Thursday, September 22, 2011

15 Free Apps for Your iPod Touch

by John T. Spencer

There are no free apps.  I know, I know.  Some of them don't cost a penny.  I get that.  But they aren't free.  Not really.  Corporations use "free" in order to sell something.  Apple sells more products.  Google sells more advertising.  App-developers offer "free" with the goal of selling a nicer version.  Often, freeware developers have a goal of selling customized consulting and IT development.

Even open source comes with layers of cultural, social and political systemic thinking.  Regardless of geography, every medium develops in a context and that context comes loaded with socio-cultural layers. There is a cost to every application.  Sometimes it's environmental.  Other times, it's social.  But it always costs something.

Perhaps we shouldn't be looking for "free" apps at all. Maybe we need to switch to a paradigm that says, "What is the cost?" and "What is the trade-off?"  Perhaps instead of saying, "Is this free?" we need to ask, "Is this worth it?"


  1. It took me awhile to get that.

  2. This is unfortunately especially true for the iPod. There are actually (almost) free and open source projects, but I remember reading recently that Apple was much more reluctant to give these apps a green light in their app store.

  3. Is it much different from free to air tv versus pay tv. Neither is in fact free, both are supported by advertising and one is subsidised by a user pays monthly subscription. Free has never meant free.

  4. With my district, it isn't the fact that there is a cost for an app. The costs themselves are quite reasonable. It is the fact that Apple has created a huge bureauracratic process to be able to make volume orders. My district has decided not to take that step, because ultimately it makes more work for someone at the district level. So, I watch for apps that are temporarily free, and I have been able to pick up apps that normally cost up to $4.99 for nothing and load them on my class set of iPod Touches.

  5. You make some excellent points. One more that I try to get across when recommending mobile apps is that the paid software is more likely to be around with new features in the future. Paying generally also buys you more stability and potential for improvement. There are certainly some exceptions which seem to have a valid "freemium" model - WordPress and Evernote come to mind first. But they are very much the exception.

    And it's not necessary to spend a lot of money for the good stuff. I recommend a basic information tool kit with nine great iPad apps (including a few free: for less than a $20 bill.


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