Developers Union wants free trials for all iOS apps

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iPhone App Store
A new group of iPhone developers wants Apple to offer lime-limited free trials for everything in the App Store.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Four coders have come together to found The Developers Union, whose primary principle is “people who create great software should be able to make a living doing it.”

The group’s first cause is asking Apple to allow free trials for everything in the App Store. The union has plans to advocate for additional changes in the future.

The four founders of The Developers Union (TDU) are Jake Schumacher, Roger Ogden, Loren Morris, and Brent Simmons.

It’s not a union in the traditional sense, with dues, voting, etc. The goal is to give a louder voice to small developers. “I’m not super interested in creating a traditional union; I’m more interested in bringing the voice of indies back into the spotlight and this is a step in that direction,” Morris told Wired.

Developers and anyone who just wants to support their causes can join TDU on its website. There’s also a Twitter account that launched this morning.

Free app trials

The first cause the group has taken up is convincing Apple to put time-limited trials in the App Store. These would help potential customers decide if they want a relatively expensive application without having to put any money down. The theory is that people would be more likely to pay for pricier apps if they’d already tried them.

As it stands now, Apple only allows trials on software that’s paid for by subscription.

At launch, the TDU website focuses on this issue. The group is asking for the change to made by July, the tenth anniversary of the App Store’s launch.

Changing the 70/30 split

But this collection of iPhone developers also has long-term plans. “We’ll start advocating for a more reasonable revenue cut and other community-driven, developer-friendly changes,” says a note on its website.

It’s only natural for developers to hope for a change in the fee to have their software appear on the App Store. As it stand now, 30 percent of the cost of the app goes to Apple. Alternatively, the split is 85/15 for applications purchased through subscriptions. 

TDU hasn’t yet said what revenue spit it would prefer.