Starting October 5, when you search for a specific app in the App Store, you may be confronted with ads for another app, Apple said on its website. This is part of Search Ads, a program that has been in beta for a few months but will finally make its way onto your iPhone or iPad.
This gives app developers an easier way to get noticed. By buying an ad spot, developers will have their app appear at the top of the search results whenever someone searches for a similar type of app. This gives app authors direct access to prospective buyers who are looking for the same type of app.
How will you know an ad from a genuine result? Ads will get a callout in a blue badge (see screenshot). You shouldn't worry about getting inundated with a million ads, either. Apple says that ads will only appear if they're relevant to what the user searches for, no matter how much developers pay up.
Apple has been working on cleaning up its App Store, but introducing ads could make the downloading experience a little less seamless for users who have to pick through results to find what they want.
Other big tech companies like Google and Facebook have been integrating advertising with their software for quite a while, so it may not be long until Apple decides to dedicate more effort into advertising to supplement its hardware sales.
Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.