Apple expands app pricing
For years, iPhone buyers visiting the App Store found apps priced at 99 cents, $1.99 and $9.99. The pricing was part of Apple’s policy of limiting how much developers could charge.
Now, 15 years after the creation of the App Store, the company is abandoning those restrictions and allowing apps to choose from nearly 600 pricing options, including a simple $1 fee, Apple said Tuesday.
Rising inflation around the world has put pressure on Apple and developers to be more flexible with the fees they charge customers. The company continues to face backlash from developers, regulators and lawmakers worldwide over its App Store policies. The App Store is the only gateway through which thousands of apps can reach iPhone users, making Apple the arbiter of software distribution.
Last year, Apple agreed to introduce more flexible pricing in the App Store as part of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit by developers who accused the company of having a monopoly on the distribution of iPhone apps.
Apple says the new prices will range from 29 cents to $10,000, up from the previous range of 99 cents to $999.99. Pricing for subscription apps will take effect this week, while other apps will be available next year.
The $10,000 cap could be a sign that Apple is expecting higher-priced offers, said Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi. Apple is developing a virtual and augmented reality headset that merges the digital world with the real world, and Ms Milanesi said the video games and entertainment options on the new device could cost more.
“I don’t know if courtside seats at a basketball game cost more than a real game or not, but they might,” he said.
Apple says it will make it easier to adjust prices by country and manage currency exchange rates. Some app developers set a single subscription price for the world and focus on developed markets such as the US, Europe and Japan. But Matt Ronge, founder of Astropad, an app that turns the iPad into a drawing board, said Apple’s increased flexibility would allow it to expand into new markets.
“If you can charge a more reasonable price in India, that could open up some opportunities,” Mr. Ronge said. “Anytime they open it up in any way, I’m a fan.”
Among the bills being considered by Congress at the end of the year is the Open Markets Act, which seeks to give developers more control over their apps and allow them to bypass the fees Apple and Google charge developers, of up to 30 percent.