Apple has agreed to change governing their App Store as part of a settlement with the developers who filed a class action lawsuit against the company. The most significant change is that Apple is “clarifying” that developers can email users “about payment methods outside of their iOS app.” The company also agreed to release transparency reports detailing the App Store’s rejection rates and the app’s review process.
Many of the changes will affect some of Apple’s most controversial development rules that have been hotly debated as the company faces increased antitrust scrutiny. For example, Apple’s policies that prohibit developers from informing users about ways to pay for their content outside of the Apple store, which are sometimes called anti-address rules, was a key issue in the test. Epic vs. Apple. Now Apple says that, in fact, developers can make such “communications” by email or other methods outside of their actual application.
“To give developers even more flexibility to reach their customers, Apple also clarifies that developers can use communications, such as email, to share information about payment methods outside of their iOS application,” Apple writes in its statement.
The company also promises more transparency around its app review process, which the developers have said is difficult to navigate. Apple says it will release an “annual transparency report” that “will share meaningful statistics on the application review process, including the number of applications rejected for various reasons, the number of customer and developer accounts disabled, objective data on inquiries from search and results, and the number of apps removed from the App Store. “
There are other changes that are intended to give developers more flexibility in setting their prices. Apple says it will increase the number of price points available to app makers from “less than 100 to more than 500”. Those changes are expected by the end of next year, according to a statement from the attorneys representing the developers. Additionally, Apple agreed as part of the deal to keep the changes that it originally said were in response to COVID-19 which lowered commissions to 15 percent for developers making less than $ 1 million a year. That change will now be in effect for “at least the next three years.”
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