On Wednesday, Apple has started implementing a new strategy in its App Stores where free-to-download apps are now labeled “Get” instead of “Free”. This new policy has been applied to both the desktop App Store and the iOS App Store.
Same as before, paid apps prominently display their costs below the app icon but the former so-called free apps now bear the new label beneath them. The new labeling system has been deployed all throughout the iOS App Store pages including the Main View, the Top Charts and on the apps’ individual pages themselves while the Main View on the desktop App Store is still to be updated (soon).
The Cupertino Firm has not commented on why the sudden change in the wording but some quarters speculate that this move has something to do with the flak that the company previously received regarding the free apps with in-app purchase capability which confused a lot of users especially the children. Many users complained that children downloading these Freemium (free apps with in-app purchase) using their iDevices were “tricked” by Apple into buying premium add-ons to the games or apps using real money via their parents’ credit info.
Last July, Google had been first to implement such a move which further put Apple on the spot by the European Commission to do the same. The Commission said that Apple had not fulfilled its duty to sufficiently address the concern. Apple replied to this by citing the company’s strong parental control, glaring labels for in-app purchases and the App Store’s kid section. In addition to this, the firm also put emphasis on its “Ask to Buy” feature in iOS 8 and that the company will pursue its continued cooperation with EC member states to be more responsive to their concerns.
For its part, Apple has greatly enhanced its App Store to sufficiently advice customers about in-app purchases. Freemium apps with in-app purchase capabilities are clearly labeled and have tags reading “Offers In-App Purchases” declaration all over the pages where these apps are located. As added security, Apple prompts the user to enter a passcode when making a potential in-app purchase, alerts the user that a paid in-app purchase is about to be consummated, and asks permission to proceed via a popup warning. With iOS 8, Apple further strengthened parental control on in-app purchases with its Family Sharing feature.