New MacBook Pros are here! Get the lowest prices anywhere: Apple Price Guides updated Aug 27th (exclusive coupons)
 


Monday, July 27, 2009, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

Apple again allows promo codes for mature-rated apps

In a move that is sure to please many developers, Apple has decided to again grant promotional codes to mature App Store software rated for ages 17 and up — a distinction that still includes all browser-embedded apps.

While Apple has not officially announced the change, developers who spoke with The Unofficial Apple Weblog said their mature apps are once again entitled to promotional codes. Such codes allow up to 50 free downloads for developers to distribute however they see fit, such as for publicity or promotion.

While some software's mature rating is clear — such as for violent or sexual content — Apple has also decided to rate all apps that come with an embedded Web browser for ages 17 and up. Apple caught the ire of many developers who discovered they were unable to generate promotional codes for their mature apps.

Among those developers was the creator of Instapaper and Tumblr, Marco Arment. Among other issues, he expressed discontent that all Web-capable applications must come with nudity warnings.

With iPhone OS 3.0, Apple added an age rating system for applications. This not only allows parents to set appropriate application access for their families, but also opens up the potential for developers to release applications with adult content.

With a huge number of developers creating software for the App Store, Apple's practices and secrecy in how it rates and approves apps have been the subject of great scrutiny on the Internet. But TUAW sees the promo code concession as a step in the right direction for Apple and the App Store.

"There are still a number of issues with — as well as improvements to — the development process that need to be addressed, however, I believe it is an good sign to see that Apple is indeed listening and willing to make some changes to the process," the report reads. "It may only be one small step in the long road ahead, but I think many of the affected developers will agree that it was a step in the right direction."