Developer Insight

Grailr

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The company behind the CARROT apps — which feature a snarky AI construct “with a heart of weapons-grade plutonium” — is actually just one self-taught man, Brian Mueller.

Mueller shares how CARROT Weather evolved for Apple Watch, and the effect the transition had on the app’s business model.

Bringing CARROT Weather to Apple Watch

CARROT Weather is Grailr’s fifth in the series of CARROT apps, and it was this app that Mueller decided to focus on for Apple Watch.

“When transitioning from iPhone to Apple Watch with CARROT Weather, I went really back to basics and started over from scratch,” says Mueller. “I tried to use all of the hardware features built into the watch as much as possible to abstract away a lot of what would normally be visual in the interface on the iPhone."

Mueller focused the experience on a few key data points and used color to communicate weather conditions so that users can quickly get a sense of the weather without having to read everything. Users who purchase CARROT Weather also have the option of purchasing a non-recurring subscription to access CARROT complications, which provide weather data right on the watch face.

Mueller says that the idea for the $1.99 subscription was born of necessity. “Each time the app goes and updates its data, that costs a fraction of a cent. That's not a problem with an iPhone app, where you're only using it once or twice a day at the most; but with the complications on Apple Watch, that's updating several times an hour every hour of every day. So those costs really start to add up quickly.”

Based on his experience, Mueller says it’s important to think about what an app’s future costs may be and factor those into your business model decisions. “I wanted to do a subscription instead of a one-time purchase because the one-time purchase would have to cover several years, potentially, of people using this, and that would be a much larger sticker price.”

I think if you're honest with people and you explain it well, they're going to be more than happy to pay that fee if there's a good reason for it.

Mueller on how CARROT Weather communicates the benefit of its complication subscription.

Critical to the success of the paymium model, where users pay to download the app and then have the option to purchase additional features, is communicating the value of the in-app purchases upfront. Says Mueller, “a lot of it is just setting expectations and explaining to users what these in-app purchases are, and why they need to be separate from the paid-up-front price. I think if you're honest with people and you explain it well, they're going to be more than happy to pay that fee if there's a good reason for it.”

“So whether it's costumes for a virtual pet cat, or actual features that they would get some use out of like the watch complications, you can keep encouraging users to come back to the app and keep additional revenue coming in.”

Explore Choosing a Business Model

CARROT’s unique personality, as seen in CARROT Weather on iPhone, has attracted a dedicated following of users.