Indicates that the process is clearly there at Apple, they just turn a blind eye.
But wow, I expected a lot more from the billing UI of iOS apps. You can start a billing process just by making the user click a button? IMO everything billing should require a round-trip through a standard billing App Store page just like if you were to pay something online with PayPal.
And I was especially amazed by how hard it is to see your subscriptions. I just checked mine and was subscribed to an app I completely forgot about.
Think of the kind of UI you would design if you wanted to ensure people weren't making money from others unknowingly. You'd give Subscriptions its own tab in the App Store. You'd create notifications like "You just paid $5 to <App> (Recurring: weekly)". Even PayPal's app gets this right.
I mean, each passing month makes it more of a labor of love than a serious development platform. There are so many extremely obvious ways to scam money on the store, and yet you go through the wringer if you spend months or years meticulously crafting a well-designed app for peanuts.
> They can’t just refuse to pay out that $14 mil to the app developer - these are bad user experiences that trick people into agreeing to subscriptions, but they aren’t clearly illegal.
I haven't read the developer agreement but I'd be surprised if it's written in such a way that they don't have any discretion here. Just because it's not illegal doesn't mean it doesn't violate Apple's terms.
Subsequent updates, however, have required closer and closer adherence to the specifics of the Apple iap guidelines. All the boiler plate text needed to be displayed, the button needs the price on it, and to be on the same page.
Overall a good change for the user but man it makes it hard to design a remotely aesthetic subscription page.
If you can make it a little prettier that is fine but I want the cold hard facts over some cute parallax effect when I scroll the page
One problem I have seen from this was an ancestry app that prompted you to scan your fingerprint to "find your relatives", and then would prompt for IAP, which asks for Touch ID approval. Because you already had your thumb on the reader, it would more or less instantly be approved. Unsure if Apple has made any changes around this yet. https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/9bxw0f/this_ancestr...
As another example, we put the terms and conditions ("subscription will renew unless canceled...") in a web view. Apple rejected us telling us to put it in the binary. We put the HTML locally, but still in a web view to display it. Is that considered part of the binary? Apparently not. We then made it plain text and didn't use a web view. But it wasn't okay, to have this behind a button. It has to be on the subscription screen. However, having it scroll off the bottom of the screen is apparently fine.
This is why it's frustrating to develop for Apple's platforms — you have to play a guessing game, where each round results in a rejection and multiple days of turnaround time. I'm considering making our app paid up front to bypass this bullshit.
Since the iOS dialog box has all the necessary information, and Apple can present it in a way they consider transparent to users, why make apps redundantly display the same information, and then reject them? The sensible thing to do would be to ban only apps that give misleading information, like Rs.10 if it actually costs Rs.100. Not giving any information in your app UI like price, duration, terms, should be fine.
Does anyone else find this comment as highly dubious and scummy as I do? Because it definitely feels to me like Mr. Koetsier isn't reporting objectively about a user-focused policy change, but rather just telling us that he's upset because his friend's subscription scam didn't work out thanks to Apple actually policing its Store in the users' favor.
"...the subscription flow would have easily saddled people with subscription charges that they might not have known about."
If your app is worth the money, you should gladly accept the price. The fact that some apps use “tricks” means that their app isn’t worth what is being asked.
Having worked for financial traders, I got to see up close that some of our most effective markets are very tightly regulated, and for good reason. If a market participant can trust the deals on offer, trades are fast and frequent, and sellers compete on dimensions like price and quality. But if a seller can do well by scamming, that not only harms the people they trade with, but the market itself, in that trust is reduced. That raises costs for all buyers (because they have to do more verification work before each trade), and puts a burden on all sellers (because they have to work harder to prove they're not evil). It also reduces turnover, as increased risk means fewer deals done.
So for me the question is how we get a free flow of accurate information. I think the obvious answer is tight regulation with a willingness to sanction deceptive actors. But for a lot of people, and they seem especially common here, that kind of regulation is anathema, as to them it's the opposite of "free".
In one of Apple's biggest most stupid and infuriating utter fuckups of all time with the App Store, they eliminated this whole mechanism by offering no upgrade support. But the need to get ongoing revenue for updated versions didn't go away, so devs do what is allowed within Apple's stupid system. They either make it subscription, or they create a "new" app where the major version number is part of the name and sell it again, maybe averaging out the price (or offering a reduced fee for the first week say), or some other suboptimal system (new features get introduced incrementally as IAPs say).
It's not even the slightest remotest bit "scammy" though. To take your own example OmniFocus v3 is a major update following years and years of support of v2, it's completely reasonable it'd be a paid upgrade. And the Mac version, on Omni's store, is a paid upgrade (or a free upgrade if you bought it in the last year, outside of Apple's garbage market you can do stuff like that) for owners of v2 (they can keep using v2 of course). It's just "OmniFocus" regardless though, this is hardly some weird thing. It's just that on the App Store they are forced by Apple to do something else.
Goddamn kids. Paying for “Omnifocus 3” seems totally intuitive to me. Paying for major version updates is just how things were back before free/ad-sponsered crap killed the market for software.
When paying for major version upgrades, it's very clear what one is paying for.
Please cite your source for this, seriously. There are a lot of derogatory assumptions about "average users" and "the masses" that float around on tech boards (including HN, but it's been a thing since nearly the beginning) that just aren't justified. Particularly not when talking about specific subsets, in this the subset of "the masses" that pays a high premium for Apple products and then pays for apps in the first place and has selected one specific developer's app in particular. Non-technical people are not entirely mindless and ignorant. They are not all entirely unfamiliar with the idea of "things are not free to develop forever."
In fact I'll expand that and point out that your attitude of being afraid to ask for money is one of the major, always repeated things to watch out for that comes up in nearly every single advice article/blog/whatever on starting up a business (including just a personal consulting operation) and making it work. One has to get over the fear of "driving off users" to some extent and that it's somehow rude to ask for money and other such feelings and just charge. And charge a lot even! Yes some people will go away but they're worthless as users anyway. If it's a good product then actual valuable customers will pay for it.
>Personally, I would rather pay a yearly subscription similiar to adobe than to have to repurchase every new update.
And I find your attitude mind boggling. I'd rather the exact opposite, and loath the spread of subscription models where you are locked in forever whether you find new updates valuable or not and changes the economic incentives for the developer from having to earn your money each paid upgrade to being able to count on your money even with no updates because if you stop paying you just lose it all entirely. It removes a core natural feedback mechanism on what really matters to customers.
I upgraded OmniFocus 1->2, but won't upgrade 2->3, because I don't consider it worth 20€.
The only useful new feature is batch editing, which was quite honestly overdue... And it still doesn't support an "end repeat" date!
Things 3 seems much better featurewise.
Because they consider it a major upgrade, hence the major version number changing? It has a major new UI rework and features? If you don't like those things then it's not a valuable major upgrade to you, which of course is the market working exactly right, but it's still a major upgrade. OmniFocus 2 was released May 2014, so over 4 years ago. That's a plenty long free support period.
>The only useful new feature is batch editing, which was quite honestly overdue... And it still doesn't support an "end repeat" date!
>Things 3 seems much better featurewise.
Then get Things 3! Like, wow, blub has just discovered for the first time that competitive products can be different, and get updated to different degrees, and that there might be reasons to pick one over another one! Who knew right?
You claimed that "developing major new versions costs money" and that "it's normal that all minor updates are free".
So far, so good, but the fact whether v3 is a major new version in anything but name seems to be critical to the soundness of your argument. I have v2 and the v3 trial on my device, and unless changing the icons and moving or adding a few buttons counts nowadays as a "major new UI rework" this app did not in fact go through a major UI rework. Neither does it have any groundbreaking new features, rather it's playing catch-up to Things v3 from more than one year ago.
OF v3 is not worth the 20-30 EUR IMO. I do have Things 3. These guys did do a major UI upgrade when they launched it and still managed to charge one third of the OmniFocus upgrade price for the new app.
AppStore upgrade pricing is not a scam, but it's still complicated to get right and can alienate users. I've given two reasons why in this thread: family sharing for IAPs and features / upgrade price ratio.
I don't think I've gotten lost, but to be clear, to me "perfectly reasonable" does not mean that it's "a good value". I'm not arguing that OmniFocus 3, or for that matter OF or any other Omni apps in general, are something that anyone here should buy. You can all evaluate that for yourselves. newtacamp merely used that specific piece of software as an example. The point is that it's been years since the last upgrade, the older versions have been well supported with minor updates, and Omni considers v3 to be a major upgrade. If you and others do not then that's the market working as intended!
>AppStore upgrade pricing is not a scam
App Store "upgrade pricing" does not exist. That's the whole issue. On their store for the Mac app Omni offers 50% off upgrades from v2 to v3. In general historically and today most upgrade offers are heavy discounts at least for -1 versions (some places differentiate between -1 and -2 or -2++). But unlike subscriptions if you think they haven't earned the fee from a paid upgrade you don't have to pay it, that's not some side "excuse" that's the value. In fact in normal stores "cross upgrades"/crossgrades are a thing adding even more competitiveness, a competitor can allow possible new users to "upgrade" from a licensed copy of a competitor to their own software instead. All this is valuable to a vibrant market. newtacamp argued that a major upgrade being charged for is "scammy" ("repurchase fees" is also derogatory) and by implication argued that alienating users who won't pay is somehow a problem. I disagreed, and still disagree.
The original claim that upgrade pricing is a scam can be trivially disproved. My claim is that coming up with an appropriate upgrade strategy is easy to get wrong and customers can still feel that these upgrade prices are unjustified, which does pose a problem for the company making the products and for this method of monetisation too.
What I will do doesn't really matter, but it's reasonable to assume I'm not alone in thinking like this.
Eventually, he's going to have to shell out for the upgrade just to get something that had the right option in Xcode selected so he can still run it, despite an almost complete lack of new features or anything that actual development time was spent on.
Or if he doesn't like it he could switch to one of the many other options. Or something open source, which can then be maintained himself if he wishes. That's part of the core point of open source you know? That one doesn't -have- to shell out for upgrades is why upgrades are good compared to subscriptions. If a developer puts out a bad paid upgrade, they get the most direct and unignorable form of feedback there is: less money.
>just to get something that had the right option in Xcode selected so he can still run it, despite an almost complete lack of new features or anything that actual development time was spent on.
Thanks for telling us that Apple promises backwards compatibility with all Mac software forever and that there are never any development maintenance of any kind required except "selecting the right option in Xcode". This was really news to me but will certainly make things a lot easier going forward now that I know nothing ever gets deprecated and removed from the OS over time.
It’s not like version x-1 stops working and forces you to purchase the new one.
This notion that something you bought 8 years ago needs to continue to work, even though the operating system that it runs on changes, is just not reality.
If you want to use shared infrastructure, you have to abide by a minimum set of requirements that ensures the safety of everyone else around you, end of story.
Personally I paid the highest option ($4.99) because I know I've gotten plenty of value out of it, but I suspect most won't and there'll be pitchfork gathering about their "spammy popups"
Now I have the option of paying ~20 EUR for 2->3 and it's not really worth the price for the kind of features one gets.
Another annoying thing is that IAPs aren't subject to family sharing, so one is essentially buying a really expensive todo app (40-50 €) that only runs on one or two devices.
They do have an unique feature as far as I know: local encryption.
In the end v2 is still working fine, so I can't complain too much.
I do pay for lots of other software with cleaner models (Jetbrains is a good example).
The old version still works, which is great, but OmniGroup probably won't get any more money from me for that particular product. Customers like us will likely pose some problems for companies like Omni, so I don't see why several people are trying to dismiss these stories.
I didn’t say free as this cost is included in the price at purchase. Vendors can be explicit about their fees and updates and let me choose to buy or not buy.
There’s lots of markets with natural charge points for updates (windows and office for example). A vendor not calling out the price for updates and then renaming and stopping updates is sleazy definitely and maybe scammy.
There are lots of models for software with pros and cons. The only thing that really tweaks me is the bait and switch after my purchase. Or the exploitation of an implicit allowance to my detriment.
Theoretically Mac has been providing updates to purchases made in 2000. Granted, they used to charge and I doubt you have hardware that will still run the updates.
Microsoft patched Server 2003 in 2017 .
Not to mention the reason why lots of OSS is still used because it allows “free updates for life.”
There’s no such thing as true free (tnstaafl), but there are lots of companies willing to be clear about update costs.
Software like Omnifocus 3 adds new functionality, or as you put it, "natural charge points for updates".
I’m not against charging for feature updates, I’m against companies lying “Omnifocus costs $xx” and then changing their mind later to charge a new price even if you only want security updates.
You’re under no obligation to repurchase the new version.
And your question is answered by the article: Now, Apple might get bad press over it.