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Apple to charge VAT per-country at European App Stores

12/18, 9:13am

Could raise costs in some regions

Apple has sent an email to iOS developers, notifying them of a change to the way it handles VAT (value-added taxes) at European App Stores. Currently the company charges a single VAT rate across the European Union; soon, though, it plans to charge on a per-country basis. The change is due to take effect on January 1st.

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Apple notifies iOS devs about Feb., June deadlines for 64-bit support

12/17, 2:55pm

Updates to existing apps must switch by June

Apple has issued a new notice to developers, reminding them of two important deadlines concerning 64-bit support in iOS apps. As was previously announced, those submitting new titles to the App Store must implement 64-bit support -- and use the iOS 8 SDK -- by February 1st. Additionally, the company now says that updates to existing titles must meet the same standards as of June 1st.

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Apple briefly censors nudity in iPad version of Papers, Please

12/12, 4:30pm

Company says rejection was misunderstanding

The newly-launched iPad version of Papers, Please has briefly been censored by Apple, reports note. Players assume the role of a passport control agent in the fictional Eastern Bloc country of Arstotzka. Later into the game players have access to a full-body scanner; in the original PC title, players could toggle whether this presented characters in full (but cartoonish and low-resolution) nudity or simply in their underwear. A version with both options was initially rejected from the App Store, forcing developer Lucas Pope to remove the nudity.

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Amazon's main Android app stricken from Google Play over app sales

12/11, 6:25pm

App replaced by 'Amazon Shopping' app with no links to app store

As a result of a revised developer's agreement, Google has made the original Amazon Android app undiscoverable in Google Play. Amazon has replaced the removed app with a new "Amazon Shopping" app, which notably removes access to the retailer's app store through a Google Play-sanctioned app, leaving users forced to "sideload" a separate app from another source in order to facilitate downloads and purchases from Amazon's app store.

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Apple backs down, allows 'Send To' options in Transmit

12/11, 4:37pm

Could open up iCloud Drive-related functions in apps

Apple has quickly reversed course on a policy that broke "Send To" commands in the FTP app Transmit for iOS, app developer Panic now says. The company writes that it got a "nice call from Apple" on Wednesday, and it has resubmitted Transmit to the App Store with Send To restored. This includes the "Send to iCloud Drive" command that formed the basis of Apple's complaint.

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Hands On: Battle Supremacy (iOS exclusive)

12/11, 8:15am

Take control of a tank in this simple WWII simulator

Developer Atypical Games has had success in the App Store before with their war simulation apps, titled Sky Gamblers: Cold War and Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders, in which both games focused largely on air combat. Now, the company has released Battle Supremacy, which puts players in control of their own tanks in this World War II-era simulation game. Will the company be able to win the ground game as it did with air supremacy? Read on to find out.

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Best of 2014 iTunes list mixes mainstream, lesser-known picks

12/08, 9:59am

Top iPad apps previously promoted by Apple

Apple has introduced its annual "Best of 2014" list at the iTunes Store, promoting content in different media categories. The top iPad app, for instance, is Pixelmator, the image editing app Apple also highlighted during its recent press event for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. The top iPad game is Monument Valley, an Apple Design Award winner from WWDC.

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Holiday shutdown for iTunes Connect set for December 22-29

12/04, 10:43am

Standard annual procedure

For 2014, the annual shutdown of iTunes Connect will run from December 22 through to December 29, Apple has announced via its developer portal. Connect is the service used by app developers and book publishers to submit material for sale on iTunes, change prices, and study analytics. During the downtime, app makers won't be able to submit new apps, any updates, or introduce new in-app purchases. Changes to TestFlight betas will also be impossible, although people will be able to continue using beta apps.

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Apple loses appeal on 'App Store' trademark in Australia

12/03, 3:09am

Term is essentially ruled too generic due to popularity of concept

On Wednesday in Sydney, Australia, a court ruled against Apple in an appeal by the iPhone maker to overturn a previous ruling that denied the company a trademark on the term "app store," despite the fact that Apple had clearly invented the term back in 2008. The fundamental problem Apple has had in trying to secure a trademark on the term is two-fold: the word "app" as short for "application" had been coined far earlier by others, and the burgeoning popularity of the phrase almost from the get-go has turned it into a generic description.

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Apple Stores offer red logo for World AIDS Day

12/01, 7:16pm

Raises awareness alongside 'Apps for (RED)' promotion

Following a promotional push to raise money for the Global Fund, using the "Apps for (RED)" even on the App Store to offer discounted prices or in-app purchases to help fund the fight against AIDs and other diseases, Apple on Monday tinted many of its iconic signs at its retail locations red to commemorate World AIDS Day, which is held every year on December 1. The tradition began in 2012 after Tim Cook became the CEO of the company, and follows precedents established by others since at least 1991.

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App Store downloads surge in October off iPhone 6, 6 Plus sales

11/24, 11:28am

iPhone buyers likely grabbing 'vital' apps

App Store downloads surged to a record 7.8 million per day average for the top 200 free iOS apps in October, says mobile marketing firm Fiksu. That represented a 42 percent increase from September, and a 39 percent jump year-over-year. The firm says it expects the trend to continue into the holiday season. It appears to have been kickstarted by sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which first launched on September 19, but which has been been gradually rolling out to more and more countries.

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'Apps for (RED)' among Apple efforts for World AIDS Day

11/24, 9:29am

Proceeds from participating apps being donated to Global Fund

To mark the upcoming World AIDS Day on December 1, Apple has launched a trio of initiatives. On the 1st itself, Apple says it will donate "a portion" of its Black Friday sales at its online and retail stores to the Global Fund, which is mainly dedicated to combating AIDS but also tackles diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. On November 28, some random product purchases will include a Product (RED) iTunes gift card; any purchases made with the card in future will go to the Fund. From today through December 7, a program called "Apps for (RED)" will donate the sales from 24 iOS apps - and in some cases, special in-app purchases -- to the same cause.

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App Store changes 'Free' button into 'Get'

11/19, 3:41pm

May be response to complaints about free-to-play apps

Apple has today made a small change at the App Store, renaming the "Free" button for zero-cost downloads, particularly those that feature in-app purchases to "Get." Paid apps continue to show the purchase price. It's not clear why Apple decided to make the change, but it may be a response to ongoing complaints about marketing of free-to-play/"freemium" apps.

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Chinese App Store begins accepting UnionPay cards

11/17, 9:37am

May significantly expand store's reach

Apple's Chinese App Store is now accepting payments via China UnionPay, the only native bank card organization, and the country's most popular. In an announcement, Apple notes that UnionPay has issued more than 4.5 billion cards worldwide. "The ability to buy apps and make purchases using UnionPay cards has been one of the most-requested features from our customers in China," reads a prepared statement from Apple's Senior VP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue. "China is already our second largest market for app downloads, and now we're providing users with an incredibly convenient way to purchase their favorite apps with just one tap."

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Hands On: Faded (iOS)

11/11, 7:38am

Photo filter application tool excels at a low price

There's no doubt that iPhones are being used more for photography each and every day. This is especially apparent in the vast amount of photography apps that are available in the App Store. Users are sure to be overwhelmed, especially if they're looking for an app that promises to do it all, in terms of photo editing, filters, and camera tools. It's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, but Faded, by Vintage Noir is definitely worth a look.

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Hands On: TextMask (iOS)

11/10, 8:37pm

App makes it easy to turn the 'caption a picture' technique on its head

These days, graphic design is king (again). More and more people are looking to play around with typography and imagery, particularly using their own photos -- whether it be captions on photos or a Facebook graphic. Rather than shell out money or invest time in learning complicated programs like Photoshop to accomplish this, a visit to the App Store is a great way to get started. TextMask, by youthhr, is a pretty neat app that allows users to create impressive text-masking imagery in just a few taps.

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Apple reverses course, decides to allow apps with calculator widgets

10/30, 1:28pm

Company hadn't anticipated possibility

In another sudden turnaround, Apple has reversed a decision to block apps with calculator widgets from the App Store. An Apple spokesperson says that PCalc and other similar apps will be permitted in the store without changes. It's suggested that the company simply hadn't anticipated the possibility of widgets serving as calculators, hence reviewers being confused as to whether they can give the greenlight.

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Calculator widgets for iOS 8 suddenly blocked from App Store

10/29, 3:56pm

Change marks sudden policy reversal

Apple has forced the developer of PCalc, James Thomson, to remove an iOS 8 Notification Center widget that let people do calculations without opening the app. The decision is an apparently sudden reversal, given that the app was previously approved with the widget intact. PCalc has been featured in several sections of the App Store, such as "Great Apps and Games for iOS 8," and even "Extend Your Apps," which focuses on software with unusual widgets.

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Apple's 2014 10-K shows surges in R&D, acquisition spending

10/28, 9:51am

Company admits to sagging iTunes music sales

Apple's 2014 10-K filing, just published by the Securities and Exchange Commission, shows major increases in acquisitions and research spending. Even excluding its $3 billion Beats takeover, the company still managed to increase acquisition spending from $496 million to $957 million during the last fiscal year. Annual research and development spending has more than doubled during the past three years, rising from $2.4 billion to $6 billion.

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All iOS apps must support 64-bit code as of February, Apple says

10/20, 4:24pm

Should improve performance on more recent devices

As of February 1, all new or updating iOS apps must not only be based on the iOS 8 SDK, but contain 64-bit code, Apple is informing developers. At the moment, developers are still being allowed to submit 32-bit-only apps or universal binaries. The problem is that more recent iOS devices -- namely those based on 64-bit A7, A8, and A8X processors -- have to load extra resources into memory to handle 32-bit code, taking a toll on performance.

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Apple warns devs of upcoming iTunes Connect maintenance

10/15, 5:36pm

Analytics portal to be taken offline for maintenance for six hours next Sunday

According to a brief notification sent to developers, Apple is planning to take iTunes Connect offline for approximately six hours starting at 6AM Pacific on Sunday, October 26. The portal is used by developers to submit, take down, update, adjust pricing and study analytics of apps submitted to the Mac and iOS App Stores. The modest maintenance downtime is unusual in light of Apple annual and longer downtime that usually happens in December.

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Adoption of iOS 8 stalled at 47 percent, new Apple tracking data shows

10/07, 10:37am

Figure just 1 percent higher than post-iPhone 6 launch data

Adoption of iOS 8 has slowed dramatically, having only gained a single percentage point between September 21 and October 5, according to new App Store tracking data from Apple. The company's iOS 8 and iOS 7 are now in equal use. In fact, use of pre-iOS 7 firmware has somehow increased from five to six percent, even though Apple no longer supports it on any substantial level.

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Belgian teenager racks up over $46,000 in in-app purchases

10/03, 4:51pm

iOS and 'free-to-play' game blamed

A 15-year-old from Antwerp, Belgium has managed to accumulate over 37,000 euro ($46,000) in iTunes charges on a credit card through in-app purchases, according to local publication Nieuwsblad. The teenager was reportedly playing a free-to-play iOS game called Game of War: Fire Age; several months in, his mother asked him to buy some e-books using her credit card. The boy then discovered he could buy virtual gold in-game using real money, greatly accelerating his progress. The title even has a casino minigame.

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App Store users experience errors trying to download apps

10/03, 11:19am

Issue inconsistent between users, devices

Customers trying to use the App Store are currently experiencing a variety of problems, according to complaints. Some are seeing vague error messages, while others are simply unable to finish downloads; many users are unaffected. For those who are impacted, the trouble can interfere with both the iOS and Mac App Stores, and any version of iOS or OS X.

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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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