Apple is making changes in the way it is promoting its apps for iOS and Mac. As seen on iTunes and on Mac App Stores, the apps that were previously labeled as "FREE" now feature a download button that reads "GET."
It is possible that the change is brought on because of persistent pressure from the European Commission, which earlier this year compelled Google to relabel its apps that offer in-app purchases.
For EU regions, Google relabeled the Top Free Apps into "Top Apps" and even altered its Top Free Games to "Top Games" in order to comply with the European Commission's guidelines.
According to the commission, games that are labeled as “FREE” might be misleading to consumers, especially with regards to the real costs involved. Moreover, app makers should not directly promote in-app purchases to kids, let alone encourage them to request their parents to pay more for the extra features.
Apparently, Apple has promised the commission that it would be changing its app labels soon, while at the same time, making assurances that it has already put a few protections in place, especially around the company's in-app purchases. Apple has even established a Kids Section on its App Store especially for children below 13 years of age.
The tech giant also stated that in iOS 8, it would be deploying even more features that would further reinforce the protections it has already implemented. In fact, iOS 8 already has an "Ask To Buy" feature, which sends notifications to parents before their kid makes an app or in-app purchase.
Relabeling apps with "GET" buttons may be the smart thing to do for Apple. Regardless of whether or not the apps offer in-app purchases, the “GET” button is a much safer and more accurate description anyway. After all, free or not, you can still obviously get the app.
As for Apple's Top Charts sections, they appear to be unchanged -- one can still see Top Free Apps and Top Paid Apps listed in both iTunes and Mac App Stores.
For some time now, the "freemium" business model has been dominating mobile app stores. It makes up an impressive 92 percent of all revenue on iOS and an incredible 98 percent of revenue on Google Play last year. It is no surprise that more and more developers are going "freemium" -- after all, it gives them freedom to monetize their creations as more extra features are added over time.
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