The App Store was built on the foundations of its predecessor, the iTunes Store, but some features of the latter didn’t immediately appear in the former. Apple has now filled in another hole in App Store functionality by adding the ability to gift apps.
Previously, if you wanted to give the gift of iPhone applications, you had to buy an iTunes gift certificate, meaning that the receiver of your beneficence might very well go spend that money on any app—or, heaven forbid, music, movie, or TV show—of his or her desiring. But now, if it’s Times Tables you want to give them, it is Times Tables they will get.
In order to gift an app, just click the triangle next to any app’s price and choose Gift This App (naturally, you can’t gift free apps). That’ll get you a form you can fill out with your name and e-mail, the recipient’s name and e-mail, and, if you’d like, a personal message. If you want, you can gift the same app to multiple people by entering several e-mail addresses; you’ll be billed the purchase cost of the app per address. You can either have the gifted app sent by e-mail or print out the gift yourself, for inclusion in a card or letter.
Gifted apps show up in the iTunes Purchase History of the gifter, so if you need to refund them—for example, because you accidentally bought a camera app for your friend’s camera-less iPod touch—you would do so just as with any app you bought for yourself.
In other App Store news, Apple recently launched a Facebook page to showcase the apps available for iPhone, iPod touch, and soon, the iPad.
The page invites Facebook users to become a fan of the App Store page “to get free exclusive offers, share your favourite apps with friends and get hot tips, tutorials, and more”.
Apple is clearly ramping up their online social presence, having had an iTunes Facebook page for some time, creating iTunes accounts on Twitter last October (including Music, Podcasts, Movies and TV Shows), and recently updating iWork.com to support easier public sharing on social networking sites.
The App Store page already has over 30,000 fans worldwide and is featuring some of the latest and greatest apps available. You can sign up and discuss a range of topics including the apps you use daily and what your dream app would entail.