Apple has taken some extra steps to promote new apps in the iOS and Mac App Stores. If you go to the Featured section of the App Store on your iOS device or your Mac, you'll see a few apps marked Editors' Choice, and one marked Free App of the Week.
As you might expect, the apps aren't the same across the board. The iOS App Store has four Editors' Choice apps - two each for iPhone and iPad. The iPhone apps are the newly-released Facebook Camera and Extreme Skater. The Editors' Choice apps for iPad are Sketchbook Ink and Air Mail.In the Mac App Store, the Editors' Choice apps are CoBook and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The Free App of the Week appears to be unique to the iOS App Store. This week's is the ever-addictive Cut the Rope: Experiments.
The addition of an Editors' Choice category is hardly surprising. Apple has advertised certain apps as Staff Picks for years, and setting some up as Editors' Choice apps makes good sense. What's intriguing is the addition of a Free App of the Week. The App Store, after all, is not like your average retail outlet. As you may remember from the great e-book kerfluffle, Apple's App Store and iBookstore operate on an agency model for pricing, rather than a wholesale model. Apple isn't the kind of retailer that can discount products on its (figurative) shelves whenever it wants. Developers set the price of App Store apps, not Apple.
That, of course, raises the question of how Apple can be offering a paid App Store app for free. Presumably some sort of a deal was struck, but the details of such a deal are unclear. Requests for comment to Apple and ZeptoLab (the maker of Cut the Rope: Experiments) have not yet been returned.