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iPad apps start off pricier than iPhone apps

The initial round of iPad apps will cost more than comparable apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch, say developers.

Early adopters of the iPad should be prepared to pay more to download their favorite apps than they would if they waited for the presumed masses to get onboard.

Though a healthy sampling of iPad apps will be free or inexpensive, many now available in the App Store cost twice or three times as much their iPhone and iPod Touch counterparts.

Some pricey iPad apps.
Some pricey iPad apps. Apple

Games and graphic arts applications are two categories likely to cost more on the iPad. Scrabble by Electronic Arts is $2.99 for the iPhone but costs $9.99 for the iPad. Electronic Art's Need for Speed Shift runs $6.99 on the iPhone and $14.99 on the iPad. Brushes, a painting app used to create a cover for the New Yorker magazine last year, costs $4.99 for the iPhone but sells for $9.99 for the iPad.

Though the higher prices may not make early iPad customers happy, developers believe the pricing strategy is reasonable.

Some developers of new iPad apps told BBC News that they're charging higher prices because of the added effort of designing for the new tablet. Creating apps for the iPad can be more challenging and time-consuming because those apps need to look good and feel right on the larger screen size. Developers interviewed by the BBC said the cost of building an app for the iPad can easily range anywhere from $200 to $20,000.

Developers may also be charging more because they're uncertain how many people will buy the iPad. Apple has received a huge number of preorders for the tablet and several positive reviews in the press. But analysts haven't come to any kind of consensus as to how many iPads Apple may sell. A survey by NPD Group found many potential customers intrigued by the iPad but not ready to buy. But new research from iSuppli found that iPad sales could hit 7 million units this year.

Depending on the success of the iPad, those initial higher prices on key apps might be just be a temporary trend. If iPad sales do take off, some app developers are expected to reduce their costs in a bid to win over a growing customer base.

"For a lot of us it is an early experiment to see how people will react but I wouldn't be surprised to see prices go down to 99 cents really early as happened on the iPhone," said Lima Sky developer Igor Pusenjak to BBC News.