Re: Upcoming pricing changes
Thank you all for the support and suggestions.
We will reach out to them once more through the regular App Review channel to try and get this update through and see what happens. We will also reach out to the contacts you suggested. If you have more ideas or suggestions please keep them coming, we really appreciate all your input. I have spoken with Sarah Herrlinger in the past, but that was many years ago, so if someone knows her well enough to make an intro it could go a long way - please let us know at @FlickType.
If and when we switch to a one-off purchase model, we will make sure all current subscriptions remain valid throughout the current billing cycle, be it monthly or yearly. This does assume that Apple will be ok with maintaining the subscription for existing users, but not offering it to new users.
Finally, for anyone curious, here's our latest response to the App Review Team. Be aware that it's a few paragraphs long, and it might not make for the most exciting reading:
Dear App Review Team,
We are writing in response to the most recent rejection of our assistive technology app "FlickType Keyboard", as communicated to us through the Resolution Center. We would like to note that we have previously received a rejection notice relating to the same 3.1.2 guideline. That rejection was eventually reversed after communicating with the review team, and while we don't have the transcripts of the phone calls, we'd like to include one of our previous written responses to provide some more context on the matter for your consideration:
While we understand that not all uses of auto-renewing subscriptions are appropriate, here are a few reasons why we believe our app is utilizing the service in an appropriate way:
- Section 3.1.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines states: "Apps may offer auto-renewing in-app purchase subscriptions, regardless of category on the App Store." It also goes on to state that "you must provide ongoing value to the customer" and that "examples of appropriate subscriptions include: [...], apps that offer consistent, substantive updates;". We hope that our track record on the App Store demonstrates that we are constantly and meaningfully increasing our app's value for our users, existing and new users alike.
- The target audience of this app is extremely small, consisting of iOS users who are completely blind or have severe visual impairments. To make up for the few potential users, products in the assistive technology industry are usually priced dramatically higher than their mainstream counterparts, further limiting the potential number of users and locking the entire industry into a vicious circle. Being able to offer our technology for just $1 a month has allowed a significant number of users to meaningfully improve their daily lives, users who would otherwise have not tried the app had they seen a higher, one-time purchase pricing model.
- A non-renewing monthly subscription, as previously suggested, would put an unnecessary extra burden on users who want to maintain their subscription, and are used to the automatic renewing subscription mechanism from almost every other subscription app. Our assistive app is also not something that is seasonal or only provides value for a short time, but is instead a critical component of their entire device given that a keyboard is used inside most other apps. Additionally, a non-renewing subscription potentially coupled with a one-time purchase option suffers from significantly increased development complexity, as well as the perception of a higher priced product that often prevents people from even proceeding to try something out.
- Drawing from our decade-long experience in assistive technology, we believe that low-priced renewing subscriptions are a vital ingredient for the success and growth of the industry in the future.
Ultimately, we understand that there are, and always will be, edge cases in judging the appropriateness of auto-renewing subscriptions. We are also aware that the App Review process itself is not always perfect and we've happily communicated through the Resolution Center multiple times in the past. We think our current business model serves our users well, and we sincerely hope you reconsider your decision so that we can continue to develop and innovate on the iOS platform for years to come. If your decision on the appropriateness of auto-renewing subscriptions in our case is indeed final, we kindly ask that we are given until our very next submission to implement a change in our business model so that we can have time to determine the right price for a Non-Consumable In-App Purchase, without delaying the release of the latest features to our users in the meantime.
Thank you for your consideration, and we are always happy to provide more information if needed.
Kosta & Ashley Eleftheriou