Apple announces sweeping price changes in the App Store

Apple on Tuesday unveiled the most sweeping change yet to the App Store pricing model, which applies to all apps submitted to its app stores. In the new system, app developers have far more control over how they price their apps.

Apple’s App Store has long offered relatively limited price point options for app and game developers. With the new policies, the minimum app price has dropped from $0.99 to $0.29, and the maximum price has increased from $1,000 to $10,000. Prizes can include $0.10, $0.50, $1, $5, $10, and $100. Supported conventions include X.99, X.00, X.90, and X.95.

Here is Apple’s specific wording:

As part of the updated App Store pricing system, all developers have the ability to choose 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 even more flexibility for developers around the world, price points – starting at $0.29 and going up to $10,000 on request – offer an expanded range of price points that increase incrementally across price ranges (e.g. $0.10 up to $10; every $0.50 between $10 and $50, etc.). See the table below for details.

Prices can be set per country. This allows developers to respond to inflation and exchange rate changes. Developers can set a base price for a storefront and currency they know well, and they’ll see automatically generated price suggestions for other regions and currencies, which they can either accept or replace with their own prices.

Apps that offer auto-renewing subscriptions can take advantage of these changes starting today. App developers who do not have subscriptions will have to wait until an undetermined date in spring 2023.

So far, most of the changes to the App Store’s pricing system have been the addition of new fee types, be they enhanced in-app purchases or subscription models. Aside from those additions, this is the most significant change to the App Store’s pricing model and policies since its inception.

Several forces paved the way or contributed to this change. In 2021, Apple agreed to relax pricing restrictions in a class action lawsuit brought by a coalition of third-party developers. More broadly, the company has faced intense regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers and public criticism from developers. Like many other recent App Store policy changes, this change could be an attempt to forestall future crackdowns.

The changes were also made to help Apple and the developers in its ecosystem deal with a recent volatile economic landscape that has seen inflation and exchange rate swings above average. It’s also possible that Apple is introducing these new prices to prepare for new types of content, tools, and experiences that could be sold for its upcoming mixed reality headset, which is expected to launch in 2023.

Offer image by Samuel Axon

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