Perhaps Apple has more surprises in store for us tomorrow than we realize.
After playing around with the recently released iTunes 10.5 beta 9 – the same one that references iPhone 4S – Twitter user @SonnyDickson found some data strings which suggest iOS app rentals may be a possibility.
Take a look at the image below:
While this is clearly not enough evidence to determine whether or not app rentals are in our future, the reference to apps being removed from a user’s iTunes library at the end of a rental period is certainly intriguing.
Assuming that an app rental service is in the works, it’d be interesting to see how it’s implemented. Would Apple let users rent apps for a day, as a very brief type of trial run experience? Or, would users be able to rent apps for perhaps weeks on end? The latter seems unlikely given the low-cost of apps to begin with.
Indeed, Apple wants to keep developers happy and the best way to do that is to get users to actually purchase apps. That said, a brief rental period that wets the palette, so to speak, of iOS users might be a shrewd way to increase paid downloads from the iTunes App Store.