Thursday, October 15, 2009

In App Purchase Can Now Be Used for Free App

Yep, just got notified by Apple. Free apps. In-app purchase. Say good-bye to "Lite" apps.



10 comments:

Greg Meach said...

Hey Jeff - I haven't done much research on in App purchasing but I thought it requires its own (as in the developers) server. If that's true, for a small indie dev why would I want to incur this additional cost? It is still cheaper / easier for me to create a Lite version that has a no-cost link to a paid version.

Thoughts?

Jonathan Nobels said...

Greg - it's much easier than that. Read the STKit docs. The transaction is directly between your app (via the STKit API) and the App Store - no server required. You set up a product (price & description) in your Developer Connection account, your app sends a request to "purchase" it and when you get notification of a successful transaction - you enable whatever functionality or content was promised. It looks almost too simple.

Per Apple's letter today, this will also eliminate the ability to pirate the "full" version of your app - since there isn't one.

Greg Meach said...

Thanks Jonathan - I checked out the StoreKit docs and you are absolutely correct. There are actually both (server and no-server) methods available to us.

I'm having trouble seeing this as a solution to the rampant pirating that is prevalent today. If I use the no-server method my free app would already have the code for my full (paid) version. Whatever the method I choose to record the purchase and unlock the content is now all that is required of the pirating users. If we were to use the preferences as suggested by the Apple docs then I can already "see" the new jailbreak "yeah there's an app for that". As in to properly alter your applications plist to unlock the full version.

Sorry I'm just not seeing this as the "be all, end all" <- but I'm quite dense :-)

GhostDog Studio said...

Not to mention cut down on the total number of apps submitted. What a reduction in traffic for the whole pipeline from developer to Apple if we can consolidate.

Matthew Frederick said...

It seems to me that unless Apple changes their review policies (in a way that I haven't figured out yet), this is far from the death of "lite" apps.

Reviews of paid apps are now only available to people who bought them, and which tend to skew more favorably both because the user is invested in the app and because someone who paid is more likely the correct target audience.

How will Apple handle reviews now? Seems like it's inappropriate to restrict reviews to those who've made an in-app purchase since there are plenty of apps (like a comic book app with certain free comics while others are paid, etc.) where a review without purchase makes perfect sense.

Until reviews are sorted out, I'm pretty sure we'll continue with lite versions.

Glenn said...

Hi Jeff
Any chance you could do a tutorial on free-to-in-app-purcase ?
I'm a dummy and found the documentation too dense, I always find it easier with code examples.

Michael said...

I thought Apple expected the developer to keep track of in App purchases or is this a different scenario because the user is going from free to paid?

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