As we previously mentioned that Apple finally understood that there are so many medical apps and medical users of iPhone and iPod Touch so they created the new medical category.
What’s interesting is that we can keep track of the most commonly downloaded apps in this category whether they are free or paid right from the device app store or in iTunes;
For example; Epocrates free version only includes Rx and if you need the full Essentials package then you must subscribe through their website. Likewise, Skyscape Medical Resources includes a small number of free goodies but if you want more titles then you’d have to purchase them from Skyscape’s website. Similarly, Unbound Medicine is offering just a template of the product on which you can download the content if you are a current subscriber.
The only ‘big’ company that offers a fully functional paid app is Lexi-Comp via their different suites including the Pediatric suite. But, this is arguably a bad marketing model because people may get intimidated by the price if they don’t actually see the wonders inside.
So the top free list [and consequently the top paid list] is Incorrect because we don’t know how many users who have downloaded those free apps have actually paid and subscribed to the full version and so they should be counted in the paid list.
Another problem with the list [we mentioned that previously] is that the inclusion criteria of these apps into the medical category are not very strict. So the top paid app “Eye Test” is very unlikely that it has been downloaded by medical professionals, it is most probably downloaded by non-medical people because of it’s nature.
So two recommendations to the people of App Store:
First, ask these developers to make two versions of their apps, one free and the another full PRO version.
Second, edit the medical category and remove those apps that share common interest and put them in their old category [Health and Fitness].
Lastly, if you want to know what is the pediatric ranking of the large native iPhone apps then you may participate in the Best Native Pediatric Apps on Pda4peds.
[Update 3-18-2009], the new iPhone OS 3.0 comes with a new SDK that allows In App Purchase and Apple will likely ask the developers to apply this new technology and there will be no more subscriptions via the developer’s website only through iTunes store. Read related post.