Back in June, Apple announced watchOS 6 for the Apple Watch complete with its own App Store. W
hile being able to browse, buy and download apps directly from your watch is great, it did lack a standard feature in most app stores these days: in-app purchases.
However, that’s set to change with watchOS 6.2 and if you’re wondering how that works, you’re not alone. RevenueCat, a service that handles in-app purchases and subscriptions so developers can focus on building their apps, dug into Apple’s latest beta builds on Xcode 11.4. In a blog post, RevenueCat shared a first look at in-app purchases on the Apple Watch.
Specifically, RevenueCat used Xcode to dig into the upcoming watchOS and iOS betas and look at the changes in StoreKit, Apple’s framework for in-app purchases and interactions between apps and the App Store. Further, it built out support for the new StoreKit changes in the RevenueCat Purchases SDK and then tested out the flow on watchOS 6.2.
Above, you can see some of the screenshots RevenueCat shared for how in-app purchases work. It noted in the blog post that everything looks very similar to how in-app purchases look on iOS. The other significant observation was that, at least in the sandbox test RevenueCat performed, the Apple Watch required users to enter a password.
Entering your password on the Apple Watch is frustrating, but thankfully it does include the ability to enter the password from your phone. However, taking out your iPhone to enter a password to confirm an in-app purchase on your Apple Watch defeats the purpose of being able to perform in-app purchases on the watch in the first place. Likely when the feature launches, and when users have the watch on their wrist and authenticated, they won’t need to enter passwords.
According to RevenueCat, the ideal solution would be if in-app purchases on the Apple Watch leverage a similar authentication mechanism to Apple Pay on the watch.
Ultimately, adding in-app purchase support to the Apple Watch probably won’t change much for the average user or for the average app. Some heavily-used watch apps may be able to gain extra revenue by convincing users to make a purchase on their watch, but in most cases, it probably won’t change much.
Image credit: RevenueCat
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