May 28, 2022

Apple may be changing the way iOS subscriptions work when it comes to raising prices. Recently, some developers have noticed that the Disney+ streaming service simply notifies users of upcoming price changes and then notifies them automatically. This is different from how subscription price increases are usually handled. In most other cases, the subscriber will be given the option to opt out of the service by agreeing to visit the new, higher price or subscription management page. If the subscriber ignores this warning by not clicking the “Agree” button, the subscription will be automatically canceled on their behalf.

Recently, a developer discovered an inconsistency with Disney+. Max Zeleman, who claimed to have received a notice about the streamer’s price increase, which contained only a large “OK” button, with small print informing users that if they wanted to cancel, they could click a link to view their membership. There was some question as to whether this was the so-called “dark template” which essentially tricked users into agreeing to a price settlement by clicking OK, or whether Disney automatically charged users a new, higher price. “. Not even pressed.

Sileman thought it was the latter because he also had… Receipt Essentially an email from Apple To report Her price will change quickly and she will be subscribed to a higher rate. Although the original letter was in German, hey Translation Saying this: “Your subscription will be available for $8.99 per month from March 19 until canceled.” €8.99 was the new, higher rate.

When the news spread on Twitter, Various Another People reacted that they also noticed similar issues with price increases on their streaming subscriptions.I Instead of signing up and agreeing to a price change as usual, the new system requires them to log out if they don’t want to pay a higher price.

Disney has adjusted pricing for its streaming service over the past year, including a $1 increase for Disney+ announced in March 2021 in the US. The service then went up from $6.99 to $7.99 per month, or $69.99 to $79.99 for users with an annual subscription. Other international markets have seen similar, smaller growth at various times.

While $1 is not a big or worrisome change, the problem is that unscrupulous developers could potentially use such a feature to raise prices significantly without users expressly agreeing to the new fees.

This This change seems to have gone unnoticed mainly because it hasn’t been fully rolled out yet at the moment, and also because users probably don’t notice a small jump or email receipts from Apple.

And still Apple official developer documentation claims that it Not How App Store subscriptions should work. The documentation states that customers must manually agree to the new price via the pricing consent form that automatically appears in the developer’s app, otherwise the subscription will be automatically canceled on the next renewal date.

David BernardiOS developer and now developer champions the launch of subscription management aikatidecided to test this change with the help of a friend to see if the new “auto-opt-in” system is available to all developers. But their tests showed that when the developers raised their subscription prices, users were still prompted to click the button.agree to a new priceAs usual, he told gaming-updates. Another user optionSubscription Management”, which will take them to a screen where they can cancel as usual. (See below).

They did not have the ability to automatically agree to price changes by users.

image credit: Screenshot of the test with the default interface

This turned out to be evidence that Disney+ had entered into an exclusive agreement with Apple to act differently in terms of price increases.

According to Apple’s own documentation, she reached out to Apple to ask why Disney+ has a different system that doesn’t match how in-app purchases work.

An Apple spokesperson did not dispute the veracity of the developers’ claims presented to us, saying that it was part of a pilot test.

“We are testing a new commercial feature that we plan to launch very soon. The pilot project will bring in developers from various app categories, organization sizes, and regions to help test an upcoming improvement that we believe will be beneficial to developers and users, and we’ll provide more details in the coming weeks. .” Representative.

Of course, this raises a number of questions, such as how applications can use this trading feature, which is already in the experimental test group (by raising their prices, perhaps without the knowledge of users), whether recent changes have affected it. This has to do with apps and their ability to include external links, how Apple would control such a feature to make sure it’s not being used by hackers, and more.

Apple declined to share more details from its statement.

This position also corresponds to the special treatment given to some developers. Despite Apple’s claims that the App Store is a level playing field where all developers play by the same rules, history has proven that this is not always the case – a House antitrust subcommittee found that Apple and Amazon had a special agreement. were in talks about the Amazon Prime Video app, or when Apple revealed how some developers were allowed to participate in an event where they could offer in-app video rentals without paying a fee.

Of course, a pilot test is not the same as a behind-the-scenes business deal. But it’s unclear how long these “testers” could raise prices without the threat of automatic cancellation, and how long that test would take before other developers could reap the same benefits.

The news of the pilot comes at a time when Apple’s fee structure is under attack from lawmakers and regulators in global markets. Apple has already cut fees for smaller developers and news apps that agree to participate in Apple News. And it was supposed to allow developers in South Korea and the Netherlands to use third-party payments due to new government requirements. Over time, as more of these laws come into effect, Apple may become worried about losing fees. A new program that no longer automatically cancels subscriptions if users disagree with price changes could help boost App Store revenue by lowering further.

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