EU accuses Apple of dragging its feet on protections for ‘misleading’ IAP-driven free apps

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The European Commission has complained that Apple is taking too long to implement protections for freemium games in the App Store, reports BBC News. The Commission has decreed that both Apple and Google, the two biggest app store vendors, must make the “true cost of apps” clear before purchase. However, officials are upset that Apple has not yet committed to any such measures.

“Regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorisation,” the Commission said in a statement.

“Apple has proposed to address those concerns. However, no firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes.

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iOS 7 jailbreak installs pirate App Store if your device language is Chinese (updates)

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Screenshot by @saurik.

(Updates below)

This morning, the evad3rs released the first public iOS 7 jailbreak. At the time, it seemed like something was off because other key members of the community had not been informed of the upcoming release. For instance, Jay Freeman (@Saurik on Twitter) had not been notified and as such the version of Cydia bundled was not official or up-to-date.

It turns out, however, that more questionable activity has taken place. The evasion jailbreak includes a Chinese ‘alternative’ app store, which is full of cracked versions of real apps and games found in Apple’s App Store.

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BlackBerry announces BBM for iPhone & Android available today with reservation system

Update: The app is now live on the App Store.

After the BBM apps prematurely started rolling out for iPhone and Android and were abruptly pulled late last month, BlackBerry finally confirmed today that it’s officially kicking off the roll out of the apps. In a blog post, the company announced that the BBM apps will be available for both iPhone and Android within the next few hours through the App Store, Google Play, and Samsung’s App Store:

The demand for BBM on Android and BBM on iPhone continues to be amazing. About six million people signed up for information about BBM at BBM.com. As you know, in just seven hours, about one million Android users were using the unreleased version of BBM for Android. What you don’t know is that more than one million people have found creative ways to “side load” BBM on their iPhone. This is incredible.

While the app is available to download starting today, it will utilize a staggered rollout that will see users reserving a spot in line by entering their email address. BlackBerry says users that signed up previously through its website can start using the app immediately, but we’ll have to wait to see how many people sign up today in order to estimate how long the queue will be.  Read more

Apple abandons App Store trademark case against Amazon

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Apple’s long-running lawsuit against Amazon for its use of the “App Store” trademark might finally be coming to an end as Reuters reports a judge has dismissed the case at the request of the companies. The report claims U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in California dismissed the case “after Apple issued to Amazon a covenant not to sue, eliminating the need for Amazon to pursue a related counterclaim.”

“We no longer see a need to pursue our case,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said. “With more than 900,000 apps and 50 billion downloads, customers know where they can purchase their favorite apps.”

A spokesperson for Amazon said “This was a decision by Apple to unilaterally abandon the case, and leave Amazon free to use ‘appstore’. Read more

Free on App Store: Infinity Blade II, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP, Where’s My Water?, Badland, Tiny Wings, Traktor DJ, Day One, Over, Barefoot World Atlas, more

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Update: Apple is now officially advertising its app promo celebrating the App Store’s 5th birthday with a link on the Apple.com homepage and a new section in iTunes. You can access the new section featuring 5 apps and 5 games free for a limited time from iTunes on your Mac or the App Store on your iOS device.

As noted on 9to5Toys and the Verge, a group of premium games have free at the iOS App Store this morning.

So far, games such as Infinity Blade IISuperbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EPWhere’s My Water?Badland and Tiny Wings are all on offer for nothing, alongside apps such as [Map My Ride], Traktor DJ (normally $20), Day OneOver, and Barefoot World Atlas.

Speculation is that the huge sale is to celebrate the 5th birthday of the App Store. Or part of the “Only on the App Store” Promotion above. Or a glitch. Or…just go download them!

Find any other gems? Share in the comments… Read more

Wahwah, Viddy, Launch Center Pro, Audible’s Audiobooks, Punch Quest, and price drops

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9to5Mac has once again scoured the App Store for all the latest app launches, price drops, noteworthy news, and updates, and we have compiled everything in a roundup below. Check it out, but keep coming back as we continually refresh the list throughout the day.

New

1. Wahwah | Free
Wahwah is a personalized radio service that just landed in the App Store, and it offers a catalogue of more than 15 million songs and allows users to discover the perfect song for working, running, cycling, driving, etc. Users can notably check-in to their location, type in the name of an artist, browse custom stations, or select recommended music, while Wahwah sees who is around, taps into their music, and then offers users the ability to simultaneously listen together and interact via chat.

Updated

1. Viddy | Free
Version 2.1.1 of this Instagram-like app for videos went live today with the ability to handle 30-second clips, pause recordings for multiple-segment filming, toggle brightness, contrast and volume, and simulate stop-motion capture.  The  updated app also features 15 new filters, all new music tracks, simplified video descriptions, swipe-based navigation, new Explore section, geo-feeds with video discovery, Home feed with user preferences, YouTube annotations, and support for 16 new languages.

More apps and updates below.

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App Store stays ahead of rapidly growing Google Play in Distimo’s year-end app analytics report

Distimo-2012-Year in Review-02Analytics firm Distimo is out today with the full results of its year-end 2012 app analytics report (via Fortune). While Apple is still the clear winner in terms of revenue, Google Play showed significant growth in the last four months. Its daily revenue grew 43 percent in 20 major markets. Apple’s growth was smaller, increasing daily revenue by 21 percent, but Distimo’s numbers show Google still has a long way to go:

On a typical day in November 2012, the revenues in the Apple App Store exceeded $15M USD, while in Google Play the revenues are just below $3.5M USD in 20 of the largest countries in both app stores… Even though the growth in revenues in Google Play in the last four months is close to that of the Apple App Store in 2012, the growth in daily revenues in the Apple App Store was higher than the total daily revenues in Google Play when comparing absolute daily revenue values.

As for the most popular apps of 2012, Distimo said Asian publisher Naver was able to beat Draw Something’s record of 1 million users in nine day. Its app, Line Pop, got 1.75 million downloads in the first 72 hours. That’s something that took Facebook nine months to accomplish. The app also brought over 1 million in revenue for the developer in 12 days.

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To round out the year in review, Distmo breaks down revenue by category in the charts below: the top 10 most grossing cross-store publishers, the top 10 publishers and apps by downloads on the App Store, and the top five highest growing countries by revenue. There aren’t many surprises: Read more

Evernote 5 for iOS, Podcasts, Amtrak adds Passbook support, Infinity Blade sale, more

As always, we’ll update the list of new apps and updates below as they hit the App Store:

Evernote 5 for iOS: Following the introduction of a new desktop version, Evernote is teasing the upcoming release of Evernote 5 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch on its blog today. Version 5 of the iOS app is completely redesigned and includes a new Quick Note button, a “Recent Notes” list on iPad, as well as “Views for Notes, Notebooks, Tags, and Places.” We get a preview of the new app in the video above.

Amtrak version 1.3: The official Amtrak app has added Passbook support today with the new eTickets now accepted at all stations:

From the integrated eTicket screen you select the action button to add it to Passbook. Passbook eTickets can be shown and scanned by conductors onboard Amtrak trains nationwide.

Podcasts version 1.1.2: Apple updated its Podcasts app today with a few new features and enhancements:

• Tapping a podcast in Top Stations now reveals episodes you can play
• You can now easily turn on automatic downloads for all subscribed podcasts in Settings
• Addresses an issue where previously played or deleted episodes unexpectedly reappear as new
• Resolves an issue where Podcasts may unexpectedly play after a phone call or alarm
• Includes additional stability and performance improvements

iOS App Sales: Read more

TweetDeck, Calendars by Readdle, Recall, Ustream, Yelp, more

TweetDeck version 2.0.0: Popular Mac App Store Twitter client TweetDeck gets a big update today that brings a revamped UI with “Improved clarity of columns and Tweets”, the ability to change font sizes, and redesigned profile panels with images. The updated app, which includes a toggle to switch between the classic dark and a new light view (pictured above), also now allows unfollow, block, and report spam actions to function for tweets in all columns. Features of new app are highlighted in a blog post on the TweetDeck blog, and the full release notes from iTunes are below:

• Redesigned UI
• Improved clarity of columns and Tweets
• New option to choose the app colour – dark or light
• Ability to change font size under Settings > General
• Redesigned & improved profile panel, including profile header images
• Unfollow, Block & Report spam actions now remove tweets from all columns
• Popup windows can now be repositioned using drag handle in top-left corner
• Repeated retweets are no longer displayed in Timeline columns
• Reduced the volume of the notification sound
• Tweet actions now available on Tweets in the Add Column menu
• $Tags are now linkified
• Fixed some display issues with Growl notifications
• Plus lots of other fixes and smaller updates

Calendars by Readdle: Readdle is re-launching its Calendars app that it calls the “most elegant and easy to use Google Calendar client available on the AppStore.” In other words, the app is now fully iPhone 5, and iOS 6 compatibility, fixing a crash some of the app’s 400k users had been experiencing.

Snapseed version 1.4.2:

-Snapseed now supports iOS 6 and the iPhone 5

-Flickr Support has been temporarily disabled due to a violation of the Apple App Store Guidelines. We are working with Flickr and Apple to find a solution to bring Flickr support back to Snapseed. 

Recall: Launching today in the App Store, Recall is an interesting new app that allows you to store and get notifications for recommendations you have received for movies, music, apps, books etc. For example, you can search for and save movies to a “My Items” list, allowing you to receive notifications when a specific movie is released. The idea is to save items as people recommend them to you, so in the future the app will act as a quick way to recall those recommendations and get notified of availability. It will also allow you to share recommendations with other Recall users via email and social networks, as well as browse new releases and top charts. The app essentially works as a wish list for iTunes content and new movies with built-in reminders and sharing, features the App Store and iTunes on iOS are currently missing. A promo video for the app is below:

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Apps & updates: Google+, PhotoMagic, Amazon Cloud Player, Vintagio, more

Google+ version 3.1: The universal Google+ iOS app was updated today with a couple of notable features including the ability to open web links within posts in the Chrome iOS app, fixes for an Instant Upload issue, performance enhancements, and access for teens to join and create Hangouts.

PhotoMagic version 1.0: Recently released on the App Store, PhotoMagic is an Instagram-like app for your Mac, allowing you to apply one-click filters, lighting effects, frame styles, and share photos through Facebook, Flickr, and elsewhere. Unlike the Instagram experience, PhotoMagic isn’t limited to only a few filters and packs in 70+ photo effects, 90+ lighting effects, and 90+ frames. The app is currently half off for a limited time.

Silent Film Director/Vintagio: Silent FIlm Director is free starting this Thursday until August 19 in order to celebrate the app’s upcoming update and name change. Silent Film Director will soon turn into “Vintagio”, and users of the old Silent Film Director app will get an update to the new and improved vintage video app for free.

Amazon Cloud Player version 1.2.1: A small update goes to Amazon’s Cloud Player iOS app that will please users experiencing a bug requiring a network connection for library playback.
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Apple attempts to take down in-app purchase hack

On Friday, we broke the news on some worrying tips we received about an “in-app proxy” hack that allowed even novice users to illegally install paid in-app purchase content for free. In updates to our original story, we noted the hack’s developer, Alexey V. Borodin, said in an interview that Apple’s method of validating receipts for developers would not protect apps from the hack. Apple followed up with a statement that claimed it is investigating the issue. Today, we get an update from The Next Web that further claims Apple began taking action over the weekend:

Over the weekend, Apple began blocking the IP address of the server used by Russian hacker Alexey V. Borodin to authenticate purchases.

It followed this up with a takedown request on the original server, taking down third-party authentication with it, also issuing a copyright claim on the overview video Borodin used to document the circumvention method. PayPal also got involved, placing a block on the original donation account for violating its terms of service

Unfortunately, the service is reportedly still operational with Borodin apparently moving the server to a location outside of Russia. He told The Next Web that the new service has been “updated and cuts out Apple’s servers, ‘improving’ the protocol to include its own authorisation and transaction processes. The new method ‘can and will not reach the App Store anymore, so the proxy (or caching) feature has been disabled’”

While Borodin also claimed he has changed the process to force users to sign out of their iTunes account (to ensure users he is not stealing personal/credit card data), there are more than a few reasons to still be concerned. Developer Alastair Houghton told us that he thinks Borodin’s method could be used “intercept traffic intended for any other secure website”:

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Next Issue for iPad launches, offers bevy of popular magazines for just $10/month [Video]

Next Issue, a subscription-based iPad app for magazines, finally hit the App Store today after first having launched as an Android app on the Google Play store.

The sales pitch is simple: “All the magazines you love. All in one app. All yours for one low price.”

Folks need to visit NextIssue.com to create an account and start a 30-day free trial, and then they can download the app to access a bevy of titles from Conde Nast, News Corp, Hearst, Meredith, Time, and more major publishers. A few of the more enticing magazine titles include: Allure, Better Homes and Gardens, Bon Appétit, ELLE, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Fitness, Fortune, Glamour, GQ, InStyle, People, Popular Mechanics, Real Simple, Self, Southern Living, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, TIME, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Wired.

Next Issue offers two subscription types: the $10 monthly plan only provides the top magazines, while the $15 monthly plan boasts the entire catalog with weekly selections. A quick gander through the catalog shows enhanced digital magazines, which are tablet-optimized and feature bonus videos, photography and interactive elements.

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