Apple reverses decision barring marijuana apps from the App Store, now requires location-based restrictions

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Apple has apparently been revising its app review strategy this week and has decided to reverse a previous decision that banned MassRoots, a marijuana-centric social app, from its software storefront. The application was booted from the App Store late last year (though it lasted much longer on the store than some other apps).

According to App Store guideline 2.18:

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Apple begins enforcing rule requiring App Store screenshots and icons to meet 4+ rating standard

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Apple has started enforcing a long-ignored rule in its App Store guidelines regarding what kinds of content can appear in app metadata. According to rule 3.6 in the guidelines document:

Apps with App icons, screenshots, and previews that do not adhere to the 4+ age rating will be rejected

This rule has been mostly unenforced since the App Store launched, but according to a new report from Pocket Gamer, some app developers are starting to see their apps rejected for depictions of violence in their screenshots.

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App Store responds to freemium haters, features ‘Pay Once & Play’ games with no in-app purchases

App Store  As part of Apple’s weekly App Store refresh, the company is currently highlighting iOS games for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch that are paid apps with no in-app purchases, MacStories points out. The featured section is notable as in-app purchases have been a source of confusion and frustration for many consumers since their introduction despite being an added revenue source for developers and Apple. Read more

Apple increases app size limit from 2GB to 4GB for App Store submissions

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Apple today announced that it is increasing the size limit for apps submitted by developers to the App Store through its iTunes Connect service. Previously limited to 2GB, app packages can now be a maximum of 4GB in size. Apple made the announcement on its website for developers earlier today but some apps have been over the 2GB limit since at least January.  Read more

iOS 8 hits 72% adoption in latest data, still trails iOS 7 rate a year ago (Updated 2x)

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Update 2/17: 73% iOS 8 adoption measured on February 16th, up 1% since February 2nd. Change shows 1% moving from iOS 7 to iOS 8 with ‘Earlier’ remaining at 3%.

Update 3/3: A month later, iOS 8 is now running on 3 out of 4 iOS devices according to Apple’s data. 75% of devices are now running iOS 8, with 22% still running iOS 7.

Apple released a new count today for the percentage of iOS devices accessing the App Store and running iOS 8. According to App Store Distribution data, 72% of iOS devices are now running iOS 8 with a quarter of devices running iOS 7 and a tiny 3% of users running iOS 6 or earlier versions using data “measured by the App Store on February 2, 2015.” That puts iOS 8 adoption up 3% since Apple last reported data two weeks ago with only 69% of devices running iOS 8 at the time. Read more

Opinion: Square Enix’s flip-flop on iOS 8 support spotlights App Store ambiguities, risks

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Square Enix’s The World Ends With You

 

Buying an app from the App Store is designed to be as easy as possible. A large button with a price tag sits as close to the app’s icon and name as possible, while additional details linger below. You’re not supposed to think or worry too much about each purchase — the transaction is impulse-driven when the price is low — and the implication is that the app will work when you get it, and keep working for a long time thereafter.

But what happens when an app — marketed as compatible with current iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches — is never updated for the latest version of iOS, and either stops working after an iOS upgrade, or never works at all on new devices? That’s the situation buyers of Square Enix’s $18 The World Ends with You: Solo Remix (and $20 iPad version) have found themselves in since iOS 8 was released. The game’s description claims that it “requires iOS 4.3 or later” and is compatible with devices that shipped with iOS 8, but it wasn’t actually iOS 8-compatible. Yesterday, Square Enix publicly flip-flopped on whether it would leave the game unplayable or fix it. Before changing its tune, the company told customers that they’d need to continue to keep using iOS 7 in order to play the game — an unrealistic alternative, though one that’s faced by users of numerous iOS apps that aren’t being updated by their developers.

By considering abandonment of the 69% of iOS users who are currently on iOS 8, Square Enix wasn’t just making a business choice; it was also spotlighting the risk App Store customers take every time they purchase an app. And it also revealed how long-unsolved App Store listing ambiguities are subjecting users, developers, and Apple itself to unnecessary problems.

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Widespread iTunes Connect issue presenting wrong user name and apps for developers (Update: Resolved)

iTunes Connect, Apple’s portal where developers manage software published on the App Store, is presenting many users with a widespread issue this morning. Several users are reporting logging in with their own credentials and being presented with both the name and apps of other iTunes Connect users, including upcoming, unreleased versions of apps. 9to5Mac has corroborated the errors with iTunes Connect. Read more

Apple’s Back to School sale returns to Australia and New Zealand w/ gift card promo

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Apple’s annual Back to School sale in Australia and New Zealand has gone live with a promotion for qualifying students to receive Apple Store credit with the purchase of a Mac, iPad, or iPhone. Similar to last year, the Back to School sale includes the usual education pricing on Macs and iPads, but this year Apple is including Apple Store gift cards rather than App Store gift cards like last year. Read more

Apple shutting down legacy TestFlight next month following iTunes Connect integration

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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

Opinion: Could there be method in Apple’s apparent madness in removing freebies?

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I was extremely surprised when Apple made the decision to drop its Single of the Week, after doing the same thing with its 12 Days of Christmas promo. As I wrote then, the free single seemed a win-win-win: consumers got free music, lesser-known artists got exposure, Apple got the goodwill that stems from giving away free stuff.

But thinking more about it, perhaps there is method in Apple’s madness after all. Let’s start with the obvious point: the company is about to launch an Apple-branded Beats Music service, and it would then make sense to say that this, not iTunes freebies, is the way to discover new music.

But it’s not just music: 12 Days of Christmas was content of all types, apps included, so I think there could be a bigger picture here. Bear with me while I make that case in a slightly roundabout fashion …

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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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