updated 08:34 pm EST, Fri January 25, 2013
Acts as an official endorsement on selected programs
While the design overhaul of the App Store last year was a noticeable change by the company to freshen up the layout, most changes Apple makes are very subtle -- such as the "swipe to advance" app call-outs on the main page (which previously required tapping arrows). Another change is a recent move towards Apple itself adding short editorial comments in the "details" section of selected apps, preceding what is normally company-supplied copy about what the app does, screenshots and the latest changes.
The short blurbs are being quietly rolled out to top-rated and featured apps, reports AppleInsider (via MacRumors). The "App Store Notes" are seen ahead of the screenshots normally placed first in the information about the app. So far the App Store Notes are not available in the desktop version of iTunes or on a selected app's iTunes preview page. Reports indicate that the feature will expand to some degree over time, though it's not clear if it will spread beyond a handful of selected and featured apps.
A typical App Store Note can be found in one of the featured apps for this week, the children's learning program Endless Alphabet. Apple writes: "Learning the ABCs is child's play with this entertaining and educational app. Adorable artwork, colorful creatures, and smooth voice and sound effects enhance an already engaging hands-on experience that makes spelling each and every word an interactive puzzle." The short editorial amounts to an official Apple endorsement of the app, and given the company's history is almost certainly not paid for or influenced by any existing relationships with the creators, as is the case with currently featured apps and "Staff Picks."