Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Real Cost of Premium AAC Apps

The "Real Cost" chart has been updated.

Recently Dynavox, whose five year cost was over a thousand dollars for the Compass app, has revamped their pricing structure as you can see below.  They lowered the subscription price to $99 a year and are now also offering one time purchase versions of the app in three versions,  "Compass", "Gateway" and "PODD".  The prices on all three are extremely reasonable for the value of the apps.  The subscription version is still free for speech therapists who enter an ASHA number.  The Word Power vocabulary is only available in the subscription version. 

I want to publicly thank Tobii/Dynavox for hearing the voices of teachers and parents and making this change.  School districts generally are unable to either make in-app purchases or use subscription based apps because of the way in-apps purchases work and how American school budgets function on a year to year basis.  This decision also restores some of my faith in Dynavox and the  acquisition of Dynavox by Tobii.  So, thank you. 

Moving in the opposite direction is Saltillo and the TouchChat or TouchChat HD app which has added high cost, subscription based live chat and phone support.  This add on brings their five year cost to over $2000 if you choose a premium vocabulary, at least one high quality voice, use of the sharing server and the live chat (but not phone) support option.  It is important to remember, also, that TouchChat is not a universal app so you must purchase it, the premium vocabulary and high quality voice twice if you wish to run it on an iPad and an iPod or iPhone.  At this time the TouchChat app is likely not a cost effective choice with so many other robust and comprehensive apps for much more reasonable prices.  I know I join the voices of many others who urge Saltillo and TouchChat to revamp their pricing structure into something understandable and useable.  Many of us would gladly pay a higher initial cost to avoid the nickel and diming effect that all the add-ons create.  This evaluator and AAC presenter will no longer be suggesting TouchChat until some comprehensive changes are made. 

You can see the chart in full screen view here.


  1. Thanks for the info but am curious about what you said about TouchChat and Touchat HD and how you have to purchase it for each Apple product you want to install it on. My son uses the app and we have it installed on two iphones as well...all under the one ITunes account, paying for it once... and it's not been a problem. When did this change? Our son only got his ipad three years ago (he had an MT4 before that) and it's not been an issue...as long as all devices use the same iTunes account. So it is my understanding that, if a school wants Touch Chat on some of their ipads, they purchase it once, use the same iTunes account for all ipads (the ipads we have at the school I work at are all under the one iTunes account so all apps downloaded can be shared between devices) and then install. Am I mistaken? That's terrible if they've changed it.

  2. I didn't say you had to purchase it for each Apple product. I said it is not a universal app. So you must purchase it once for iPad and again for iPhone. Outside of subscription models Apple sets the rules for how many products you can put an app on and their rule is you can put an app on as many devices as you own. BUT that rule is only for individuals. School must use volume purchasing and are not allowed to buy it once and install on multiple iPads. You can do it. However it is not within the rules of Apple and if they catch you they can shut your iTunes account and prosecute if they wish.

  3. Thanks for this product! I have searched one website offering free mobile app every week for autistic parents. I have listed it in my blog. Take a look for free mobile app: http://goo.gl/V9dkZA


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