You may recall that when Super Mario Run was announced in 2016, customers could request notification of its release, which was a first at the time on the App Store. Now, all developers can do something similar by offering their apps for pre-order. According to iTunes Connect’s Resources and Help documentation:
Now you can make your new apps available for pre-order on all Apple platforms. Customers can see your product page and order your app before it's released for download. Once your app is released, customers will be notified and your app will automatically download to their device. For paid apps, customers will be charged before download.
The process for submitting an app for pre-order seems relatively straight-forward:
To make your new app available for pre-order:
- From the homepage, click My Apps, select the app, and select Pricing and Availability in the left column. You'll see the Pre-Orders section if your app has never been published on the App Store.
Select Make available for pre-order, choose a date to release your app for download, then click Save in the upper-right corner. The release date must be at least two days in the future, but no more than 90 days in the future.
Submit your app for review.
Once your app is approved and you're ready to make it available for pre-order, return to Pricing and Availability, confirm the date your app will be released for download, and click Release as Pre-Order in the upper-right corner.
In addition to offering apps for pre-orders, Apple will report pre-orders as part of the Sales and Trends section of iTunes Connect. Apple has also included an FAQ with further information about the pre-order process.
It’s been about a year since Apple tested the pre-release notification waters with Super Mario Run and it’s nice to see that it’s been opened up to all developers who can use it to get customers excited about their apps ahead of launch.
Update: According to a new webpage published by Apple that summarizes the pre-order program, it also applies to macOS and tvOS apps.
In addition, Apple has added a 'Pre-Orders' section to the Games tab of the App Store, which currently includes five games. No similar section has been added to the Mac App Store or Apple TV App Store.
With a press release and special sections featured on its digital storefronts this morning, Apple revealed the most popular apps, games, and media releases of 2017.
Today, Apple introduced a new search ad product called Search Ads Basic. The existing search ad service, which was introduced a little over a year ago, has been renamed Search Ads Advanced.
Search Ads Basic offers fewer of the advanced options and tracking available in Search Ads Advanced and spending is capped at $5,000 per month, but developers only pay for installations generated by their search ads. In contrast, developers pay every time someone taps on an ad under the Search Ads Advanced program, whether or not the tap results in a purchase. To get started, all that is needed is to pick the app to be advertised, set a spending budget, and choose a maximum per-user installation cost, for which Apple provides a suggested maximum based on historical App Store data.
Apple is positioning Search Ads Basic as an alternative for developers who don’t have the time to fiddle with the more sophisticated options available with Search Ads Advanced. There is no doubt the process is simple. I set up a campaign for my app Blink in less than a minute.
With a $5,000 per month spending limit the new program also seems tailored to smaller developers who may be uncomfortable paying for taps or managing the more complex options of a Search Ads Advanced campaign. Although larger development shops are not precluded from using Basic, the spending limit should discourage larger companies with big advertising budgets.
Currently, Search Ads Basic is limited to US App Store, but it will be rolling out to the stores in additional countries later. As it did last year, Apple is sending email messages to developers offering a $100 credit to try Search Ads.
Apple has partnered with (RED) for many years to help people living with HIV worldwide. This year marks a new record year of giving for Apple with over $30 million raised for the Global Fund, which is the equivalent of 144 million days of ARV medication that prevents the transmission of HIV from mothers to their unborn children.
“Connecting through our products and services helps make it easy for our customers to join us in the effort to create the first AIDS-free generation,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “By working with (RED) to stop the transmission of HIV from moms to their unborn babies, we’re already seeing a significant impact in areas where help is needed most. We’re committed to continuing the fight and empowering future generations through these vital efforts.”
This year Apple will mark World AIDS Day at its nearly 500 retail stores with red Apple logos for the week. Also, for every Apple Pay transaction made at a retail location, online, or in-app, Apple will donate $1 to the Global Fund.
As in the past, the App Store is participating too, with a (RED) Today tab takeover featuring stories related to the cause and the developers who are supporting it. King, the maker of the Candy Crush series of games, will also offer limited edition bundles of their games with in-app proceeds going to the Global Fund.
Apple has introduced a new feature in the Today tab of the App Store called 'This Weekend Only.' Each Thursday, one app will offer an exclusive deal to users that lasts through Sunday.
The new feature is being kicked off with five deals instead of one:
The new promotion strikes me as a good way to help drive traffic to the App Store on weekends, which are slow sales days for many developers. It also makes sense to kick off the App Store’s new feature with apps from relatively large companies with broad appeal, but I hope that in the long run, smaller independent development shops are included too.
Earlier today, Apple released iOS 11.2 beta 2 to developers. The release notes accompanying the beta include the following announcement:
Soon, you’ll be able to offer new customers a discounted introductory price for your auto-renewable subscriptions on the App Store. iOS 11.2 introduces new classes … and new properties … to provide details on the introductory pricing and billing period you’ve selected for your auto-renewable subscriptions. You’ll be able to configure introductory pricing on your in-app purchase page in iTunes Connect soon.
Auto-renewing subscriptions were made available to all app developers with iOS 10 and already include the option to offer a free trial. With iOS 11.2 though, developers will have added flexibility to help them attract customers.
Monument Valley 2 was announced and released during the WWDC keynote this past June. Andrew Webster at The Verge talked to the team behind the game about keeping the sequel a secret and the success the game has enjoyed in the subsequent months.
Since WWDC, the follow-on to one of the biggest App Store hits in recent years is selling well, including in China where sales are greater than in the US. Still, it remains to be seen whether ustwo’s latest release can match the original, which did even better in its second year on the App Store. Asked about how that kind of success can be replicated, ustwo head Dan Gray said:
“Your game needs to operate on a number of levels — at least that’s how we work,” he says. “When we think about how kids interact with Monument Valley, they treat it like a toy. There are these amazing structures, and it’s very tactile, there’s a lot of audiovisual feedback. That’s the most simple form of interaction. And then there are the people who understand the basic premise. In Monument Valley 2, that is a mother and child trying to solve problems together. Then there are the people who talk on internet forums and Twitter, and have really high-level, deep discussion.”
The Verge’s profile coincides with the release of a behind-the-scenes video created by ustwo that follows its team as they fly to San Jose and reveal Monument Valley 2 to the world.
Ahead of the upcoming public releases of iOS 11 and watchOS 4 on September 19th and macOS High Sierra on September 25th, Apple has told developers via its developer website that App Store submissions are open.
From Apple's developer news site:
You can now submit your apps that take advantage of exciting new features available in the next release of macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Build your apps using Xcode 9 GM seed, test with the latest releases of macOS High Sierra, iOS 11, watchOS 4, tvOS 11, and submit them for review.
Apple has added scores of new features to its operating systems that developers can take advantage of to improve existing apps and create all-new ones that were impossible before the new APIs were introduced. Perhaps most anticipated are the additions to iOS that enable brand new features to the iPad like the dock, drag and drop, Split View enhancements, and much more.
You can also follow all of our Apple event coverage through our September 12 hub, or subscribe to the dedicated September 12 RSS feed.
Oliver Yeh of Sensor Tower shares a revealing statistic regarding the current state of App Store revenue for 32-bit apps, which will no longer be available for purchase or download in iOS 11:
The potential revenue Apple stands to lose from eliminating 32-bit app support in iOS 11, expected to launch next week, will amount to less than 1 percent of its portion of quarterly App Store revenue, according to Sensor Tower research. Based on an analysis of our Store Intelligence data, we have estimated that these older apps, which will cease to function in the upcoming release, accounted for approximately $37.5 million in worldwide gross revenue last quarter, of which Apple’s cut—about $11.3 million—made up a mere 0.41 percent of its total revenue from in-app purchases and paid apps on iPhone and iPad.
While it should come as no surprise that 32-bit apps make up a small portion of App Store sales, this new data reveals just how inconsequential that portion has now become.