Apple video continues to push devs to use app subscriptions

Apple video continues to push devs to use app subscriptions

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Apple apps no longer dominate App Store search results.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s efforts to encourage developers to use in-app subscriptions continued this week with a new video published to its developer portal.

“Developer Insights” highlights the benefits of a subscription model with reoccurring payments, and features testimonials from app makers who are already enjoying a subscription model. Apple has already held meetings with developers to warn them that one-time purchases are dying.

You have to pay for many of the best apps and games on Mac and iOS. That’s the way the world works. For many years, developers charged a single upfront fee for access to their product. Others offered free downloads with an in-app purchase to unlock additional features.

But in recent years, subscriptions have started taking over. Many apps are free to download, but to enjoy unrestricted access, you must cough up a small, reoccurring fee. Apple now wants even more developers to adopt this approach.

Apple’s push for subscriptions

In a new video, Apple enlists developers from the likes of Dropbox, Bumble, and Elevate to highlight the benefits of a subscription model. These include attracting users with free trials, predicting app revenue, and improving services with better investment.

“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,” says Jesse Germinario, director of growth at Elevate.

“Having a subscription model allows us to predict how much we’re going to be making, and because of that, it allows us to really reinvest that revenue back into the content and into the app experience,” adds Tyler Sheaffer, VP of engineering at Calm.

A win for Apple

The other big benefit of subscriptions, of course, is that developers can enjoy a steady stream of income over time — and Apple can charge its 30 percent cut not just once, but every time a subscription reoccurs.

It’s no surprise Apple would prefer developers to use a subscription model, then. The company has even held secret meetings with many to urge them to use subscriptions over upfront fees, according to a recent report.

You can watch the Developer Insights video on app subscriptions now through Apple’s developer portal.