Over 6M registered developers, 1 million Apple store visitors per day
Apple CEO Tim Cook has started the keynote address at the currently-running 24th Worldwide Developer Conference by relaying some key statistics to the on-location and online audience. This year, there are 100 sessions, 120 labs, and 1,000 Apple engineers in attendance, but he warns those present "they're here to help, but don't ask them about future roadmaps."
Third-party app fills void
Google wants to submit an All Access app for iOS, but is still working to find something Apple will accept at the App Store, say 9to5Mac sources. What disputes the companies might have are unmentioned, but they could conceivably involve things like the revenue split from in-app purchases, and/or features that may violate App Store guidelines.
Still unclear why app was removed
Apple has removed a well-publicized iPhone hookup app from the App Store after just one week of it going live, Valleywag notes. Bang With Friends, still accessible via Android and the web, lets people indicate if they'd like to have sex with a Facebook friend. Notifications are sent out only if the feeling is mutual. Since launching in January, the service has already accumulated about 1 million users.
Agency preps developers for changes to important act
The US Federal Trade Commission has started sending out two letters to app developers, preparing them for changes to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act taking effect July 1st, according to an announcement. The letters warn developers that restrictions on the collection of personal data from kids under 13 have been expanded, and now cover things like audio or video bearing a child's likeness. Previously, rules only covered the gathering of names, addresses, and phone numbers.
Associated contest winner, 50 billionth app name announced
[Updated with the winner's name, the winning app and other details] The App Store has officially surpassed 50 billion downloads, Apple has announced. The company has now announced the winner of the associated contest. Brandon Ashmore of Mentor Ohio, who downloaded the 50 billionth app, will get a $10,000 App Store gift card; meanwhile, 50 runner-ups will each get a $500 card.
Option will appear automatically in account details
Apple is extending its two-step verification option for Apple IDs to a wider range of countries, users say. When the feature first launched in late March, it was restricted to the US, UK, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand. Now though people in Canada, Argentina, and Pakistan are reporting getting the feature, and other countries may be following suit.
Moves past AppGratis
Apple is becoming more strict about enforcing an App Store guideline against titles with app recommendation functions, says PocketGamer. One developer in particular comments that his app was rejected despite being tailored to conform to the guideline. "We thought that basing our recommendations on sharing was suitable for Apple, as it had previously stated that if you bake in social or local into your app discovery, you would be fine," the person says. "I think they aim to be the only provider of recommendations for apps, along with being the distributor."
Targeted sites narrowed down to Houston IP address
The people responsible for a new Apple ID phishing scam have compromised 110 websites, says security firm Trend Micro. All of the sites are hosted on a specific IP address, 18.104.22.168, which is registered with an ISP based in Houston, Texas. "Almost all of these sites have not been cleaned," Trend Micro remarks.
Apple attempts to mitigate complaints about exploitative apps
Apple has added a "Learn More About In-App Purchases" section to the App Store, AppAdvice observes. Tapping on the option explains what in-app purchases do, and the way the in-app purchase scheme works, specifically pointing out that while an Apple ID password is needed for an initial purchase, a 15-minute window exists during which more things can be bought without re-authorizing. Apple also places an emphasis on the Parental Controls menu under Settings, where people can turn off access to in-app purchases entirely.
Apple online services continue string of difficulties
Apple's online services are again suffering outages, their official system status page indicates. Between 7:20 and 9:32AM Eastern, some people may have been unable to access the iTunes Store or make purchases there. Still ongoing however are problems preventing people from creating Apple IDs or signing into Game Center, as well as authentication errors when trying to use iCloud. The latter may also prevent people from setting up a new iCloud account.
Apple to sponsor Lennor 'tour bus,' educational music clinics
Apple is now sponsoring the long-running "John Lennon Educational Tour Bus," a mobile audio and video studio on wheels that tours educational institutions, encouraging students to explore and produce their own music with free songwriting, recording and multimedia production workshops. Using Macs on board to help with production, children write, perform and record original music and produce music videos with the assistance of three on-board engineers. Most recently seen in Phoenix AZ last weekend, the bus is scheduled to be in Gulf Shores AL as part of the Hangout Music Festival. The non-profit organization has its own App Store iOS app (free) as well.
Access to apps still limited to Chinese users
A Chinese website, 7659.com, is providing access to pirated iOS apps, reports observe. The site functions as a portal for software called KuaiYong, which is promoted as a supposed bulk licensing authorization tool for distributing free software, and a way of introducing Chinese people to the iTunes system. While KuaiYong dates back to 2012, the website appears to be new, and still requires KuaiYong to actually download the pirated content.
Developer revenue more than 2.6 times higher on iOS side
The Apple App Store and Google Play are now nearly equal in terms of download volume, according to new data by analytics firm App Annie. "While the iOS App Store and Google Play both had solid gains in app downloads last quarter, Google Play had a higher percentage growth rate as well as a greater gain in absolute downloads," the firm writes. "As of Q1 2013, Google Play’s app downloads were close to 90 percent of iOS App Store downloads." The App Store is, however, continuing to do far better than Play in terms of generating revenue.
Thought to be tied to revived anti-porn campaign by government
Apple's App Store has been named as one of a collection of app stores and websites that have been investigated for providing pornography in China, says the Wall Street Journal. The list appears in a new article from the state-run Chinese People's Daily. The investigation of the App Store is unusual though, as Apple maintains an anti-pornography policy, and in the West the company has sometimes been criticized as too strict.
Conflicts with statements by CEO
AppGratis is promising developers higher App Store rankings, despite claims to the contrary by the company's CEO, according to Business Insider. "Reaching the the top of any App Store is a simple and logical equation. But we’re not in this business," CEO Simon Dawlat told TechCrunch in a statement yesterday. "We’re in in the business of helping the end users discover new apps, and to serve this mission, we’re playing the long run. We’re building a community. We’ve never been in the business of gaming the top charts or anything. This is a very strong statement from us."
Pushes localization for App Store, iBookstore titles
Apple has sent out a memo to developers this week, urging them to localize Mac and iOS apps as well as titles on the iBookstore, notes AppleInsider. The message is being delivered through iTunes Connect, and points out that both the iOS and Mac App Stores are accessible in 155 countries and 40 languages. "In addition, the App Store editorial team is always looking for great apps that are localized," Apple writes.
Promises service will go on
AppGratis' removal from the App Store was marked by a sudden reversal on the part of Apple reviewers, says AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlat. While he confirms that the app was pulled for violating two guidelines relating to promoting software, he also claims that it was initially approved by two reviewers before being rejected by a third shortly after the launch of the iPad version.
Apple remains the number one platform for app developer profit
A new report by Canalys estimates that the top four app stores served up a total of 13.4 billion apps for the first quarter in 2013. App downloads across Apple’s App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store and BlackBerry World grew 11 percent over the previous quarter. Revenue for developers also grew by 9 percent with app revenue reaching $2.2 billion in gross returns.
Favored paying 'partners,' used push notifications for promotion
Apple has removed the app-discovery program AppGratis from the iOS App Store, saying in a statement that the company behind the app violated two developer rules, one of which was only recently added. Originally thought to have gotten in trouble for breaking a rule that said that apps that promote other apps "in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected," Apple later clarified that AppGratis was promoting apps whose developers had paid for them to do so, and were also abusing push notification rules.
Developers no longer face 10 percent cut
Adobe has backpedaled on its royalty program for App Store titles created using the company's Director 12 publishing utility. The previous licensing agreement forced developers to pay Adobe a 10-percent cut of all App Store earnings over $20,000 for apps created or published through Director 12.
Company complies with government censorship
Apple has pulled "at least one" app from the Chinese App Store for containing books banned by the Chinese government, the Financial Times reports. Although the name of the app hasn't been identified, it is said to have provided access to 10 books, include three by political activist Wang Lixiong, whose works are mostly illegal in the country. The banned books in the app discuss Tibet, the future collapse of the Chinese government, and a visit by Wang to Xinjiang, followed by his detention by state security.
Tweaked in response to growing need for parental awareness
Possibly in response to a growing number of stories of inept or naive parents who have inadvertently allowed their children to run up huge bills through in-app purchases (IAPs), Apple's App Store now puts the age recommendation of a given app directly below the title and author credit. The move effectively relocates the age recommendation to the first thing a buyer will likely see after the title. The change may also help parents who fail to activate parental controls to ferret out more adult apps that are not appropriate for a given child.
No signs of resolution in app content
A v3.0 update of Microsoft's SkyDrive app for iOS has arrived on the App Store. The release appears to mark the end of a dispute between Apple and Microsoft; Apple was reportedly rejecting earlier updates over Microsoft's introduction of the ability to buy extra storage space. The issue is that Apple was demanding a 30 percent cut of subscriptions initiated on the iOS app in perpetuity, even though a person can continue to use SkyDrive even if they stop using the app.
Apple's intervention efforts unknown
Patent holder Lodsys had added Disney to the list of companies it is pursuing with lawsuits over in-app purchases, reports say. In a new court filing, Where's My Water? and other unspecified Disney apps are said to violate Lodsys' '565 and '078 US patents. "Prior to filing this complaint, Lodsys informed Disney of the patents-in-suit and offered to enter into a licensing arrangement that would allow Disney to continue practicing the inventions claimed in patents-in-suit," the filing continues. "Disney, however, chose not to enter into a licensing agreement. Instead, with knowledge of the patents-in-suit and disregard for Lodsys' patent rights, Disney chose to continue its infringement."
Glitch buried App Store links
Strange search results when looking for iOS apps are connected to technical problems, says Google. AppsFire co-founder Ouriel Ohayon has pointed out that when handling searches for apps, Google's servers have recently been burying App Store links, potentially up to several pages deep. "We've been having some issues fetching pages from the iTunes web servers, and as a result some people may have had problems finding iTunes apps in search easily," Google explains in an official response. "We're working with the team there [Apple] to ensure search users can find what they're looking for."
Claims animated movies sold without permission
A government-owned Chinese movie studio is suing Apple, charging that its animated movies are being sold on the App Store without permission, according to the South China Morning Post. Shanghai Animation Film Studio is best known for movies like The Monkey King, and is specifically accusing Apple Inc. and Beijing subsidiary Apple Electronics Products Commerce of violating intellectual property rights through unauthorized download services at the App Store. The two parties are accused of illegally selling over 110 SAFS movies, such as Calabash Brothers and Black Cat Detective. Demanded compensation is 3.3 million yuan, or about $531,000.
Apple refusing to refund £3,700 bill, paper
A UK policeman, Doug Crossnan, has reported his 13-year-old son Cameron for fraud after he spent £3,700 on in-game purchases on his iPad, the Daily Mail reports. Doug tells the paper that his son was unaware he was being charged for the purchases, but that Apple has so far refused to make a refund. The fraud charge, he explains, is now the only way to recoup the money, since he needs a crime reference number for any hope of a claim.
May be in response to string of child spending sprees
Apple has added an "Offers In-App Purchases" tag to the pages for applicable App Store titles, The Guardian observes. The warning is directly under the purchase/download button for any given app. There was already some indication of whether or not a title had in-app purchases, but only in the form of a "Top In-App Purchases" chart or a direct statement by a developer.
Two-step verification only current defense
(Updated with Apple disabling the iForgot password retrieval page) A new exploit lets people hijack an Apple ID account using only an email address and someone's date of birth, says The Verge. The process involves pasting in a modified URL while answering the date of birth question on Apple's password retrieval page. Doing this lets someone reset an Apple ID's password, locking out the original owner unless they can get Apple's help.
Sends codes to Findy My iPhone, SMS numbers
A two-step verification process is now an option for Apple ID accounts, reports say. The option can be accessed on Apple's website, and once enabled requires entering a PIN before making an account change or a purchase on iTunes or the App Store. Codes are sent via Find My iPhone or a text message.
The Article 29 working group -- composed data protection authorities from across the European Union -- has issued a new set of recommendations which may have a significant impact on app developers. Under the new guidelines, it's proposed that developers should ask for consent for each kind of data an app wants to access, including not only common items like location, contacts, payment info, and social network logins, but browsing history and other content. Even then though Article 29 argues that this "does not legitimize excessive or disproportionate data processing," and further recommends setting an inactivity window, after which data collection from a person's app account will stop.
Nothing in development, says executive
Lack of store-wide encrypted connection could have been exploited
After first being alerted to the potential problem last summer, Apple has addressed a potential security issue with connections to the App Store and is now encrypting active content over HTTPS by default as of late last month. A Google security researcher pointed out the potential for an attack in July, noting that a malicious network attacker could conceivably field user passwords, scan the apps on a user's device or even trick users into downloading fake upgrades or prevent an app from installing.
Claims nothing wrong with 'creating a system that is closed in a sense'
Apple has asked a US District Court judge to dismiss a lawsuit claiming it has a monopoly over iOS apps, Bloomberg reports. The case dates back to 2011, when the seven plaintiffs complained that people who don't want to pay what developers are charging for apps at the App Store don't have a legal alternative. The plaintiffs also argue that Apple's mandatory 30 percent cut of app revenues raises prices, and excludes competitors from the app aftermarket.
Five-year old accumulated $2,500 in in-app purchases in 10 minutes
UK Parents Greg and Sharon Kitchen will be getting a "full refund" following an initial refusal by Apple over an incident where their five-year-old son Danny "unintentionally" purchased over $2,500 in in-app game purchases from free iPad game Zombies versus Ninja. The couple claim that the boy purchased 19 high-priced consumable packs for the game, which cost £70 ($106) each -- along with a few smaller purchases -- all within the 15 minute window after the father had keyed in his password authorizing the original download of the game.
Alternative to UDID rejected, Ad Identifier now mandated
Developers who attempt to circumvent Apple's own Advertising Identifier with other methods to track users and ad impressions may now find their apps rejected by the App Store. The company is now -- nearly two years after announcing that it would be abandoning the former Universal Device Identification (UDID) method for ad tracking -- enforcing developer guidelines that mandate the use of Apple's Advertising Identifier (which can be turned off by the user) as the main allowable ad tracking standard for ad networks.
Services back online, but hit iTunes, app stores
Apple suffered multiple online service outages earlier on Thursday, the company's system status page now confirms. Between 9:40AM and 11:50AM Eastern time, purchases at the iTunes Store and the Mac and iOS App Stores may not have gone through. The company also confirms some Wednesday problems in which people couldn't access iCloud calendars.
Nintendo, Apple claimed to be close in game revenues
New research suggests that gaming on mobile devices is now a more lucrative market for developers than portable game systems. Spending on gaming apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play is said to be higher than for dedicated portable consoles from Sony and Nintendo during the last quarter of 2012, with the largest amounts of spending taking place in December due to hardware being given as gifts.
Vulnerability linked to bug, source says
A "Don't Allow Changes" option introduced alongside iOS 6 is currently broken, a report says. The feature is supposed to allow people to block changes to an account linked to an iOS device. It's particularly important for schools and other institutions that need to ensure a device is tied to a particular account, and/or can't download unauthorized apps.
Mobile game publisher Chillingo launching '100% indie' program
In an unusual move for Samsung, it has teamed up with Electronic Arts in an effort to lure developers to the Korean company's app store, offering strong financial incentives to expand its library of games. EA's mobile division Chillingo will lead the "100 percent indie" initiative, and offer its developers 100 percent of a game's revenue for six months.
Should simplify marketing of iOS, Mac apps
Apple's new shortened App Store URLs made their public debut during last night's Super Bowl broadcast, notes CNET. Within an ad for Star Trek: Into Darkness,AppStore.com/StarTrekApp was displayed, pointing people to a promotional app for the movie. The new address format is designed to make it easier to market apps, since regular App Store URLs are extremely complex.
Modified app addresses nudity concerns
A modified 500px iOS app has returned to the App Store in the wake of a nudity controversy, during which Apple decided to block the software. The update includes a "report this photo" button, and is now age-restricted to people 17 or older due to "Frequent/Intense Sexual Content or Nudity."
Acts as an official endorsement on selected programs
While the design overhaul of the App Store last year was a noticeable change by the company to freshen up the layout, most changes Apple makes are very subtle -- such as the "swipe to advance" app call-outs on the main page (which previously required tapping arrows). Another change is a recent move towards Apple itself adding short editorial comments in the "details" section of selected apps, preceding what is normally company-supplied copy about what the app does, screenshots and the latest changes.
Finding nude photos hard to do, developer insists
[Updated: Apple issues statement on the matter] Photo gallery service 500px has had both of its photo-sharing apps -- 500px and ISO500 -- removed from the App Store by Apple, the developer says. The titles are said to have vanished around 1AM Eastern time today. 500px's COO, Evgeny Tchebotarev, has explained that Apple took the move following talks about an updated version of its namesake app, which was being looked at by an App Store reviewer.
Apple scores minor coup in attracting content
Publisher Wenner Media has brought music and pop cultural magazine Rolling Stone to the Newsstand section at the App Store. The app is iPad-only, and comes with a one-month trial subscription. After that a single issue is $5, a monthly subscription is $2, and an annual subscription is $20; the latter two options renew automatically. Unlike some magazines, there is no way to subscribe to the Rolling Stone app for free if a person already has a print subscription.
App is now suitable for 12+; petition for withdrawal underway
After attracting an enormous amount of media attention, the iOS NRA: Practice Range application released yesterday has received a minor revision from Apple. Instead of being rated for ages four and up, the new rating on the app is now deemed appropriate for ages 12 and up, with "frequent/intense realistic violence." Additionally, a petition has cropped up requesting that Apple remove the NRA-endorsed app from the iOS App Store.
Negotiations begin on March 21 over use of the term
In an order filed earlier today, Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte -- presiding over hearings for the Apple versus Amazon "app store" suit -- has ordered the pair to try and hammer out an agreement before the case goes to trial. The two companies are now scheduled to meet on March 21 to come to a settlement. Apple owns the rights to the term "App Store" and "Appstore" in Europe, but a trademark on the term in the US is awaiting approval.
Company could also relocate some iTunes servers to China
Apple is hoping to start a research and development center in Beijing, according to Tencent. A source for the site says that on January 8th, during his recent tour of China, Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned the plans in a meeting with acting Beijing mayor Wang Anshun. Apple has been working on expanding its R&D footprint outside of the US -- mainly in Israel, but it may also be considering Russia.
Almost half came in 2012, Apple says
iOS App Store downloads have surpassed the 40 billion mark, Apple has announced. The company adds that almost 20 billion of those happened in 2012 alone, and that there are now over 775,000 titles in the App Store. More than 300,000 are iPad-native. So far, developers have been paid over $7 billion in their share of app revenue. Apple claims a 30 percent cut from any App Store sale, which suggests that Apple has pulled in $3 billion from the business.
Apple case undermined by Steve Jobs, Tim Cook
A federal court in San Francisco has granted a requested dismissal of an Apple lawsuit over Amazon's use of the term "Appstore," Bloomberg reports. Apple has filed for a US trademark on the name "App Store," and in the court case it argued that Amazon's use of the term "Appstore" is intentionally confusing. Amazon countered, though, by saying that the term "app store" has become generic; with today's dismissal, the company should be able to continue selling Android apps unimpeded.