How will the iOS App Store changes affect app developers?

Apple’s App Store has been one of the app economy’s cornerstones. Still, it was surprising how little it has changed over the years. While there have been incremental updates, many of the fundamentals have remained static. Not any more.

In a recent announcement, Apple unveiled a set of changes primed to bring the App Store into the modern world. The question is though, what do these changes mean?

1) Subscriptions = success

Put simply, Apple views subscription models as the future of apps. It has opened up this form of revenue generation to apps of any category, a massive change. Gaming apps have long been the dominant category, accounting for 25 per cent of the app market in 2015, according to App Annie’s Retrospective. Now that subscriptions are available for games, it will cause a huge shift, not only in monetisation, but also development, as there will be more incentive for developers to create regularly updated titles.

Alongside this, in App Annie’s App Adoption Cycle report, it was revealed the average time to maturity for new games, where the number of adopters plateaus, dropped 60 per cent from 2014 to 2015. Apple is trying to combat this with subscription, pushing developers to create something that lasts.

2) Power to the programmers

While it is positive that Apple has opened up subscription models to different apps, it has got to make this attractive for developers too. This is why it has changed the remuneration model. Previously, developers who sold subscriptions on the App Store received 70 per cent of the revenue, while Apple takes 30 per cent.

The announcement now means developers will see this figure rise to 85 per cent in the second year of subscription. This will reward developers who create ‘sticky’ and constantly updated apps, ensuring that those who succeed are recompensed. In other words, this will encourage businesses to think mobile-first and, consequently, app-first.

3) Aiding discovery

Apple is also going to lengths to improve app discovery. It is bringing back the categories tab, updating the Featured section so it does not show apps you already own and, when you use 3D touch on an app on your homescreen, you can recommend it to friends. This will assist in ensuring people are exposed to more apps, encouraging spend and adoption of new releases.

4) Adding ads

One of the most talked-about features is the addition of search ads — something developers have been clamouring for. In an increasingly cluttered marketplace, this new addition will help smaller and indie developers reach people who are interested in their offering. Developers will also only pay when consumers click on their sponsored ad, meaning it will be a viable option for companies of all sizes.

5) Drawing developers

Apple has also reduced the amount of time it will take to review an app before it is released to the public. This is terrific news for developers. The idea is to create a quicker moving, more reactive App Store that reflects the internet age. This removal of red tape will attract developers, making Apple’s ecosystem even more attractive, benefitting the consumer and the creator.

Overall, the updates to Apple’s App Store are taking the platform in a positive direction. The app economy is ever-moving and, with these changes, Apple is ensuring it remains at the forefront of innovation, which is a good thing for developers and the public.

Nicolas Beraudo, Managing Director, EMEA at App Annie

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