Ultimately, I had to ship Instapaper 4.0 with non-renewing subscriptions, I was able to delete all of the clunky auto-renewing server code, nobody sees that terrible dialog in my app, and I need to ship an update soon that will annoy my best customers with manual-renewal notifications.
But this is a great example, like Newsstand Kit’s background downloads, of Apple adding a capability to iOS that’s potentially useful to thousands of developers, and then restricting it so that only a handful of players (usually big companies) can actually use it.
Apple certainly doesn't cater to developers first. This is one of those cases where I assume Apple will one day get it right. Easier to gradually allow developers more power than to take it away. Still, it sure does stink until then, doesn't it?