These changes have come into effect since December 2015, when some better known indie developers chose to take their apps away from the Mac App Store.
Why this matters
Services are critical to Apple’s future. Sure, the company hopes to continue to create powerful new product families (iMac, iPod, iPhone), and to incrementally improve these, but it also wants to build its recurring income.
The App Store, which has tripled gross revenues in the last three years, is currently Apple’’s biggest earning Services item. It accounts for around $8.6 billion of the $24 billion the services category generated for Apple in FY 2016 (Source: Loup Ventures, Bernstein, et al.).
Apple wants to double its services income by 2021. I think that’s a conservative target. I’m not alone in thinking this: App Annie projects consumers will spend $60 billion at the App Store in FY 2021.
To infinity and beyond
To meet its targets, Apple knows it needs to respond to developer complaints, and that is exactly what it has been doing.
App visibility remains a little opaque, but I predict the company will invest in machine intelligence solutions (bots?) to help customers find the apps they want, while simultaneously enabling developers to find the customers they deserve.
The App Store is critical to Apple – though its recent Workflow acquisition suggests the way we interact will apps will also change, as ambient computing through wearable devices becomes more mainstream.