Apple told iPhone application developers yesterday that they can now sell content through free iPhone applications. Previously any application that offered stuff for sale, such as the comics applications developed by companies like iVerse and comiXology, couldn't be offered for free in iTunes, per Apple's policy.
"Apple makes us charge $0.99 for our app," comiXology CEO David Steinberger told me last week. "We'd give it away if we could, but it's against their rules to give away an app that then ‘up-sells’ users to buying content within the app. That presents us with the challenge of getting people to purchase the app."
With this change, both comiXology and iVerse began offering their applications for free.
"This afternoon Apple dropped a bombshell on developers – Applications with In-App-Purchase can now be FREE," iVerse wrote on their blog yesterday. "This is a phenomenal move on Apple’s part that allows us to finally offer our digital comics store with no entry price. Sure, we’ve been able to offer over 35 free comics (which we will still continue to offer), but to no longer HAVE to charge $0.99 for the App allows us to open the experience up to anyone who wants to give it a try."