Yesterday Apple announced the new feature of ‘In App Subscriptions’ – Link
Basically in a nut shell; any service offering an app with any sort of subscription component must now offer it within the app using the new in-app subscription options. Those companies are welcome to offer subscriptions outside of the app as well, but they must also have to option to do it in-app and it must be for the same price (or cheaper) than the out-of-app option. If a subscriber signs up in-app, Apple keeps 30 percent of those revenues. If they sign up outside of the app (still granting them accesses to the app), the company keeps 100 percent of the revenues.
So the media world has been alight with how this will affect Amazon with their Kindle application. If Amazon had to give 30% to Apple they may as well not bother as Amazons margin take would be zero. But how does this affect digital signage SaaS companies I am wondering?
Even if the iOS digital signage player is free, the subscription is generally not (well not if they want to make any money) AND from June the digital signage player will have to offer that subscription through the Apple App Store as well as directly through the vendors website portal, giving Apple a 30% take of the subscription if the user decides to pay for his subscription through the mandatory in app purchasing mechanism. Also Apple make it very clear that the pricing through the Apple App Store MUST NOT be higher than directly through the vendors web site. Of course digital signage is no where on Apples radar for iOS devices and it may take Apple app police a while to get round to a niche market app (Netflix etc will be the first to feel this issue).
At the end of the day it will boil down to this “what is the difference between an app like the Daily connecting to a pay-walled web-service to get some subscription based data, and a digital signage player connecting to a pay-walled web-service to get some subscription based data”? Other than volume and where you are on the ‘radar’ not a lot !!!
We did some training on iOS a while back and now I am glad that we decided to ‘dig ground’ elsewhere in the mobile/tablet ecosystem 😉
UPDATE: Steve Jobs has replied to a question from a developer, saying the terms are for a subscription service not for SaaS companies. This means people like DropBox should be OK, but to me there is still a grey area when it comes to a SaaS digital Signage solution as it involves content. More here