Apple has announced that it will soon let developers reply to reviews on the iPhone, iPad and Mac App Stores. As part of the iOS 10.3 release notes, the company says that by the time iOS 10.3 is available to customers, developers will be able to respond to customer reviews on the App Store.

This is a major breakthrough enhancement as developers have been asking Apple for better ways to interact with customers for a long time.

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Developer feedback will be displayed publicly on the App Store reviews page for all customers to see. This means an unfair review can now be countered by an official explanation from the makers of the applications. Users will be able to report developers who abuse the system.

The feature will debut on both the iOS and Mac App Stores in the next few months. Here’s Apple’s exact wording of the how feature will work:

When iOS 10.3 ships to customers, you will be able to respond to customer reviews on the App Store in a way that is available for all customers to see. (This feature will also be available on the Mac App Store.)
It remains to be seen how the ability for developers to respond directly to customers will work in practice. However, at least in theory, it sounds like a very positive improvement. 
Apple is also streamlining the way that apps ask for reviews and ratings with annoying popup alerts. Today, all developers must implement their own processes and policies.
With iOS 10.3, Apple is adding an API where apps can request to ask for a review but the system ultimately decides if it is appropriate. Apple has not announced plans to enforce usage of the new API though, so it is not mandatory (yet).