Apple Denies Readability App Over Subscription Rules: What’s Next?

Readability enhances the readability of websites by removing extraneous content like ads, presenting the information in a clean format, and making it accessible on Safari and mobile browsers. Despite its integration into Safari, the Readability app is not available in the App Store due to its subscription model, which costs $5 per month. This fee is not only for the service but also supports the original content creators, with 70% of the fee going back to them.

11.2 Apps that use a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to buy content, functionality, or services will be rejected.

Apple’s decision to reject Readability from the App Store was based on this policy, as detailed in a harsh open letter to Apple by the Readability team.

They argue that their small subscription fees contribute minimally to Apple’s revenue. The broader issue involves how Apple categorizes apps that charge for services, which could include popular platforms like Citrix, Dropbox, and Flickr, as discussed in this TechCrunch article.

These services, which also include Pinboard and Instapaper, could be at risk under Apple’s vague definitions of content-based apps. For instance, Instagram might be safe because it doesn’t require a subscription within the app, unlike GoToMeeting, which is necessary for using Citrix’s apps.

The implications of Apple’s policy could be significant, especially for companies like Citrix, which is part of the SAP ecosystem, highlighted when SAP invested heavily in iPads.

Apple’s control over its store is understandable, but its stringent policies could drive developers away and invite more scrutiny. The situation is further complicated by the ambiguity in Apple’s terms, affecting even the Mac App Store, as the developer of TinyGrab mentioned regarding their app’s absence from the store, further explained in this blog post.

While no one desires the App Store’s failure, Apple’s broad application of its policies could be detrimental. Developers and consumers will navigate these challenges, potentially impacting Apple’s success.

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Jacob is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest and most insightful news about Apple products. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the tech world, Jacob covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest updates on macOS. His articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex topics accessible to all. Whether it’s the Apple Watch, iPad, or MacBook, Jacob’s expertise ensures that TUAW readers are always well-informed.