In a nutshell: In iOS 14, app developers will be able to hand out discounted or free subscripotions to their services if they have them. Right now they can do this on a global level only. With the update, they will be able to get individual codes to give to anyone they want.
On Wednesday, Apple announced that starting with iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 or later, a new feature would allow developers to give out free or discounted subscriptions. The offers are in the form of a "one-time use code" they can physically or electronically provide to customers.
The ability to offer discounted subscriptions is not new to Apple's mobile platforms. Currently, app makers can provide discounts, but they are a blanket offer. With Apple's next iteration of iOS and iPadOS, developers can obtain codes individually to "acquire, retain, or win back subscribers."
"[The new feature gives developers access to] unique, alphanumeric codes that provide free or discounted prices for auto-renewable subscriptions," Apple explained to developers. "Provide your one-time use codes digitally or offline at physical events, alongside products, and more."
The feature should give app makers who have subscriptions more control over who gets deals on pricing rather than offering discounts to everyone. They can distribute them via email or other digital means, hand them out in person, or even include them in product packaging.
The codes can be redeemed in one of three ways. Users can enter the code on the App Store's existing code redemption page. There will also be a web portal for entering codes. The last option is to redeem them directly in the app, but the developer must implement the presentCodeRedemptionSheet API for it to work.
The feature was not mentioned during Apple's WWDC keynote, which leads one to believe its a relatively new addition. Apple has been the center of negative publicity lately. Between its multiple antitrust issues and the very public and bitter dispute with Epic Games, Cupertino needs a bit of positive PR. While the gesture will not put out the company's many fires, it is at least something that developers could find helpful in growing their businesses.