Traditionally mobile apps have been either a fixed price, free with ads, donation based, or available free of charge with no ads. There are a handful of apps that use a subscription model but now Apple is making a move to encourage more developers to make their mobile apps subscription based. But Apple isn’t the only one jumping in on the subscription push. Google is trying to jump in front of the curve by one upping Apple in their developer payout system. Apple’s new subscription model makes the revenue split with developers 85/15 with one caveat: Apple developers have to bring in yearly 12 month subscribers before they can earn the higher payout. Google is making a move to pay their developers 85/15 straight away for subscriptions effectively putting the cash into the developers pocket sooner.
But is the public at large ready for subscription based mobile apps? We already pay monthly fees for things like Netflix, Hulu, Apple Music and other various things, is adding another monthly fee something Joe User is going to embrace? There are advantages to a subscription based method, assuming the developer is good. Developers can offer better maintenance and updates for apps that are subscription based. Selling an app for 99 cents one time doesn’t give the developer a whole lot of incentive to continue supporting that app. Often, once the downloads start to dry up, the app gets left to fly in the wind with updates few and far between.
Making mobile apps subscription based not only gives developers a steady revenue stream but Apple and Google will benefit from this model as well. But could all apps command a subscription based model? There are some apps like icon packs and theme apps that get updated regularly due to changing conditions adding icons and design aspects. But apps that are not updated beyond the next Android version compatibility probably shouldn’t be subscription based. Still, the idea of a subscription for apps isn’t a popular one, arguments on both sides are valid and in the end there will probably be a balance found.
What do you think of paying for mobile apps through a subscription model? Do you see the advantages? What are the disadvantages? Start the conversation below in the comments or hit us up on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.