Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference doesn't kick off until next week, but the company isn’t waiting until then to start making major announcements.
Apple today revealed big changes that are coming to the App Store. First up, Apple is making subscriptions available to all apps rather than restricting them to certain apps like streaming services. This means that developers can now give their users a subscription to their app and get a recurring (weekly, monthly, annually) fee instead of charging a one-time app purchase fee.
Additionally, App Store developers will be able to change the subscription price for new users while letting existing users keep their old price. If a developer decides to increase the price for existing users, Apple will inform all of the users that will be affected. Devs will be able to offer different subscription tiers, too, and users will have the option of moving between those tiers.
Finally, Apple says that it’s going to change the revenue structure for subscriptions. Developers currently receive 70 percent of subscription revenue while Apple gets a 30 percent cut, but after June 13, that revenue structure will change to 85/15 for subscriptions that exceed one year.
The second big change that’s coming to the App Store is ads. With search ads, developers will be able to pay to have their app appear in App Store search results. Apple says that ads are presented based on the relevance to the search query, and ads will be clearly labeled as such, utilizing a blue background and an “Ad” label. Additionally, search ads will have no user tracking or data sharing, and Apple will not display search ads to anyone whose Apple ID is registered to a minor under 13 years of age.
The last big App Store change is improved app review times. Apple exec Phil Schiller says that 50 percent of submitted apps are review in 24 hours and 90 percent are reviewed within 48 hours. This is a big change because it means that developers can get their app fixes and new features to users faster.
So yeah, these are some major changes to the App Store, and most of them sound pretty great. Expanded subscriptions will give developers more ways to monetize their apps, which has become an issue lately as some iOS devs have become frustrated at the lack of options they have when it comes to pricing and app upgrades. And while search ads may not sound great at first, Apple does promise that they won’t be able to track users or get data on individuals, and we should only see ads that are relevant to our searches.
Search ads will go into beta testing this summer, while app subscriptions will be expanded to everyone in the fall.