Last June Apple said it would be changing up its rules around subscription services for App Store developers, giving more of a revenue cut to app makers who maintain long-term subscribers. Now, those changes have gone into effect.
Apple has put up a web page detailing the new guidelines for developers and offering some "best practices" for app makes who opt into the new services. The new rules allow for auto-renewable subscriptions, free trials of apps, territory-specific pricing (i.e. offer a different price for users in a different country).
Perhaps more notably is the change in revenue split: for app developers who have long-term paying subscribers, Apple will only take a 15 percent revenue cut after a year, rather than the standard rev-share plan, in which Apple takes a 30 percent cut and gives the developer 70 percent. And, all types of app makers can now sell their apps as subscriptions. Previously, it was limited to certain types of apps, like cloud-storage apps, or audio and video streaming apps.
The most significant changes to the App Store since its launch
Apple's App Store changes, which The Verge wrote an in-depth report on back in June of this year, are the most significant changes the company has made to the App Store since its initial launch in 2008. However, the new rules were met with mixed opinions in the app world. Some developers have said that the changes will finally allow them to monetize their app-making businesses in a sustainable way; others, such as Spotify, have been vocal about wanting even more flexibility on how they price their apps in Apple's App Store.
There are a fair amount of caveats in all of these changes. For example, in regards to subscription cancellations: in order for an app maker to maintain the 85/15 revenue share split with Apple per subscriber, a user who cancelled would have to resubscribe to the app within 60 days. And, app makers can't "offer a three-month subscription at an introductory price of $2.99 and then raise the price to $3.99," according to the developer web page, because it would raise the price for all users.
One thing's certain: now that more developers can finally start taking advantage of subscriptions, we'll be able to get a sense of how fruitful is actually is for them in the coming months.