Apple has started showing ads in the iOS App Store for US users. Searching for popular terms like "taxi," "calendar," or "to-do list" delivers a banner advert for promoted apps above the search results. The company announced plans for this earlier this year, and a small number of iPhone and iPad users signed up to the iOS 10 beta have already been shown the ads. From this week onwards, though, they're rolling out to regular users, too.
The addition of paid ads are part of Apple's plan to shake up its revenue model for apps. In an interview with The Verge earlier this year, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, said the company wants to be "fair to developers, and fair for indie developers, too." As the App Store becomes ever more crowded, it's become harder for apps to stand out. Paid ads can combat this, and Apple is also helping by purging the App Store of abandoned apps.
Will the paid ads work, though, or will they be gamed in a way that harms users? For example, a screenshot posted by VentureBeat of a search for "pokémon" in the App Store shows an ad for what looks to be a Pokémon knock-off named Catch ém. It's also sitting right above the most likely desired search result, Pokémon Go, suggesting that spammers might just use paid ads to hijack popular search results. Nevertheless, Apple is keen for developers to get involved in this experiment, and is offering $100 in credit to app makers who sign up now.