From a business point of view, we noted the following issues:
- You don't know if you sell your app to iPad or iPhone owners as the reports issued by Apple don't mention if the product was bought on iPhone or iPad. These figures are important to make decisions regarding your future products, know your audience, etc.
- App Store reviews and ratings are not separated. On the App Store, you can't - and neither can potential buyers - distinguish between ratings and reviews for the iPhone or the iPad version. This is especially a problem if your app is very good on iPad but not so good on iPhone, or vice-versa. Again, you cannot use these reviews to make informed decisions for your future products. We found this impossibility to interpret accurately the reviews and ratings a major issue.
- If you have an app that is not universal, and you update it to make it universal, it will not be listed as a new app for the new supported device! Indeed, there is only one release date, so your app is not considered as new, even though it should, as it was not previouly available on the new supported device. As all developers know, the first day your app is released is of key importance, as being listed in the "new app" listing, which is easily accessible on the App Store, gives it great visibility. When we updated our Montessori Crosswords to make it iPhone compliant, that came as a really unpleasant surprise...
- You cannot set two different prices. The iPad market is different from the iPhone market, and prices are slightly higher. If you want to lower your app price to be competitive on the iPhone market, you must also lower your price for the iPad....
The good points are:
- It's best for users - although I would bet that it does not have a great influence on the decision to buy the app.
- If you have an app that is not universal and you update it to make it universal, you retain your previous reviews/ratings, which is good if you had good reviews. But from our point of view, the drawback of not being listed as new on the new supported device is such a problem that keeping the reviews does not seem worth it in the end.
I checked the App Store to look how others developers deal with universal version, and most of the time they choose to do two versions (eg Uzu and little Uzu, Let's Create Pottery and Let's Create Pottery HD,...), and I understand that!
Anyway, now we are thinking of doing an iPhone only version of Montessori Crosswords (it is currently an universal app) so that we can set a different price for the iPhone and the iPad version. The current version will stay universal but will be a little bit pricer. I don't know if Apple will be OK with this, and it will complexify our offer but we've made a little mistake, so let's try to move on!
EDIT(1/3/2011): So we tested a HD version universal (running on both iphone and ipad) and a cheaper version on iPhone for the french version of Montessori Crosswords, and we discovered an issue : the iphone ranking - of course since you've got two apps your apps rank lower. Eventually, the HD version is selling better on the iPhone market (surely also due to blog posts that mentioned only the HD version) So this is not a good solution as well. The best for users is definitively a HD version at an iphone price - but it's not good for your business unless your reach the top of the charts.