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It's on the charts because it's "free". The overall rating is only 4/5 stars on itunes. They use the annoying model of making you buy tools like color as in app purchases.

Notability, which has some similarities, sells for 0.99 without in app purchase nonsense and is rated higher.

I don't get the hate for in-app purchases of this kind. It's just like the shareware model that used to be popular: lots of people get absolutely free usage/enjoyment out of the base product and then, those who specifically want more, can pay—in this case a very small fee—for it. One constantly hears people clamoring for more choice, for example, to pay for just the cable channels they want. So what makes this model "annoying nonsense"?

I think because some class of people wonder if a $5 app would better perform. I think it's hard for 53 to succeed that way however, because you have a finite number of users.

By making features an in-app purchase, they effectively monetize users going from version 1 to version 2, and so on. If you used the up-front payment model, new versions of the app would have to be a different app to continually monetize it, which would have a number of it's own problems.

The in-app purchases are perfect for this. You get to demo the brushes before you use them to figure out if you even need or like them. They're asking what amounts to what -- $10? for a beautiful app that looks and works worlds better than most in the same arena. I much prefer paying nothing up front and being able to try all of the features and figure out which ones I want to buy. I ended up getting them all simply to support the concept. You cite Notability but I don't want an app that does 20 things, with an ugly/more complex interface to boot. I have other apps that excel at those other things if I need them. I just want a drawing app, and I'm willing to pay a premium for one that offers the best experience for what I'm trying to accomplish with it.

I'm tired of paying for apps up-front only to find that they weren't what I was looking for or what was advertised. Good reviews don't necessarily mean that it is the right tool for the task, and forcing the user to then have to request a refund instead of just having a trial period or a free version they can simply delete is not user-friendly and results in all of the "DO NOT PAY FOR THIS APP!!!!1" and "I WANT A REFUND!" reviews from people who know none-the-wiser (although Apple doesn't make it very clear/easy to do so to begin with) and cause more people to turn away before giving it a shot. It also allows for the developer to be able to persuade initially unsatisfied users with later [demo] releases.

I don't actually use Notability for sketching. I was trying to think of something with limited drawing capability that was similar to Paper. I use ArtRage and SketchBook Pro. Without full color selection, Paper wasn't that useful to me. I will try the new version.

I would rather see Apple implement a time limited refund like Google does than use in app purchases for try and buy functionality.

You can always ask the app store/iTunes store for a refund, and they'll almost always give it no questions asked. At least in my eperience.

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