Apple Reverses Stance on iOS In-app Subscriptions


Apple has dropped its requirement that developers offer equal or better pricing for in-app subscription purchases compared to their Web sites, along with the requirement that publications offering subscriptions through other channels also offer an in-app purchase option.

Apple dumps in-app subscription rulesApple tosses its in-app subscription requirements

The in-app subscription rules were introduced in February and were set to officially go into effect at the end of June for apps that already offered in-app subscriptions but hadn’t yet been updated to comply with the new requirements.

At the time, Apple’s developer requirements stated:

Apps can read or play approved content (magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video) that is sold outside of the app, for which Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues, provided that the same content is also offered in the app using IAP at the same price or less than it is offered outside the app. This applies to both purchased content and subscriptions.

The revised rules remove the restrictions on in-app subscription and purchase pricing, and external subscription options don’t have to be offered in-app. Developers can’t, however, include an in-app subscription or purchase option that circumvents the App Store.

The change means many companies that had been holding off on offering subscription-based publications or services in iPhone, iPad and iPod touch apps — or were considering pulling their apps from the platform — don’t have to turn their backs on Apple’s potentially lucrative platform. It also means in-app purchases and subscriptions for at least some publications will likely increase in price to cover Apple’s 30 percent cut of sales.

While prices for some purchases may go up, the change means companies like Amazon and Netflix can carry on with business as usual.

[Thanks to Cult of Mac for the heads up.]