In a move unusual mainly because it shows Apple listening to outsiders on iPhone policy, the company has allowed developers to charge for purchases made inside otherwise free applications.

Programmers are now able to follow the business model used on social sites like Facebook and release free software that presents users later on with the option to buy something that makes the experience better or more fun.

App Store more open

Previously, in-app purchases had been allowed only for software that was paid for in the first place. The new move opens a window for developers keen on getting a foothold in the notoriously tough-to-crack App Store.

In the new scenario games makers, for example, could easily release a new title free of charge, but get players opening their wallets to buy virtual gifts or new weapons once they're fully into the game.

Really big deal

Developers are hailing the move as groundbreaking. According to VentureBeat, one CEO explained: "This is one of the most important announcements to come out of Apple on the iPhone platform. This is a really big deal for us. We were hoping this would happen, but we had no idea when."