Apple to Start Application Rentals?
Movies and television shows currently are the only rentable products in the iTunes store, but a piece of code discovered by Sonny Dickson
in iTunes 10.5 Beta 9 suggests that could change.
"Apps are automatically removed from your iTunes library at the end of the rental period
" is, of course, the line of code that peaked Dickson's interest. iOS app rentals would be an interesting development, but pose a ton of questions. Currently there are a massive number of free applications and free versions of applications that many userís are comfortable purchasing instead of their paid-for variants, could users rent free apps? Also, most applications do not cost enough to warrant a rental period. How much do you charge to rent a $5 application, or even worse a $.99 application? These arenít cars or pieces of physical equipment, and can be easily copied once rented.
However, expensive medicine related applications or GPS apps could benefit from cheaper rental prices. Still, Apple isnít notorious for providing features that will only be used by a small portion of the population. A recent ruling against Appleís iTuneís return policy in South Korea forced Apple to allow the refund of app sales. This could be a driving force behind Apple renting applications.
So far Iíve only speculated about iOS apps being available for rent, but the line of code could very well be in reference to full blown OS X applications. This would make tons more sense than renting iOS apps, as many media editing applications can cost an arm and a leg. Renting Photoshop for a week, or Final Cut X when you need it could be more cost effective than laying down hundreds or even thousands of dollars for an application.
The idea is novel, but would you rent an app? What kinds of apps would you rent? The upside is lead generation I suppose, where people would buy the app if they found it useful enough. This could make free or ďliteĒ versions of apps less popular, developers instead could opt for a cheap rental period to try to woo customers.