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Apple is without a doubt preparing for a world without paid-upfront apps. There are a lot of developers who are not gonna like where things are leading
42 replies and sub-replies as of Aug 15 2018

IOW, the App Store was so big and impactful that it's going to ruin the consumer software industry's business model forever. As a user, I would *love* a Netflix-style model for apps. As a developer, this is horrifying 😜
Developers and users coming from the B2B software world are comfortable with subscriptions. It's games and toys, in particular, where the free-up-front model seems to be both user- and developer-hostile.
The big question is: Does this even make sense? Netflix and others wouldn’t allow such a model for their product. Then consider subscription apps: Do you think Apple is powerful enough to force them in all inclusive subscription? Then what’s left:Indies? Maybe dead anyways…
I don’t think people enjoy having 1000s of subscriptions to manage. It’s quite expensive and a large amount of faff
Steve wants you on iOS, at least his consumer side, how would that even work? Free apps, with iAP for full version, as well as a setapp hook?
Hard to predict what Apple will do, but imagine the movies or tv shows that would never be made if Netflix was the only distribution channel. Since the App Store is the only distribution channel for iOS apps, there are categories of apps that would die out.
Netflix-style is where you get to pay $10 a month for every single app you have installed on the phone, right? Like we do now with all the streaming services and their fecking exclusive content.
If shifting to subscription model, what happens to in-app ads? What about In app purchases/paying for additional app features? Subscription is fine but not if all apps become a ‘lite’ version where you then have to pay more ‘in-app’ to unlock features.
I'd expect it to be the other way around. As a user, I'd rather pay once and be done with it, while some developers would use a subscription model so that users pay a recurring cost to use their app.
I’ve always wondered how long it would take to get to an Apple Music-style model for the App Store. Access to any app at any time so long as the subscription is active. Paying developers properly kind of worries me, though.
I take the opposite view… as an end user, I don’t want to be “Adobe-fied” where my software basically stops working if I stop paying, despite years of history. There are different (better) ways to handle service interruption, but it’s still a PITA.
I have been considering a mobile game developer career based on the idea that I can sell a new game every 6-12 months while maintaining my old games, but I don’t know if that would work with this kind of plan. I hate paying for subscriptions and so do lots of people.
Why though? It ensures a continuous stream of revenue. And someone’s who’s paid you money before is more likely to pay you again in the future.
Didn’t someone try to do that? @setapp, I think?
I think it would depend on how it works - would it take into account how many hours I spend in the app (in which case Twitterrific would get a great deal of my subscription $s) or would it be based on aggregate number of installs? The latter would likely hurt smaller developers.
Yeah, this model would launch a consumer software platform called Safari.
Something like Setapp is intriguing but I’m not sure how it’d pan out. My current favourite model is: Small utility apps: one-time purchase, paid upgrades (à la iStat menus). Big pro apps: perpetual license, update subscription (à la @sketchapp). Sadly App Store doesn’t help.
a lot of users, too
Is it Apple's fault? If people don't want to pay, developers have to adapt or stop making apps.
subscriptions are the future, .. and the death of apps
I wonder if ad based revenue is even lesser and on a steeper decline. Apple feels like the company where money talks, ads are too sketchy and have too many privacy implications to hold a strong place in apples App Store. Will apple take a stand against “pay with your data”?
> 15% and in decline Read as: Apple created a self fulfilling prophecy in not allowing paid apps to have a trial period. If Apple added the option for people to try paid apps before they bought them, I would predict a hug change in this trend.
Sure, remove more of the value from the iPhone while raising the price. That’ll go well.
The path forward isn’t hard to see, as you say. Remember that the music industry has been through this change already, from individually sold product to a blanket subscription...
They could easily enforce lol apps as paid apps and change the mentality in time but they won’t. At the same time they would never give away things like their own cloud storage for free…
Well yeah, when you take the air away from something, it does eventually die.
I like what customers like, and customers don’t like subscriptions. From a business perspective, they’re better. My take is simply: Why do things customers don’t like?
Not sure if it’s subscriptions per se, but it’s very easy to hit peak sub quite quickly. Before too long you’re paying $30/mo on top of all your other bills.
Yep. And I think the end result will be less people experimenting with smaller apps from smaller teams. People will only subscribe for bigger, essential tools. That’s horrible for the platform. If paid up front goes, it’s going to make things far worse.
Then all software would be donationware and open source?
I can’t pay the mortgage with donationware. 😐
Far happier to pay up front rather than yet another subscription I’ll end up forgetting about and continuing to pay for well after I finish using the app 👍🏻
Yep, I agree! Even if it’s more money. For me, it’s more about control. I can make the decision at the point of purchase. With a sub, it’s a slow leak, and your data is held hostage.
Yeap very true!
The article glossed over an important question. It said 15% of App Store revenue was paid apps, but then started talking about subscriptions. The question is "what constitutes the other 85%?" I think in-app-purchase is the predominant revenue driver.
I can embrace this, but I will never be comfortable with this fact.…
Yep, we all know free-to-play games make up the bulk of the revenue. The question is: What kind of platform do they want? These kinds of changes could easily decimate what’s left of the indie scene.
Unfortunately, concern for the indie scene has never been a consideration of new (Tim Cook era) Apple. And their delusion (conflating in-app purchases in games) with how apps can monetise, is extraordinarily dismissive of the negatives inherent to how and why it works in games.
Indies only flourished when the app store was small, and barely then. Nobody wants to pay for apps, and there's always a cheaper or even a free option for everything.
It can be as healthy or unhealthy as they like. They control all the levers. These things tend to find an equilibrium, but many small companies will go bankrupt in the meantime.
They don't control the reality that people don't want to pay for apps.
If this rumor is true, it's very telling that Apple would throw out the 15% metric in order to motivate devs towards subscriptions when subscriptions don't constitute the other 85%. Apple wants the recurring revenue above all.
Maybe if they gave us proper free previews people would buy more🤷‍♂️