Apple Watch App Store goes live today with social, health, and news featured (U: now available)

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The Apple Watch App Store dedicated to iPhone apps that include WatchKit apps is going live ahead of the new device’s launch tomorrow, BuzzFeed says. Apple first added the Apple Watch App Store in iOS 8.2 as part of the Apple Watch companion app, but until now the section has displayed a coming soon page. The Watch’s App Store is available now. Read more

HTTPS bug leaves 1,500 iOS apps vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, finds analytics company

The buggy code highlighted by arsTechnica

The buggy code highlighted by arsTechnica

A bug in the way that 1,500 iOS apps establish secure connections to servers leaves them vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, according to analytics company SourceDNA (via arsTechnica). The bug means anyone intercepting data from an iPhone or iPad could access logins and other sensitive information sent using the HTTPS protocol.

A man-in-the-middle attack allows a fake WiFi hotspot to intercept data from devices connecting to it. Usually, this wouldn’t work with secure connections, as the fake hotspot wouldn’t have the correct security certificate. However, the bug discovered by SourceDNA means that the vulnerable apps fail to check the certificate …  Read more

Google’s free photo editing app Snapseed 2.0 gets lens blur, layers, new UI, more

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Snapseed, the excellent free photo editing application, today received its first major update since Google purchased developer Nik Software back in 2012. Version 2.0 arrived in the App Store with a brand new user interface and a huge collection of new features, most notably including spot healing, lens blur effects, perspective transformation, and a non-destructive editing system that can copy edits from one image to another. The app remains universal across iOS devices, and now has a minimalist UI with Material Design influence.

While Apple’s Photos application improved considerably with the release of iOS 8, Snapseed’s unique ability to selectively fix small parts of photos — such as improving the brightness level of one dark face in an otherwise bright image — has kept it relevant as a key iOS photo editing tool for years. Snapseed 2.0 expands upon that feature, letting you apply filters and brushes selectively with a brush tool. You can also go into individual layers and make adjustments to changes that were previously applied during the editing process.

Snapseed 2.0 is available for free from the App Store now. Additional details are after the break…

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Apple reportedly acquired search startup Ottocat in 2013 for “Explore” tab in App Store

Apple often acquires small startup companies very quietly and without any formal announcement to bolster its own services, and a new report from TechCrunch claims that the company acquired Ottocat in late-2013. Ottocat was a startup that focused on developing a system to organize and discover apps based on increasingly specific subcategories. Apple currently uses this technology to power the “Explore” tab in the App Store, as seen above.

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Opinion: How soon is too soon for an Apple Watch 2?

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Apple’s upcoming retail overhaul for displaying the Watch

A lot of my techie friends are saying that the entry priced-Apple Watch Sport will be their pick next month, and not because of the exterior look. The theory is that Sport is the cheapest way to experience Apple’s new product category in 2015, and since the second-gen Apple Watch will inevitably be upgraded, why pay a premium this year for nicer materials such as stainless steel and sapphire glass?

Despite the Apple Watch’s desire to marry jewelry with technology, it hasn’t lost the baggage gadgets carry, namely the reality that they’ll be outdated and replaced in a relatively short period of time. If the Apple Watch evolves anything like the original iPad did when it became the iPad 2, the differences could be dramatic.

Personally, when I think about getting more perceived value out of a higher-priced stainless steel Apple Watch rather than testing the waters with the cheaper aluminum model, I’m more concerned with how soon the Apple Watch 2 will be announced rather than how much more functional the newer device could be. No matter what happens with the first-generation model, an Apple Watch 2 will come to market. How will Apple balance keeping the Apple Watch evolutionary momentum going with keeping the first-generation model “modern” for enough time to satisfy early adopters?

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App Store revenue likely to double by 2018, generating $20B – IDC/App Annie

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Data from IDC and App Annie suggested that both Apple and Google are likely to see their app store revenues doubling within the next four years, reports Re/code. Based on Apple’s 2014 total revenue of $10B, this would suggest that Apple is likely to hit total revenue of $20B in 2018, with developers seeing $14B of it.

“I would consider this projection conservative,” App Annie CEO Bertrand Schmitt said in an interview, noting that the company has consistently been revising its forecasts up over the past two years as revenue has exceeded expectations.

The study also suggested that the trend toward freemium apps, which derive their income from in-app purchases, will continue–though this model is more common on Android than iOS …  Read more

Apple begins releasing the first set of third-party Apple Watch apps

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The Apple Watch is still almost a month away from shipping and 15 days away from being available to preview in Apple Stores, but a select few apps selected by Apple to be available for the Apple Watch have started hitting the App Store today. These app updates that add Apple Watch support include Twitter, Things, Target, Dark Sky, and Sky Guide, and many more apps are continuing to roll out with support. Read more

Apple reportedly cracks down on antivirus apps from iOS App Store, many apps pulled

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Searching for ‘antivirus’ now only shows games or Find My iPhone-esque apps.

Apple has seemingly decided to crack down on antivirus and antimalware apps, removing them from the App Store. Although there has been no official statement from Apple on a policy change, Apple’s loose guidelines allow them to pull pretty much anything at any time, particularly something like antivirus which has questionable utility within the sandboxed iOS environment of iPhones and iPads.

One casualty of the removal is Intego’s VirusBarrier, which claims that this takedown was not specific to its product with Apple deciding the entire category of antivirus products is now off-limits.

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Unscrupulous website adverts again redirecting some users to App Store from Safari

Update: Some of the websites shown in the video cannot be explained by the hypothesis posted below about adverts redirecting to the App Store. The large amount of corroboration by readers about this happening to them suggests there is a mechanism, somewhere along the line, causing a real problem.

Website advertisement companies have found a way to circumvent the protections introduced in iOS 8 to stop users from being kicked to the App Store because of certain cleverly-coded JavaScript advertisements.

I am now experiencing this myself, and it makes browsing on the iPhone unusable. Browsing to websites such as Reddit and Reuters and others now automatically open the App Store. In many cases, there is no way for me to read the actual content on the pages. You can see this happen in the video above.

This flared up as a serious issue last year, when users found they were being taken to random App Store pages without granting any kind of permission…

In iOS 8 beta 2, Apple supposedly had remedied the issue: “Safari now blocks ads from automatically redirecting to the App Store without user interaction.”. However, it seems that ad companies have now managed to work around these safeguards. Read more