Good News For Discovery Apps: Apple Allows Apps To Sell Other Apps Directly In iOS 6

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Apple recently changed its developer guidelines to indicate that it might not be so happy with apps that essentially replicate what the App Store already provides, in terms of providing lists of apps to buy. But another change in iOS 6 pointed out by a developer contact suggests that Apple definitely does want to encourage developers to help it sell mobile software: a new object available developers allows apps to display other items on the App Store, including other apps, for purchase directly.

From the Overview of SKStoreProductView Controller Class Reference, part of the iOS Developer Library:

A SKStoreProductViewController object presents a store that allows the user to purchase other media from the App Store. For example, your app might display the store to allow the user to purchase another app.

At the very least, this means Apple isn’t going to blanket ban apps that promote other apps for sale or download in the App Store. But this capability, which resembles the newly added option of making iTunes music and media available for sale in-app as well, doesn’t negate the fact that Apple seems to also want to ensure that customers aren’t confused about the difference between the App Store and software which essentially presents an app marketplace within the App Store to highlight certain content.

In the end, apps that promote quality App Store content, or link out to other apps from a user’s favorite developer and provide direct purchase access are a smart, organic way to promote App Store growth and help surface good stuff for iOS users. So it makes sense that Apple would make that even easier. But with great power comes great responsibility, which is likely why Apple introduced the guideline I wrote about yesterday alongside this powerful new direct selling ability, which you can bet will be looked at closely by Apple’s App Store submission review team.