Apple readies App Store's new Kids category ahead of iOS 7 launch

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is calling on developers to submit their iOS applications for inclusion within the App Store's new Kids category, slated to go live in tandem with the company's forthcoming iOS 7 mobile operating system overhaul.

The Kids category, first announced this summer at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, promises parents and children a designated spot for family-friendly, age-appropriate iPhone and iPad applications. "If your app is made specifically for children aged 11 and under, you can now choose an age range for your app on the iTunes Connect website," states an Apple email sent Friday to registered iOS developers, offering them three options: Ages 5 and under, ages 6-8 and ages 9-11. Developers may select one age range for each iOS app.

"Apps approved for the Kids category will still have a primary and secondary category, but will also appear in a new, separate area of the App Store," Apple explains. "To assign the Kids category to an already existing app, submit a new version of your app for review." Apple said the App Store's existing Kids subcategory will be removed when the new designation goes live this fall.

The Kids category signals Apple's latest attempt to make the App Store a safe haven for families. Earlier this year, after agreeing to pay out more than $100 million to settle a class action lawsuit filed by parents whose children purchased virtual goods and enhancements sold inside iPhone and iPad applications without permission, Apple added a line of text to freemium App Store download pages, alerting users when an iOS title supports in-app purchases. From there Apple introduced age-rating notification boxes below each iOS app's developer credits, a move to assuage consumers and watchdog groups calling for greater transparency around the App Store shopping experience.

Last week, Apple also strengthened its App Review Guidelines to implement greater protection of kids 13 and under, accommodating rules established by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which prohibits apps from collecting personal data from children without "verifiable parental consent." iOS apps targeting children must now contain a privacy policy, must not connect advertising to in-app activity or contain links to content outside the app, and must block children from making purchases without verified parental consent.

Apple unveiled iOS 7 in June during WWDC 2013. The revamp signals the elimination of skeuomorphism, the longstanding iOS design aesthetic that leverages real-world images and metaphors like linen-textured backgrounds, wooden bookshelves and spiral-bound notebooks. iOS 7 also heralds the launch of multitasking for all apps, AirDrop wireless file sharing and the iTunes Radio streaming music service. Apple is widely expected to unveil the latest edition of its iPhone at a media event scheduled for Sept. 10.

For more:
- read this 9to5Mac article

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