We're pretty avid iPhone users here at ClickCare HQ, but even we were surprised when we saw the Guardian report that iPhone and iPad owners spent $10 Bn on apps in 2013. It's a huge number: large enough to take ranks with other big categories of spending we see each year. And that's pretty amazing -- considering that the App Store has only existed since 2008.
Which brings us to our question. With so many free apps out there, why have we spent $10 Bn on apps? Are the best medical apps the ones you have to pay for? Or are the best medical apps actually free?
Here our our tips for navigating the world of paid and free apps… and for deciding which medical apps are best for you:
- Understand the "free" tradeoff. App developers generally need to make money in one way or another. Apps that charge for their service are obviously generating revenue that way. But apps that are free to the user make money differently. Often, they either sell your data (meta or otherwise) or they sell advertising. Either way, the app isn't actually "free:" it's just charged differently. We find that we are willing to pay in different ways in different situations -- but it is helpful to understand the tradeoff you're getting with free apps.
- Get it mostly for free. Of course, some apps aren't completely free, but do let you try it for free, or use many of its features for free indefinitely. This is the category iClickCare falls into, and we think it is a good setup for the user. (We give you free unlimited usage for 2 weeks, and allow you to continue to review visits and answer questions for free, forever.) You don't have to risk any cash up-front, only paying if you know it's worth it. Plus, you don't end up with the "free" tradeoff we described above. (For more on this approach, check out this good book.)
- Find the simplest app to get the job done. As we profiled in our last post, many of the simplest, humblest apps are actually the best. So certainly don't pay for features -- or apps -- you don't need.
- Prioritize design. We believe that well-designed apps, particularly apps related to our work, are worth paying for. We generally look for the best-designed apps, and then whether they are free or not free, usually go that direction.
So while we don't believe that the best medical apps are always free, we do believe that there are some great ones that are. And we always believe an app should give you a free way to try it…
Just click below to try iClickCare for free.