Pi Cubed Lite for iPhone and iPod touch
Since its April release, Pi Cubed has been well-received. However, it is difficult to sell users on the value of a $9.99 visual math tool in the App Store without any means for them to try it out. Well, I'm happy to announce that the free Pi Cubed Lite is now available on the App Store.
I knew from the beginning that a $9.99 price point for an application would be a hard sell in the unique economy of the App Store. I wanted to create a sustainable, high-quality product that I could keep improving for a long while after I released it. This price point provides for a solid daily income, even when sales have tailed off after the initial release.
A $9.99 price also means that I have more opportunities for marketing the product. I have an approximate 6-10% conversion rate for visitors to my website. With a net of around $7 per sale, that means that I can spend up to $0.40 per visitor, which makes Google Adwords and other advertising avenues worthwhile. It's hard to see any advertising route that would be profitable for a $0.99 application.
I've experimented with many things around the sale of the application, but it's been clear from the start that the best way to convince people to buy a relatively high-priced product is a free demo. That's where the free Pi Cubed Lite comes in.
Pi Cubed Lite has the same overall calculation and equation layout engine as its big brother, but it lacks the high-end features. It does not have the built-in equation library that Pi Cubed ships with, nor the ability to save and organize your own equations. It can only store up to five equations or calculations at a time. Finally, it doesn't have any of the equation export options (email, plotting, etc.) that Pi Cubed does.
That said, it is still an extremely powerful numerical calculation tool, and I hope that students, scientists, and engineers will be able to pick it up and use it in their daily work. Even better, I hope they like it enough to show it to their friends. I'd love to see the kind of uptake that Molecules, my other free application, has had. That application is fast approaching 500,000 total downloads.
One other thing that you might notice about the Lite version is that it requires iPhone OS 3.0. I've started to take advantage of new 3.0 features in my mainline Pi Cubed codebase (some of which will appear in the 1.11 update now under review), and the Lite version reflects that. You'll even find one 3.0-specific capability in the Lite version which I have not documented.
It will be interesting to see how many people this free version introduces to Pi Cubed. I've been gathering data on my sales efforts so far, and I'll report the results once the impact of the Lite version has been determined.