Apple Will Soon Let Developers Entice Past Subscribers With Discounted iOS, macOS, and tvOS Subscriptions

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In an article posted to App Store Connect, Apple has detailed how iOS, macOS, and tvOS app developers will soon be able to offer discounted subscriptions to past subscribers in an attempt to win those customers back.


As with introductory offers for new subscribers, there will be three categories of promotional offers for previous subscribers:
Free
Customers access your subscription for free for a specific duration -- for example, a 30-day trial for a subscription with a standard renewal price of $4.99 per month.

Pay As You Go
Customers pay a promotional price for each billing period for a selected duration -- for example, $1.99 per month for three months for a subscription with a standard renewal price of $9.99 per month.

Pay Up Front
Customers pay a one-time promotional price for a specific duration -- for example, $9.99 for the first six months of a subscription with a standard renewal price of $39.99 per year.
Developers will be able to offer up to 10 different promotions at once to test the waters.

The promotional offers will also be available to existing subscribers, allowing developers to both retain and win back subscribers. A customer who has yet to subscribe to an app will not have access to the promotional offers, but may be presented with an introductory offer if the developer offers one.

Using receipt validation, developers will be able to identify subscribers who have turned off auto-renewal so that they can act quickly with a promotional offer in an attempt to win them back before the end of their current subscription period.

Once the promotional period ends, the subscription auto-renews at the standard price, according to Apple.

Promotional offers for previous and existing subscribers will be available in iOS 12.2, macOS Mojave 10.14.4, and tvOS 12.2 and later. Developers can get ready now by creating offers in App Store Connect and by downloading the Xcode 10.2 beta and implementing the new StoreKit APIs into their apps.

Apple first announced this change in its iOS 12.2 beta release notes. More information is available on the Apple Developer website.

Article Link: Apple Will Soon Let Developers Entice Past Subscribers With Discounted iOS, macOS, and tvOS Subscriptions
 

elmateo487

macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2008
703
325
Ugh.... does this means apple will now start abusing their platforms to sell their users unsolicited crap?
You will see the subscription offer the same way you see any other subscription offers. When the app shows them to you, or in the app store.
 

genovelle

macrumors 6502a
May 8, 2008
987
732
Ugh.... does this means apple will now start abusing their platforms to sell their users unsolicited crap?
Sounds like it applies to former subscribers who canceled at some point. Managing churn could be one reason some companies shy away from subscriptions through Apple. There is no way currently to salvage lost subscribers or even find out why the canceled in the first place.
 

ignatius345

macrumors 68020
Aug 20, 2015
2,330
3,093
Call it what it is: software rental. The moment you stop paying, you're left with nothing.

It's one thing to pay monthly for access to a deep and expanding content library (Apple Music, Spotify, Netflix) but quite another for an app that's already written to just keep charging you "a cup of coffee a month" just to keep working.

Agenda is an example of an app with a true "subscription" model. You pay for a year of newly introduced "premium" features, and at the end of that year, you keep the features you paid for even if you stop paying. If you want access to subsequent premium features, you keep subscribing.
 

Ubuntu

macrumors 68000
Jul 3, 2005
1,785
105
UK/US
As a developer I really wish they'd focus on making the in-app purchase experience easier. It's honestly so convoluted (especially the subscription aspect) and could do with a lot of work. I see the argument that this can help Apple increase services revenue through more subscriptions but also making the developer experience easier would do that, too.
 

Dave-Z

macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2012
684
1,068
Ugg, another move by Apple to get more money. Remember when its products sold themselves? Now Apple's web site and retail stores have ads vomited all over them.

I will not rent software. Period. I'll write my own before I do.
 

TheShadowKnows!

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2014
800
1,563
National Capital Region
Why should we be so appaled?
It is just the American nouveau way -- credit everything away!
And Cook is just riding the bean-counter wave.

We now rent cars (leasing), rent appliances (credit), rent phones (iUP), rent software (e.g. Adobe), ...

[I use "we" as a general term, as I refuse to incur debt, and cash-and-carry my purchases.]
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2011
4,741
11,031
New England
The "Pay As You Go" model seems ripe for abuse by scammy apps, unless there are clear and mandatory notifications (or email alerts) anytime the price is about to change or anytime the developer changes the price. Otherwise I can totally see some grandparents paying $50/month for a lame candy crush clone, not realizing their $1 subscription was just an introductory price.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2011
4,741
11,031
New England
The main issue is "People don't like Subs" in the first place !
I think it depends on what purpose the subscription serves to the user. If it's a fair way to amortize the high cost of software or content, it's good. If it's just making something more expensive, then it's bad.

Software subscriptions are great for when the software or content is really expensive. Like $500+ per user to buy a license, or merely $10/month subscription. There, a subscription makes total sense - lower the sunk cost and only pay when you need it. As much as people here hate it, the Adobe subscription was probably a good thing for small shops ($400 every few years versus $10/month is not a material price increase). Another example is Netflix- how much would a lifetime subscription need to cost for them to stay in business? Probably thousands of dollars. So paying monthly is way better.

Software subscriptions are bad when the software or content is not expensive, or when it's used only a mechanism to increase prices. Price increasing via boiling frog. Microsoft is guilty of this with Office. A home version of Office used to cost ~$150, and you could easily skip a version and not miss much. So upgrading every 3-5 years was needed - about as often as you bought a new computer. Now Office 365 is $100/yr?? That's actually a huge price increase, and bundling some cloud features along with it does not justify what is effectively a 2x-4x price increase for freakin' Work and Excel! Other companies are guilty of this too.
 
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err404

macrumors 68030
Mar 4, 2007
2,509
613
I'm fine with a subscription for some software. So long as the product continues to get meaningful development.
Take a typical "free" ios game. They tend to be very well supported long after release, whereas premium priced games are usually abandoned pretty quickly.
 

redneckitengineer

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2017
340
784
Tennessee
Geez I hate subscriptions. I get their point, but I hate it because if you have say 10 apps at $2.99/m that's $30/m!! It's getting terrible. Besides Carrot Weather and Strava, I refuse to buy into subscription apps.
 
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neuropsychguy

macrumors 65816
Sep 29, 2008
1,225
1,723
Software subscriptions are bad when the software or content is not expensive, or when it's used only a mechanism to increase prices. Price increasing via boiling frog. Microsoft is guilty of this with Office. A home version of Office used to cost ~$150, and you could easily skip a version and not miss much. So upgrading every 3-5 years was needed - about as often as you bought a new computer. Now Office 365 is $100/yr?? That's actually a huge price increase, and bundling some cloud features along with it does not justify what is effectively a 2x-4x price increase for freakin' Work and Excel! Other companies are guilty of this too.
Why criticize Microsoft? You can purchase Office 2019 for $150 if you don't want 365 (limited to 1 PC or Mac). Factoring in inflation, it's cheaper than it used to be. Office Home & Business is $250 for a one-time purchase if you need a commercial use license.

Further, Office 365 can regularly be purchased for $55 or less for a year (NewEgg on Feb 2 for $50, Amazon on Dec 6 for $55). If you only need 1 account, the normal cost is $70 per year (includes 1 TB of OneDrive). For the 365 Home subscription, considering this comes with unlimited devices for 6 unique users, it's not bad - split the cost with friends and/or family if needed. Add to that the 1 TB of OneDrive storage per user (let's value that at $5 per month; 1/2 of Apple's 2 TB $10 plan) and the value is even better. Does everyone need this? No, but many of us use cloud storage.

Over time some people spend more with the 365 subscription. Others, however, are spending less than they would with a traditional purchase and upgrade cycle, especially if you factor in the OneDrive subscription.

Not every subscription is better than what used to be offered but Microsoft's (and Adobe's) offering provides good value for the cost for many people.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2011
4,741
11,031
New England
Why criticize Microsoft? You can purchase Office 2019 for $150 if you don't want 365 (limited to 1 PC or Mac). Factoring in inflation, it's cheaper than it used to be. Office Home & Business is $250 for a one-time purchase if you need a commercial use license.

Further, Office 365 can regularly be purchased for $55 or less for a year (NewEgg on Feb 2 for $50, Amazon on Dec 6 for $55). If you only need 1 account, the normal cost is $70 per year (includes 1 TB of OneDrive). For the 365 Home subscription, considering this comes with unlimited devices for 6 unique users, it's not bad - split the cost with friends and/or family if needed. Add to that the 1 TB of OneDrive storage per user (let's value that at $5 per month; 1/2 of Apple's 2 TB $10 plan) and the value is even better. Does everyone need this? No, but many of us use cloud storage.

Over time some people spend more with the 365 subscription. Others, however, are spending less than they would with a traditional purchase and upgrade cycle, especially if you factor in the OneDrive subscription.

Not every subscription is better than what used to be offered but Microsoft's (and Adobe's) offering provides good value for the cost for many people.
I tried not to count sales, no matter how frequent, as it doesn't make for an fair comparison. I agree Officer 365 adds a ton of extras for value, but those extras are meant to make up for the fact that Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook without any extras cannot demand a high price.

I am glad Microsoft still offers Office 2019 as a standalone purchase, but how long do you think that will continue to last? This is probably the last version they will sell as a standalone. Even so, they are adding some cloud-connected AI features to 365 that are not part of 2019. As of right now, those features are pretty superficial, but it's pretty clear Microsoft sees 365 as the future and if/when a pretty significant feature comes to 365 only, it will be pretty lame for the standalone office customers.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
20,661
22,372
Ugg, another move by Apple to get more money. Remember when its products sold themselves? Now Apple's web site and retail stores have ads vomited all over them.

I will not rent software. Period. I'll write my own before I do.
All software is going to a rent model. See creative cloud and office 365.
[doublepost=1551133249][/doublepost]
So this is another one of Apples ‘services’ ideas then... sounds wonderful, being spammed by all these cancelled subscriptions.
You have a ton of cancelled subscriptions from the App Store?
 

MEJHarrison

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
1,352
1,156
There's a lot of people talking about not liking subscriptions. I get it. I don't like them either. But this is to go after the population who not only doesn't have a problem with them, but they actually have had at least one subscription. It's not a way to spam all their users, it's a mechanism that allows businesses to re-connect with previous customers. It enables direct advertising to a population of users who have previously proven to be good income streams.

I don't know the details, but I suspect it's not unlimited nagging.
 
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DesertNomad

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2008
125
242
Nevada
Our software is sold for a flat fee with an optional subscription ($10/yr) for real-time data feeds. Those feeds cost us money and there is no financially stable way to do it other than subscriptions since we have to pay for the massive bandwidth consumed as well as license the data itself. I'm glad Apple will provide a way to do this.
 

Apple blogger

macrumors 6502a
Feb 28, 2013
869
146
So what if I want to first give a promotion of 30 days free, and then an introductory price of upfront payment of Rs. $1.99 for 6 months. And then a 3rd introductory price of $0.99 for every month for the next 3 months and then start billing my regular $3.99 a month.?

Is that allowed? Or is it either-or situation?