Apple has come up with new policy changes in its in-App purchases to prevent users, especially kids from accidentally purchasing virtual goods. Consumers were able to make an infinite amount of purchases without entering a password for 15 minutes after a change was made using a password. Parents were not so happy with this policy and complained that it made easy for their children to encounter huge iTunes charges without fully understanding that they were spending money.
Apple informed The Washington Post that it had altered its newly released iOS 4.3 with a feature that eliminates this 15-minute window and requires a password with every download. This change for sure will avoid unexpected bills and will definitely be a great relief to the parents. But does Apple notice the big question mark? Is it appropriate to market expensive virtual goods within games that are made for young children? For example, spending $4.99 from getting a bucket of smurfberries to $99 for a wagon of the same in the latest iPhone game ‘The smurfs’ is really not necessary.
Kids purchase these without realizing that they are racking up charges on their parent’s credit cards. The kids know they are making purchases but they do not understand that it is “real money” they are dealing with. Apple has turned an ordinary children’s game into a real time business and is taking advantage of it.
In spite of the warning by affected users and disappointed parents, the game is still a hit in Apple gadgets. The revenues from in-app purchases for iPad and iPhone applications doubled in the second half of 2010. Apple takes a 30 percent cut of in-app sales. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said in February that it would review the marketing and delivery practices of such mobile applications