Apple has issued its latest App Store Review Guidelines — in comic book format, no less — but developers may see nothing amusing if subscription policy is important to them.
In a word, the new document is still a work in progress when it comes to the rules governing subscriptions.
The guidelines, unveiled at WWDC this week, provide the documentation used by developers to ensure their apps stay on the right side of “Apple law.” It’s important for them to be able to determine which apps will be accepted or rejected following their submission to the App Store — and before the submission, not after.
Observers say the guidelines aren’t all that different from what was already on the books, and Apple is calling much of the revision designed only to make the guidelines “more helpful.”” Specifically, Apple wants to streamline documentation (Apple has also consolidated the iOS and Mac App Store guidelines).
But the ability to monetize apps via subscriptions? The guidelines here are still murky.
“Apple is expanding developers’ ability to use subscriptions as a means of making money with their apps, beyond simple in-app purchases or paid downloads,” reports TechCrunch. “Apple has not yet been updated to fully clarify the new rules regarding how subscriptions can be used, which is still causing a lot of developer confusion at the moment.”
Right now, there’s just a note from Apple in the document saying “We will update these guidelines in the coming weeks for the subscription changes launching this fall.”
Subscriptions in the App Store aren’t new. But in the past, they’ve been limited to certain logical categories – like those that provide news and information.
Clearly, the uncertainty is bedeviling developers.
“Clearly, Apple doesn’t want its App Store to fill up with apps that use subscriptions in a way that’s not beneficial to users, and is giving itself the ability to accept or reject apps that don’t use subscriptions in a way that it thinks is right,” the report concludes. “But developer confusion could also mean that they won’t even attempt to build a new subscription-based app in the first place, because they don’t know if it will be rejected.”
MAW will keep you updated on news of clarifications of Apple app subscription policies. To check out the most up-to-date guidelines from Apple, click here.