Apple lets you give the gift of apps

An unannounced new iTunes feature makes it simple to "gift" an app to a friend, family member, or beloved blogger. You can e-mail the gift or print a certificate.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida

All it takes is two clicks to turn any app into a gift item. Rick Broida

Until yesterday, the only way to buy an app for someone other than yourself was to give an iTunes gift card and say, "This is so you can buy Words With Friends." Lame, right?

Now, giving the gift of apps is a whole lot easier. In iTunes, just click the pull-down menu next to an app's Buy button, then click Gift This App.

From there you'll fill out a short form, starting with how you want to deliver your gift: e-mail or printed certificate.

The latter, of course, is just like what you get when buying a generic iTunes gift certificate, except that the code delivers the chosen app, not a monetary credit.

Whatever method you choose, you can include a personal message of up to 500 characters. It's all pretty straightforward, but do read the fine print regarding OS requirements. (Thankfully, if you accidentally buy, say, an iPod Touch owner an app that works only with iPhones, you can request a refund.)

So, what do you think? Is this something you'll use? Or is app gifting a little too personal, like buying someone a piece of art? I'm interested to hear your thoughts in the comments.