'Premium' App Store Rumors Revived

Wired revives rumors of a "premium" App Store dedicated to applications for the iPhone and iPod touch priced at $20 or more. The move could provide a means for more sophisticated apps to be featured and protected from the downward pricing pressure seen in the App Store.

We're hearing rumors that Apple could introduce a "premium" section in the store, in order to sell more expensive third-party programs. The premium section would largely be focused on games, giving game makers a channel to offer more in-depth (and pricier) titles without getting lost in the clutter of free and $1 apps.

Wired also speculates that a "premium" store could be popular with business-oriented software companies.

This "velvet rope" section of Apple's store could feature software programs that cost $20 or more, making it friendlier to publishers whose products are too complicated to be created in one developer's spare time. That change would make the App Store more friendly to game publishers, as well as enterprise software companies such as SAP that would otherwise prefer to focus on the more business-user targeted BlackBerry phones.

PocketGamer.biz reported on similar rumors in late January. While PocketGamer.biz had no information on a possible release date for the new App Store, they speculated that Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference this summer would be an obvious opportunity, but that a special games-focused media event could also be a possibility. Apple's iPhone OS 3.0 media event scheduled for next Tuesday provides yet another opportunity for such an announcement.