App Store (Get button)

Apple’s App Store in the United States and elsewhere has changed the “Free” button to “Get”, as first noted by Sebastián Salazar on Twitter. The new “Get” button now appears in the App Store on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, as well as in the App Store section of iTunes for Windows and Mac.

As Salazar noted, the change may be in response to the avalanche of freemium software models that have been dominating mobile application stores for quite some time now.

Cupertino firm has been feeling the heat for quite some time now over so-called freemium downloads — that is, apps the don’t cost a dime to download only to later ask for cash through the In-App Purchase mechanism.

Following government probes and class action lawsuits, Apple did add the In-App Purchase label next to freemium apps offered in the App Store.

While the new “Get” button is obviously meant to help clear up any confusion, the distinction between truly free apps and freemium downloads with In-App Purchases remains as murky as ever because “Get”  applies to both free and freemium apps.

In its defense, Apple is now offering controls to disable In-App Purchases on device and requires you to type in your Apple ID password after 15 minutes of making an In-App Purchase. In addition, the company offers an App Store section titled ‘Learn More About In-App Purchases’ which explains how the system works.

In my opinion, the new button changes the perception that “Free” apps with In-App Purchases are not actually free, but Apple needs to do better than bare minimum in avoiding user confusion.

Some users outside the United States took to Twitter to confirm that the new button is now live in select App Stores outside the United States. For example, the “Gratis” button in the German App Store has been changed to “Laden”.

App Store (Get button, Spain)

In Brazil, the “Grátis” button was updated to “Obter”. In the Danish App Store, the new button reads “Hent”. In the Italian App Store, the button has become “Ottieni”, which Federico Viticci, who hails from Italy, says is “comically awful to read.”

It’s entirely conceivable that Apple has decided to make this change after EU regulatory pressure forced Google to change away from “Free”.

Do you like this change or is this yet another case of “too little, too late”, do you think?

[Sebastián Salazar via Federico Viticci]