Apple Promotes Subscription-Based Apps With Free Trials in the App Store

Apple has opened a new section of the iOS App Store that promotes subscription-based apps offering free trials (via 9to5Mac).

Called "Try it for Free", the subcategory appears in the Apps tab and is currently home to just four apps, including USA Today, 1Password, Panna: Video Recipes & Classes, and Lake: Coloring Books. Tapping "Free Trial" next to one of the apps takes the user to a screen showcasing the subscription offer (if the app hasn't been previously downloaded), which details how long the trial runs, the recurring cost after the trial ends, and how to download the app.


All of the apps in the subcategory have offered free trials for some time, suggesting Apple is renewing efforts to push subscription-based apps by encouraging users to try them out for a time before committing to recurring payments.

Subscription-based apps tend to divide the user community, but adoption of the model has increased over the last six months. Apple began incentivizing developers to sell their apps for a recurring fee instead of a one-time cost when it made changes to its App Store subscription policies in 2016. Usually, Apple takes 30 percent of app revenue, but developers who are able to maintain a subscription with a customer longer than a year see Apple's cut drop down to 15 percent.

Late last year, Apple also started letting developers offer discounted introductory pricing and time-limited free trials on auto-renewable app subscriptions, based on the idea that subscriptions provide a higher likelihood of an engaged audience.



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27 weeks ago
All apps should have a "try before you buy" option. One of the most frustrating things is getting an app and it turns out its total garbage, or doesn't have one feature you really need.
Rating: 20 Votes
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27 weeks ago
I delete any app that pushes a subscription. I know servers are not cheap but when I have to pay $1-5 per app per month, it becomes very expensive.

I noticed an uptick in apps where to use the apple pencil, you need to subscribe. Like Duet for example. flippin ridic
Rating: 18 Votes
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27 weeks ago
Thanks, but no thanks.
Rating: 16 Votes
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27 weeks ago
The only types of apps that offer subscriptions that I think are fair are music services, video content services and cloud storage. I may start to minimize my use of mobile tech and begin getting cheaper phones if I have to subscribe to services that were previously free. I'm already paying a hefty monthly fee for a data plan and I'm not paying $5 a month to check the weather. No.

The subscription model for password management seems particularly ludicrous to me.
Rating: 11 Votes
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27 weeks ago
Two different things going on here:

1 - Try before you buy. This needs to become the norm, not the exception.

2 - Subscription model. That in itself often sucks.

But, don't throw out #1 because #2 sucks.
Rating: 8 Votes
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27 weeks ago

Excellent. Developers prefer users who want to help pay the rent to cover the time taken to develop, then support and update apps over the long term. Why should we work for free for users who have no interest in painting our fences or weeding our lawns for free? If you find some free knock-off app covered with ads instead, go for it.



I will happily pay for an app once and only once. I write software too and I know the difficulty and time involved to build an app from scratch. If the dev choses to write a new upgraded app and release that, I can choose to upgrade (like Star Walk). I refuse to pay a dev $1/month because they wrote an app that essentially parses NOAA data or it toggles a software switch to enable a feature that is already there.


It's like having a buddy who did you a favor. You buy them lunch once, not every month for the rest of your life.
Rating: 7 Votes
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27 weeks ago
App Store needs:
1. The ability to demo a paid app for a week or something before purchasing.
2. The ability for developers to discount upgrades. Customer loyalty means a lot.
3. An actual search that works and is useful.
Rating: 5 Votes
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27 weeks ago
Nice! Fixes a big gap in the AppStore - try before you buy.
Rating: 5 Votes
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27 weeks ago

Ridiculous indeed, fully agree! It's crap like this that will destroy the app ecosystem if it continues to go unchecked.

There should be a mechanism for users in App Store to disable any future updates that have announced changes to Subscriptions. Honestly I feel any app that's been sold for a set price should:

a> Not be allowed to change into a subscription model, or,
b> developers should be forced by policy to
1) create a new app that allows for subscription model, and
2) the existing paid app continue to be made available and as well bug fixes and updates at no cost to the end user continue for 12 months AFTER the subscription model version of the app is released officially (not announced).

I noticed the Gymaholic app changed their premium paid feature into a subscription model. within a week allowed all future updates for free for those that had a premium model, yet only after considerable backlash. I find that crap dispicable.




I had the noaa hi-def radar app from weathersphere and paid about $4-5 for it a few years ago. it was one of the best weather apps and then they released an update that said it would bring a ton of new features with no mention of a subscription model. Sure enough, the update removed 95% of the app functionality. Want to see the radar in the future? subscribe. want to see local alerts? subscribe. It was extremely bothersome because the change log made zero mention of a subscription
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
27 weeks ago

Ridiculous indeed, fully agree! It's crap like this that will destroy the app ecosystem if it continues to go unchecked.

There should be a mechanism for users in App Store to disable any future updates that have announced changes to Subscriptions. Honestly I feel any app that's been sold for a set price should:

a> Not be allowed to change into a subscription model, or,
b> developers should be forced by policy to
1) create a new app that allows for subscription model, and
2) the existing paid app continue to be made available and as well bug fixes and updates at no cost to the end user continue for 12 months AFTER the subscription model version of the app is released officially (not announced).

I noticed the Gymaholic app changed their premium paid feature into a subscription model. within a week allowed all future updates for free for those that had a premium model, yet only after considerable backlash. I find that crap dispicable.

Interesting idea to require a brand new app in order to use a subscription model rather than being able to force it after-the-fact. It'd be hard to enforce the requirement of continued bug fixes and updates for the existing app, though.

P.S. Here's a fitness app that does NOT have a subscription model, just a single, one-time In-App Purchase to unlock all advanced features (full disclosure: I am the developer ;)):
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gym-log+-free-workout-fitness/id871239624?mt=8
Rating: 2 Votes
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