Apple has just made an exciting announcement, which is going to help app developers.  Apple has announced that developers can now offer their applications for pre-order via the App Store. This is exciting because now developers can figure out if their apps are going to do well prior to releasing the final version. Apple has allowed this in the past.  Specifically, Super Mario Run was available for pre-order in advance of its release. It was the first app to ever offer a pre-order.  Does this mean anything?  Is it good news for developers?  I think it will be as developers will be able to get their product out there in advance of actually releasing it.  Shop it around so to speak.  Allow it to build up some momentum.

There are parameters though.  Developers can’t set a release date later than 90 days in the future.  They also can’t set a release date sooner than within the next 48 hours.  Pre-orders are only available for new applications and not existing ones.  Apple notes this on their blog:

  1. From the homepage, click My Apps, select the app, and select Pricing and Availability in the left column. You’ll see the Pre-Orders section if your app has never been published on the App Store.
  2. Select Make available for pre-order, choose a date to release your app for download, then click Save in the upper-right corner. The release date must be at least two days in the future, but no more than 90 days in the future. Submit your app for review.
  3. Once your app is approved and you’re ready to make it available for pre-order, return to Pricing and Availability, confirm the date your app will be released for download, and click Release as Pre-Order in the upper-right corner.

app store

Like I said, I think this is going to help gauge how well an app may do.  I think it’s interesting that Nintendo did this because they don’t seem to have a good barometer of what’s happening with their products.  That’s not a slam against Nintendo.  I just struggle to understand how they determine what to release and how many.  You may recall the issue they had with the NES and Super NES.  Nintendo’s popularity increased by bringing these products back.  But they struggled to produce enough units.  It’s like they think they have a good idea, but they’re not sure.  With Nintendo, however, this isn’t really a good strategy.

For a smaller developer, who might not have a lot of apps on the market, this is a really good idea.  Its kind of like Kickstarter for apps.  But without asking for a lot of money.  I say Kickstarter because it uses the idea that you’re buying into something.  Even if its just a pre-sale.  How exactly?  Pre-sale orders demonstrate interest.  Even if it’s just to say that you want to buy the app/game when it comes out.  How is it different than Kickstarter?  Well, the idea has already been developed – as has the app itself.  All that is left to do is to release the app.  Hopefully, this is helpful for developers.  I think it’s a good move on Apple’s part, and as always, this kind of thing makes me happy.