John Voorhees at MacStories notes that Apple is now letting any developer put their app up for pre-order. The feature was first available for Super Mario Run last year.
Apple’s page on the subject says that the feature’s available for macOS and tvOS apps as well.
There are a lot of benefits of this, not least of which is the ability to generate buzz for an app before it’s out—after all, books, movies, and other media have all used pre-orders to great effect. But one big advantage, to my mind, is discoverability. There’s always a bit of a wait for the App Store’s search indexes to update when an app is released and, certainly as a tech writer, that can be a pain when you’re trying to find and download an app to test out. In theory, you should get your pre-ordered apps downloaded to your devices as soon as they’re available.
Of course, the fun part for developers are analytics. Apple notes:
You can track the performance of your app pre-orders in Sales and Trends, where you’ll find the number of ordered, canceled, and net pre-orders.
I’m sure nobody will find themselves refreshing that obsessively.