Oct 23

In the last week a lot has been written about Apple’s change to allow In App Purchase in free apps. Here are some of the more informative articles I’ve found:

Thoughts on In-App-Purchasing For Free Apps
A thorough post by Jeff Scott at 148Apps describing the good news and the bad news for both developers and consumers.

In-App purchases could fundamentally change Apple’s App Store
Seth Weintraub at ComputerWorld postulates that everything will change. The (unanswered) question is how?

In-App Purchase now available for free apps
Marco Arment was one of the first iPhone developers to comment on the change.

Apple relents: in-app purchase for free apps allows demo-to-paid
Another good developer summary by Erica Sadun at TUAW.

Free In-App Purchases Will Changeā€¦. Little?
A somewhat pessimistic look at In App Purchase by Arnold Kim.

In App Purchase and the state of iPhone piracy
Much has been written about Apple’s statement that “Using In App Purchase in your app can also help combat some of the problems of software piracy by allowing you to verify In App Purchases”. Most of it has been ill-informed speculations by non-developers. In this post Dominique Bongard goes into great depth about the challenges of using In App Purchase to combat piracy. It’s not from a developers perspective, but from someone who has been involved in anti-piracy monitoring.

Do In App Purchases count towards the Top Grossing list?
This is one of the questions I asked in my original article. The answer seems to be yes. Freeverse analyzed the rankings of three of their games on the Top Paid list vs. the Top Grossing list. And Distmo discovered that several free apps have made it onto the Top Grossing list.

iTunes Connect Updated
On October 22 Apple made an update to iTunes Connect. After this update I was finally able to add In App Purchase to free apps, and it was also possible to change the price of an existing app with In App Purchase to free.

iPhone Developer Program License Agreement Updated
When you login to iPhone Dev Center you will be prompted to accept a new iPhone Developer Program License Agreement. I have not compared the entire document against the previous version, but one thing that I noticed had changed was specifically to allow for In App Purchase in free apps.

written by Nick \\ tags:

2 Responses to “In App Purchase – Roundup”

  1. iPhoneHound Says:

    Thanks for pulling all these useful resources together.

    However, I don’t think any of these sources give enough weight to the problem that getting on the list of free apps could seriously harm the rank of an application. An app with in-app purchases will likely get downloaded much less often than a completely free app, even if its much better. Therefore, it will appear lower on the free list after a lot of junk, so it would have been better to remain on the paid list. I’m sure most developers are going to take a wait and see attitude on this before they move to in-app purchase for free apps.

    Also, its stunning that Apple does not provide information on how its rankings are constructed (such as whether in-app purchases count for the top-grossing list). These lists are the key to marketing on the iPhone, yet Apple fails to provide even the most basic information. They also give their own lists (staff picks, etc) far more prominence than the more objective lists, and then provide no information on how selections are made. This concentrates all power in Apple’s hands, but harms their platform. Other platforms such as Andriod should take note if they want to get the developers.

  2. Nick Says:

    @iPhoneHound: I agree that the top-lists are a big problem when you consider if you should use In App Purchase for your app. (I touched on this in my first article.)
    I wouldn’t hold my breath for Apple revealing any more details about how the top-lists are calculated. Secrecy is in their DNA. As for the staff picks, they have a committee that meets weekly and decides on the staff picks for the week. I have clients who have met with people in the group and managed to get their apps nominated for the weekly committee meeting. But even so, it takes a good app and some luck to actually get the nod.

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