In context: Would you pay $10,000 for an app? Probably not, but the option for developers to charge that amount is being added by Apple. Cupertino says the change is to give devs more flexibility in how they price their apps globally, though it was actually one of the conditions of a class-action suit that Apple settled last year.
The case began in 2019 when two iOS app developers filed a class-action suit against Apple. They claimed the company had a monopoly when it comes to the sale of iOS apps and in-app distribution services, highlighting the much-maligned 30% cut Apple takes on all sales, annual developer fees, the review process, and Apple’s ability to refuse an app or boot it from the store, leaving no alternative method for consumers to access it.
Apple settled the suit in 2021 by agreeing to a $100 million payout and several conditions, including expanding the number of price points for subscriptions, in-app purchases, and paid apps from fewer than 100 to more than 500. With 25 days left until the deadline, Apple has increased its number of price points to 900.
The cheapest app price Apple will allow is $0.29, down from the previous $0.49 for subscriptions and $0.99 for paid apps. The company is also introducing price steps of 10c, 50c, $1, $5, $10, and $100, which increase based on app price ranges. Moreover, we’ll no longer see all apps priced with “.99” at the end as Apple is allowing developers to offer rounded prices such as $0.90, $0.95, and $1.00.
As you can see in the table above, devs can charge up to $10,000 for an app, up from the previous $1,000. However, it’s hard to imagine that we’ll see another developer exploit this and release something similar to the I Am Rich app that hit the store back in 2008. Eight people reportedly bought the $999.99 app, which did nothing other than show a red gem when activated. Apple removed the app soon after it was published.
The new pricing options are available now for apps with auto-renewable subscriptions. They will expand to paid apps and in-app purchases sometime in the spring of 2023.