As reported by our sister site MacRumors early this morning, Apple has changed the pricing guidelines for in-app purchases that it first rolled out in February, removing a requirement that made selling content within apps much less appealing to publishers.
Previously, Apple required that publishers offer content via in-app purchase at the same or a lower price than available outside of the app. The updated App Store Review Guidelines now make no mention of such a requirement, a change that is certain to be welcomed by publishers looking to maintain profit margins on content sold through the App Store after Apple’s 30% cut.
The old language in the App Store Review Guidelines was as follows:
11.13 Apps can read or play approved content (magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video) that is sold outside of the app, for which Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues, provided that the same content is also offered in the app using IAP at the same price or less than it is offered outside the app. This applies to both purchased content and subscriptions.
This section now reads as follows, with section 11.14 providing additional clarification on content purchased outside of an app:
11.13 Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, such as a “buy” button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected
11.14 Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app
Apple made this change quietly – no press release or other official announcement has been made about it. I’m not quite sure what prompted Apple to make this change but it’s definitely a good one for users of iOS devices who are sure to benefit from it as publishers move to make more content available within apps without pricing restrictions from Apple.