Taking a page from the video game industry, Apple has now opened app pre-orders to all developers on iOS, macOS and tv OS. You might remember last year when Super Mario Run appeared on the App Store weeks before its launch with an option to remind customers when it was available to download. Now any app developer can “build excitement” for their app by publishing the product page for an app anywhere from 2 to 90 days before launch.
Apple shared the news on the iTunes Connect Resources and Help page on Monday, walking developers through the steps they will need to take if they want to opt-in to pre-orders for their apps. It’s a fairly simple process, so expect to see plenty of apps available for pre-order in the coming weeks and months.
There are a few interesting elements to the pre-order process that are worth highlighting. First of all, if you pre-order an app, the app will automatically be downloaded to your phone within 24 hours of its release. Keeping track of any of the thousands of apps that launch every month is a hassle, so this is a great way to set it and forget it.
Apple also says that while developers are free to submit new versions of apps and change pricing and availability, customers will be charged the lower price if they decided to pre-order the app. In other words, if a developer initially charges $1.99 for an app during the pre-order phase, but then updates the price to $2.99 before launch, anyone who pre-ordered the app at $1.99 will only be charged that much when the app becomes available. The same is true if the pre-order price ends up being higher than the launch price — the customer will be charged the lower price.
If you want to see how the new pre-order system will work, head to the Games section of the App Store on iOS 11 right now and you should see a “Pre-Orders” block near the top of the page. Bridge Constructor Portal, Life is Strange, Inside and Gorogoa — four highly-anticipated games — are all currently featured on the list.