iTunes code suggests a future with app rentals
A self-proclaimed "hacker" and lover of iOS, Sonny Dickson, has uncovered some code in the newest beta version 9 of iTunes 10.5, and that code makes it seem like Apple is about to begin offering app rentals. A more cynical website may claim that this is just another Android feature stolen by Apple, but in reality, it's just another good idea that has made its way to an Apple product through the power of competition. It's not like Google was the first store in history to offer refunds and returns.
The code found makes references to apps being automatically removed from iTunes after a "rental period", as well as apps being completely deleted from a user's computer. Of course, a rental feature may anger developers who make their money on impulse purchases, but it should make customers far happier with the App Store by not being forced to keep apps they don't want, or apps that aren't what they expected. Amazon offers a "try-before-you-buy" feature through the web portal for its Appstore, and the Android Market has a refund/return policy.
We're hoping that the new feature by Apple may help to get Google to bump its return policy back from 15 minutes to 24 hours, because with a term like "rentals" we can't expect Apple's time limit will be as short as 15 minutes. Don't be surprised if this is part of tomorrow's announcement. Keep it tuned in, and we'll let you know.