Just days ago, Elon Musk took aim at Apple’s App Store policies while dragging it into the political and culture war crosshairs, highlighting how important the storefront is to so many developers and services. Today, Apple announced it’s changing long-standing App Store policies that put tight restrictions on what developers are allowed to charge their customers, following up on a pledge made last year while settling a class-action lawsuit.
At the time, developers were restricted to fewer than 100 possible price points in the App Store, which Bloomberg reports previously started at a minimum of 49 cents for subscriptions and 99 cents for apps, with a max price of $999.99.
App Store price flexibility chart for USD pricing. Image: Apple
Now, the lowest possible price in the US starts at 29 cents, the max is $10,000 (another new addition is round dollar pricing instead of 99-cent cutoffs), and Apple has opened up additional steps in between, as shown in this chart.
In a press release, Apple includes a congratulatory note for itself about “giving all developers unprecedented flexibility and control to price their products in 45 currencies throughout 175 storefronts,” without mentioning the lawsuit and settlement. This is unlikely to solve all of the concerns developers and regulators have with the power app stores have over distribution, pricing, and even content, but it does add some flexibility to the offering.
Under the updated App Store pricing system, all developers will have the ability to select from 900 price points, which is nearly 10 times the number of price points previously available for most apps. This includes 600 new price points to choose from, with an additional 100 higher price points available upon request. To provide developers around the world with even more flexibility, price points — which will start as low as $0.29 and, upon request, go up to $10,000 — will offer an enhanced selection of price points, increasing incrementally across price ranges (for example, every $0.10 up to $10; every $0.50 between $10 and $50; etc.). See the table below for details.
In each of the App Store’s 175 storefronts, developers will be able to leverage additional pricing conventions, including those that begin with two repeating digits (e.g., ₩110,000), and will be able to price products beyond $0.99 or €X.99 endings to incorporate rounded price endings (e.g., X.00 or X.90), which are particularly useful for managing bundles and annual plans.
Starting today, developers of subscription apps will also be able to manage currency and taxes across storefronts more effortlessly by choosing a local storefront they know best as the basis for automatically generating prices across the other 174 storefronts and 44 currencies. Developers will still be able to define prices per storefront if they wish. The pricing capability by storefront will expand to all other apps in spring 2023.