App Store Changes

Interesting blog post from Apple today: Covered on The Verge and Daring Fireball

Search Ads is an efficient and easy way for you to promote your app directly within the U.S. App Store search results, helping customers discover or reengage with your app, while respecting their privacy. Starting this summer, you’ll be able to participate in the Search Ads beta and see the ads in action.

Awwww hell no. App Store search is broken enough, the last thing developers need is paid ads. This is pure and simple, a way for Apple to make more money and that’s ok, they are a business after all. The App Store search page must get a crazy amount of hits per day, why not make some money off that? It’s a perfectly reasonable move on Apple’s part, but Apple Press for the love of Zuul please let’s stop pretending that they are some kind of Shining White Knight of a company that eschews this sort of thing. There’s nothing good here for developers or customers, this is just Apple helping Apple.

We’re opening auto-renewable subscriptions to all app categories including games, increasing developer revenue for eligible subscriptions after one year, providing greater pricing flexibility, and more.

This on the other hand is a big improvement to subscriptions. The 70/30 split is dropping to 85/15 after one year of a subscriber being on your system and they are expanding the list of apps that can use subscriptions. The Internet is all abuzz with what this means for us lowly indie app developers, but honestly this seems more geared at things like Netflix & Sketch than it does to apps like Pocket Weather and Pocket Casts. My one fear is that desperate developers will jump on this and try to turn every app into a paid subscription. If that happens (and it’s a big if) it could easily lead to customer fatigue and all sorts of blowback. This will be something to keep an eye on for sure.

Finally, Schiller says that the App Store has been speeding up app review times — to the point where 50 percent of submitted apps are now reviewed in 24 hours, and 90 percent are reviewed within 48 hours.

Let’s end on a high note. This is a MASSIVE win for developers. I’m willing to ignore the fact that we took 8 years to get to this point just because it makes me so happy to see Apple publicly saying that these review times are here to stay. Just this week I submitted an update to Pocket Weather that was approved in about 16 hours. That’s game changing vs the 7 days+ we used to have to wait. My eternal gratitude to whoever solved this one, hopefully once and for all.