Apple Highlights Benefits of App Subscriptions With New Developer-Focused Video

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple this afternoon shared a new "Insights" video on its developer site that is designed to highlight the benefits of using App Store subscriptions as a payment method for apps.

    The video focuses on the developers behind Elevate, Dropbox, Calm, and Bumble and how these apps "create great customer experiences by continuing to provide value throughout the subscription lifecycle."

    "The value for a user is that you're not just buying this one thing at this one point in time, you're actually buying something that's evolving," said Elevate developer Jesse Germinario.

    "If you're a subscription business, your incentives are actually perfectly aligned with your customers, because they need to continue to get value out of the product in order to keep subscribing, which means that you have to continue making the app better," said Calm developer Tyler Sheaffer.

    Apple's efforts to push developers to embrace subscriptions were first highlighted last month when Business Insider shared details on a secret meeting held in April 2017.

    At the meeting, Apple hosted more than 30 software developers and encouraged them to adopt subscription payment models.

    Apple told developers that the app model is changing, with paid apps representing just 15 percent of total app sales, a number that is declining. Successful apps, Apple said, need to focus on subscriptions and regular engagement from users rather than one time sales.

    Apple's video on app subscriptions can be watched on the company's developer website.

    Article Link: Apple Highlights Benefits of App Subscriptions With New Developer-Focused Video
  2. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    They're forgetting to mention that most users hate subscriptions and would rather pay only once for apps.

    The only time I feel like a subscription is appropriate is when the app is basically a service; for example RadarScope; you're paying for the data on their servers and that's great.

    But apps that don't depend on a service really should be a one time purchase, with occasional paid upgrades. Pixelmator is a good example of that.
  3. sinsin07 macrumors 68040

    Mar 28, 2009
  4. Scottsoapbox macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2014
    Apple doesn't like the trend of taking subscription payments via web page rather than in app because they don't get a cut.
  5. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    I don't mind paying for a subscription for an app that I like, and one that is kept updated and has good customer service.

    Developers need to eat and pay bills just like the rest of us.

    Many of the people on this forum need to stop their complaining and take a long cool drink of cold reality, instead of the entitlement latte.
  6. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Vendors have a tough choice to cover their ongoing development costs. Charging up front puts them in competition with all those free apps. They might resort to in-app purchases or ad-supported apps instead, but the app has to have some value to start with or nobody will want it. And, as you point out, subscriptions annoy many customers. I don't agree with the claim:
  7. LuvMacs macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2009
    Agree, if the App is free or nominally priced. But, when you have paid $15+ for an App that promised full access to features & "suddenly" the developer decides to charge all users a subscription, a complaint is just.
  8. OTACORB macrumors 68000


    Jun 21, 2009
    Central, Louisiana
    If Apple really wanted to play nice... they would cut the rate they charge the developers to 15% for the initial and 10% at tops for ongoing subscriptions. I personally have a few that I pay for monthly and they are services I use and they are of value to me. I think they deserve to be paid. Apple as a company is so greedy... I understand they have cost too, but 30% come on!

    I agree with the other poster that says if you want to use these apps and services then you shouldn't mind paying monthly for them. We'd all like an annual rate with a little bit of a cut. The good news for IOS developers is that most users don't mind paying a little something one time or annually.. monthly not so much. But look at Android... it's gotten better, but free is the name of the game and Google created that monster.
  9. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    If a Developer changes the terms of use without warning and raises the price or starts a subscription, and your data is held hostage (using the term loosely) I can understand people not being happy and questioning their continued use of said product. From what I have seen on the forum, the majority of regular posters want apps for free until they are dead and buried. Said members don't go to work every day for free. And yet, they expect the developer to work for free and update the app(s) and provide good customer service. The latter mindset I do not agree with.
  10. ikir macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2007
    I have some subscription like Bear and Infuse and those apps are super cool and greatly supported by their devs.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 10, 2018 ---
    For paying, billing, transactions, servers, curated apps, great markets for devs... Probably they could lower it a little but most users don't have a clue about how much work is App Store.
  11. Feyl macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2013
    Czech Republic
    At first I though this whole subscription thing is crazy, but now I think it will actually help people to identify which apps are actually worth using and they’ll delete the rest. It’s great for society man...
  12. now i see it macrumors 68040

    Jan 2, 2002
    Apple's blatant push to dig more money out of its customers. Not a single user wants a subscription. I can see it being useful for extremely expensive Mac software (Adobe stuff) but for iOS toys? Pfft.
  13. Even Longer macrumors 6502

    Even Longer

    Dec 12, 2012
    Head of a pin
    I think, if you provide a great value for a one time app purchase, - its users will be much more eager to pay for a feature upgrade again, instead of being ripped off by subscription model, were you have no control of deciding if the new features are worth the price. Yes, I'm looking at you, Adobe...
  14. lbdesign macrumors member


    Aug 8, 2016
    If you read app comments and reviews, it becomes clear the majority of users have no idea, and do not care, how developers make money. They grow up in a world of "free offers" and do not make the mental connection that it's necessary to pay for an app you use if you want the app to survive. And they jump ship at the slightest provocation.
    However... committing to a monthly subscription for something utilitarian, in a world where most apps are single-purchase... That's a difficult hurdle to overcome in the consumer's mind. If you are delivering new content monthly, like new workouts in a workout app, or you have robust cloud sync, then that makes more sense, but Apple would be better off educating the consumers on the need to pay for services, than to educate the developers.
  15. OTACORB, Sep 10, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018

    OTACORB macrumors 68000


    Jun 21, 2009
    Central, Louisiana
    I agree that Apple is greedy.... but to say that all iOS apps are just toy stuff is just nonsense. If one thinks like you they feel that none of the apps are worth paying for and that is simply not true. Individuals and sometimes even teams of people put a lot of time and effort to create and maintain these apps. But you should speak for yourself when you say not a single user.. I don't mind paying when the application is worth it. If it not I simply won't renew it and will find something that gets the job done. Believe it or not some of us actually do some quality work on these iOS toys!
  16. lbdesign macrumors member


    Aug 8, 2016
    I've always thought of Apple as a hardware company (with crappy cloud services). Now they are trying to also be a services company, but leveraging the work of others and taking a cut. IDK about this.
  17. subjonas macrumors 68000

    Feb 10, 2014
    If we continue down this path we will eventually be paying a subscription for a calculator app.

    There are apps for which subscriptions make sense (non-ad-supported content delivery like Netflix, non-ad-supported continual services like server hosting, and otherwise unaffordable software like Maya), and there are those that do not (pretty much everything else).

    Make a good app, charge a fair one time price. Make updated versions, let people pay to upgrade as they see fit. They don’t pay, they’re stuck with what they got—fair. This ending up with nothing once you stop paying no matter how long you’ve been paying is ridiculous. If people want to remain on older software on older devices indefinitely, that should be up to them. And this starting out with incomplete apps, and getting people to pay you while you slowly build it out is ridiculous. And this forcing data from my device to go a thousand miles away to your server then back to my other device sitting 2 feet away instead of just letting it sync (possibly selectively) over my WiFi just so that you can charge a subscription (and who knows, data mine)—ridiculous.

    There are two opposite extremes of this spectrum. One is entitlement, as you say. The other is unnecessary subscription models. Reason lies somewhere in between.
  18. Pakaku macrumors 68020


    Aug 29, 2009
    Apple spends money and works on a platform for devs to sell their apps on, so it's fair enough for Apple to take a percentage of it. The bad news is how huge said percentage is, and how locked into the App Store it is for iOS, since devs can't sell their apps at all outside of the App Store, so they have literally no other options. And Apple isn't going to allow competition outside its App Store anytime soon.

    It's nothing at all like what you would expect from the OSX side of things, where you do have an App Store, but desktop apps are free to host for download/purchase anywhere else the devs like. If the iOS side of things ever changes to allow competition like that, then yeah, I would be okay with Apple's app store on iOS.
  19. Dimwhit macrumors 68000


    Apr 10, 2007
    That's what will end up happening. I pay for two subscriptions: 1Password and Quicken. I use them all the time and it's worth it. And more of the smaller apps I use go to subscriptions, I'll decide quickly which ones I'll keep using. I suspect it will be very few. In fact, I can't think of a single one offhand.
  20. Naraxus macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2016
    "Encourages" and "Highlights"

    Aka: Apple strongarming developers once again...
  21. robertcoogan macrumors 6502


    Apr 5, 2008
    Joshua Tree, California
    What a load of garbage. App subscriptions make sense for expensive apps like Adobe Photoshop, as they make previously unaffordable apps accessible. Others stretch 1Password is now. If you want to just pay a one-time price for 1Password, you get just the app. If you want to be able to sync your passwords across all your devices, then you have to pay a subscription license. Utter garbage. So goodbye to 1Password, hello free alternatives.
  22. Luke MacWalker macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2014
    I agree but there is one problem with that: as far as I know, the current App Store does not allow for paid upgrades. The developer must submit a new app, and convince users to buy the new version at full price, as if they were new users. Not optimal…
    I suppose there is some kind of workaround using bundles, but it is really awkward and more complicated for the user.

    My guess here is that Apple is pushing to the subscription model because they cannot or don't want to update the App Store to allow for paid upgrades.

    About updates too… I wish the App Store would add add a "No thanks" button to stop being pestered to update apps that I don't want to update or –worse– cannot update because the requirements of the new version prevent them to run on my device (the latter should be seen as a bug of the App Store IMHO).
  23. Kaibelf macrumors 68020


    Apr 29, 2009
    Silicon Valley, CA
    You could just use a competing product? It’s Adobe’s prerogative to make money and do business as they see fit and of the market buries them, then it does.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 10, 2018 ---
    You’d almost think they were a for-profit corporation rather than a free soup kitchen! Also, plenty of people subscribe to 1Password and O365. Are those really too expensive to handle?
  24. canadianreader, Sep 10, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018

    canadianreader macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2014
    Since you’re mentioning entitlement I think you need to stop asking people to think like you do. They’re entitled to their opinion as much as you do.

    As per the subscription model the market will decide if it’s something worth it, outcome based on free market principles not on guilt feelings for not paying some random developers’ food and rent.
  25. noraa macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2003
    Ugh, I loathe subscriptions. The only apps that require subscriptions that actually make sense are those that provide a real service - like iCloud or Dropbox or online backup companies. I would much rather pay once for an app, even if it's a higher initial cost, than get stuck paying a monthly or yearly fee - and if I do paying the app becomes useless.

    Also not mentioned in this "insights" video is how subscriptions also actively benefit Apple, as they take either 30% or 15% (after the first year).

    I hate how so many companies are moving to subscriptions, Apple shouldn't be helping this cause.

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