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Apple App Store gets age rating service

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Available on the App StoreApple has bowed to pressure from out-of-pocket parents by adding age ratings to any app on sale in its App Store.

The company has tweaked the App Store UI to add a tile displaying the recommended age rating next to the app's developer credits. The move comes after widespread criticism of the App Store and its payment policy by numerous parental groups.

The groups claim it is currently far too easy for unsupervised children to spend vast amounts of money on iOS devices. Although some might argue that parents who leave their five-year old in charge of their iPad when logged into the App Store have to take some of the blame.

This phenomenon was highlighted earlier this year after eight-year-old Theo Rowland-Fry managed to spend £980 buying virtual donuts while playing a Simpsons game on his dad's iPad.

Similar incidents have been reported across the globe, and on several occasions Apple has conceded defeat refunding the lost cash to the disgruntled parents.

The slew of incidents has also at times led to legal action against Apple. Most recently, the iPhone maker settled a lawsuit brought against it by a group of parents alleging incidents like Rowland-Fry's prove the existing App Store purchasing policy is inadequate.

The settlement saw Apple add a line of text to app download pages outlining whether any free versions featured in-game purchase services.

While age ratings aren't too much of a big deal, the decision to add them shows that Apple is changing its usual stonewall approach to complaints.

In the past the company has simply ignored user criticism, as famously demonstrated when former chief Steve Jobs told angry iPhone 4 users that the reason they couldn't make phone calls was "they were holding it wrong".

Here's hoping Apple keeps showing its nice side.

05 Apr 2013

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