The New App Store: Subscription Pricing, Faster Approvals, and Search Ads [John Gruber – Daring Fireball]
Among the changes: Apple is throwing open the doors to allow developers to charge subscription pricing.
That’s a big step forward for two reasons: It will allow developers to implement a try-before-you-buy model with App Store apps, same as on downloadable Mac or Windows apps.
I’m a guy who likes to try new apps, and that can be an expensive habit when the apps are only available in the App Store. For example, last week I dropped $10 for the Mac version of the Airmail email app, as well as $5 for the iOS version, because you really need to try that app on every device to give it a fair workout. After a few days, I decided Airmail is not for me (performance too slow). $15 down the drain. Ouch. Be nice if I could try it for 30-90 days, then decide whether to pay to keep using it, as is typical for downloadable desktop apps.
Hell, it would be nice if I could try an app for an hour. Or a half-hour. Or 15 minutes. Long enough to give it a workout and decide whether it’s worth staying with.
The other reason to be encouraged by these changes is that it provides developers with a way to get off the creeping-featuritis treadmill. Because the way pricing works now, developers need to come out with a new version every now and then to get users to pay for an upgrade. So the developers start adding useless features to get people to upgrade. Now, developers will have the option to say, “This app is done. Nothing more I need to do with it,” and continue to offer support and minor upgrades for new versions of the OS. I guess developers could have done that before — charge for support and compatibility upgrades separately — but perhaps the market would not have stood for it.
And of course it’s a way for developers to make more money. That’s nice, but honestly I’m not all that concerned with how much money OTHER PEOPLE are making.