This week Apple made a very small, but important tweak to the user rating system on its iTunes app store. It now shows which version of an application the user was running when they wrote the review. This has been applied retroactively, so that reviews written before the change will show which version the users had installed at the time they wrote it.
This is important on two levels, with the first being how transparent user reviews are. No longer do you have to wonder what version a user had installed when they said there was a problem, or broken feature. If you find several reviews chiding a bug that has since been fixed, it may lead you to dismiss them and make a purchase, which could end up bringing in more sales for both Apple and the developer.
It also doubles as a permanent record of application updates, that is assuming the user reviews make mentions of new or updated features. When an application is updated the developer can put out a list of what's been fixed, added, or removed, however Apple does not offer users a way to go back and review a change log. Sites like AppShopper.com have started to build an archive for this very purpose, and with this update this is the closest thing users have received.
In addition to showing you which version users had installed from the mobile version of the App Store, Apple has also built this into the latest version of iTunes. Here, as usual, iTunes users get an extra layer of depth compared to their mobile brethren in being able to sort the reviews by version number. Unfortunately, Apple does not let you skip to a specific version, it simply puts them in order, which forces you to skip through several hundred pages to get to the version you're looking for.
This is a promising sign of further changes coming to App Store reviews, but on the mobile side it's still a long ways off from offering some of the great sorting features iTunes users are able to get on the desktop.