Apple accidently posted copy on their website saying the music software would become 'freemium'

Although most Apple fans will be watching tomorrow’s launch event to catch sight of new iPads and MacBooks, a new leak has suggested that there might be one announcement that doesn’t have the public reaching for their credit cards.

GarageBand, Apple’s music sequencer and all-round audio workstation, is likely to become free to download. Although currently priced at £4.99, a (now-removed) notice on Apple’s site placed the software alongside other free basic downloads for iOS 7 devices.

“GarageBand is free on the App Store for all iOS 7 compatible devices; additional GarageBand instruments and sounds are available with an in-app purchase,” said the notice, captured by MacRumours.

This places GarageBand alongside other iLife programs including iPhoto, iMovie, Pages and Numbers, with all these apps currently free for download on the App store for iOS 7 devices.

An announcement of GarageBand’s new freemium payment model (that is, free to download, but you pay for extras) is likely to feature in tomorrow’s launch event alongside a wider refresh of the company’s iLife and iWork suites.

It’s also worth noting that Apple’s decision to give away GarageBand reflects a wider shift in the ‘app economy’ towards the ad-supported or freemium business models.

Mobile analytics company Flurry released a report back in July concluding that users prefer downloading free apps and putting up with ads than paying for the ad-free equivalent.

“Developers of some specialized apps may be able to monetize through paid downloads, and game apps sometimes generate significant revenue through in-app purchases,” wrote Mary Ellen Gordon of Flurry,

“But since consumers are unwilling to pay for most apps, and most app developers need to make money somehow, it seems clear that ads in apps are a sure thing for the foreseeable future.”

Of course, Apple’s decision to make an in-house app free as part of a sophisticated software suite is very different to the decision of an indie app developer but the trend is clear:  free apps pay more.