Apple’s Phil Schiller recently sat down with The Verge and The Loop to discuss some of the changes that are on the way for the App Store. Users will soon see major improvements ot the store’s search functions, App Store ads when searching for content, subscription access for all app developers, and more.
While the well-known 70 / 30 split will remain, developers who are able to maintain a subscription with a customer longer than a year will see Apple’s cut drop down to 15 percent. The option to sell subscriptions will also be available to all developers instead of just a few kinds of apps. “Now we’re going to open up to all categories,” Schiller says, “and that includes games, which is a huge category.”
The change becomes effective June 13. After a subscriber’s first year of an auto-renew subscription, the developer’s share of the revenue increases to 85%. The opening of app subscriptions to all product categories will give developers expanded options for selling apps and earning more revenue.
Apps such as the Fantastical calendar app could offer customers a $5 per year subscription fee. They can also offer subscriptions that cover multiple apps. Apple also has plans to offer up to 200 new tiered pricing options across various currencies and countries for app subs.
One popular app developer, who had been clued in to Apple’s App Store changes, says it the new subscription offerings are “an earthquake in my world, in a good way.”
“It’s hard to emphasize how significantly this can change the viability of companies like mine and their growth trajectory,” says Itai Tsiddon, the co-founder of Lightricks, which makes top-selling apps like Facetune and Enlight.
Also on the way: ads in the App Store search results. The ads will display whenever a search is performed, and will offer developers the chance to get better exposure for their apps. Ads on the search page will be clearly designated as such, to prevent any confusion by users. Ads will only be accepted from developers, and will be distributed via auctions.
Another change to app discovery in the App Stores has already been quietly implemented in the tvOS App Store. The “Featured” section in the App Store will display differently for each user, hiding apps from the section that are already installed. Apple also has plans to being back the “Categories” tab.
Schiller, who took over responsibility for the App Store last last year told The Verge that there is a “renewed focus and energy” around the App Store. When Schiller took over the App Store from Eddy Cue, there were a number of complaints from developers, over subjects such as discoverability, poor communication, the app review process, and more. It sounds as if Schiller is spearheading changes that address at least some of those complaints.
The discussed changes will begin rolling out over the next few months, with ads being made available as part of a beta program on Monday, June 13. All developers will have access to subscriptions beginning in the fall, and the new revenue split will kick in on Monday. Developers are being invited to opt in to the Search Ads beta starting now.