Just five days before the start of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Paul Schiller, the company's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, revealed some new changes to the App Store, including a new subscription model for developers, as well as ads in search and more.
Instead of highlighting the new changes during the WWDC keynote, Schiller, who took over the App Store six months ago, began interviews on June 8, Wednesday to discuss the new changes. He also has plans to continue talking about what's new for the App Store throughout the rest of the week.
Here are some of the big changes:
Increased App Review Times
Already in place since the past few weeks, the first new change Apple made in the App Store is the amount of time it takes for apps to be reviewed and approved. The company is now approving apps within hours instead of days.
Previously, developers could expect their app to be approved anywhere from five days to a week. This is because Apple's team of reviewers check to make sure the app is working, follows the guidelines and doesn't have any code that could have a bad effect on the user's device.
Now 50 percent of apps are approved within 24 hours and 90 percent in 48 hours. This means that apps can go live faster, which is all thanks to internal tool improvements that make this process more efficient.
A New Subscription Model
A more major new change is the new subscription-based business model for developers. Even though the company has paid $40 billion to developers since 2008 when its App Store first launched, it has become harder for app creators to not only get their titles seen and downloaded by users, but also to make money off their titles.
While news and video or music streaming service apps could sell subscriptions in the App Store, this option was not available for game developers - until now. Developers who release apps in all categories can now use a subscription-based model when it comes to pricing.
This new business model can help make sure that developers keep their customers for more than a year and help companies that have multiple apps get customers to subscribe to more than one of its titles.
Developers can choose from more than 200 subscription price points and different tiers of plans. They can also change the price when they wish, although customers will be notified and have the option to unsubscribe, grandfather plans and even make a subscription cheaper in a specific territory.
This means that now even game developers can charge a subscription for their massive multiplayer online game or for cloud storage so that players can access the game on other platforms.
What's even more exciting is the fact that Apple is changing its revenue split for subscriptions. The 70/30 spilt will remain, but developers will get an 85/15 revenue split for subscribers who have been customers for more than a year.
The new change will go into effect on Monday, June 13.
And even bigger changes are on the way.
The App Store will continue rolling out new features throughout the fall. One of these will be the introduction of ads in the search results that will make discovering titles a bit easier.
Instead of transforming the App Store into a place where apps are only seen by those who can pay to have them advertised, Apple will only allow one ad at a time on the search results page and customers will know it is an ad because it will be featured at the top with a blue tag.
The ad that appears will be related to the search and titles will be selected through an auction system with no minimums so that even the small guy has a chance at being featured. Developers will only pay when users tap on the paid advertisement.
Apple will not track user data based on the ads, and the ads won't appear to users who are under 13 years old. The search ads will launch in beta next week and be available this fall.
Other App Discovery Tools
Along with search ads, Apple also plans to filter through the apps in the "Featured" section the App Store so that only new titles will appear. It will also include the "Categories" tab again so that users can browse for titles easily, and there will also be a way to share apps with others using 3D Touch.
All these changes will be able to all the App Stores, meaning it will apply to iOS, WatchOS, Mac OS X and tvOS.
Photo: PhotoAtelier/Glen Bledsoe | Flickr