When lockdowns started coming into effect around the world in 2020, many of us turned to the internet for work, learning and even socialising.
With this in mind, Apple saw it fit to waive the requirement that app developers who have created apps where people get services (such as a medical consultation) or learn, make use of Apple’s in-app purchase system.
“Last year, to support apps that adapted services from in-person to digital due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we temporarily deferred the requirement to offer paid online group event services (one-to-few and one-to-many realtime services) through in-app purchase in accordance with App Store Review Guideline 3.1.1,” says Apple.
This favour was meant to end on 30th June 2021 but Apple extended this deadline to 31st December 2021.
“As the world continues to recover from the pandemic, we’d like to support the communities that are still providing digital services in place of in-person group events by extending the deadline further to December 31, 2021,” Apple wrote in a developer update this week.
While we’d love to think that Apple has done this out of the goodness of its heart, The Verge points out that the US government is looking into claims that Apple and Google’s app stores are monopolies and this may have spurred the extension.
Whether that is the case, this is still good news for small businesses who need every cent they can get.
Both Apple and Google take a 30 percent cut off of all purchases made through their respective app stores. This fee has long been a point of contention among developers and it came to a head last year when Fortnite developer and publisher Epic Games circumvented the store fronts for in-app purchases.
While we hope Apple continues to allow apps that enable communication and remote services to waive the requirement to use Apple’s mechanisms for in-app purchases, we aren’t holding our breath.