The In-Advance-Of-WWDC Edition Thursday, June 9, 2016

The New App Store: Subscription Pricing, Faster Approvals, And Search Ads, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Until now, subscription pricing was reserved for apps that served media content: streaming audio and video, news, etc. Apple is now opening it to apps from any category, which effectively solves the problems of recurring revenue and free trials. Even better, Apple is changing the revenue split for all subscriptions: for the first year of any subscription, the revenue split remains 70/30; after the first year, the revenue split changes to 85/15.

In Schiller’s words, this is “in recognition that the developer is doing most of the work” with any app that is so good that the user remains a paid subscriber for over a year. This change is effective starting this Monday — any app that already has subscribers will start splitting revenue with Apple 85/15 on subscriptions that are at least a year old.

Phil Schiller: Apple Making Major Changes To The App Store, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

“We’re never going to get rid of that [app review] because it matters,” said Schiller.

He said that Apple does about 100,000 app reviews per week and that they’ve developed new processes to make reviews faster, while maintaining the quality that Apple, and its customers, expect.

The end result is that Apple has a sustained rate of reviewing 50% of apps in 24 hours and 90% in 48 hours.

The App Store Changed The Way We Buy Software. Can Apple Do It Again?, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

Apple is also going to start showing search ads for apps in its iOS App Store search results for the first time, something the company had previously resisted. "We’ve thought about how to carefully do it in a way that, first and foremost, customers will be happy with," Schiller says, adding that he believes the ad auction system in App Store search will be "fair to developers, and fair for indie developers, too."

Selling Apps

Apps As Services, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

The problem, as I see it today, is that Apple is being (intentionally?) vague about which kinds of apps will be able to adopt this new pricing model. On their new Subscriptions webpage, Apple refers to "successful auto-renewable subscription apps" as the ones that offer content or "services". They also mention that apps will soon be "eligible" for subscriptions – a wording that might suggest increased scrutiny on Apple's part to see whether an app can implement a subscription or not.

Seeking Clarification, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

What does “not appropriate” mean? Does that mean rejection? Or is that just a warning that it’s maybe not the best fit, but it’s okay to try it anyway?

App Store Subscription Uncertainty, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The letter of the rules Apple has posted creates counterintuitive incentives for developers. An app with its own proprietary sync service can use the subscription model, but a competing app that provides the same features using CloudKit cannot. But Apple wants developers to use iCloud.

Selling Apps, So Far

How We Made An App Store Subscription Success, by Adrian Hon, Medium

As the co-creator of Zombies, Run!, a fitness app that transitioned to a subscription model just over one year ago, I couldn’t be more delighted. 🍾 + 🎉 all round, folks.

Before all that 🍾 + 🎉 though, I want to share the lessons we learned in the past year — a terrifying, exciting, and ultimately very successful year.

Welcome To The App-athy Economy, by Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer

Google an app’s name alongside the word “cancel” and you’re likely to find a rage-filled message board of people describing their long and agonizing journeys to freedom before you find a path to dumping the service.

More On The New App Stores

Apple’s New App Store Rules A Big Boon For Netflix, Hulu & Co., by Janko Roettgers, Variety

Media services who have to balance subscription income with licensing fees have been struggling with this in particular for some time.

App Store Changes, by Russell Ivanovic, Rusty Rants

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.

Apple’s Big Changes To The App Store May Be Too Little, Too Late, by Mat Weinberger, Business Insider

These changes are great and all, but it doesn’t solve the so-called “discoverability” problem. Without tackling that, the new subscription model is likely to ensure that the rich will only get richer.

Apple Just Put Amazon’s Jeff Bezos In A Tricky Position, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

Well, Apple just changed its business terms — now it’s up to Amazon to decide if they’re “acceptable.”

Google Will Offer App Developers The Same Revenue Sharing Terms Apple Just Announced — With One Big Advantage, by Mark Bergen, Recode

Now Google plans to up the ante at its app store: It will also move from a 70/30 split to 85/15 for subscriptions — but instead of requiring developers to hook a subscriber for 12 months before offering the better split, it will make it available right away.

Sources said Google has already been testing the new split with some entertainment companies (so has Apple, to some extent). ​Google started running the new model over a year ago with video services as a way to get Play subscriptions to work with its TV streaming offerings like the Cast dongle.

That's What You Are Going To Call It?

Apple Again References 'MacOS', This Time On Developer Website, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In a section on when the new revenue split goes into effect, Apple references the types of apps that are eligible, listing iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.


When Android Meets iCloud, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

When you have Chrome open on the Android tablet, tap the More menu, which appears as three dots in the upper-right corner, and select “Request Desktop Site.”

Heart Rate Monitoring App Cardiogram Goes Native With watchOS 2 Update, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

With today's release Cardiogram hits version 1.0, one of many milestones developers Brandon Ballinger and Johnson Hsieh have reached as they work to refine an algorithm that may one day save lives. In collaboration with the UCSF Health eHeart study, the team at Cardiogram is investigating methods of detecting abnormal heart rhythms using off-the-shelf consumer smartwatches with heart rate sensors, like Apple Watch.

Getting Over Stage Fright With The Help Of Your Smartphone, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

For some people, public speaking comes naturally. But if you are like me, you may um and ah too much, spurred by the worry that nerves may get the best of you, that you might speak too fast or mess up in some way. So I have been practicing my public speaking with the help of some apps.


Apple Details How App Store Search Ads Will Work, by Joseph Keller, iMore

The company has published a new section on its App Store developer page detailing how Search Ads will work. [...] The beta for Search Ads will begin on Monday, June 13. Search Ads will launch fully this fall, alongside other changes to the App Store.

How We Lost 47% Of Our Users After A Redesign, by Icons8

The Internet is full of success stories. To balance things out I’ll share the story of one of our colossal fails. Here’s how we redesigned one of our services and lost 47% of its users in the process.


No One Wants To Be Apple, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

Slowing smartphone sales and theongoing tablet market implosion have resulted in mobile hardware having a much less rosy outlook. Apple peers are now becoming much more vocal that it is time we move beyond hardware and focus on the services and networks running on hardware. No one wants anything to do with Apple's hardware business.

Microsoft Finds Cancer Clues In Search Queries, by John Markoff, New York Times

Microsoft scientists have demonstrated that by analyzing large samples of search engine queries they may in some cases be able to identify internet users who are suffering from pancreatic cancer, even before they have received a diagnosis of the disease.

Get In The Picture: My Adventures In Correcting Yellowface, by Home Made Mimi

A few weeks ago, in a fit of frustration over the history of Hollywood whitewashing, I felt an urge to do something. I started taking pictures of myself. Not just random pictures. I took pictures of myself as Asian characters who were played by white women in film. And it felt sooooo good.

24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear, by Warning: Curves Ahead

Whatever the fuck they want.

Bottom of the Page

Because of Twitter's API limitation, I am guessing all the good twitter clients will be shifting to subscription business model soon...

... which means that I am finally leaving Twitter soon.

I am going to have so much free time. :-)


Thanks for reading.