Apple kills Aperture and iWork trials

Apple has removed the free trials for two of its most popular software packages, the photo editing program Aperture and the office suite iWork, from its website as of yesterday and instead redirects users to the Mac App Store, where they have the choice to buy the product at full price.


Apple has killed off Aperture and iWork free trials, redirecting the user instead to the Mac App Store

Any users who try to download free trials from the Apple website are greeted simply by the message:

The trial version of iWork is no longer supported. But you can easily purchase Keynote, Pages and Numbers from the Mac App Store.

The Aperture trial page sports a similar message, along with a warning that users should uninstall the trial version before proceeding to install the full version. Users are then redirected to the App Store, where they have the choice of purchasing Aperture at the full retail price of $79.99, or $19.99 per iWork application (Pages, Keynote and Numbers), a lot less than the boxed retail version but with no opportunity to try out the product before committing to buying.

The move has come as a bit of surprise and indeed Apple has declined to comment on why the free trials were removed. The company does not allow demos in its own App Store, encouraging developers rather to post any trial versions of Mac software on their own websites, with the App Store being reserved for the full (and often, paid) versions. However, the step could be seen as a preparation for the upcoming Mountain Lion launch this summer – we already know that the App Store is at the core of this release, with even mundane OS X software updates going through the App Store.

The move could also be construed as a further “iOS-ification” of the Mac. Like the Mac App Store, the iTunes App Store does not allow time-limited demos of applications, meaning that many developers have created both “free” and “paid” versions of their software, with the “free” version often lacking in functionality or offering additional features through an in-app purchase.

Were Apple Right?

The move has been seen as quite controversial by many people, and we here at Mac AppStorm would love to hear all your comments and thoughts relating to this matter. Is Apple’s killing of free trials a good or bad business model? Are they sacrificing potential customers in doing this? Share your frustration (or praise) in the comments section below.


Add Yours
  • That was harsh. I think users should definitely have the right to try something before they buy it.

    But anyway. I think it’s time Apple implement a trial system to it’s App Stores.

    Lots of developers are making limited & free versions of their apps by wasting their time. But instead if Apple implemented a simple trial system things would work out so much better. And users would get to easily try all of the features in an app for free for a limited time.

    Also with this approach Apple would gain a lot of space since all of those meaningless free versions would disappear.

    The only reason comes to my mind for Apple not implementing such a system even though they have something similar in movies is that they might be after the money. Bad Apple.

  • I’m definitely not a fan of this. I’m not gonna discuss Apple as a company, but as a shopkeeper, this is a jerk move that is evident of larger jerk-ness. By not allowing trials — including their own — they’re playing on the fact that most people won’t be diligent enough to return a purchase and seek a refund. This is the equivalent of those passive-agressive signs that small stores will create that says something like “No we will not break a $50 bill. We are not a bank. Go to the ATM and get a $20”.

    Trials have been a part of software since the beginning. They’re a useful sales tool if nothing else. They help consumers get informed and help software authors get initial feedback without having to worry about taking sales and issuing refunds.

    I’m not a fan. Apple needs to find a way to allow trials in general, now more than ever.

  • The fact that the AppStore is killing off private vendor sites is well known. The fact that Apple continues to push a totalitarian view of control over all development is well known. This move should have been no surprise to anyone with open eyes.

    The option for trialware should be in the hands of the private developer/vendor, not some technocratic overseer. This is another reason not buy direct from Apple, as it seems that’s all they want… a piece of everyone in the commercial exchange and the death of true free enterprise.

    Three thumbs down.

  • if you haven’t used aperture or iworks by now, you’re NEVER going to use it. lightroom? office? hello? bueller?

    with that said, being a photographer, i’m having trouble seeing the future for aperture and apple’s stance with photography in the professional sense.

    as for iworks, i don’t know about you but i’m using microsoft office, and google documents to fulfill my needs.

    just saying

    • p.s. can always try it at the apple store or with a friend. oh your friends don’t use either? there’s a reason why.

    • What? If I haven’t used those programs by now, I’m never going to use them? You mean there will be no new users of these programs? What kind of logic is that?
      Actually, let me go ahead and answer my own question: faulty. I for one have never used Aperture but recently decided to try it. Whoops, I can’t try it. I have to buy it.

  • When I quit Windows last year it was a close contest between Mac and Linux. Mac won but Linux just awfully close.

    I see a point in the not too distant future where I will no longer be able to stomach Apple’s increasing totalitarianism, and Linux will be a completely viable alternative with sufficient maturity and polish of both the OS and critical applications.

    Now really is the time to start keeping yourself open. For instance start using Thunderbird and Lightening for your email and calendar instead of Mail and iCal. Its available on all three platforms and your entire profile is portable between them. Migrating is as simple as a folder copy/paste.

    • Yes, I agree. I’ve used Apple products for years and continue to do so because Windows is such a pile of ugly crap. However, Linux…. ooh…. its so almost, so almost there, its so close. As an OS its pretty much there but it’s let down by the pig ugly winclone type apps (obviously I’m not talking about the cross platformers such as Skype or Firefox here).

      I can already see the day when I switch entirely to linux, once it’s stopped its apps being so ugly. I’m increasingly pi**ed off at Apple’s overbearing, over-controlling stance and sheer commercial greed.

      I don’t give a toss about Apple’s hardware – I buy it because OSX (well, Snow Leopard anyway, don’t get me started on the pile of dross that is Lion) is the best OS out there. But Lion has already pushed me into iCal and Address book alternatives and now I don’t use those apps at all. Aperture is fairly good but Lightroom is much much better. If only it ran on linux…. :-)

  • iWork trial still available Apple India website.

  • Apple is/has turned to into the ugly monster that Microsoft was when I was using Macs years ago (before they were “cool”) I and many others are getting turned off this, this is NOT what my Mac experience used to be like and I don’t like it one little bit.

  • It’s hugely annoying not being able to try software being purchasing it. Many developers simply only offer their material via the App Store, and no trial is available on their website.

    It’s resulted in me looking elsewhere for software, or even downloading pirated copies, simply to be able to check out the software for myself, before purchasing.

  • I think most of the comments about Apple is not as it was {some} time ago are little exaggerated. Like Microsoft, for example. The companies are very different, very different strategy on the market, and there are no premises to say that companies are very similar. Just chatter.
    Back to the talk about unavailability of the trial versions: there are many causes to say that this is a huge mistake. But, from other side, there are interesting things about the same policy for the film industry. Do you ever came to the cash desk after viewing annoying film to take your money back?

    if you haven’t used aperture or iworks by now, you’re NEVER going to use it.

    Some folks think thay they if some not fit for them, it will not fit for everyone. Less than 16 years old, sure.

    Now really is the time to start keeping yourself open.

    He-he, very inspirational speech. :-) From the start of the universe there always were geeks in human race. One more here.

    I see a point in the not too distant future where I will no longer be able to stomach Apple’s increasing totalitarianism

    It’s just a company as many others. With their individual vision. They want to deliver the best they may deliver to the customers. If you found yourself that their policy don’t arrange you, just pass by.

  • to be honest,apple and it’s products are very nice but when it’s about apple’s policy on user’s freedom,apple always sucks.users should be able to try softwares which they want to learn and use.this is their right.after trying,if they want to use longer,then,they will purchase.why a company like apple which earns a lot of money has to be so totaliter ?

  • > where they have the choice to buy the product at full price.


  • I agree, time for an in-built app trial system in the Mac App store!

  • Apple continues to get worse. I refuse to use the App Store, it’s nothing but a trap.