There seems to be some mixed reports circulating the Internet. Either Apple pulled the Financial Times from the App Store, or the Financial Times pulled their app. Either way, the Financial Times is now relying heavily on an HTML 5 edition of their application, and they’re hoping readers will place the web app on their home screens.
It’s no secret that the Financial Times was less than happy about Apple’s in-app subscription policy that forces developers to pay Apple 30 percent of all in-app income. Apple originally put a June 30th deadline in place for legacy applications to update their apps to include the new payment model and comply with the rules. June 30th came and went, and some companies still refused to update their applications. Today the other shoe finally fell for the Financial Times. The current wording of the App Store Review guidelines clearly states in section 11.14 that:
Applications can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app,” provided there is no link to purchase that content elsewhere at a lower price. “Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app.”
It seems that the Financial Times couldn’t live with the terms, and decided to move to an HTML 5 application instead. From a compatibility standpoint, native HTML 5 applications have a huge upside that a native iPhone or iPad app does not: cross-platform compatibility. The same app can be run on any web-standard browser, across any operating system.
There’s no doubt that an HTML 5 application is more useful on a large, platform-agnostic scale, but a question remains: will users actually place the website on their home screens using the built in Safari features? The last time I moved an application to my home screen was before Apple actually gave us an App Store. I’d be willing to bet that very few people outside of the tech community actually know the functionality even exists at this point.