The Breakroom

A Plus for Us

March 26, 2019

By Sean Heber

A Plus for Us

Yesterday Apple announced they’re stepping into the games industry with a new subscription service called Apple Arcade. While we have dabbled with making games in the past, this news doesn’t currently affect our software business – but it may someday.

Running a successful development company has never been easy, but over the years the rise of mobile and the App Store has seen the difficulty level go from “Hurt me plenty” all the way up to “Nightmare!” Game makers have been hit especially hard and have adapted using endless in-app purchases and addiction mechanics which are neither economical or healthy for the player. Rather than change App Store policies across the board, Apple seems to be experimenting with a whole new sales model for Arcade.

While we don’t yet know much of anything about the business side of Arcade, we can speculate yesterday’s announcement is a peek into a what might be a new way to sell all software on the App Store. What would it mean if your app didn’t have in-app purchases or ads, but instead earned income based on an “attention” or “engagement” metric? We’re curious to see how the games in Apple’s Arcade adapt and how it will affect the larger ecosystem.

Apple Card's circular interest UI

Apple also revealed a new way to spend money and help you understand where it went after it’s gone. We really like the Activity-inspired design of the Apple Card’s interface. It’s a huge step up from every other banking app we’ve ever seen. (We help app designers of all kinds build better interfaces – hire us!)

Besides the interface, we also see Apple’s long history of privacy and security playing a huge role as they launch this ambitious new product. Customer trust is at the center of this effort and we hope it pushes the rest of that industry forward as they discover the values of these features.

Apple’s redesigned TV app looks to be a welcome step in the right direction. We’ve always been fans of television and movies at the Iconfactory – as you can see by exploring all the goodies we’ve created for our backers on Patreon – so we’re anxious to learn more about the new shows. With luck, we’ll end up loving some of them enough to make wallpapers!

Finally, Apple announced News+ which combines their traditional news aggregation with rich magazine content bundled as a subscription. The design looks (mostly) great as does their selection of partners. Hopefully this new service will fare better than Apple’s earlier attempt in this space: Newsstand.

Yesterday’s Apple event showed us they have a very specific vision for the future – both with delivering content and how we pay for it. It seems clear that Apple sees subscriptions as the only way forward, and not just for the software industry, but also publishers, TV, games, and movies. It’s probably safe to assume that all apps and digital media will soon be sold via a subscription model. Things are beginning to move quickly and now is a perfect time to consider how these changes affect all our businesses.