Apple News: Bundle those Apps

As an app developer, I was pleasantly surprised by the WWDC announcement of App Bundles. A developer will be able to group together a set of apps and offer them at a special combined price. Think back to the old pre-Office365 days when a consumer might buy Microsoft Office versus buying Word, Excel, and PowerPoint separately, and get a better price by doing so.

There have been third party attempts at bundling, and many have been quite successful.  But those bundles had to be sold outside of the App Store, which meant iOS users couldn't participate, and even Mac OS customers had to explicitly give permission to install an app from a trusted developer, which isn't always a straightforward process.

Now developers can offer such bundles within the Apple ecosystem. Since I already have over 80 apps in the App Store, this is intriguing. I could combine a musical ringtone app with a talking ringtone app and a sound FX app and offer them at a better price than if each were purchased separately.


Ironically, this is the opposite of the music industry scenario that Apple saved us from. If you wanted a song, you had to purchase the whole CD. Steve Jobs convinced the record labels to offer à la carte pricing, and at a standard $0.99 per song, as a way to combat piracy. Now Apple's iTunes is the industry leader in music distribution and they got there by offering individual choice. Still, the bundling of apps is just another option, as users can choose to purchase individual apps instead. And that's ultimately what Apple is offering: choice, for developers and for customers.

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP,, developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone.

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip, but over the years, Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62.

In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.