Connectivity down globally, but issue resolved by 11:30AM ET
A widespread but apparently brief outage was reported to have affected Apples online digital storefronts this morning, such as the App Store, iTunes Store and Mac App Store. The problem appeared to occur worldwide, but Apple's System Status Page did not acknowledge the issue until hours after it was resolved, which occurred at approximately 8:30AM Pacific. The company suffered a much longer and more severe outage just two weeks ago.
Outage may have cost apple up to $8 million in lost media sales
After nearly a 12-hour downtime, Apple's Internet-facing services such as the iTunes Music Store, iOS App Store, iBookstore and Mac App Store have returned. Apple calls the issue related to an "internal DNS" problem, and with estimates of hourly revenue at about $1 million an hour, this may be the most costly Internet service outage ever.
Mac App Store, iTunes Store preventing users from buying content
[Update: Apple acknowledges issues] A range of Apple's online services are experiencing issues, with the majority of problems relating to the company's online stores. The iTunes Store, App Store, and Mac App Store are all apparently having issues loading up elements of some store pages, though the issues are also apparently affecting back-end services as well as those on the consumer side.
Google drops IMAP client Sparrow for Inbox Gmail/Google Now hybrid
Once again, a popular Mac product originally developed independently and later bought by Google, has been discontinued. Like Snapseed before it, Google has decided to kill off popular email client Sparrow for both Mac and iOS in favor of its own Inbox product. The former program has been removed from both the iOS and Mac App Stores. The Mac program never received an update after Google's purchase of Sparrow in 2012, while the iOS one has languished since October of 2013.
Databasing made simple
There are many reasons to create a personal database, and even more tools that can help you do just this. The problem, however, is that most of these apps have been built with big business in mind, and therefore can be overwhelming to the average user. Enter Records for Mac, a brand-new $50 Mac App Store offering looking to solve this exact problem. Sporting a WYSIWYG design philosophy, a range of configurable form fields, and full text searching, Records looks like a great solution on paper, but how does it hold up in real world usage?
win 1 of 5 copies of OCRKit!
Recently, our staff finished up a review of ExactScan Pro scanner software. ExactCode, makers of ExactScan, also have another great software title called OCRKit, which is used for extracting information from a scanned document, and converting it into searchable file formats. We have teamed up with ExactCode to give away five Mac App Store redemption codes.
Newest SimCity offers detailed urban planning fun for OS X
Aspyr released SimCity: Complete Edition for OS X late last month, to the delight of Sim enthusiasts looking to enjoy a refreshed core game, alongside a variety of expansions. Offering a broad scope of possible outcomes that one's virtual city can take, SimCity's detail neatly fits among the evolutionary history of SimCity releases as a new, Mac-friendly installment of the popular urban planning simulator. We played around with this latest version -- priced at $40 on the Mac App Store -- and found the game to be just as engrossing as we anticipated.
Simple MS Paint-like app provides the basics for drawing and image editing
It doesn't seem to matter just how many drawing apps come around -- because sometimes, you still just want to have a really basic one that looks familiar right away. What ends up being deemed "familiar" can take many forms, of course, but in this instance we refer to the glory days (okay, maybe that is a tad hyperbolic) of MS Paint, which first appeared in Windows 1.0 and remains something of a cult favorite for "pixel art" and basic usage. Today, we are taking a hands-on look at a contemporary OS X equivalent, available for $5 on the Mac App Store: Quick Paint.
Win a copy of Civilization: Beyond Earth
As was mentioned yesterday, Civilization: Beyond Earth was released for purchase and download on Steam, the Mac App Store, and on GameAgent. Also announced yesterday was that we will be running a giveaway. So, without further ado, we are pleased to reveal that we have obtained four redemption codes for this game to give away to our readers.
Interface goes flat, changes fonts
Apple has redone the design of the Mac App Store, bringing it into line with the look of OS X Yosemite. Accordingly, the interface is now generally flatter, abandoning drop shadows entirely and in many cases omitting borders around sections. Fonts have been tweaked, and the background has switched to a lighter shade of gray, nearly white, similar to the visual refresh given the iTunes Store with the launch of iTunes 12.
Mac App Store shows images of rumored Microsoft fitness wearable
Microsoft's rumored wearable device has appeared earlier than expected, leaked within a companion app on the Mac App Store. The Microsoft Band is, as rumored, a device with a thin display similar to the Samsung Gear Fit, with the accompanying app screenshots showing it will apparently be capable of a similar level of monitoring of the user's actions as other fitness trackers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well-regarded photo editing apps offer diversity of effects
Photo editing software house MacPhun is running Mother's Day sale on the Mac App Store, beginning today and running until Monday, May 12. The sales cuts prices on all of the companies consumer-friendly photo apps by around 30 percent, for example lowering the price of MacPhun's "magic erasing" program Snapheal to $15 (down from $20) and its refocusing app Focus 2 down to $7 from its usual $10 price.
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.
Win a copy of Live Interior 3D Standard home and interior design software
Imagining a dream home is easy, but sometimes bringing that dream into reality can be a daunting task. Fortunately, the folks at BeLight Software have created Live Interior 3D Standard home and interior design software that helps bring those dreams to life. MacNN has teamed up with BeLight to give away 10 Mac App store redeem codes to our readers. Plus, at the close of the giveaway, we will be offering an exclusive 50 percent off discount for those who didn't win!
Could increase exposure, giveways
Apple has doubled the number of promotional codes it allows developers from 50 to 100 for each version of an app, accounts say. The codes are typically used to distribute an app to reviewers, friends, and family, as well as in the occasional giveaway. Apple notes that once a bundle of promo codes is requested, they will automatically expire four weeks later.
Company witnesses setbacks in some sectors
In parallel with an official announcement, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its fiscal Q4 results. The data shows that revenue in the Americas was up just 1 percent year-over-year to $13.941 billion, and even down marginally in Europe, shifting from $8.023 billion to $8.005 billion. Greater China however grew 6 percent to $5.733 billion, and Japan surged 41 percent to $3.341 billion. Offsetting this only slightly was the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, which dipped 6 percent to $1.980 billion. Global retail numbers increased 6 percent to $4.472 billion.
Mac App Store failing to recognize existing installations
Some users of iLife '11 and iWork '09 are having trouble upgrading to the new versions released yesterday, according to complaints. The difficulty is that when trying to download the new software through the Mac App Store, the store fails to recognize the earlier installations. Instead it responds with an error message: "[The app] is already installed and was not purchased from the Mac App Store. Do you want to buy [the app]?"
Should allow older Macs to remain useful
Apple is bringing a "previous versions" feature to the Mac App Store, according to an official memo. Developers are being informed that unless they specify otherwise through iTunes Connect, Apple will now be allowing Mac App Store shoppers to download the latest version of an app that remains compatible with their version of OS X. The Mac App Store is accessible through Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks.
Developers warned about impending changes
Prices at the Japanese App Store are going up as of October 17th, Apple is warning developers in a new email. The adjustment is being made to accommodate fluctuations in the value of the yen. Both Mac and iOS apps will be affected by the hikes, the company says.
FaceTime, iTunes Match, other iCloud features briefly affected
Several of Apple's online services were briefly impacted by outages earlier today, according to Apple's System Status page. The worst affected the iTunes Store, the iBookstore, and the Mac and iOS App Stores between 1:28 and 2:57PM Eastern time, preventing some people from making any purchases. During the same time period, people may have been unable to use iTunes in the Cloud or iTunes Match, or restore purchases from an iCloud backup.
Update available in Mac App Store
Alongside the iOS 7 public launch, Apple has released an update to its Xcode developer utility (Mac App Store) for iOS and OS X. Version 5.0 brings support for iOS 7 features, adding a 64-bit compiler to simplify transition from the current 32-bit architecture, while an automatic configuration tool enables services such as iCloud and Game Center to be enabled from a single click.
Narrowed down to two affiliate networks, but with larger
Apple is making significant changes to its affiliate program for content on iTunes, the iBookstore, and the Mac and iOS App Stores, according to an announcement. The program gives participants a small commission for sales made via specially-formatted links. The main change is the elimination of LinkShare and dgm as affiliate networks, leaving just Tradedoubler and a new addition, Performance Horizon Group.
Game pulled after legal dispute with property owner Atari
After its untimely retraction just weeks after release from the iOS and Mac App Stores, the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition has been restored for sale and download. The title was yanked from the stores owing to a dispute between developer Overhaul Games and Atari, which has apparently been resolved.
Should limit data advertisers, app makers can harvest from children
Apple has tightened some of the rules in its App Review Guidelines for Mac and iOS developers. Some of the new restrictions are meant to comply with the US government's revised Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The law prevents collecting personal data from kids under 13 without parental consent; while the definition of personal data originally just meant names, locations, phone numbers, and physical and email addresses, this now also includes audio, photos, and video.
Downtime affects major services
Several Apple online services encountered outages earlier today, according to the company's system status page. Between 11:23AM and 1:54PM Eastern, people may have been "unable to make purchases from the App Store, iTunes Store, Mac App Store, or iBookstore," the page states. "Users may also have been unable to download previously-purchased content, use iTunes Match, or successfully restore Apps and Music from an iCloud backup."
Screenshot Plus widget turns into app, adds features
Screenshot Plus, a long-time "widget" for users that wanted more customization and control over the Mac's built-in screenshot abilities, is now available as a $2 app from the Mac App Store. The program "lives" in the menubar and allows users to change the format of screenshots, save them to specific folders, open them in specific programs, do timed screenshots and the usual screenshot features. The program's time function is particularly handy for capturing events that are difficult to arrange using the built-in functionality, such as a button press or picture with the cursor/pointer/arrow included. Screenshot Plus supports a wide variety of languages and offers more features than the dashboard version.
Will also be available on Aspyr's GameAgent store
The third and latest game in the BioShock franchise, BioShock Infinite will debut on the Mac App Store, Steam and Mac publisher Aspyr's GameAgent store on August 29, with options for pre-ordering, bonuses and extra downloadable content -- as well as a way to save money on the game's $60 price. The game, which originally debuted on Windows, PlayStation and Xbox 360 in March, has won wide praise for its state-of-the-art graphics, artwork and story, though it is rated "M" for violence. The Mac version is likely to have steep graphics and horsepower requirements.
Dev Center downtime creates ripple effects
Apple is issuing notices to developers, warning them that it may take time to review their apps for the App Store, reports say. "We are currently reviewing an app that you submitted for inclusion on the App Store, and want to let you know that the review process will require additional time, " one such message reads. "We apologize for the delay and will provide you with an update on the status of your app as soon as possible."
Satechi's Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keypad compliments Apple workspaces
Accessory maker Satechi launched its Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keypad yesterday, for use in an Apple user's workspace. The number keypad can toggle between a calculator mode and a keypad mode, allowing for both arithmetic operations and basic prompt-inputting functions. The Bluetooth Wireless Smart Keypad is small enough to be easily portable, and features a large LCD screen that displays up to twelve digits at a time. The keypad is available for $35 at Satechi and Amazon.
Advanced game features multi-monitor support, 3D, more
The graphically-violent third-person shooter Max Payne 3 is coming to the Mac App Store beginning on Thursday, June 20. The game is reported to "include a number of advanced graphics options, scaleable high-resolution textures and character models, DirectX11 features, multi-monitor support and 3D," according to the announcement from Rockstar Games, and has exceptionally high Mac system requirements.
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.
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, 184.108.40.206, which is registered with an ISP based in Houston, Texas. "Almost all of these sites have not been cleaned," Trend Micro remarks.
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.
Sonic Racing for Mac to release tomorrow
Feral Interactive has announced that Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing will be released in the Mac App Store on April 4. Starring classing characters from Sonic the Hedgehog and other SEGA favorites, the racing game allows players to race across tracks inspired by SEGA's most popular game worlds. Full support will be included for Apple's Game Center, allowing up to four players to compete online. Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing will retail for $25 and is the first Sonic game to to be published on the Mac, with the second, SEGA Superstars Tennis, to follow this year.
Minor update builds on features introduced in v4.6
Apple on Saturday released a minor update to its app-building software for OS X and iOS, Xcode -- now at version 4.6.1. The most important addition to the program is support for OS X 10.8.3, with a corresponding update to the OS X SDK. It also fixes two specific issues: one where ARC-enabled apps would not launch on Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6.x), and a performance regression issue in the Analyze operation. The update to the free app is available exclusively on the Mac App Store, where it has been located since v4.6.
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.
Final week features cut-rate prices on various utility apps
Following two weeks of sales on various productivity and organizational programs, the Mac App Store has kicked off the final week of its "Get Stuff Done" promotion with a set of discounts on 10 utility apps, including Calendar helper Fantastical, password manager 1Password and Yoink, a "weigh station" to make dragging files between destinations easier. Apple had earlier discounted a set of "prioritizing" apps during the first week, and organizational programs during the second.
Corrects bugs, enhances features, adds speed, Retina support
Apple has issued a minor update to its OS X Server app for Mountain Lion, now at version 2.21. The $20 program allows anyone with a Mountain Lion install to turn the OS into a server OS utilizing a suite of utilities included in the application. The update improves the speed of downloading Mac App Store software through improved caching, adds Time Machine service monitoring, brings Retina display support for the Wiki Server, adds the ability to use Active Directory groups in Profile Manager and more.
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.
Unusual themed discount roundup on Mac App Store
In a rare move, Apple has started a three-week "productivity apps" sale called "Get Stuff Done" that offers discounted prices on eight "prioritizing" applications for the Mac on the Mac App Store. The second week will reveal sale prices on as-yet-unnamed organizing apps, and the final week will spotlight savings on utility apps. Sale prices currently ongoing include $3 off the normally $10 to-do app Clear; half-off pricing on Things 2, 2Do, Due, The Hit List and Taskpaper; 40 percent off BreakTime, and substantial savings on Todo.
Deux Ex takes Game of the Year on Mac
Apple is now displaying the best Mac apps of 2012 for the Mac App Store, with the App of the Year award going to Day One, a simplified journaling app. CameraBag 2, a desktop photo editing app with built-in filters, was runner up among Mac apps. Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Ultimate Edition took the top award among Mac App Store games for this year.
Allows more precise notifications
Apple has introduced a new version of its system status page for online services. Whereas the old one often lumped multiple problems together into a single update, the new page has individual lights for each aspect of Apple's services, ranging from Maps, Siri, and FaceTime through to the App Stores and various iCloud functions like Mail, Calendar, Back to My Mac, and iTunes Match.
Addresses bugs, adds features to Profile Manager
Late Thursday, Apple updated the its OS X Server app for Mountain Lion to version 2.2, with its major new feature being a Caching service designed to speed up software downloads from the Mac App Store. The service caches both software updates and purchased apps. In addition to the caching feature, the update addresses a number of issues in the app, the adaptive firewall feature, and the Mail, Calendar, Contacts and Messenger services. It also makes improvements in the Profile Manager.
Registered testers can obtain future builds through Mac App Store
Beginning with a new, second OS X 10.8.3 beta build, Apple is now giving developers the option of obtaining beta OS updates through the Mac App Store's Software Update mechanism. The move should make distribution of updates to registered testing devices more uniform, and expands the use of "developer channel" updates available through the store. Apple says that while email notification of new updates will continue as well, a new tool installed by registered developers will allow Software Update to notify users of new builds.
Apps may not be able to update
People around the world are having trouble accessing the iTunes Store and the Mac and iOS App Stores, according to accounts on Twitter, and tests by MacNN. While the problems aren't universal, they appear to be affecting people in multiple countries, and in some cases may be creating serious issues. Trying to update iOS apps may fail outright, for example.
Card is good at both merchants, benefits AIDS charities
Both Apple's iTunes store and Starbucks' website have begun selling a $30 (Product) RED virtual gift card that offers $15 in credit at each of the two vendors: $15 to spend at Starbucks, and $15 to spend on the iTunes store. Five percent of the purchase price goes to the Global Fund AIDS research foundation. The credit is good for anything purchasable in a Starbucks, or from the company's online store (US only). The iTunes half can be used to buy music, movies, apps, audiobooks, e-books and Mac App Store software.