Apple extends app prices
For years, iPhone customers who visited the App Store found apps priced at 99 cents, $1.99, and $9.99. Pricing was part of Apple’s policy to limit what developers could charge.
Now, 15 years after the App Store was founded, the company is dropping those limitations and allowing apps to choose from nearly 600 pricing options, including the simple $1 fee, Apple said Tuesday.
Rising inflation around the world has caused Apple and developers to be more flexible in what they charge customers. The company also continues to face a backlash from developers, regulators and lawmakers around the world over its policies on the App Store. The App Store is the only gateway for thousands of apps to reach iPhone users, making Apple an arbiter of software distribution.
Last year, Apple agreed to introduce more flexible App Store pricing in the settlement of a class action lawsuit brought by developers, who accused the company of having a monopoly on the distribution of iPhone apps. .
The new prices will range from 29 cents to $10,000, a break from the previous range of 99 cents to $999.99, Apple said. Pricing will roll out for subscription apps this week and will be available for more apps next year.
The $10,000 cap could be a sign that Apple is anticipating more expensive deals, said Carolina Milanesi, analyst at Creative Strategies. Apple is developing a virtual and augmented reality headset that blends the digital world with the real world, and Ms. Milanesi said video games and entertainment options on this new device could cost more.
“I don’t know if courtside seats for a basketball game on a helmet will cost more than a real game or not, but they could,” she said.
Country-by-country price adjustment and exchange rate management will be made easier, Apple said. Some app developers set a subscription price for the world and focus on developed markets such as the United States, Europe, and Japan. But Matt Ronge, founder of Astropad, an app that turns the iPad into a graphics tablet, said Apple’s increased flexibility could allow it to expand into new markets.
“If you can charge a more reasonable price in India, that might open up some possibilities,” Ronge said. “Any time they open it in any way, I’m a fan.”
As Congress winds down its year, among the bills being considered is the Open Markets Act, which aims to give developers more control over their apps and allow them to bypass fees — up to 30% – that Apple and Google charge developers.