In a nutshell: Users heavily invested in Apple's ecosystem can look forward to a simplified app purchase experience across platforms, provided that developers make use of the company's recently launched "universal purchase" feature.
Apple's plan to offer universal purchases for apps was revealed last month, and the feature has now been officially announced by the company for developers, enabling them to distribute their software across Apple's platforms with a single purchase.
The macOS version of your app can now be included in a universal purchase, allowing customers to enjoy your app and in‑app purchases across iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS by purchasing only once. Get started by using a single bundle ID for your apps in Xcode and setting up your app record for universal purchase in App Store Connect.
While consumers can look forward to an improved, seamless App Store experience with universal purchases, developers are expected to take into account several considerations before implementing this feature.
Apps, for instance, need to be approved on at least two platforms (e.g., iOS and macOS) to become eligible for universal purchase, while the feature won't support independent Watch-only apps.
Also, developers with apps on multiple platforms will only have access to a single app record if they plan to support universal purchases. Apple explicitly notes that records for an app on different platforms cannot be merged and that developers are required to "remove all but one version from sale and add the other versions to the remaining app’s record," to support this feature.
The limitation could make it tricky for developers to choose a platform of choice. A popular to-do list app, for example, could have thousands of reviews and ratings across its macOS and iOS versions, however, if its creator decides to support universal purchases, they'd have to choose one platform of sale over the other, forgoing all associated user data from the latter's product page.
Apple also notes that the original product page will be removed from the App Store, along with its ability to provide app updates to existing users.
In other App Store-related news, the company has also announced that it's expanding the marketplace to another 20 countries later this year, which will take its global tally to 175. The 20 new countries are listed below:
2. Bosnia and Herzegovina
4. Cote d’Ivoire