With the vast majority of apps available for free in Apple’s App Store, most iPhone owners are used to hitting the download button without a second thought. The price of some apps, however, is enough to give anyone pause. What are the most expensive apps on the app store? This list looks at one-time purchase prices rather than subscription fees, which can make the total cost of an app vary depending on length of use.
As of 2023, CyberTuner — used by professional technicians to tune pianos — is tied for the lead as the most expensive app on the app store. At an eyewatering $999.99, the software might seem outrageously overpriced. However, the cost of tuning a piano ranges anywhere from $100 to $300 and only takes an hour, so technicians who use this tool will recoup the cost quickly.
CyberTuner took three years to develop, including one year of testing by master piano technicians around the globe. The app has extremely fast and accurate pitch correction. It also analyzes users’ aural tuning and suggests intervals, automatically sensing and compensating for short scaling. In other words, it’s so technically advanced and involved so much testing that the $1,000 price tag is justified.
This German point-of-sale system is designed for businesses. Also going for $999.99 on the app store, roc.Kasse is a mobile app that turns iPads into mobile cash register systems. It supports sales reporting, inventory and staff management, and cash transactions.
The app is customizable and scalable to help it grow alongside a company. However, it currently has no reviews on the Apple App Store, so it’s unclear how many people have actually bought roc.Kasse or how well it works.
Bizarrely, the third-most expensive app on the app store is also a piano tuning software — although at just $599.99, it’s quite a steal compared to CyberTuner. Perhaps it’s time to get into the piano tuning business?
Verituner lets users perfectly match a piano’s unique scaling without even touching the phone, helping them get to work quickly without any pre-tuning measurement steps. The app offers quick and accurate pitch raises and over 90 of the best-known historical temperaments. It also allows technicians to precisely control octave widths or create their own custom styles to match their aural tuning preferences.
Anyone who’s ever had a cavity knows how confusing it can be when the dentist starts explaining what’s wrong with your teeth, what treatment needs to happen, and how your teeth will look when it’s all said and done. It’s even harder if you have to crane your neck in the chair to see the computer.
DDS GP is a $399.99 app that lets dentists visually explain treatments and conditions to their patients on an iPhone or iPad. The app makes it easy to draw on the screen, add images, and use 3D animations to show people what’s going on with their teeth. It contains over 200 demonstrations to explain different conditions.
Considering that a single dental visit might cost more than $400 in many countries, the app pays for itself quickly. It can also help establish a better rapport between dentists and their patients, especially when a language barrier is involved.
TouchChat HD-AAC w/ WordPower
This $299.99 communication app gives people with Down syndrome, autism, apraxia, stroke, or similar conditions a voice. Users can edit different buttons to customize a person’s vocabulary. The app contains written words, letters, and pictures to give users many options to express themselves, with vocabularies in English, French, and Spanish.
TouchChat is more than just a word bank — it’s also compatible with eye and head tracking. Users can share the text they generated with TouchChat on email, social media, or iMessage. The app can also read written text out loud or allow users to speak with a built-in voice synthesizer. Overall, it’s a fantastic tool for anyone who struggles with verbal communication, making it invaluable for caretakers and people with speech disabilities alike.
Zollinger Atlas of Surgery 11E
Another one of the most expensive apps on the app store, this guide helps medical students learn the ins and outs of different surgical procedures. It’s also a great resource for established medical practitioners. Available for $209.99, it contains 1,800 images that detail human anatomy, physiology, and proper positioning during surgery.
The app has a search tab with a word suggestion feature to help spell long medical terms. Users can bookmark terms, write notes, and change the size of the text. The search feature also remembers users’ search history to make it easier to find previously searched results. The app covers indications, pre-op preparation, incision and exposure, procedure, closure, and postoperative care. It also contains new topics not covered in previous editions, including robotic surgery, laparoscopies, and endovascular operations.
Pharmacotherapy Principles 6/E
Acting as an adjunct to Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach — a book about achieving better patient outcomes through evidence-based medication — this $189.99 app is a great resource for medical students tackling a tough subject. It explains how to design, implement, oversee, and evaluate a patient’s medication therapy.
The app contains a powerful search tool that gives users word suggestions. Icons help identify key concepts like diseases and patient assessments. Physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists wrote or reviewed each chapter to ensure accuracy.
DSM-5-TR Diagnostic Criteria
This $75 app serves as a companion to the gold-standard Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision, a mainstay of psychiatric diagnosis. It includes all the diagnostic criteria from the book in an easy-to-read layout. Students, researchers, and mental health practitioners can all benefit from this resource that makes diagnosis easy.
This app includes current access codes for both clinical and administrative use. Users can highlight the text and add notes. They can also easily search for disorders by looking up full words, acronyms, symptoms, and codes. The DSM-5-TR was never so easy to understand.
FarOut Guides: Appalachian Trail
Although the FarOut Guides app is free, the trail maps themselves are not. The Appalachian Trail guide — a comprehensive, interactive map of one of America’s longest hikes — is $74.99. However, the app is so useful that the price is justified, especially considering that the guide could potentially save someone’s life.
Over the trail’s 2,194-mile length, the app shows where hikers can access water in real time. It offers a check-in feature so hikers can let friends and family know where they are. Of course, the guide also details the topography of the trail and everything people will encounter along the way, including towns, road crossings, trailheads, and important landmarks. Users can access the guide offline while hiking, making it an invaluable resource in areas without phone service.
The Cost of Quality
As of this writing, the two most expensive apps on the app store are CyberTuner and roc.Kasse at $999.99 each. After that, most of the highest-priced downloads are medical resources, speech therapy tools, and hiking guides.
Many of these apps took years to design, test, and maintain, and their accuracy could make the difference between life and death. Therefore, although they might be expensive, the cost is justified. At the end of the day, it’s hard to put a price on quality.