Apple makes sudden price changes to App Store (Credit: thegrid.ch/Flickr)
While the pricing changes are good news for consumers with apps under $5 now priced the same as their American counterparts, for developers the news isn't so good, with the sudden pricing changes leaving many scratching their heads over how to best price their apps for Australian customers.
Shifty Jelly, the company behind popular Australian Pocket Weather AU weather applications for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, say the price drop is 'concerning' with GST eating into their margin.
'As a developer who makes most of our money selling Australian applications, it [the price drop] is a little bit concerning, because we still have to pay a 10% GST back to the government. So if our app sells for $1.99 and 18 cents is GST that means that prices here are actually lower compared to the US,' a representative from the company said.
'Since we live in Australia, and can't really take advantage of our high currency, that means we lose out overall. Still I'd emphasise that for consumers this is very good news.'
Meanwhile Savage Interactive, the team behind popular painting application Procreate say the changes won't have 'much' of an impact on their app's sales, and say it's a win for Australian customers.
'It was a bit of a surprise to wake up to this news. We're happy to see this change-but we need to keep in mind that these price changes only align with the USA store, for apps that are priced below $5 USD,' the company said in a statement.
'Ultimately this is good news for our Australian customers.'
Developers received an email from Apple approximately nine hours prior to the changes, but aside from vaguely suggesting that 'pricing changes' could mean customers may not be able to purchase apps during the downtime it contained little warning of the significant price cuts.
'We were not happy about the lack of notification, but just have increased our prices back to around the old level again,' another Australian iOS developer behind a number of apps for local pilots, OzRunways, mentioned.
'Our aviation apps are useless to people outside of Australia, so Apple assuming we based out pricing on $US is just stupid.'
Instead, the OzRunways spokesperson said, they'd encourage Apple Australia to remove the current fixed pricing tiers which don't automatically adjust for changes in the value of currency, or add support for developers to set different prices for apps based on the users region.
'The whole policy of price tiers doesn't make a lot of sense. What I'd like to see is that you set your price in a chosen currency you like and it just uses a conversion for other app stores. Or allow you to set different prices in different stores.'
Prices for music, books, movies and television shows also available through Apple's iTunes store didn't change '” it's thought that the complex licensing arrangements prevented Apple from reducing prices.
Disclosure: the writer sells iOS apps through the App Store.