Recently Apple made a small improvement to the App Store by creating a new section: try before you buy. This change is believed to have been made in order to ease the rampant application piracy outside of the App Store. But why iPhone apps are being pirated?
Ease the buying experience
A user wants a travel logging application and search the app store. The search returns 23 applications. Which one if the best? User reviews helps the process of filtering the best from the worst. But, what if three or four applications have a very high ratings from the users? Each of the application could be downloaded in trial mode to the user's device so he can try it out. This is a great way to help user make a really clear buying decision.
Sell more applications, faster
Lots of users won't buy applications for a specific need for many reasons: too few user reviews, the application just came out on the market, etc. If potential buyers are allowed to try the software, they are more likely to make a decision rapidly instead of holding it.
Clean the App Store from "lite" versions
One of the many problem on the App Store is application discoverability. Why? In part because there are too many of them. Apple is really proud of the number of applications in the App Store but let be honest: too many applications are simply "lite" versions of fully featured one. Allowing a trial period on every applications would render useless the need to create those "lite" application versions.
Let's face it, developing for the iPhone is more and more complex: too many versions of iOS to test against, too many different devices and form factors are all contributing to the development process increased complexity. If developers can skip "lite" versions of their applications, they can work on something else, like improving their currently shipping full featured apps!
No longer we'll see this kind of user review: "This is the worst 5$ spent on the App Store". A satisfied user will more likely write a better review of the application. And you know what? More satisfied users writing very positive reviews helps bring up the perceived quality of the applications found in the App Store. Overall, everybody is winning. This is a snow ball effect.
This proposition has a downside: all those throwable software at 0.99$ will suffer. At this price, trying a software may not be a big deal for many so this bring sales to the developer. Having a trial period would certainly reduce sales to some level. But, this is why the try before you buy would be an opt-in option for the developers.