In the Name of Security

Lately we’ve been hearing so much about the whole Apple in-app purchases take ordeal, that it’s become tiring. It has become impossible to have a sane, logical discussion on the topic, too. And I suppose that is what has made this topic that much more exhausting.

Apple takes a 15% cut from the earnings of a business that earns no more than $1 million in a year. This is a relatively recent change, since Apple used to take a 30% cut regardless of the total earnings – now the 30% rate is reserved only for those making north of $1 million.

One of the most bizarre analogies Apple-lovers love to make, is that of rent. By hosting your app and making it available to iOS users, you are essentially renting a place in the App Store, so you must pay your dues. It is a very perplexing argument, but then again, love clouds your judgement. The yearly fee for the Apple Developer Program, which gives you the right to publish apps on the App Store etc., is $99/year.

My landlord does not take a percentage of my income, rather, they charge me a fixed fee for the space I rent. So, if we are to use the rent analogy correctly, the $99 fee you are paying yearly is what counts as rent. To drive the point home, free apps, which arguably have a higher cost infrastructure-wise, pay no fees other than the yearly membership fee.

But let’s just suppose for one moment that Apple’s fees are fair. After all, they are taking care of the payments processing infrastructure, which is no small feat. There’s a hitch, though. You’re not allowed to use other payment processors. This, of course, is in the name of providing a unified experience across all apps. And such a noble reason it is.

And to cap it all, Apple won’t allow sideloading apps on iOS. This is done to further an even more noble cause – it is done in the name of security. To keep all iOS users safe. You can spend more than $1,000 on an iPhone, which you supposedly own, but you’re not allowed to install software you want to. Even your own toy app can’t last more than 7 days on your iPhone, unless you pay $99 to Apple. The line that separates secure apps from insecure apps, apparently is a $99/year subscription.

This leads me to the conclusion that Apple truly cares about security – its financial security, that is. And I say that ironically, because there’s financial security, and then there’s leeching off developers in pursuit of exorbitant gains.