid gimmicks, but they exist. Now the first one relevant on a larger scale to consumers is about to become available with the SlingPlayer Mobile app launching tonight for $29.99 in the App Store.

How this app sells will be really interesting. While other consumer electronic companies have made apps, most have given them away for free like DirectTV and the Remote app from Apple. But SlingPlayer will be a bit different from those since it’s streaming content from a piece of hardware you own to your iPhone — so it’s basically an extension of that device to use on the road. Of course, there’s also a big caveat: It will only work over WiFi.

Talk circulated last month that Apple blocked the SlingPlayer app from the App Store because AT&T didn’t want it clogging up its bandwidth with streaming video. This is the same reason that it would block other bandwidth-intensive apps like a Hulu app, if that actually arrives. But what’s odd, as AppleInsider notes, is that SlingPlayer has an app for other phones like some BlackBerrys that lets it stream video over 3G — yes, on AT&T’s network. So it would appear that AT&T is showing bias against the iPhone, which has users that tend to use up more bandwidth.

Still, how the SlingPlayer app fairs could be an indicator of the types of apps we see with the release of the iPhone 3.0 software (and likely new hardware) this summer. We know that apps will now be able to take advantage of the iPhone connector port, so there should be some very interesting apps that come out of that — ones that could potentially be more expensive than the $9.99 app price wall that has seemed to exist in recent months.

And it’s in Apple’s interest for such a high-priced app to do well also. Remember, it takes a 30% cut of all sales, and seeing as it costs them no more to list a $29.99 app than a free one, that’d be a nice chunk of change for Apple. Of course, I still think the new in-app purchases also coming in 3.0 will be more important to the bottom line.

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