Apple shutting down legacy TestFlight next month following iTunes Connect integration

TestFlight iTunes Connect

Apple today began informing legacy TestFlight users that the services on TestFlightApp.com will no longer be available after February 26th, 2015. Apple bought the popular software testing distribution service through its acquisition of Burstly almost a year ago, and announced plans at WWDC 2014 to roll out its own version of the service in the future. Since then, Apple has integrated TestFlight beta testing for app developers with iTunes Connect. Read more

Apple pushes pre-release OS X 10.10.2 (14C106a) preview to testers

OS X 10.10.2 beta

After several preview releases to testers, Apple has pushed yet another OS X 10.10.2 build to pre-release Yosemite testers through the Updates section of the Mac App Store. Previous builds of the Mac operating system focused on improving bugs with WiFi, Mail, and VoiceOver, and this pre-release seed is no exception. We’ll update our coverage with what we find in the latest pre-release seed. Read more

Will Apple allow ads on Apple Watch?

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With more developers and businesses taking advantage of Bluetooth beacons for advertising to nearby iPhone users, many consumers have concerns that the experience could be intrusive from an end user’s perspective. Apple Watch, scheduled for release later this year, could potentially add to that problem if Apple decides to allow iOS apps sending info to the smartwatch to also send advertising as we come in contact with beacons. It hasn’t yet, however, provided public details about what it plans for advertising on the device.

Despite the fact that there aren’t specific references to advertising in Apple’s guidelines for app developers building features for Apple Watch, a couple companies have already announced plans to deliver ads to the device. But do they know something we don’t? Or has Apple not yet made up its mind regarding what it plans for advertising policies on the Watch ahead of a launch expected in the next couple of months?

Sources at large advertising companies tell us Apple is being very cooperative, but that the company hasn’t relayed anything in the form of final guidelines. Read more

Apple defends against EU 14-day refund abuse with App Store alert for customers with excessive refunds on file

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Last week, we reported on a flaw with the EU’s new no-questions-asked 14-day refund policy that meant customers could effectively get paid apps for free, as refunding the app does not delete it from customers’ devices.

In response, Apple has adjusted its App Store purchases slightly for customers who have an excessive number of refunds on file. This means people with a track record of refunding purchase effectively lose the right to refund their purchase.

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The fundamental flaw with EU 14-day refunds: you keep the app forever

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A week ago, Apple introduced 14-day no-questions-asked refunds in the EU for iTunes Store and App Store content. This means that, without the need for a reason, any Apple customer in Europe can get their money back for (primarily) app purchases in 5-7 days time. That’s how it is described, at least.

This opens up some possibilities for abuse. For instance, if you complete a game within two weeks, then you can get your money back and end up paying nothing. As a developer, I tested this out myself. It turns out there is an even bigger problem. At least, right now, when the refund is processed, the app continues to work. You get the app for free, forever.

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Apple’s unreleased iBeacon hardware exposed in user manual published by FCC

Way back in July, Apple registered FCC certification for a new piece of iBeacon Bluetooth hardware. Naturally, 9to5Mac covered the release of wireless certification documents for the hardware. It was unclear by those filings the nature of the product, whether it was targeted at use in Apple Stores, some form of developer testing equipment or something else entirely. The product was never made publicly available for purchase, for unknown reasons.

However, time has elapsed such that the rest of Apple’s submitted documents are now available to the public. Vitally, this includes a user manual which immediately signals that this iBeacon hardware was meant for developers, presumably to test iBeacon integration in their own apps. It’s unclear, though, if this is meant to be used ‘in the wild’. Read on for an exposition on the workings of this mysterious device.

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GoodReader app forced to remove some iCloud Drive features to comply with App Store policies (update: reversed!)

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UpdateGoodReader 4.8.1 has now been released and the iCloud functionality has returned without explanation. It is unclear what prompted the reversal, although it is likely that Apple has once again backtracked on a public App Store decision.

Continuing the string of controversy regarding App Store approval in recent weeks, an update pushed through by GoodReader ($4.99, iPhone and iPad) earlier today shows that the company has been forced to remove some significant iCloud Drive features, in order to comply with iCloud Drive usage guidelines and remain in the App Store.

Specifically, the GoodReader update removes the ability to add folders, remove folders or move files around the iCloud Drive storage location. The update notes reference a ‘usage policy’, although it is unclear what document the company is referring to.

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Security researcher rewrites Mac firmware over Thunderbolt, says most Intel Thunderbolt Macs vulnerable

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A security researcher speaking at the Chaos Computer Congress in Hamburg demonstrated a hack that rewrites an Intel Mac’s firmware using a Thunderbolt device with attack code in an option ROM. Known as Thunderstrike, the proof of concept presented by Trammel Hudson infects the Apple Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) in a way he claims cannot be detected, nor removed by reinstalling OS X.

Since the boot ROM is independent of the operating system, reinstallation of OS X will not remove it. Nor does it depend on anything stored on the disk, so replacing the harddrive has no effect. A hardware in-system-programming device is the only way to restore the stock firmware.

Apple has already implemented an intended fix in the latest Mac mini and iMac with Retina display, which Hudson says will soon be available for other Macs, but appears at this stage to provide only partial protection…  Read more

Apple increases app prices in Russia in response to changing exchange rates

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Apple has today informed developers that it has changed the pricing of apps and In-App Purchases in the Russian App Store, following changes to exchange rates. The recent ruble-dollar rates have fluctuated so widely in recent weeks that Apple has been forced to take the Russian Apple Online Store down completely, as it reviews pricing for its products. 

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Apple seeds third OS X 10.10.2 beta highlighting fixes for WiFi, Mail, & VoiceOver

Yosemite 10.10.2 beta

Apple has seeded a new build of pre-release OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 highlighting focus ares including WiFi, Mail, and VoiceOver. The third tester preview of OS X 10.10.2 brings the build number up to 14C81f following build 14C78c released earlier this month. We’ll update with any notable changes spotted in the new release for testers. Read more