App Store rolls out universal purchase support for Mac apps

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
Apple on Monday activated a new App Store feature that allows developers to include macOS versions of their apps as a universal purchase alongside iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS iterations.

Catalyst
Apple SVP Craig Federighi announces Catalyst at WWDC19.


As announced by Apple in a post to the company's developer webpage, the new capability allows customers to buy macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS versions of an app, as well as accompanying in-app purchases, with a single purchase.

Apple urges developers to prepare for universal purchase options by using bundle IDs and creating new app records for associated titles.

The launch of the new feature is in part thanks to Mac Catalyst, Apple's solution to porting iOS apps to Mac. Relatively easy to use, the Xcode feature can technically add macOS compatibility to an iOS app with the push of a button, but the resulting Mac asset will lack platform customization.

First-party Catalyst apps, namely News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos apps, debuted in macOS Catalina and act as a template for developers looking to transform their mobile titles to desktop.

It should be noted that developers are currently unable to pair Mac apps built with Mac Catalyst with an accompanying iOS app using bundle IDs, meaning universal purchases for Catalyst apps are not yet available. That capability will launch with Xcode 11.4.

Apple first announced universal purchase support for macOS and iOS apps in February.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,372member
    I suspect this will be a major rollout feature at the (now virtual) WWDC keynote.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    It's about time.

    This is LONG OVERDUE!!!!

    dysamoria
  • Reply 3 of 5
    There are too many caveats with this feature right now:

    1. you can set only one price (so the iOS version needs to become pricier)
    2. you need to set the same bundle identifier for both apps, developers that already have an iOS and macOS app would probably end to duplicate apps (meaning multiple app reviews for each update) so that old customers continue to get updates.

    For developers a macOS versions means extra effort (even with catalyst which requires macOS Catalina) for coding, documentation, website, support and marketing - this means: the iOS and macOS app for the price of the iOS app may not happen. Many iPhone customers use Windows Desktops - they don't want to spend extra money for an included macOS app.

    From a developers perspective it would have made more sense if Apple would just allow cross platform app bundles.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 4 of 5
    oseameoseame Posts: 71member
    xyzzy-xxx said:
    There are too many caveats with this feature right now:

    1. you can set only one price (so the iOS version needs to become pricier)
    I don't see why that's a problem, if you want the purchase on one platform to unlock the other it only makes sense to have one price since most Mac users can pay the iPhone price and still get the Mac app. If you want different prices surely you should have two different in app purchases? I already have a Mac/iPhone couple of apps which unlock each other via iCloud NSUbiquitousKeyValueStore if the purchase has been made on the other app/device. You could use a solution like that which until now we had to, to offer users a discount on the Mac app for iPhone users and unlock the iPhone app for Mac users if you choose to.
    2. you need to set the same bundle identifier for both apps, developers that already have an iOS and macOS app would probably end to duplicate apps (meaning multiple app reviews for each update) so that old customers continue to get updates.
    This is an annoying issue, I wish they'd figured out a way to make the transition smoother. I made a catalyst app for an existing iOS app in 11.3 and was waiting for 11.4 for this feature to release it but it looks as though I'll have to go back to a version before I added the catalyst app and start from scratch now in order to use universal purchases.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 5 of 5
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,395member
    An excuse for developers to double-dip is now deprecated, but I suspect many will just raise prices overall.

    Can’t wait to see the inevitable anti-Apple bitching & moaning from Audio Damage on the KVR forum...
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