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Sometimes, not having to write about the latest Apple developer news until Friday is a blessing. If an announcement drops early in the week, it gives me a few days to think about how I really feel about it before having to write my opinion down for all eternity. I like it. 👍 Other times, like this week, it means that everything that could be said is already written.

If you’ve been hiding under a rock, or have been too engrossed in your PlayStation 5 this week, here’s the story. Apply (yep, it’s not automatic) to become a member of the Small Business Program, and Apple take 15% of revenue from purchases rather than the 30% that everyone pays today, as long as you make less than $1m/year from your apps. It starts next year, and applies whether you’ve been on the App Store since the start, or are just making your first app.

Of course, if you want to find criticism of anything, the internet rarely lets you down, and predictably it feels like there are as many people criticising this announcement as there are celebrating it. The negativity tends to group into two camps. First, those that think Apple is only doing this because of looming antitrust issues or the Epic lawsuit. Then, the group that is disappointed that it’s not fixing all of the other problems with the App Store in a magical, sweeping overhaul.

My views, as you might expect, are more moderate. There’s nothing to criticise here, and I think this is a great move. I’ve long argued that the 30% cut isn’t the biggest problem in the App Store, and I stand by my views there, but that’s not to say that this change isn’t welcome. It’s a sensible, practical way to make getting a business in the App Store started easier. Even better, for the vast majority of independent developers who will never hit (and may not be aiming for) that $1m figure, it’s a straight-up reduction in fees to a much more pleasant level.

It doesn’t mean that all of the problems with the App Store are fixed, but that’s OK. What it does show is that there is continued effort inside Apple to make changes to this side of the App Store. Remember a few months ago when Apple started taking suggestions about guidelines? There have been many years where it looked like Apple had no intention of changing anything about the review process, or revenue model, and now there’s movement on both fronts (although “making a suggestion“ is a fairly small movement 😅). That’s significant. I still think some of the major problems, especially around big companies avoiding the 30% completely while smaller companies pay, is something that might need a more fundamental rethink. But none of that makes this week’s news any less welcome.

I also like that the 30% revenue split will now be something that developers look forward to. There’s a certain irony to that which I enjoy. 😅

Dave Verwer

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And finally...

First Snapchat, then Instagram, WhatsApp, and this week Twitter. How long before we see this in Xcode? 😱

Yes, this is just a mockup, but it exists for real in Visual Studio Code. 🥰