Daring Fireball has a piece today announcing changes to Apple’s App Store. Apparently there is so much to be announced at WWDC that they didn’t have time to discuss this in the keynote.
Apple has been quietly changing the App Store under the hood for a while — approval times are now dramatically lower, and the tools for submission and management of apps have been actively changing for months. I personally have noticed changes to the iTunes Connect user interface and features, sometimes in the middle of a day.
Their major change is long overdue, and will help make independent development more viable. The main feature is the expansion of subscription pricing to a wider range of apps, and support for different tiers of subscriptions. The system will make it possible to offer trail versions, for one thing, and the revenue split on subscription apps will be 85/15 for subscriptions over a year old.
In addition, there will be the ability to pay for ad placement in search results. This, of course, will benefit large publishers a lot, but it also helps even the playing field for indie apps.
It’s always been challenging to make a living from an independent app on the App Store. The ‘pay once’ model has made it tough for developers to set a price and build a sustainable business — raising the potential revenue per customer makes it possible to build a high quality app and keep improving it over time.