TUAW's Kelly Guimont has spotted some interesting language in yesterday's iTunes Terms And Conditions update. Here's the text in question:

Certain paid In App Subscriptions may offer a free trial period prior to charging your Account. If you decide you do not want to purchase the In App Subscription, turn off auto-renewal in your Account settings during the free trial period.

Guimont speculates that this could indicate that Apple is preparing to offer developers an easy way to offer time-limited trials of their apps, like game demos. This would be a fantastic change. Developers wouldn't need to support extra lite versions of their titles, non-game apps could finally offer quick peeks at their content, and the rest of us would have a chance to try before we buy.

Now, while it seems at least as likely that this functionality is meant for magazine publishers, the new terms address that specifically:

Certain In App Subscriptions may be designated as “Newsstand” products, in which case they will appear only within the Newsstand application on your device after download.

Sounds like there will be some support for non-Newsstand apps to take advantage of free trial periods, which (intentionally or not) may open the door for other app developers. We'll keep an ear to the ground and let you know if anything comes of this

  • cyberpyrot

    This would be great as long as the time trial is a standard set amount of time or you will get some tool abusing it setting the timer to 24 hours

    • LeeDot

        What's wrong with a 24 hour trial? I can usually tell if an app was
      worth the money or not in less than 30 minutes. Also consider that most
      iphone games (and console games as well) have less than 24 hours worth
      of content so if your trial is too long players could easily blow through the entire game before the trial is up.

      • http://twitter.com/21tigermike Michael A. Robson

        Obviously you don't want people to beat the game in 24 hours. If you can't tell whether you like a game or not in 10 minutes, you have a problem.

  • JPhilipp

    Let's hope they do, the current LITE workaround functionality is just polluting the ecosystem, creating more work for both the developer as well as the player.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FBFCHYXNF54UIGYTLDQAX6XYTE Sam

    I didn't realise people actually read Terms & Conditions!

    The most common lie is 'I have read and accept T&Cs'

    • cyberpyrot

      Reminds me of that south park episode

  • stormchild

    I wouldn't get your hopes up. Sounds like this mostly applies to recurring subscriptions for magazines and such. The only reason it mentions Newsstand separately is that not all book/magazine reading apps are part of Newsstand.

    The problem is the word "subscriptions". I don't see how that could possibly apply to game demos.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MEPFI6SVLNWASPNYKKQ2JR5ARU Arien

    That's exactly what android does. That's the only thing I liked about my Droid more then my iPhone. You could "buy" a app and if you don't like it or decide you don't want it after trying it, you can delete it within 24 hours and not lose any money. This would be amazing for Apple to do. I couldn't tell you how many times I've bought a app that I didn't like.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QCP4WHWLUQHFIOP66SLEA7E5CA Hampus

       24 hours? You sure about that? I've never seen anything else that 15minutes. But yes, that would be a great way to implement demos, developers would have to be able to set their own time limit though, 24 hours would be a bit stupid for some games which could probably be played trough at least once in that time and then returned :p

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7Pn1-980zw TheAndroid1

        It used to be 24 hours, then they changed it.

  • MVMNT

    Subscription based model for apps and their updates

  • Noah

    Not magazine subscriptions, but newspaper subscriptions. Think NYTimes... you can try the app FREE for a week, then you get charged $7.50 a week from there on after.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CHDWKQQ4ITPKHH5D3IH3XXZG7Q Slick

    Until the first one comes out with the setting turned on by default and Apple gets accosted by 50k customers.