Thursday, 09 June 2016 16:41

Apple brings major changes to App Store Featured

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Apple has announced the most significant changes to the App Store since its inception.

Apple is preparing to allow subscription pricing for a wider range of apps, as well as taking a smaller cut of recurring subscription revenue and offering paid placements in search results.

While subscription pricing has been part of the App Store for some time, Apple says it will allow it for apps in all categories, not only in media and entertainment.

Although the customary 70:30 revenue split will remain in place, developers will receive 85% of each customer's subscription revenue after the first year.

That makes sense. If someone chooses to extend their subscription beyond 12 months, it's more likely to being satisfied with the app or service rather than anything Apple has done to make it easy to buy the app in the first place.

Apple warns that subscription pricing is not appropriate for every app, but rather for those that "operate as services that are continuously supported, and often require sustained content development or feature enhancements to retain users".

Other subscription-related changes include allowing subscribers to switch between tiers, and developers will be given the flexibility to raise prices for new customers while continuing to charge existing subscribers the old rate.

Taking a leaf out of Google's book, the first result for App Store searches will soon be a paid ad. As with Google searches, ads will be relevant to the search terms and clearly marked.

Apple has said it will not deliver ads to users aged under 13, but developers will be able to target particular demographics, locations and device types – subject to users permitting ad tracking and location-based ads.

This change could be seen as pandering to developers with deep pockets. While it does provide another way to gain exposure, it reduces the chance of organic discovery as otherwise higher-ranked apps will will be pushed down one spot.

But Apple senior vice-president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller told The Verge that the ad auction system would be "fair to developers, and fair for indie developers, too".

App Store search ads will start in beta form next week with no charge for ads, and when the system does go live it will initially be confined to the US.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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