The In-App Purchase Shakeup Begins: Boxcar Goes Free!

Screen shot 2009-10-15 at 5.57.51 PMBoxcar is easily my favorite Push Notification app on the iPhone. It’s 1.0 version was great, and it’s recently approved 2.0 version is even better. Unfortunately, some users complained because it was $2.99 to buy, but used Apple in-app purchasing system to extend its features, charging $0.99 for additional ones. So developer Jonathan George is trying something new.

Following the announcement today that Apple would now allow in-app purchases for free apps (the feature was previously only available for paid apps), George has decided to make Boxcar completely free. With this free version, you will still get 1 free service (Twitter Stream Push Notifications, Twitter Search Push Notifications, Facebook Notifications, etc), and you will be saving the $3 that you can then use towards buying other services, which will now be $1.99 per service.

George has already made the change in iTunes, and the new free price just rolled live. It will be very interesting to see how this new pricing dynamic helps or hurts developers. From a piracy perspective, this seems like a good move. And certainly, there were no shortage of developers that wished they could charge nothing for the app up front, but then charge for features or upgrades later.

Of course, there’s always the fear of “bait & switch” scams when that happens, but I would bet Apple will be watching for those closely — as if the App Store approvers needed more to worry about.

Find Boxcar in the App Store here. Yes, for free.