Content update as in-app purchase

Tag: in-app-purchase , itunesconnect Author: gongtingGT1130919A Date: 2013-03-31

What type of in-app purchase should I use to give user ability to update app content without possibility to look at previous content state(before update) and be cool with apple's in-app guidelines?

My thoughts:

  • consumable - no, because I want restore functionality (provided by Apple)

  • non-consumable - maybe, but Apple claims that "This purchase type is used for services that do not expire." And the old content will expire after update. I don't want to have backlog of out-of-date content

  • some kind of renewable or non-renewable subscription - maybe - but subscription model is not clear enough, and I think that users are affraid of subscriptions

EDIT: Ok, to be clear - the content is dataset. Dataset is some data that was colected form time A to time B. In update I'll provide new dataset that was collected from time B to C, in next one from C to D etc.

Example: Now we have time E. User downloads app. App has got bundled dataset with data from time A to B so it's out of date. User buys an update. Now the dataset in application is replaced by data from time D to E and it's up to date.

Did the 'old' content come with the app, and it is replaced by something better. Or it's something previously purchased that is being replaced by a new purchase?
App starts with some content (it's bundled). By in-app purchase user can download new, up-to-date content. New content repleces old one. Purchased content must be available on all devices linked with user's apple id (restore purchases provided by StoreKit). After purchase user can see only the newest content no matter of previous purchases count. New content package will be available every month or so, but not always.
Your edited question is comparable to an app with mapping data. The user will not expect to have access to old maps when they pay for an upgrade. Simply make it clear what will happen and you will be fine.

Other Answer1

You could offer this as either non-consumable or subscription. Technically, the old data isn't expiring, you're just offering a paid option for upgrading to a superior set of data (and the old data becomes irrelevant).

I would say that you should make it very clear in the description of the product that it is a replacement with a better version, simply so the user knows what to expect.

If you can guarantee that the data will be updated regularly, at a set period, then subscription could be a good choice.

You should also consider how you're making the new purchases available. Shipping the app with a number of IAPs defined (and reviewed by Apple) but which aren't shown till a specified date or till your server says they're available...


Thanks, but in Apple's docs stands that "Users view the items they purchase as theirs to keep and permanent." Does it mean that i must provide funcionality to go back and look at old content that was bought earlier?
Only Apple can truly answer the question (you would need to raise a support ticket). So long as it ins't confusing to the user and they aren't left with less data or functionality then you're fine. Imaging allowing upgrade with sets of colour and all colours. If the user buys a set, but then buys all, it makes no sense to show the user both - just show all. But the user hasn't lost anything they previously had.
I've edited original question