With Apple’s WWDC conference just around the corner, we’ve received news of some much awaited changes that are being introduced to the App Store in the coming months. The update is aimed at improving the store experience for both developers and consumers alike.
The App Store is about to cut down on the app review time to help developer apps go live immediately, setup new business model for revenue generation — split revenue and make app discovery easier.
The App Store team under the command of Phil Schiller, who took command over six months ago has been hard at work to study the underlying defects in the App Store, and introduce changes that were long overdue. The overhaul to the app store is focused to help developer apps get noticed by placing them front and center, making them available in search results via ads, and better revenue sharing propositions.
Schiller sat down with Jim Darymple of ‘The Loop‘ and outlined three major ares that the team has focused on improving and what changes can we expect to see in the App Store at the WWDC.
The App Store — if you’re unknown to this fact — on submission of an application to the App Store, reviews the application to check whether it works properly and doesn’t include any unnecessary lines of code that might hamper the user experience.
In the interview, Schiller tells that due to the abundant amount of app submissions and the extensive quality check processes, it took over five days for an app to get reviewed and go live on the App Store. But, now the team has cut down on the app review time from five days to just one — with a lot of apps.
The result of the improvements to the App Store is that it now has a sustained rate of reviewing 50 per cent apps in 24 hours and about 90 per cent in 48 hours.
Schiller said that,
It would be easy to just get rid of this step, but instead of doing that me and and my team focused on why it took so ling and fixed it. We’re never going to get rid of that because it matters.
The App Review team is now capable of over 100,000 app review per week and they’ve developed new processes(machine learning based algorithms) to make the process faster while maintaining the quality and standards that Apple is known for.
New Business Models
In addition, Apple is also introducing a new revenue generating model to help developers earn more for the hard work they put in developing the apps for the App Store. This benefit is being provided to them via two approaches – Subscription Model and 85/15 revenue split.
First, let’s take a look at the changes to the Subscription model, which was earlier applicable to news and publication products and those were the only products that could really take advantage of this model. But, Cupertino is now opening the Subscription plan for all product categories, which will allow developers to offer subscription combo offers on all their products rather than trying to make users subscribe to each app individually.
Apple in an official ‘coming soon‘ page on their developer website detail the newly introduce changes to the model and say that it will soon offer auto-renewable subscription, opportunities to earn more revenue(85/15) when they complete one year of subscription and greater flexibility in pricing.
This leads us to the second approach, which is also applicable to those developers who use the subscription model to earn their fair-share of revenues. Today, the developers receive the traditional 70 per cent of the subscription price at each billing, but Apple wants to change this policy and introduce higher revenue opportunities.
The developer will no receive a 70/30 split in the first year of subscription, while this will then rise to an 85/15 split in the following years. And the tech giant is also introducing ways to help them market their subscription plans, via targeted messaging, such as email or in-app messaging and set differential pricing for old and new subscribers.
Apple is finally trying to fix the most significant issue of the App Store i.e discoverability to help developers be able to make their apps easily visible to users and make it easier for them to find.
To fix this, Cupertino is introducing a change to its coveted ‘Featured’ apps section will filter through your installed apps to display new and upcoming apps rather than apps you have already installed. And in a bid to make users come back and download more apps, the company is bringing back the categories tab for the store.
It has also found another use=-case for the application of 3D-touch, where-in you can share an application you like with your friends, family or social media directly from the 3D-touch shortcut menu.
But, the biggest change being brought to the App Store(finally!?) is the introduction of search ads, as shown in the image above. The developers via an auction system will now be able to bid for just one spot on each search result, as Apple doesn’t want to sell its soul to the devil in exchange of quality standards and money. This is similar to the search ads displayed on Google Play.
Stressing on the privacy concerns of this process, Schiller told The Loop that,
Apple will not track users and will not share data about users ad clicks with developers. Developers will get reports, but no user data. Apple will also not serve ads to people 13 years old or under, if it can determine that from the device.
Developers will soon be able to sign-up for the beta run of ‘Search Ads’. The ad program will first go live in the U.S but will affect all App Stores on every iOS device.