Last week, the custom, automated subscription change people saw in Disney+ was surrounded by speculation. This week, we’ve had confirmation from Apple via Sarah Perez at TechCrunch:

An Apple spokesperson did not dispute the accuracy of the developers’ claims we presented and said this was part of a pilot test.

That’s excellent news.

A change like this deserves piloting. Even without this feature, there’s enough predatory pricing behaviour on the App Store to last a lifetime. Rolling out auto opt-in for subscription price increases to all developers would be a disaster that would further damage customer opinions on subscription pricing.

That said, it’s also not practical to expect every app to stick to one subscription price forever or lose all of its subscribers if they choose to make a change. What should the rules around these changes be? Don’t ask me! But I’m sure that determining those rules is a major goal of the pilot.

Where could Apple do better with changes like this? Communication. I’ve written about this before, and my opinions haven’t changed much since then. It would be a significant change to open up about pilot programmes and other experiments, but I’d welcome anything that helps stem the cycle of speculation and outrage.

I’m not saying that every internal discussion of a new idea needs an accompanying news post, but it’s probably time to say something by the time a pilot programme is live on the store. I’m also not saying this policy change would be easy. Apple is private-by-default and organisational change is hard.

I’m not teaching anyone at Apple anything by saying any of this. They know how this all works, and it doesn’t take a genius to have the idea to “communicate more”. I am saying that I believe it would be a net positive for third party developers, though.

Dave Verwer  




Business and Marketing


iOS Developer @ MFB Technologies, Inc. – We are a two-year-old startup in legal tech. We pride ourselves on correctness over speed in development. Our iOS app uses SwiftUI and the Composable architecture—modern and clean. No grind: our developers have dedicated time to develop their coding skills and think about architecture. – Remote (within US timezones)

Mobile Full Stack Engineer @ Expensify – Join our passionate team of top-notch engineers to solve a real-world problem, and help people spend less time managing expenses and more time pursuing their real goals. – Remote (Anywhere) with some on-site work (Australia, United Kingdom, or United States in CA, MI, NY, or OR)

Senior iOS Developer @ Chariot Solutions – Chariot Solutions is a Philly based consulting company that strives to create a product company culture. We work hard to win exciting projects with some of the top companies in the world, while helping our employees maintain a great work life balance. – Remote (within US timezones)

Mobile Architect @ Bounteous – We are seeking a Mobile Architect to design and lead the development of our iOS and Android applications. Strong candidates will be able to direct the design of new applications from conception to completion, mentor and manage technical teams, and possess strong client and communication skills. – Remote (within US timezones) or on-site (Canada or United States)

Senior iOS Developer @ Flightradar24 – With over 2 million daily users, Flightradar24 is the world’s most popular flight tracking service. As a member of our small iOS team, you'll work on every part of our app and have a lot of impact. We care about code quality and building the best possible product, and so should you. – Remote (within European timezones)


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