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Bug causing App Store to include wrong apps in Kids categories

10/01, 11:26am

Apparently tied to iOS 8

A bug involving the iOS App Store is causing it to display inappropriate apps under the various Kids categories, according to complaints. Browsing those categories' Top Charts sections, users can currently spot many apps that would normally fall under the All Categories umbrella. This includes obvious mistakes, such as gambling and dating apps.

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Forums: Yosemite coming soon, contract confusion and more

09/30, 3:29pm

Yosemite coming soon, contract confusion and more

With the release of the golden master candidate of Yosemite to developers, there has been renewed interest in the MacNN forums about when this next update will be out of beta and in the App store for everyone. Forum Regular "webraider" was attempting to purchase a contract free factory unlocked iPhone 6, but has run unto some problems and wonders if anyone has an answer.

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Apple pulls Launcher from App Store for 'misuse' of iOS 8 widgets

09/29, 10:28am

Allowed users to create app, task shortcuts

Apple has removed an app called Launcher from the App Store, citing "misuse" of iOS 8 Notification Center widgets, says developer Cromulent Labs. The app lets users create create shortcuts for various tasks, such as calling a specific person via phone or FaceTime, navigating to a location, or simply opening an app. These shortcuts then appear in a widget.

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HealthKit apps begin appearing on App Store

09/26, 11:12am

iOS 8.0.2 finally paves way

Following the release of iOS 8.0.2, HealthKit-enabled apps are beginning to reach the App Store. One of the first is noted to be FitPort, a dashboard that serves as an alternative to iOS 8's own Health app. HealthKit was supposed to premiere alongside iOS 8.0, but Apple briefly delayed it citing bugs.

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Official Apple stats put iOS 8 adoption at 46 percent of devices

09/23, 9:45am

Figure significantly higher than unofficial tracking

New data from Apple -- based on Sunday traffic at the App Store -- indicates that iOS 8 adoption is actually up to 46 percent of iOS devices, despite lower numbers tracked by third-party firms. Apple's figures put iOS 7 at 49 percent, and iOS 6 or earlier at 5 percent. iOS 8 became available for compatible devices on September 17th, and is pre-installed on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which launched Friday.

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App Store introduces app bundles, sales as part of iOS 8 rollout

09/18, 6:08pm

Users can pick up unowned remainder of bundled apps at savings

As part of the iOS App Store updated for iOS 8, Apple is now offering grouped "bundles" of applications at discounted prices, and a new ability to "Complete My Bundle" for those who already own some of the apps featured in the bundle. The bundles, usually grouped by developer at present, offer related apps shown in an "iOS folder" icon, and download together into a folder automatically when purchased. Users who already own one or more of the apps see the price discounted to reflect that.

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Apple acknowledges HealthKit bug, promises fix

09/17, 5:03pm

Compatible titles should return to App Store by end of September

Apple has confirmed the existence of a bug in HealthKit that resulted in the removal of related apps from the App Store. In an email to the Financial Times' Tim Bradshaw, the company states that it has "discovered a bug that prevents us from making HealthKit apps available on iOS 8 today. We're working quickly to have the bug fixed in a software update, and have HealthKit apps available by the end of the month."

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HealthKit problem prompting Apple to pull some third-party apps

09/17, 1:04pm

'No ETA' for fix

An unspecified, last-minute problem with HealthKit is prompting Apple to pull some compatible apps from the App Store, developers say. The developer of Carrot Fit, Brian Mueller, says that he received a phone call from Apple explaining the situation, and noting that nothing is wrong with his app. "Sounds like HealthKit won't be working at all this week. And there's no ETA for when a bug fix will go live," he adds on Twitter.

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Swift programming language reaches GM status for iOS

09/10, 9:07am

OS X GM only coming with Yosemite

The Swift programming language has attained gold master status for iOS, Apple has announced. "You can now submit your apps that use Swift to the App Store. Whether your app uses Swift for a small feature or a complete application, now is the time to share your app with the world. It's your turn to excite everyone with your new creations," the company adds.

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Apple online stores again down for some users for second time [U]

09/04, 7:56pm

App and Media stores, iTunes Match and Radio unavailable to some users

[Update: problems resolved as of approximately 7:45PM ET] For the second time in as many days, Apple's online stores are unavailable for an undetermined percentage of users. The current outage, which began around 4:30PM ET and is ongoing, is affecting the both the iOS and Mac App Stores, the iBookstore, and a variety of iTunes services such as iTunes Match, iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Radio and the iTunes Store. Other iCloud services, such as Siri, email, FaceTime and syncing services are not affected.

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Apple sets out rules for HealthKit, HomeKit, other new iOS 8 tech

09/03, 10:44am

Health data not allowed on iCloud

Apple has updated its App Store Review Guidelines to define rules on how several new iOS 8 technologies can be used. With HealthKit, for example, developers are not only prevented from selling data to advertisers and brokers, but blocked from storing that information in iCloud. Apps using HomeKit are barred from collecting data for advertising or data mining, and must state in marketing that their primary purpose is home automation.

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Five-hour iTunes Stores downtime fixed, no explanation provided

09/03, 12:37am

Customers of iTunes Music, App Store, Mac App Store and iBookstore affected

Apple's non-Apple Store commerce sites suffered some major downtime on Tuesday, with the App Store, iBookstore, Mac App Store and iTunes Music Store being inaccessible for nearly five and a half hours for some (but not all) users, from approximately 6:30PM to midnight Eastern time. During the outage, users were in some cases able to load the product pages of the sites, but unable to do anything else, while some others reported normal operations.

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Briefly: PayPal's 25 percent off UK iTunes cards, DJ Player updated

08/27, 12:56pm

PayPal offering discounted UK iTunes cards at 25 percent off

PayPal is currently offering digital iTunes cards at 25 percent off for UK customers. Users can purchase iTunes codes to redeem for music, films, TV programs, games, apps and more from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store and the App Store. Content purchased can be accessed on iOS devices and Mac or PC computers. The discount offer is available until tonight at 11:59 BST.

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Brazilian judge orders deletion of Secret app from mobile devices

08/20, 7:30am

Apple, Google, Microsoft required to delete Secret from customer phones or face fines

A Brazilian judge has ordered Apple, Google, and Microsoft to remove Secret, an app used for anonymously sharing information with others, from citizen's phones. The unusual ruling requires both Apple and Google to delist Secret from the App Store and Google Play, with Microsoft ordered to do the same for the Windows Phone-equivalent Cryptic, as well as deleting it remotely from mobile devices in the country.

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Apple UK giving out five free magazine issues a day via Newsstand

08/18, 3:30pm

Focuses attention on seldom-promoted service

To promote the App Store's Newsstand section, Apple UK is now giving away five free magazine issues a day through August 22. Shoppers are limited to issues selected by Apple, however. The promotion involves single, but complete, issues of the magazines in question, in hopes of sparking subscriptions or generating more interest in e-magazines generally. The first day's group includes NME, The Economist, Focus, T3, and Glamour.

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Apple promotes Beats Music as best 'new' app, Apple-made

08/15, 4:19pm

Music service works its way into Apple ecosystem

Beats Music is now being promoted as one of the "Best New Apps" in the App Store, even though the title has actually been available since January and was last updated July 28th. It is also included in the Apps Made by Apple section linked at the bottom of the App Store. Earlier this week, Apple began highlighting Beats Music in the list of apps recommended to new iOS users.

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Briefly: Valiant Hearts: The Great War for iOS, Peel's iPhone update

08/12, 4:25pm

Puzzle-adventure game Valiant Hearts: The Great War launches for iOS September 4th

Ubisoft has announced today that Valiant Hearts: The Great War will release on September 4 for iOS devices. Set during World War I, the puzzle-adventure game features characters whose narratives are interlinked. Players aim to survive the trenches alongside their canine companions. The new mobile version introduces intuitive touch controls that accommodate the format of mobile devices. Upon release, the game will be available through the App Store.

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Apple runs 'limited-time' sale on 20 iOS productivity apps

08/08, 10:14am

Clear, Notability, Fantastical 2 among notable entries

On the iOS App Store, Apple is now running a "limited-time" sale on 20 productivity apps. Most of the titles are well-established, such as Realmac's Clear, Ginger Labs' Notability, and Flexibits' Fantastical 2. Some lesser-known examples include Andreas Karlsson's Tydlig and Ten Touch's Grafio.

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App Store hit record revenue in July, Apple says

08/05, 3:06pm

Also claims record number of customers

The App Store witnessed record revenue figures in July, Apple tells business network CNBC. The platform is also said to have achieved a record number of people making transactions. Apple has not, however, provided any specific figures, something it usually reserves for press events, major milestones, and/or quarterly results calls.

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Bitcoin app Blockchain allowed to return to App Store

07/28, 4:46pm

Part of sea change in Apple policies

A Bitcoin trading app, Blockchain, has been allowed to return to the iOS App Store, reports note. The title was one of several removed from the App Store early this year during an Apple crackdown. The company's policy is normally to prohibit apps allowing activities which may be illegal in some countries. Although Bitcoin has become increasingly accepted, it still sits in a legal limbo in many regions.

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Network glitches hit iCloud Mail, iTunes, App Store services [u]

07/24, 4:45pm

iTunes and App Store difficulties already resolved

[Updated with spreading service issues] Apple online services have been affected by a pair of problems on Thursday, the company's system status page indicates. Still ongoing is a glitch with iCloud Mail, resulting in "slower than normal response" for some users. Trouble appears to have begun shortly after 2PM Eastern.

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Apple Q3 breakdown shows biggest growth in China

07/22, 5:17pm

iPod continues terminal decline

In addition to its official announcement, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown of its fiscal Q3 results. "Greater China" -- including Taiwan and Hong Kong -- continued to lead the charge regionally, with its revenue increasing 28 percent year-over-year to $5.935 billion. Europe and Asia-Pacific each advanced 6 percent, to $8.091 billion and $2.161 billion, respectively. Apple's most important market, the Americas, rose 1 percent to $14.577 billion. Global retail numbers were up 1 percent to $4.104 billion.

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EU: Apple failing to make 'true cost of apps' clear on App Store [U]

07/18, 6:34pm

Company yet to offer commitment, details for required changes

[Updated with Apple rebuttal] Despite both Apple and Google being asked to take measures to make the "true cost of apps" clearer before they're downloaded from an app store, Apple is providing "no firm commitment and no timing" for action, according to a statement from the European Commission. At issue are so-called "free-to-play" or "freemium" apps, which are technically free to use, but often require in-app purchases to make real use of them. Some games, in particular, have exploited lax authorization measures around those purchases to lure children into buying dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars' worth of digital content without their parents' consent.

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NFB asks for Apple to set disability standards for App Store titles

07/09, 3:48pm

Some major third-party apps failing to accommodate blind

The National Federation of the Blind will soon start a campaign to get Apple to factor in accessibility when it approves App Store titles, according to Reuters. The organization approved a resolution for the campaign at a convention held last week in Orlando, Florida. While there are no plans to repeat a 2008 lawsuit which targeted iTunes' accessibility, some NFB members -- including California board member Michael Hingson -- have suggested that one might be necessary to get Apple to change its practices.

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Korean government asks Apple, Google to change app store policies

07/07, 9:30am

Companies ordered to make changes to refund systems

South Korea's Fair Trade Commission has ordered Apple and Google to change their app store policies, according to the Korea Herald. Apple will have to change its default no-refund policy, and send out notifications to App Store users whenever it changes contract terms; Google will have to devise a refund scheme for Google Play that can be tailored to developers' individual policies. The two companies may also have to address other "unfair provisions," though the FTC's announcement doesn't specify what those might be.

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Apple adds 'Best New Updates' category for iOS App Store games

06/27, 2:27am

Adds clarity to 'Best New Games' section, showcases recently-refreshed titles

Readers have reported that Apple is continuing to tweak the app-discovery experience in the iOS App Store, and on Thursday added a new "Best New Updates" section for iOS games, drawing user attention to recently-refreshed titles separate of the existing "Best New Games" section, which would sometimes contain updated rather than genuinely new titles. The move should benefit games that fall into both categories by clarifying updated versus all-new titles.

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Apple reverses course on apps using incentivized ads, sharing

06/24, 4:05pm

Apps still being rejected for pushing reviews, ratings, downloads

Apple is backtracking somewhat on an App Store policy that blocked apps "incentivizing" elements like video ads or social sharing, say sources in the video ad industry. Rejections have reportedly shrunk, and in some cases previously-removed apps have been allowed to return. Incentivizing ad views is now permitted again, as is asking users to post about an app on social networks.

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Report: Facebook to officially launch Slingshot photo app on Tuesday

06/16, 11:20pm

Botched early leak revealed features of Snapchat competitor

The official launch of Facebook's Snapchat competitor, called Slingshot, will likely happen on Tuesday, according to reports. The ephemeral messaging app, which offers users the ability to send a photo or short video with annotation features that are depending on the recipient acknowledging that they want the incoming message. The application was accidentally released and subsequently removed from the App Store a week ago.

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Bitcoin trading apps reappear in App Store following policy change

06/16, 5:48am

Coin Pocket is first App Store Bitcoin wallet after Apple altered App Store rules

Bitcoin apps taking advantage of Apple's recent rule changes concerning virtual currencies have started to appear in the App Store. Coin Pocket, a bitcoin wallet similar to others previously pulled by Apple before the company changed its policy, can be used to send and receive the currency, includes a "private key sweep" for quicker transfers, and adds a currency conversion checker.

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Fake reviews being scrubbed from App Store

06/13, 3:27pm

New evidence backs suspicions of Apple intervention

Apple is actively deleting reviews from the App Store that it believes to be fake, sources say. Less moral developers are believed to pay for positive reviews, sometimes in bulk, in order to push an app higher in the App Store's charts and thus pick up more sales. Apple has allegedly been cracking down on fake ratings for a period of time, but until now evidence was relatively scarce.

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App Store, iTunes Store, and Apple TV functions down for some users

06/12, 3:39pm

Some apps not propagating

A number of users are reporting problems accessing functions in various Apple online services, including the App Store, the iTunes Store, and the Apple TV. People with an Apple TV, for example, may be unable to load the Movies or TV Shows apps, although other apps like iTunes Radio and Netflix are still up. At the iOS App Store, some titles -- such as Facebook Messenger or Skype 5.0 -- are apparently missing or otherwise not propagating correctly.

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Apple expands human curation of European App Stores

06/12, 12:55pm

Music, Productivity among categories with recommendations

Bringing them in line with the US, Apple is now curating more categories in European localizations of the iOS App Store, according to The Guardian. Until recently only Games, Kids, Education, Food, and Newsstand were curated, highlighting app recommendations and themes. Today the Productivity, Photo & Video, Sport, Music, Lifestyle, Health and Travel categories have been given the same treatment. Previously they simply presented new and popular apps selected by algorithm.

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Apple cracks down on music downloaders, skews search results

06/10, 9:30am

Developers asked to remove downloading functions

Apple appears to be targeting music downloading apps for removal at the iOS App Store, and is moreover skewing related search results, accounts say. Some developers say they are being asked to remove audio download functions from their titles. When searching for the term "music download" at the App Store, the first result is now an ad for iTunes Radio, and the next highest ones are for primarily streaming-based apps, such as Spotify (which does however allow temporary offline listening).

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Redesigned iTunes Connect coming later in 2014

06/03, 4:04pm

Adds analytics, more app info

A redesigned iTunes Connect portal will be made available to developers and content holders later in 2014, Apple revealed yesterday during its Platforms State of the Union presentation, which is now available in video format via the WWDC website and app. Visually the new interface takes after iCloud.com. Feature-wise however it's receiving several important upgrades, including more data for app developers, and an analytics component that will let people track figures like whether people are remaining active users of software. Apple notes that people won't have to download anything to get the iTunes Connect update.

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App Store changes pave way for Bitcoin, other digital currencies

06/03, 9:33am

New rules simply require compliance with local laws

Apple has quietly changed rules at the App Store to allow for digital currency transactions to take place within apps, Reuters notes. The rules now state that apps "may facilitate transmission of approved virtual currencies provided that they do so in compliance with all state and federal laws for the territories in which the app functions." Apple hasn't identified which currencies it will allow.

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Future App Store updates include app bundles, beta testing

06/02, 3:13pm

TestFlight beta testing app incorporated as part of App Store changes

Apple revealed a number of changes to the App Store at the WWDC keynote, with a few major additions aimed at developers and publishers. Apps can now be grouped into bundles, allowing for apps under the same brand or genre to be sold together at a discount, while TestFlight, a separate app until Apple bought out developer Burstly that has now been incorporated into the App store, will allow developers to pass their apps to potential users for beta testing at no charge to either party.

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iOS App Store's Top Charts get sliced in half to 150 spots

05/28, 3:41pm

May impact smaller developers

Apple has made a silent change to the iOS App Store and reduced the number of positions in the Top Paid, Free, and Grossing charts from 300 to 150, reports note. Although there's no official explanation, the tweak is presumably part of an attempt to clean up the App Store and improve rankings. Apple has periodically made such efforts since the App Store was introduced in 2008.

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App Store taking over as main driver of iTunes sales

05/28, 1:20pm

Users spending less money on music

Apple's revenues from iTunes music sales are continuing to shrink, but these will soon be fully compensated for by sales at the App Store, says Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty. In the last quarter, people with iTunes accounts spent an average of just $3.29 on music, a drop of 24 percent year-over-year. Based on estimates though, it's predicted that by the end of 2014 App Store sales should not only replace lost revenue but surpass it.

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Italy investigates Apple, Google, others over 'free-to-play' games

05/21, 9:52am

Apps allowed to be marketed as 'free' despite costing money for progress

The Italian Antitrust and Competition Authority has launched an investigation into Amazon, Apple, Gameloft, and Google over complaints that the corporations are misleading people in the way they market "free-to-play" games. A number of mobile games -- including many targeted at children -- are nominally free, but in reality require in-app purchases of digital items, currency, levels, or features in order to make progress. Figures from the European Commission suggest that 80 percent of app revenues now stem from in-app transactions.

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App Store developers get promo codes for in-app purchases

05/15, 4:41pm

Opens up range of new giveaways

App Store developers can now assign promo codes for in-app purchases, not just the apps themselves, according to anecdotes. An active example is Real Racing 3, for which EA is giving away 10 in-game gold pieces that would normally cost $2. For people who don't already have the game installed, entering the promo code will start downloading it automatically.

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Facebook removes Snapchat rival Poke, Camera apps from app store

05/11, 3:20pm

App removal comes as company looks to future Creative Labs offerings

Facebook has pulled its Poke and Camera apps from the iOS app store, bringing an end to the apps which were launched as direct competitors to popular mobile apps such as Snapchat and Instagram. The Verge reports on the discovery of the app removals on Friday, stating that the removals come two years after the launch of the apps.

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App Store gains new monthly 'Best Of' section

05/02, 9:31am

Gathers together editorial picks

A new section, "Best of April," has appeared at the iOS App Store, users note. The section gathers together picks by Apple's editorial staff during last month, including 25 games and 24 general apps. One game and one non-gaming app have been selected as top picks in separate iPhone and iPad categories. The top iPhone apps are Leo's Fortune and NYT Now. The iPad picks, meanwhile, are Hearthstone and Comedy Central.

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Apple, Google offering game developers incentives for mobile

04/21, 10:53am

Platforms now in more equal competition

Apple and Google are each offering game developers special incentives to prefer their app store over their rival's, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. The prime example given is EA's Plants vs. Zombies 2, which Apple promised to advertise prominently at the App Store. In return, EA was expected to keep the game an iOS exclusive for two months, which pushed the Android release into October. Another developer, ZeptoLab, agreed to three-month App Store exclusivity for Cut the Rope 2 in order to get better advertising. Asphalt creator Gameloft says it was offered exclusivity, but decided that a simultaneous iOS/Android release made more financial sense.

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Apple hikes App Store prices in Australia, India, Turkey, other areas

03/31, 2:42pm

Prices dip in Israel, New Zealand

Apple is raising iOS and Mac App Store prices in several countries, according to an email memo sent to developers. The hikes will impact Australia, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and South Africa. Apple blames the change on fluctuations in exchange rates, which the company adjusts for on a regular basis.

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Apple taking 30 percent cut from in-app Office 365 subscriptions

03/28, 10:21am

Microsoft sacrifices profits to reach iPad users

Apple is claiming a 30 percent cut of Office 365 subscriptions bought through Microsoft's Office for iPad, as usual at the App Store, an Apple spokesperson confirms. Although people can sign up for Office 365 outside of the iPad apps, a $100 in-app purchase provides a one-year plan. That suggests that Microsoft is sacrificing a significant amount of revenue to one of its rivals in order to attract iPad users.

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Study: Apps with TV commercials do better in App Store rankings

03/26, 7:44pm

Exposure cannot overcome Flappy Bird phenomenon, but it helps

A new study by mobile analytics firm App Annie has quantified the idea that app developers can increase their products' visibility in the App Store and gain players through the use of TV commercials -- particularly for top-quality "freemium" titles. While the practice of developers creating their own TV ads is common in some countries like Japan, it is a fairly new phenomenon in the North America. The App Annie study showed a correlation between TV exposure and a gain in App Store rankings.

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Briefly: App Store 'related' testing, 'Your Verse' gains new stanza

03/25, 2:18am

Apple briefly caught testing 'related' suggestions on App Store searches

On Monday, various users reported seeing a new feature during their visits to the iOS App Store -- a "related" keywords feature not previously present, seen when searching for apps. The test only appeared on devices running iOS 7, possibly limited to iOS 7.1 and OS X only, and quickly reverted to normal. The company already offers "related" suggestions, but only with a specific "app card," rather than while a search is still in progress. The feature is thought to be another example of Chomp integration, a company Apple bought in 2012.

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Briefly: Civilization V updated for Mac Pro, Tweetbot for Mac 1.5

03/21, 2:52pm

Civilization V adds support for the new Mac Pro, 4K resolution

Aspyr has released a new update for Civilization V, aimed at improving its performance on the newest Mac Pro. Allowing for 4K resolutions on supporting monitors while running into fewer crashes, Mac games that use the Mac Pro will now be able to take advantage of the machine's second video card. The updated game will automatically download and install for Steam users, and Mac app-version users can grab the update from the App Store. Civilization V and all of its DLC and expansions are currently 50 percent off, until March 27.

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Apple launches Indie Game Showcase section on App Store

03/21, 9:41am

Promotes small developers and their favorite apps

Apple has launched a new section at the App Store, the Indie Game Showcase. As the name implies, the section concentrates on a specific title -- currently Simogo's Device 6, which was a runner-up for Apple's 2013 Game of the Year award. It also highlights other games by the same developer though, and titles that the development team enjoys.

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Update: Apple pulls malware-ridden fake 'Tor Browser'

03/20, 9:22pm

Media attention succeeds where developer reports failed

Thanks to media attention, Apple has now pulled an adware- and malware-laced fake "Tor browser" app from the App Store, months after it was first reported to be a fraud. The Tor project team has repeatedly complained about the fake app since December, as it was neither submitted by the team nor in any way official, but only when iOS news sites like this one picked up on the story did Apple take action.

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