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Apple App Store Pre-Ordering For Developers and Customers

Apple Recently announced AppStore pre-ordering. So let’s take a look at what that means to both developers and customers.

Notes for Developers

The pre-order option is only applicable to new apps, you cannot apply it to current apps or updates. It is also not available as an option for apps that have in-app purchases, interestingly this will have many developers possibly rethinking their market approach as in-app purchases are now so common and accepted by customers. You can change the pre-order option and release an application at anytime, this means you can release it ahead of any date that you set in iTunes Connect.

Talking of dates, you have a set range of pre-order release dates from two to ninety days. This is a limit imposed on you by Apple. Also know that at any time you can withdraw the application from the store, however you cannot add it back. This prevents you from extending the pre-order period beyond 90 days. When submitting an application to Apple it must be ‘mostly’ complete, meaning for example that a game must have all the features and levels available for evaluation. You can continue to work on the app, but it must have everything you expect to be in the app at release time. This is important to note as it means you cannot put an idea out and see how many people will be interested before you start work on it. There is a technical requirement to consider.

The service is only available to iOS and tvOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2 or later. Given the rapid adoption of new OS versions, this should not present too much of a limitation for developers. A tip, you may want to consider setting a cheaper pre-order price as a marketing option. Then when released set it to a normal price, just something to think about.

Notes for Customers

The AppStore will display a pre-order button and you will not be charged until the application is released or switched to release status. So this removes any concerns about paying for something that never gets released, this is a smart move by Apple. Also, the price set when you pre-order is what you pay. So if the price changes later on, it will not effect you.

I am curious to see what happens if a price is actually set lower than what you pre-ordered at during the pre-order period. Just like other application purchases, if your device that you pre-ordered on is set to download apps automatically then it will download on release day. If you want to install it on another device, you will have to download it from your library.


Apple Developer Documentation on Pre-Ordering

iTunes Connect Resources and Help

iTunes Connect News Release on Pre-Order Service