ASO news digest for March 2023
Apple expanded App Store pricing upgrades to all purchase types. Google can now machine translate Android apps for free. Read the latest App Store Optimization news from the App Store, Google Play in our March digest.
1. Apple expanded App Store pricing upgrades to all purchase types
2. Apple will require Xcode 14.1 or newer versions for apps on the App Store
3. Apple asked developers to prepare for upcoming beta releases
4. Apple will hold Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5, 2023
5. Apple introduced Apple Pay Later to allow users to make in-app purchases over extended periods
6. Google opened Open Health Stack for developers
7. Google can now machine translate Android apps for free
8. Google may test multi-device app sync on the Play Store
9. Google will not be obligated to host third-party app stores on the Play Store in India
App Store news
Apple expanded App Store pricing upgrades to all purchase types
Apple has expanded the pricing capabilities of the App Store to include more price points and tools to manage pricing across storefronts.
This comprehensive upgrade to pricing capabilities was announced in December 2022, and since March 9 2023, these upgrades and new prices became available for all app and in-app purchase types, including paid apps and one-time in-app purchases:
- Developers can now choose from 900 price points for paid apps and one-time in-app purchases — nearly ten times more than before. These new options also offer increased flexibility, with incremental increases across price ranges.
- Global pricing has been improved to allow for globally equalized prices that adhere to the most common pricing standards in each country or region, resulting in pricing that is more tailored to customers.
- Developers can select a country or region that they are familiar with as the foundation for globally equalized prices for paid apps and one-time in-app purchases across the other 174 storefronts and 43 currencies.
- Apple has added regional options for availability, allowing in-app purchases to be customized by storefront to deliver content and services that cater to each market’s needs.
On May 9, 2023, the App Store’s global equalization tools will update the pricing of existing apps and in-app purchases across all 175 storefronts. This will be done by using a base country or region of your choice, and the prices will be globally equalized based on publicly available exchange rate information.
The pricing will follow the most common conventions in each country or region. You can update your pricing through App Store Connect or the API. Otherwise, Apple will update it for you using your current US price as the basis. You can also manually manage prices on selected storefronts instead of using equalized prices.
Learn more on Apple’s Developer blog.
Apple will require Xcode 14.1 or newer versions for apps on the App Store
From April 25, 2023, developers submitting iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS apps to the App Store must have built them using Xcode 14.1 or a later version. The most recent iteration that includes the newest SDKs for iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and watchOS 9, are available for free on the Mac App Store.
To optimize an app’s functionality, Apple highly recommended utilizing the latest improvements in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and watchOS 9.
Apple recommended developers use the latest personalization features on iOS 16:
- Utilize Live Activities to keep users informed about what’s happening on your app in real-time, directly from the Lock Screen and Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro.
- Implement App Intents to help users accomplish tasks related to your app more efficiently via voice or touch.
- Additionally, make the most out of the latest improvements in MapKit, ARKit, Core ML, and more.
On Apple’s developer blog, you can also read recommendations on using new features on iPadOS 16 and watchOS 9.
Apple asked developers to prepare for upcoming beta releases
Apple announced that developers can now access the beta versions of iOS 16.5, iPadOS 16.5, macOS 13.4, tvOS 16.5, and watchOS 9.5. Apple recommends developers verify the compatibility of apps with these releases to ensure they function correctly. To benefit from the latest SDKs, it is important to build and test with Xcode 14.3.
Developers can review the latest release notes to determine if a known issue from a previous beta release has been fixed or if there is a workaround available. Apple asked developers to share feedback about any issues, as it helps to resolve problems, refine features, and update documentation.
Read more on iOS & iPadOS 16.5 Beta 1 Release Notes.
Apple will hold Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5, 2023
On March 29, Apple announced that the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will take place online from June 5 through June 9, 2023. The opening day will feature a special in-person experience at Apple Park for developers and students. All developers can attend WWDC23 for free and learn about the latest advancements in iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.
This year’s WWDC23 will offer an online program featuring keynote and State of the Union presentations, sessions, one-on-one labs, and opportunities to engage with Apple engineers and other developers. A limited number of developers and students will also have the chance to attend a special in-person event at Apple Park on June 5 to watch the keynote address and State of the Union alongside the online community. You can find more details on how to apply to attend the in-person event on the Apple Developer site and app.
At WWDC23, Apple will offer student developers the chance to showcase their talent through the Swift Student Challenge — one of several programs that aim to inspire coders of all ages. With Swift Playgrounds, an interactive app for iPad and Mac that teaches the Swift programming language in a fun way, students around the world can build an app playground based on a topic of their choosing. The Swift Student Challenge will also be held during the conference, with submissions open until April 19.
Apple introduced Apple Pay Later to allow users to make in-app purchases over extended periods
On WWDC22, Apple announced the Apple Pay Later feature which makes it possible to make any purchase in four installments. This feature is already available in the USA, so users can now divide their payments on your apps. You don’t need to connect any API — as this feature will seamlessly integrate with standard Apple Pay functionality.
Apple Pay Later allows users in the U.S. to split purchases into four payments, spread over six weeks, with no interest or fees. The loans, which can range from $50 to $1,000, can be used for online and in-app purchases made on iPhone and iPad with merchants that accept Apple Pay. Apple Pay Later is available with iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4. To ensure users are in a reasonable financial position, a soft credit check will be conducted during the application process.
Users can apply for a loan within their Wallet with no impact on their credit. They will then be prompted to enter the amount they would like to borrow and agree to the Apple Pay Later terms.
After a user is approved, they will see the Pay Later option when they select Apple Pay at checkout online and in apps on their iPhone and iPad, and can use Apple Pay Later to make a purchase. Once Apple Pay Later is set up, users can also apply for a loan directly in the checkout flow when making a purchase.
Read more on how Apple Pay Later works on Apple’s blog.
Google Play news
Google opened Open Health Stack for developers
Google has announced a new open-source program called Open Health Stack that allows developers to create health-related applications. These tools include an Android SDK and general recommendations for developing health applications.
Google stated that the stack is based on the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards, making it easier for developers to collect information and for healthcare workers to access it. FHIR has been adopted by many large electronic health record (EHR) providers.
Open Health Stack provides developers with access to the Android FHIR SDK to create secure applications that can also work offline; design guidance to help developers simplify data collection; FHIR Analytics for insights into complex data, and FHIR Info Gateway to provide role-based access to data for various stakeholders. The latter two components are available as part of early access, and Google is developing additional features for both.
Google can now machine translate Android apps for free
Google has unveiled a new feature at the Google for Games Summit that offers free machine translations for Android apps. This tool enables developers to launch their apps in seven languages effortlessly.
The technology used for this service is similar to that of Google Translate, which automatically translates in-app text (via XML or CSV files), store listings, and product descriptions into other languages. This initiative helps Android developers save money and time, which traditional translations require.
To take advantage of the new machine translation service, Android developers will need to upload their app’s strings in their primary language and select the target languages they wish to translate into. Google will then automatically translate the text into the selected languages. Once the translation is complete, developers can download the results and incorporate them into their apps.
For now, the service offers free translation for seven languages, including Chinese (Simplified), French (France), German, Indonesian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), and Spanish (Spain). However, Google plans to extend the service to offer more languages in the future.
This feature is not yet available to all developers; interested parties will need to apply to the early access program.
Google may test multi-device app sync on the Play Store
Google is reportedly testing a new feature on the Play Store that would allow users to sync apps across multiple Android devices. According to a tweet by @AssembleDebug, Google is testing an option to sync apps across all your devices, similar to how iOS manages app installs.
The option to sync apps across devices would work similarly to how iOS handles app installs, syncing them across iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. According to reports, the new “Sync apps to devices” section would be located within the “Manage apps and device” sub-menu in the Play Store settings.
Users can then select or deselect devices for app sync. This feature would complement the existing option to install apps from one device to another when linked to a user’s account. The syncing of apps across devices would make it easier for users to switch between phones or tablets on a daily basis and would be especially useful for those with multiple Android devices.
This feature could improve the current option of installing apps on linked devices from a single device within your account. While this capability was previously only available on smartwatches, Android TV devices, and tablets, it has now also been rolled out to smartphones in recent weeks.
Google will not be obligated to host third-party app stores on the Play Store in India
On March 29, Google received some reprieve in the crucial market of India after a tribunal court overturned four out of ten directives in an antitrust case related to the company’s abuse of its dominant position on the Android platform.
The directives that were set aside included the requirement to allow third-party app stores within the Play Store and limiting the uninstallation of pre-installed apps by users. Although the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal upheld the $161 million penalty imposed on Google by the Competition Commission of India, the earlier verdict was not in violation of the principles of natural justice, so the company was given some relief.
Despite Google’s appeal against the order, the company has agreed to make several changes to its business practices, including allowing smartphone vendors in India to license individual apps for pre-installation on their Android-powered devices. Additionally, consumers in India will have the option to change their default search engine and use third-party billing options for app and game purchases on Play Store.
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