Major changes are coming to the App Store. Later this fall, developers will be able to buy search ads for keywords in the App Store (similar to what Google already does). Another big news is that app subscriptions are expanding to all app categories.
In the past, Apple has offered subscriptions for apps that provide access to subscription content (Netflix, Spotify), news (The New York Times), certain types of cloud services (Dropbox, Evernote) and for other services such as dating apps. But now, Apple is going to open up the floodgates for all types of developers.
This is a big change for mobile software. Until now, mobile software has existed in a world where you either pay once to download an app or you download an app and then pay to unlock features (or to remove ads) using in-app purchases.
Typically, most apps have had a one-time cost. Apple has never offered a mechanism for upgrade pricing. This has been a point of contention among app developers for years because it has forced developers to make a decision: Keep offering updates and major version changes to all users, regardless of when they purchased the app or release a brand new app for each major version and hope you can get existing customers to upgrade and buy the latest version.
App subscriptions don’t solve all the problems around upgrade pricing, but they do offer developers more options. Similar to what companies such as Microsoft and Adobe are already doing on the desktop, developers can offer a monthly or annual subscription to an app.
What it means for developers
For now, the developers seems happy and have a positive vibe for such changes. But there are still a number of open-ended questions from developers and users alike.
For developers, the good news is that every application type will be eligible for subscription pricing. That means that whether you make a weather app or an app that is tied to a more complex backend web service, you can charge a subscription for your app. But as there is always a but, Apple has clearly stated that developers need to keep it informative and constantly updated when it comes to content as well as upgrades. If not followed properly Apple wont allows subscription facility. Even the Developers need to re work on the functionality of the app. They need to re think all the aspects and make it worthy for the users to make them pay a subscription on the monthly or annual basis. To cut the whole story short you need to give high value to the App users and not apply such policies to some occasionally used apps.
What it means for users
There are still no finalized reports issued by the Apple and Apple has said it plans to talk to developers at WWDC to get their feedback. But the biggest open questions is about how apps will work if a subscription is not renewed. Right now, a content app such as Netflix won’t let you access the service. But magazine subscription apps generally still let users’ access back-issues of past purchases, whether they still subscribe or not. So it clearly depends on upon how Apple implements such changes and what will be the applied rules for the same.
One major problem is if the current users are forced to pay monthly for the apps they are using for too long now, how will they react to such changes? It is fine for new apps but, it may lead to a situation where a user might stop using the Application. In an ideal world, developers of high-quality productivity apps will charge a yearly fee at a price point similar to what they charge to purchase the app today.
Will this help Apple to Boost up new App installation and purchases?
According to the new study, it is found that users are downloading fewer apps. In fact, the average user downloads zero new apps a month.
This is a problem for developers, of course, but it is also a problem for Apple. Apple is very proud of the fact that it has paid out $40 billion to developers in the last eight years and it is happy to show off how its app ecosystem thrives in different sectors. But what happens if consumers do delay in downloading new apps? That means developers will be less incentivized to build for the App Store and other related platforms.
Already, we’ve seen interest waning from developers when it comes to Apple Watch. The changes Apple is making, particularly with search ads and app discovery, could help developers get their apps in front of more users and that’s a good thing. Still, the question remains of growth in the midst of a major reset in the way apps are sold, developed and marketed. Share your views and let’s help Apple take the best decision.