Apple adds ‘Offers In-App Purchases’ warning to the iTunes App Store (updated)
Apple has added a new warning label to apps in the iTunes App Store that contain in-app purchase options. You can now see at a glance if a particular app you are considering buying has in-app purchases. This new feature will hopefully help you make good decisions when buying apps that appear to be free but then later encourage you to upgrade them within the app; sometimes at really high costs.
The new “Offers In-App Purchases” warning is currently only visible within the desktop version of the iTunes App Store; but we would expect that to be rolled out across the iPhone and iPad versions of the store very soon. The new warning coincides with Apple settling a US lawsuit over in-app purchases and numerous other stories around the world of children running up huge bills on their parents credit cards.
The new warning will still not prevent careless parents from allowing their children access to their passwords and running up huge bills but it will give Apple a better legal argument. Also it may be a sign that Apple could offer the ability to filter apps from the App Store that contain in-app purchases; this could be a good option for parents that give their children access to their iTunes password to download free apps.
One thing is for certain, the “Freemium” model where apps are offered for free and then offer upgrades via in-app purchases looks here to stay. Some of the most high profile apps like Real Racing 3 are adopting this model. Rather than selling an app for an upfront cost, a developer can give it away free and then earn much more through paid power ups and features.
I personally really dislike the "Freemium" model and would rather pay upfront for the whole game. I avoid any game that offers in-app purchases but that is my choice. What do you think of the "Freemum" model with in-app purchases?
Update: The warning has now propagated throughout the App Store on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.