The "Never Happening" App Gem Appreciation Collection

Here’s a crazy idea — one that’s so crazy, I’m just going to come out now and say it will never happen. But if Dreaming With Jeff has taught me anything, it is that I can dream and it’s good for me. So here’s a daydream I’ve had for awhile.

Since the App Store likes to run specials that Apple puts together that do favors for the customers for weeks at a time — like 50% off sales of the best productivity apps — why don’t they turn the tables on one of these special offers? Just once, I would like a collection where I can give extra cash for apps that deserve to be lauded for their creativity, innovation, and usefulness. I would call this the App Gem Appreciation Collection, or something like that.

Here’s what would make this collection stand out: Apple App Store operatives would look at what the developers and nerds themselves like most in the App Store. They would put together two dozen or so somewhat randomly selected and somewhat handpicked. It would be a grab bag of useful apps that all geeks can appreciate.

Then, set their prices much higher for a whole week. Yes, imagine doing a favor for the developers instead of the customers; give the prized developers a little bit of the money they probably deserve. Crazy notion, I know, but I have a good feeling that they would put their extra income to good use!

Let me sight some hypothetical inclusions for this special offer. Let’s look at Clear. This listing app is one of the more clever tools that inspires list-making, which turns out to be a very practical function for all of us. We all need a few good lists.

The developers have given Clear lots of features they didn’t have to, but for the sheer joy they hoped to bring to the users, they went a few extra miles. The least we can do, just for once, is give them a token of our appreciation. Some of us feel inclined to be generous.

Clear is $4.99 in the App Store. It has been most days since it was released. My guess is that Realmac Software doesn’t sell many copies of Clear at the present, but considering the number of satisfied customers (Clear has 4,000 5-star ratings) they should be included in the App Gem Appreciation Collection. And while we’re at it, let’s generously give them 10 times the regular price: make Clear $49.99 for seven days. All things considered, I think that’s a close representation of its value anyway.

“Joe, have you lost your mind? Clear isn’t worth that much!” Oh, I disagree. You’ll spend more money at the office printing crap you’ll throw away in a week. I know people that will buy pocket-sized notebooks that are each $10. They fill one of those up in three months, then buy another. Just for list-taking. In a year, they’ll have four notebooks full of lists they don’t need to return to, and they’ll have spent $40 on them. They put their notebook collection away and never look at them for a real reason ever again.

Now, consider that Clear is one of the most popular listing apps on iOS. It is a few years old, and people are still getting a lot of mileage from it. And all you paid for it was a measly $4.99. Clear lets you check stuff off, recycle list items as you burn through them more than once, and it even lets you delete a list without wasting paper. The value of the Clear app is equal to, if not greater than, the paper we would use in its stead.

Here’s another app for the collection: Sleep Cycle. The app tells you how well your’e sleeping, or how well you’re not sleeping, and gives a little advice along the way to help you become mindful of your routine. And you want to know something kind of crazy? It actually works. You don’t need a sleep therapist, or an expensive alarm clock, or sleeping pills. If you really need the help, all you need to get a good night’s rest is the 99¢ Sleep Cycle.

How important is your sleep? If you believe even just a little of the research, it’s very important for a happy and long life. It also improves your cognizance, so that you perform better at work. Good sleep fends off some forms of biologically-indused depression.

Does Sleep Cycle help improve in these areas? You better bet your bottom dollar that it does! Hundreds of thousands of users like it and get a good night’s sleep with Sleep Cycle; all thanks to the best 99¢ they’ve ever spent. 54,000 5-star ratings cannot lie. I would just like the chance to give the developers at Northcube $10 to show my thanks for the great sleep that I’ve had the last few years.

What other apps would I like on the list, and what might they cost during the special run? Here’s some for starters:

What about free apps? In my opinion, some of the more useful apps shouldn’t be free in the first place. Clips is such an app that should be at least $3 on the App Store, if all things were just.

And don’t let the pricing of the others throw you off my point. Most of my list are based on multiplying their current price by 10, so Unread would sell for more than Fantastical. But that’s just because Fantastical sells for less in the first place. If all things were fair, these apps would cost the same amount, or Fantastical would cost a little more, because I think it’s very useful.

Am I a little crazy that I want this opportunity? Yes. But that’s not a bad kind of crazy, if it helps good developers stay in business and show our gratitude. And no one is making customers buy these apps at these hypothetical prices. And since many of us have already paid for these, we should be given the option to pay the additional amount during the week of the special offer, rather than the full amount, like a new buyer.

Will this ever happen? Hah, of course not! That would mean Apple would get an insane web-media-attention backlash. And, God love Apple, they aren’t about to dive headlong into a customer service fiasco. Can you imagine the irate customers that would accidentally purchase one of these apps reading $49.99 as $4.99? Then blaming Apple and the third parties for theft?

I guess it’s the empty good intentions of the idea that are going to have to count.

Joe Darnell

Joe is a UI and graphic designer with prior experience as the creative director for three media-based businesses. Joe’s passionate about web design and graphic design with about 15 years of experience in the media industry. Additionally, Joe is the host of the Top Brew and Techtonic podasts, both featured on iTunes.