Apple hikes UK App Store prices

Emma Woollacott

July 14, 2011

Apple has very quietly changed App Store prices outside the US – and while some countries are seeing a cut, UK prices have risen by up to a quarter.

Apps which were previously £0.59 – and which cost $0.99 in the US – are now priced at £0.69. At the top end of the range, apps which cost £399.99 have gone up by £100.

Don’t blame the developers. The way App Store pricing works is that developers pick a pricing tier for their products. Apple then picks a final price, creaming off a third of the money for itself.

The move appears to be linked to shifting exchange rates, and some countries – Japan, Australia and Switzerland, for example – have seen prices fall. Indeed, Australian pricing is down by 16 percent.

Before the adjustment, users in Switzerland were paying more than twice as much as Americans. However, the pricing still isn’t particularly equal internationally, even now.

For example, the minimum £0.69 price in the UK means that users here are paying more than those in the US – $1.11, compared with $0.99 in the US.

Meanwhile, the company’s adding a volume purchasing scheme for businesses – but only in the US.

The App Store celebrates its third birthday this week, and Apple claims more than 15 billion downloads so far. It has well over double the number of apps the Android Market contains, with more than 425,000 on offer. Only 18 percent are paid-for, the remainder being free.

UK users can’t complain a lot – £0.99 apps have stayed at the same price since the store was launched. And Apple doesn’t actually make a great deal of money out of the App Store – about one percent of its revenues, according to analyst Piper Jaffray. What it does get, though, is a big driver for device sales.

However, Android is gaining fast. Indeed, analytics firm Distimo estimates that it’ll overtake the App Store soon. And Android has pursued a policy of encouraging free apps. Indeed, despite its smaller size, the Android Market actually has more than the App Store.


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