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Apple Letting App Store Users Test Drive Apps

Patent Filings Include Diagrams of Existing 3rd Party Apps

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Apple has added a new section to its App Store aimed at letting users try out apps before paying for them. The section is appropriate called "Try Before You Buy".

As Jolie O’Dell at Mashable notes, not all paid apps are available for a free trial period, and it is unclear whether or not this will be the case going forward. Still, it can’t hurt for developers looking to gain more exposure for their paid apps. Many people are leery of paying for apps when there are so many free ones available.

Try Before You BuyIn other iPhone app-related news, an Apple patent filing has raised something of a stir, though it may be for no real good reason. Om Malik points to a patent for "Systems and Methods for Accessing Travel Services Using a Portable Electronic Device".

The filing includes drawings that are identical to existing third-party apps, which has put some developers on edge – as if Apple is trying to patent their apps. However, as a commenter on Malik’s story points out, "After reading the claims, it’s clear that the spinning wheel image stolen from the 3rd party app was not part of the claimed invention at all and was just an illustration. You see this a lot in patents, where a an exemplar device such as a Dell laptop is used in a drawing but is not part of the claims."

The concern might be overblown. Still, as Alexia Tsotsis at TechCrunch points out, developers may be getting the wrong message from such diagram inclusions in patent filings.

Apple Letting App Store Users Test Drive Apps
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