I Pre-Ordered a Can of Worms

I noticed this evening while perusing the App Store — yes, some of us still do that from time-to-time; usually after manually initializing app updates, which is also weird, I know — that Warner Bros. Discovery is featured for the pre-order of their upcoming Max app. Using the pre-order mechanism is a smart move to get more word out ahead of the confusing merger/name-change/whatsit. Although, it’s not clear to me why they don’t instead update the existing HBO Max app to whatever new functionality is needed for Max, swap the app name, and call it a day. Seems like that would be more seamless for customers.

Reading through the App Store story, this bit caught my attention:

How to get it. Pre-order the Max app now to have it download to your device when the app launches May 23. If you already have an HBO Max subscription, it’ll automatically transfer to Max, along with all of your profiles and watch history. No action needed!

I figured it would be table stakes that logging in to the Max app with my HBO Max account would bring along profiles and watch history, but I’m curious about how the subscription transfer will work. I’m subscribed via an in-app subscription to HBO Max, and I wasn’t aware that those subscriptions could be moved or shared between different apps. Is this a special case in which Apple has intervened?

Perhaps it is a standard feature, since I suppose that’s how Microsoft has their Microsoft 365 subscription work between the various Office apps like Word and PowerPoint. And Flexibits allows you to subscribe to Flexibits Premium with an in-app through either Cardhop or Fantastical, unlocking functionality for both apps.

But I still wonder what will happen when I eventually delete the old HBO Max app. Will it offer to cancel the subscription I initiated through it? I know that happens when you delete other apps with an active subscription. Or will it be smart enough to know there’s another app installed that relies on it? And suppose I did cancel the subscription. Will the Max app effectively communicate the problem and provide a resolution itself? Or will I be steered toward Max.com (boy, that must have been an expensive domain!) to subscribe so that Warner Bros. Discovery can avoid Apple’s cut of the in-app purchase?

I have so many questions that I’m giddy about doing some testing on launch day! But the fear of disrupting the flow of entertainment to my household makes a strong counterargument. We’ll see what’s more compelling when it all shakes out come May 23rd.


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