I have not kept up with Apple's policy's since I closed the business. Using both Sean and J. Landman Gay's info, I think that I can make it work! I am excited and relieved.
One method is to offer things for sale outside of things for sale to
the outside world that then unlock content in your app. I have a
client that a made an app for that is free to download, but
functionally crippled without an existing account from them (login
credentials unlock access to certain desirable features).
They sell their service online from their website (using wooCommerce),
then their customers download the free app to enter their account
credentials giving them access to the goodies. This sort of works as a
DRM since the goodies can't be procured or shared outside of the app.
End user is paying for a privilege, but that privilege is really only
available from inside the app.
> From: "Linda Miller, DVM" <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Apple's 30%--anyway around it?
> Message-ID: <[hidden email]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> I used to create apps and ebooks years and years ago for PDAs. The
> only reason that I closed my business was Apple. Let me explain. I
> would contract with authors of books to publish an electronic
> version of their book. This was a new thing back then. I also had a
> website where I sold the apps and eBooks. I would get about 15% of
> the sale of every copy of books that I was publishing for Palm's and
> Pocket PC's.
> Then came the iPhone and Apple's app store. They charged 30% for
> the sale of everything. I was not making that much and I was the
> creator of the apps and the publisher of the eBooks. I could not
> make it with those amounts. There was a way around this that I
> could see for the eBooks.
> SkyScape was a publisher of medical eBooks while mine were for
> veterinarians. They provided a free app. The customer would
> purchase eBooks on SkyScape's website. The customer would install
> the app on their device through Apple's AppStore and then either on
> their computer or their iPhone, they could go to SkyScape.com and
> purchase a book. Within the app, they had instructions for how to
> download their purchase. There was then a registration number
> depending on the device's IMEI(??) number or something that was
> specific to that customer.
> SkyScape did not have to pay Apple the 30%. They were selling the
> eBooks outside of the Apple environment. I could have had a great
> business and it would have continued to this day. I spent a LOT of
> time and money developing a similar app. It was great. It was
> primarily an eBook reader but there were other functions in the app
> as well. It could read .txt, ePub, .pdf, HTML, and maybe others, I
> don't remember. The steps for purchasing, installing and
> registering eBooks was similar to what SkyScape had done.
> No matter how many changes I made, Apple kept refusing the app
> because I was selling the eBooks outside of their AppStore.
> SkyScape's business continues. Mine, I closed. Our businesses were
> not competitors. I even sold a few of their products through my
> website. I would buy a certain number at a discount and sell them at
> the regular price to the customer.
> I never could figure out how to get around whatever it was that made
> Apple not accept my free app on the AppStore and yet a similar
> product they are allowing to this day.
> I need help in figuring this out. I have found LiveCode that I can
> use for development of apps on the different platforms. I don't
> have to learn Xcode again. But, I need to try to decide what to
> start developing.
> Any suggestions?
> If you want to see the process, if I have not explained it well
> enough, download the SkyScape app for Android or iOS to your device
> (I have not done it recently). There should be some free eBooks to
> install either through the app or on their website. This may give
> you an idea.
This is close to what my original app would do and it was turned down by Apple (way back when). However, the app was not crippled. I offered a fair amount of free content and so it worked fine for those eBooks. The free eBooks did not have a "registration" or verification process. It was a free app and they could download and read whatever I provided for free and they could also install documents of their own in the app through iTunes and "document sharing" or whatever it was called in iTunes. Documents like .epub, .pdf, html.
I am hoping that things have changes slightly at Apple then and I will go ahead with my plans.
Thanks everyone. I have some ideas now to work with.
> One method is to offer things for sale outside of things for sale to
> the outside world that then unlock content in your app. I have a
> client that a made an app for that is free to download, but
> functionally crippled without an existing account from them (login
> credentials unlock access to certain desirable features).
> They sell their service online from their website (using wooCommerce),
> then their customers download the free app to enter their account
> credentials giving them access to the goodies. This sort of works as a
> DRM since the goodies can't be procured or shared outside of the app.
> End user is paying for a privilege, but that privilege is really only
> available from inside the app.
> --Andrew Bell