Apple has quietly tweaked its in-app purchasing rules to make it easier for digital publishers to offer news and magazine subscriptions through the App Store.
Publishers can now offer subscriptions via external sites instead of having to use Apple's own in-app purchasing system, as was previously the case.
The previous system – itself only introduced a few months ago – forced publishers to offer users the option of buying through Apple's in-app purchasing system if they wanted to offer subscriptions at all, guaranteeing Apple 30% of the subscription fee. The rules specified that in-app prices had to be the same or lower than offered outside of the App Store.
Unsurprisingly, the move proved highly unpopular, as it meant publishers had to either write off Apple's 30% from transactions completed through Apple's servers, or increase their prices across the board.
Apple has now backed down, however, and iOS publishers can now set their own prices and no longer requires the in-app purchasing system to be used at all. In return, however, publishers can't link directly to external buying sites.
“Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, such as a 'buy' button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected,” the new rules state.
Via NY Times