The iTunes AppStore has quietly undergone a recent update which now allows iTunes users to purchase apps and send them to other people in a process known as ‘gifting.’
Gifting has been a popular sharing option in the digital download market for some time now, with companies like Steam and Big Fish Games offering similar options for years. It can also prove to be very profitable – Steam’s founder Gabe Newell claims gifting was responsible for a 71% sales increase during the 2008 holiday season. With numbers like that, it was only a matter of time until Apple decided to jump into the game. And why wouldn’t they? The infrastructure was already in place. iTunes shoppers have been able to gift music for some time.
To access this new feature, click on the arrow next to ‘Buy This App,’ and select the ‘Gift This App’ option. This will bring you to a new page where you can specify the recipient, enter a personal message, and choose whether you’d like to email the gift or print out a code for hand delivery.
Gifting will also be region locked, meaning an iTunes user in the UK won’t be able to gift a purchase to an iTunes user in the US. While that may seem like an unnecessary hurdle from a consumer perspective, certain software isn’t available in all regions. By region-locking the gifting feature it guarantees that customers won’t be given gifts that they simply can’t use in their country of residence.