updated 01:25 pm EDT, Mon September 29, 2008
App Store crackdown
Apple has made important changes to how iTunes users can use the App Store, investigation shows. Whereas visitors were previously able to browse in broad categories, covering free, iPhone- or iPod touch-only apps, users can now only filter by conventional criteria, such as genre. The change could significantly affect the App Store, as free software -- like Last.fm -- has proven to be extremely popular, but may now be more difficult to find.
Visitors can also no longer write a review of an app without having downloaded it, and must sign in to the iTunes Store before writing. The move appears designed to cut down on spurious one- and five-star reviews, whether written as a joke, or in order to boost or harm sales of a particular program. Such reviews do not directly affect the visibility of titles however, as they are normally sorted by name, download volume and/or launch date.