The Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) App Store features more than 180,000 applications (apps) for download, and that number continues to grow daily. While thousands of apps are available for free or 99 cents, others are as expensive as $1,000. It may seem ludicrous to spend so much on an app, but here are six of them that could be worth their hefty price tags.
1. BarMax: California Edition by BarMax – $999.99
This app is a mobile prep course for law students wanting to pass the California bar exam. Its price tag is the most you can currently pay for an iPhone app. But you get a lot – over 1GB of materials including two months of lectures, performance tests, flash cards and unlimited personal support from BarMax. There are thousands of pages of material and hundreds of hours of audio – all in a handy to-go format.
While the cost is huge for an app, paying for a reputable bar exam prep course could easily cost twice that. Of course, you can pay a lot less – prep courses can be as cheap as $500. However, the bar exam is a huge undertaking, and most students will invest on average $3,500-$4,500 in prep courses and materials. (Securing funding for your education isn't always the easiest thing to do, but there are ways to get assistance. Find out how in Attend Grad School For Free.)
2. iRa Pro by Lextech Labs - $899.99
This app is a top-of-the-line mobile video surveillance system that the creators describe as "a video command center in the palm of your hand". iRa Pro features both full-screen viewing and as many as six thumbnail views simultaneously. You can pan, tilt and zoom using the touch-screen interface and capture stills.
The price becomes a lot more understandable when you consider Lextech's target market. This app was designed for high-end security companies, rather than average-Joe users. If the system you are designing costs millions, $900 for an app to integrate it all is a drop in the ocean.
3. PDR Quote by Labra PTY LTD - $349.99
If you are in the auto repair business, this app allows you to create professional quotes on the go. It gives you instant access to more than 900 makes and models of cars around the world and lets you track customers from your phone's contacts. Similar software that is computer based can run $200 or more per year for a subscription service. And, of course, those programs don't fit in your pocket. (Sometimes buying a new car can be cheaper than shelling out for repairs. Determine how you can save money; check out Your Car: Fixer-Upper Or Scrap Metal?)
4. TuneLab Piano Tuner by Real-Time Specialties - $299.99
This tool for professional piano tuners uses TuneLab piano tuning programs that have been in use for over eight years. The app can be calibrated to an accuracy of 0.02 cents and can store hundreds of tuning files for individual pianos. Compare that to a professional-grade piano tuner that can cost upwards of $500 – and that one doesn't also make phone calls.
5. Lexi-COMPLETE by Lexi-Comp - $299.99
It's a medical encyclopedia to go. It includes information on "drugs, drug interactions, diagnosis, disease management, patient education and more", according to the creators. The $299.99 price is a one-year subscription – but when you consider the cost of medical textbooks that are sold at over $100 per book, and the convenience and storage space saved, this app could save you a bundle. (Find out what you can do to avoid a financial meltdown when there's a medical emergency. See Steering Clear Of Medical Debt.)
6. Luminair - $99.99
This DMX lighting control system is a dream for theater professionals. It allows you to wirelessly control stage lighting and any DMX-enabled equipment. Luminair also features the ability to create "play lists" to save cues and replay them at the touch of an onscreen button. Similar software that runs only on a computer can cost $200 or more.
The Bottom Line
These apps are not like the infamous "I Am Rich" app, which for the $999.99 price gave the purchaser a simple screen shot of a red diamond. While the cost may seem high, buying these apps could actually save you money. Doing a bit of research really can help you save money, even when you're spending!
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