iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 Are Now Available

Sure, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 aren’t as exciting as some of the other previous releases from Apple, but I’ve still been looking forward to their release over the past few months. I didn’t bother installing any Developer or Public betas until the fourth or the fifth one in the cycle, that too only on my 10.5-inch iPad Pro. So I’m going in with relatively fresh eyes.

There are some remarkable updates being rolled out today by various developers that I’ve been beta testing over the last two months. Similarly, our team at Readdle is shipping a slew of incredible features as well, for our Spark, Documents, PDF Expert, Calendars and Scanner Pro apps. It’s been a massive effort to deliver these updates on Day 1, and everyone is excited to hear your feedback. Try them out, we’re sure you’re gonna love it.

Apple Adjusts App Store Pricing in India; Apps Get Pricier Due to Addition of 2% Equalisation Levy

Apple today informed its developers about upcoming tax and price changes to the App Store Pricing for apps and in-app purchases in a few different countries.

When taxes or foreign exchange rates change, we sometimes need to update prices on the App Store. In the next few days, prices of apps and in-app purchases (excluding auto-renewable subscriptions) on the App Store will increase in Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Russia, and South Africa. These increases also reflect the following tax changes:

The company has adjusted the pricing of apps on the iOS and Mac App Stores for India by adding a 2% Equalization Levy that was implemented from 1st April, 2020 . This is in addition to the 18% GST already implemented. The last major change to app pricing in India came in January 2018, where the prices of apps were reduced by ₹1.

After the addition of the 2% Equalization Levy, the App Store pricing for India has resulted in pricing of apps going up by at least ₹10.

App Store Pricing Change in India in October 2020
App Store India Pricing October 2020

While this pricing change for apps is not applicable to existing auto-renewing subscriptions, Apple does indicate that developers can increase the prices for new subscribers.

Remember, just because the prices have gone up and you’re paying more for apps, it does not mean that the app developer ends up getting more of your money. As Apple says in the announcement.

Once these changes go into effect, the Pricing and Availability section of My Apps will be updated, and your proceeds will be adjusted accordingly and calculated based on the tax-exclusive price.

Apple (Emphasis mine)

Apple Publishes a New App Store “Principles and Practices” Page

With WWDC ’19 just around the corner, Apple has just published a new “Principles and Practices” page that attempts to make a case for how the company runs the App Store.

We created the App Store with two goals in mind: that it be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers.

The page features and details positive things about the App Store and lists stats about how many apps Apple reviews every week, and how many apps are approved or rejected.

As part of our rigorous app review process, we use a combination of automated systems and hundreds of human experts. This team represents 81 languages across three time zones. We work hard to maintain the integrity of the App Store. In fact, since 2016, we have removed over 1.4 million apps from the App Store because they have not been updated or don’t work on our most current operating systems. This helps unclutter the search for new apps, and makes it easier for users to find quality apps.

Apple is also listing several apps that the company says competes with Apple’s own apps, although the company fails to mention how the company still has the upper-hand in most of those cases.

Apple App Store Mail Apps

Let’s take the case of mails apps, for example. There’s no way Gmail, Spark, Outlook and Yahoo! Mail are on the same level playing field as the built-in & native Mail.app on iOS. You can’t set either of those apps are the default mail app on iOS instead of Apple’s Mail app, so all mailto: links still open Mail.app. Similarly, Apple’s own web-browser Safari and messaging app Messages have the upper-hand over other “competing” apps.

And then there’s this:

Apple App Store Principles and Practices Page

84% of apps are free, and developers pay nothing to Apple.

I get what Apple is trying to say here, but the “developers pay nothing to Apple” bit is highly misleading when you consider that one simply cannot publish an app on the App Store without paying $99/year to Apple for the Apple Developer Program membership. Even if one has to publish a free app for iOS, they need to shell out over ₹ 7000/year just to sign up for the membership.

GitHub has introduced a new Desktop app for macOS and Windows platforms today.

Extend your GitHub workflow beyond your browser with GitHub Desktop, completely redesigned with Electron. Get a unified cross-platform experience that’s completely open source and ready to customize.

If you visit the page, the H1 tag on it reads “The new Native“.

If GitHub starts pushing for Electron apps as “native”, what hopes do we have left?

Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch:

[Sensor Tower] found that U.S. iPhone users spent 23 percent more on in-app purchases in 2017 than they did the year prior – or, an average of $58 per active user was spent on in-app purchases, up from $47 in 2016.

Hardly surprising when it comes to games — they’re a hot category to build for these days. But the 57% jump in the entertainment category is interesting to see.

Marco Arment comments on the terrible state of WatchKit:

Developing Apple Watch apps is extremely frustrating and limited for one big reason: unlike on iOS, Apple doesn’t give app developers access to the same watchOS frameworks that they use on Apple Watch.

Instead, we’re only allowed to use WatchKit, a baby UI framework that would’ve seemed rudimentary to developers even in the 1990s. But unlike the iPhone’s web apps, WatchKit doesn’t appear to be a stopgap — it seems to be Apple’s long-term solution to third-party app development on the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch may be the best selling smartwatch out there without any competition, but it still has tremendous potential that 3rd party developers aren’t able to make full use of.

Apple Decreases Pricing of Apps on the Indian App Store As it Adjusts Pricing for Several Countries

App Store India Pricing January 2018

Apple has adjusted the App Store pricing for several countries this week to account for foreign exchange rate fluctuations and tax changes. App Store developers were notified of this change via an email earlier this week, as reported by 9to5Mac. Apple periodically adjusts the pricing on the App Store to account for these changes and the last major change for pricing of apps for Apple customers in India happened in January 2017 when Apple increased the pricing of apps on the App Store for India by around 25% to 32%.

App Store Pricing Adjustment for India

According to the email that Apple sent out to developers, the pricing for apps in India will decrease.

India: Prices will decrease for apps and in-app purchases (including auto-renewable subscriptions)

As a consumer, it’s obvious to get excited upon reading that, but wait till you hear the new pricing that is now live on the App Store. The pricing of apps on App Store India has been reduced by Rs. 1. That’s right, apps will cost less by a whole Rupee going forward.

Here are the top pricing tiers now active on the App Store:

App Store India Pricing January 2018

App Store India Pricing January 2018

I’m not really sure why Apple decided to make this minor change to the pricing. I’m hoping that this ₹1 discount is just cosmetic — such that the pricing appears in line with the standard xx.99 way and that the change announced in the email is rolling out in the coming days with a notable change in the pricing.

What do you think about this change? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @preshit or @nuclearbits.

[h/t @macpeercom]

Apple has announced that its App Store had a fantastic run in 2017, especially during the holiday season leading up to the new year.

App Store customers around the world made apps and games a bigger part of their holiday season in 2017 than ever before, culminating in $300 million in purchases made on New Year’s Day 2018. During the week starting on Christmas Eve, a record number of customers made purchases or downloaded apps from the App Store, spending over $890 million in that seven-day period.

Apple says that it paid out $26.5 Billion to iOS developers, an increase of over 30 percent compared to 2016. Since its launch in 2008, the App Store has made $86 Billion for iOS developers around the world.

The new App Store introduced in iOS 11 got a lot of things right, and Apple knocked it out of the park with their approach. I’m loving the curation on the US App Store — I just wish I had landed that App Store Editor job I had applied for at Apple India.