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Ahead of Apple’s worldwide developer conference (WWDC) next week, the company has revealed a major overhaul to its App Store, including faster review times, better search features, new ads, and subscription options for all apps with an increased share of profits for developers.
Speaking to The Loop, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, said Apple’s review time for new apps waiting to appear on the store, which is normally five days, is being shortened. He added that the company has figured out a way to get through the 100,000 apps it reviews a week faster, and without compromising the quality of the approval process. The new method lets Apple review 50 percent of apps in 24 hours and 90 percent in 48 hours.
Apps that use subscriptions are nothing new, and have long been used for digital magazines, dating services, and streamers such as Netflix. But this will change as Apple opens the option up to all apps on its store, such as massive multiplayer online games. There will be 200 subscription price points and territory-specific pricing available.
Additionally, developers behind apps that offer subscriptions will get a better share of the profits; they will keep the traditional 70/30 split for the first year, but Apple’s cut will drop to 85/15 in subsequent years. The change will apply to apps that currently use subscriptions, so any that have kept subscribers for longer than a year will receive the 85/15 split starting this Monday, June 13.
App users are set to benefit from the store’s revamp, too. No longer will the “Featured” section show apps that are already installed on a device, and Apple is bringing back the categories tab. There’s also a new feature that lets people share applications on social networks or with family and friends by using the 3D Touch feature on an app on the Home screen. Moreover, new content will arrive on the store more often, rather than just on Thursdays.
Lastly, Apple will be accepting search ads from developers. When doing a search for an app, the top of the results list will contain an ad. It’s been emphasized that there will be just a single, clearly marked advertisement in the results page, and it will be exactly the same as the content of the app on the App Store.
The company says it won’t show ads to those under 13 (if it can determine that from the device), and there won’t be any third-party product ads – it will only accept them from developers in the App Store. To ease concerns, Apple said that it will not track users and will not share data about users' ad clicks with developers. Developers will get reports, but no user data.
We’ll learn more about the changes, which will apply to all apps stores, at WWDC starting Monday, June 13.