updated 08:14 pm EST, Wed January 9, 2013
Prevents swapping out screenshots to confuse buyers
In a policy change, Apple is altering the rules regarding screenshots associated with apps in an effort to prevent copycat devs from submitting a true set of screenshots of their app during the approval process and changing them later to resemble other, more popular apps. The practice can confuse buyers into purchasing an app that appears to be like a top-selling one, only to find out that the online screenshots don't match the actual program.
Effective today, reports AppleInsider, screenshots will be matched by Apple and locked in, preventing any changes until a new version of the program is submitted for approval. A video of a so-called "scam" app is seen below, exemplified by a program called Mooncraft that represents itself as an alternative version of Minecraft in its App Store screenshots but is in fact a simple children's numbers-and-letters block "game." The icon of Mooncraft also copies from Minecraft, highlighting the intentionally deceptive nature of the app.
The change in policy could conceivably add some delay for developers who want to upload new screenshots quickly to go along with an updated app, but should help prevent scam app developers from deliberately confusing customers. Apple has yet to address the problem of stealing icons from popular programs and using them (along with similar-sounding titles) to try and obfuscate scam apps, but the company relies mainly on reports from buyers and other developers to alert it of problems with misrepresented apps.