App costs

iConnectHue is available for iPhone and iPad

iConnectHue is available for iPhone and iPad, but development costs time and money

Developing apps is no easy task. You expect an app to be up to date, that it works, sometimes need support and at the same time, don’t want to pay much for it. iConnectHue is on a market where its baseline price of around 6 Dollars/Euros is already seen as expensive – a price that is a fraction of your monthly hair cut, still you expect it to solve much more complex tasks than your stylist does. At the same time – contrary to many other apps – it is being developed continuously for more than 7 years, and it offers you services beyond an app, for example actual support, hardware reviews and 3rd party light support – this is only possible because some additions are being charged for.

Why pay more for some features? The baseline functionality of iConnectHue is already huge (see Features), increases over time and adapts to new hardware you purchase and new system versions you use – iConnectHue started with iOS 5 support in 2013 and we are now with iOS 13. Some iOS updates are easy to make, others not so much. When you read “we now support iOS 13”, would you have guessed that we discovered around 50 issues, while around 10 of them triggered an iOS bug report going to Apple? iOS 12 was easier, iOS 11 similarly problematic.
Apple doesn’t offer any real “update” scheme, and the app price alone, which is paid once, can’t keep an app running over its lifetime, if you expect it to be kept up to date. Making an app is daily work for programming, marketing, UI/UX, graphics, support, hardware purchases, tests, orders, and so on. We work for you, by making iConnectHue better, by developing new features and by offering you support.
The app store, as it is, disguises all this work. It makes it look like you pay once, and it runs forever. This is more than once criticised, for example this article by developer Matt Gemmel brings it to the point. Example: Apple makes you think that, when bringing out the iPad Pro, software developers “magically” adapt their software to this hardware, but well, that’s quite some work to do (and when finally some developers said they won’t support it). Suddenly when the Apple Watch came out – apps supported it. But there were people working hard for this! Now, is it the hardware or is it the software that makes your Apple device great? Of course it’s nice to touch, but maybe you need something to touch on it…

iConnectHue itself could be made more expensive (with these many features, its base price is pretty cheap – one purchase just about pays one answered support mail. Compare it to desktop software, which usually starts (!) at 20 to 30 Dollars/Euros – and usually gets yearly paid updates). But instead the “entrance fee” should still be reasonable, and everybody can choose what he or she needs. Hence there are separate versions for each platform and new in app purchases from time to time. Be fair at this point: It is still a reasonable price compared to other complex software or the money you spent for the lighting hardware, and do you really need every single in app purchase? There are many users out there with different requirements, and not every purchase is meant to be purchased by you. For example: Animation and Magic Scene packages should solve two problems: First, to serve those who don’t want to create their own ones, on the other side there have been several requests to give an additional donation – but I think its fair to still get something back for it. For everyone else, you have all the means to create your own animations and own Magic Scenes. And even for those: Each new paid animation package has yet brought new functionalities to the animation engine, which you get back in the animation editor.

Why did you add memberships?

We actually added them for multiple purposes: Make things more simple – just two choices to get all features. New users should have an easy way to try things out – this was one main complaint we were getting (this is what the Basic membership is for). Secondly, we had planned a separate Pro version, that is subscription only, but for the sake of simplicity we opted to give it to our users as add-on to the existing version. Not only that: For this reason we finally made a universal app – originally only iConnectHue Pro should be universal.
There’s also another side: We were forced to create feature after feature to get our costs covered, but this held us from improving other parts of the app. Users also didn’t like we added new in app purchases – which we had to for the reasons just named. We have also grown, and this means more people are working on iConnectHue and for you. And – last but not least – we have plans that will give you more services around the app (that’s also why we call it “membership”).
We never were sure when we earn how much at which time, not enough existing users made in app purchases, which hindered us to grow and hire people working on this project in certain positions – we couldn’t guarantee them a stable position. Memberships are a compromise – we would be happy to sell you actual updates, but we (still) can’t properly due to how Apple laid out the app store. But they give us a stability we urgently need for future development.
Membership pricing is around or below the value you would pay for around annual or two-year updates of comparably feature rich apps. Even if you’re in a membership for 10 years, you only reach around the price of your Hue starter set, not even counting any additional hardware!
You are free in your choice to take a membership. We will currently continue to add features to both directions: Memberships and In-Apps.

Why can’t I just have one fee and get everything?

Because everytime we add something new you would still have a new purchase. Also, because our tax system doesn’t work like this and neither do we. Our tax systems favour long term incomes over short time peaks. A single value would mean a peak, which would be mainly eaten by taxes, and after that, no income at all – a lot of the money you spent doesn’t end there where it’s needed. We can’t work without an income, and having a steady income ensures you a continued and up-to-date app.

Why isn’t there a free test version?

There is no “free test meal” in a restaurant, is there? You go to a restaurant and expect things to work out, because people working there have an experience in their job. You pay because people do their job serving you a meal. If there’s something wrong, people will try to solve it for you.
We are working on this app with experience of about a decade – and we are working on it every day, for you. If there’s something wrong, you can contact us anytime.

Some apps are for free. Why do I pay for this one?

Contrary to hardware producers like Philips, we don’t sell lights and hence cannot cross-finance an app via hardware sales. We also don’t sell your data in order to create an income – like many social networks and several apps do.
All more complex 3rd party lighting apps aren’t free, either, as soon as you want to work with them more seriously.
iConnectHue is being produced professionally, by people who know what they’re doing, and who are dedicated to their work. Some of them do it daily, and they need to pay their bills like you do as well.

This is what you get for it: Updates are frequent, problems are being solved quickly, your ideas are considered and support is available – that’s more than many other apps do offer, and we think it’s worth it! Do you want a cheap app or an app that is being taken care of? Do you want your data to be sold (like so many big companies and free aps do it), or should it be kept private, like iConnectHue does?
The price of iConnectHue is more realistic than of most other apps and allows it to be a professionally made project. We want to give you a good Hue app in the long term – but we need your support for this, too! We need to pay the people who work for it.

Another comparison: Buying one full version of iConnectHue with several in app purchases costs you less than a menu at a normal restaurant. After 30 minutes, your meal is gone, the support for it (waiter/waitress, cook, restaurant) is finished. And it’s not the last one of your day, and the next day you’ll need to buy another one. For less than this price you get an app and somehow expect to use and have it for the full lifetime of your product and probably also need support in that time. Consider this: You get a job, and your employer pays you once at the beginning and expects you to work for several years, without any additional payment. Would you do that?
If you think the price is high, think again: We only get about 56% of the what you pay (you need to subtract the VAT and off that take Apple’s cut of 30%), then we pay taxes again on top of that. So one app sold is not even getting us food for one of us for for half a day – but it may be useful to have an alive team to get further updates ;).

If you like to support iConnectHue, consider buying the in app purchases or taking a membership. You’ll by that way lay a foundation for continued development and new features (and several of them are free!). You can bring yourself into the game by giving feedback what you like and what you don’t – and what you need.
Then again, compare the price of this app to the price of your iPhone or your Hue system. It’s the least price of them all, but makes them work together like a charm!