While voice app makers accused Apple last week of turning a court settlement into an App Store change that represented a change, the company appears to be making a real, albeit small, concession. Apple says it will let the creators of “reader” apps (Netflix, Spotify and Amazon’s Kindle app) link directly to their customers on their own sign-up site.
In a press release, Apple stated that this measure will close an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), and that it will only apply to these types of “read” applications, a category that was originally designed by Apple to appease companies like Netflix and Hulu.
Currently, apps like Netflix and Spotify on iOS are useless if the user doesn’t have a subscription yet. Both offer only a login page, with no link to the site. The Amazon Kindle app, on the other hand, offers a basic “Create a New Amazon Account” page within the app itself, but doesn’t allow you to buy books there.
There are just as many questions as answers:
– Does Apple still get to define “reader” app by fiat?
– Can apps explicitly mention payment or price or is that muzzled?
– One link – where does it go? Are there rules?https://t.co/KuKgj9dXuW
— Dieter Bohn (@backlon) September 2, 2021
It’s important to note that when Apple rejected the Hey email application, and even after modifying that controversial decision, the company made it very clear that email applications don’t count as “read” applications even if you subscribe outside of the app, the only thing you can do without an account is exclusively sign in.
This means that Apple is offering this exception only to companies that are not contributing any in-app purchase commission to Apple.
Some critics of Apple’s anti-driving rules suggest they would like to advertise within their app that they charge users less on their own website than through Apple’s IAP, given that they wouldn’t have to pay Apple that extra 30 percent, they could just pass along with the economy.
It may take a while to figure out the answers to these questions: Apple says the rule won’t go into effect until early 2022.