Walk the aisles of any toy store and you'll see miles of shelves lined with $20-$30 board games and toys.
We're accustomed to paying that amount because that's where that the market set the price years ago. It's predicated on production costs, overhead for toy manufacturers, distribution, and the store's cut of the margin, among many other factors.
But with apps, it's been a different story. Combine the freedom from marketing-oriented design restrictions with the power of new digital tools like the iPad, and the result is an explosion in excellent, interactive, educational games that allow kids to explore and create -- not just consume or destroy -- and at a far cheaper price.
Straight out of the gate, consumers are used to paying just a buck or two for most apps -- and many of the "lite" versions are free. Even the apps that most agree have educational value vary in range from free to $7. Most would balk at the idea of paying $20 or $30 for an app when it's available for so much less.
But there's one thing app users have discovered: there are apps and there are apps. Some will invariably be single-function duds. At $1, it's not much of a risk (though it does add up if apps are indiscriminately charged). The bigger question is this: Would consumers (parents) be willing to make the ideological jump to paying more for a quality educational app? Maybe -- if they knew what goes into making it.