Teardowns of Apple’s new iPad Air 2 revealed an NFC chip that wasn’t officially announced by Apple, but sources close to the situation have confirmed it’s only being used as a Secure Element for Apple Pay in-app purchases.
App developer Craig Hockenberry has published an article today titled “in-app browsers considered harmful” warning both devs and users of security issues related to apps that take advantage of the feature. “Would it surprise you to know that every one of those apps could eavesdrop on your typing? Even when it’s in a secure login screen with a password field?” Read more
Update: The WWE Apple TV app is now live for users in at least the US and Canada.
Following rumors back and forth regarding the new WWE network launching today, the company has just announced that the service will be available to Apple TV users. WWE confirmed to us in a statement that the Apple TV app will arrive today.
The Apple TV app will provide access to all 12 live WWE Pay-PerView events including WrestleMania, original programming from the network like reality shows and documentaries, as well as 24/7 programming from WWE and a ton of on-demand content.
The update appears to have hit Apple TVs (at least in the US or Canada) with the ability to access the network and purchase subscriptions. The subscription-based WWE network allows users to sign up for service directly within the Apple TV app using an iTunes account. The company notes that subscriptions purchased through Apple TV are “billed as a single charge of $59.99 (plus applicable tax) for the six month subscription period.” Read more
Adweek is reporting that Apple is focusing the iAd sales department almost exclusively on iTunes Radio, rather than developing its in-app ad portfolio, which is how the service originally started. According to the report, Eddy Cue told the advertising unit that iTunes Radio advertisements are a top priority, presumably as Apple is preparing to expand the music service into more countries next year.
Just like app developers have the ability to sell subscriptions as in-app purchases in iOS apps and Newsstand, they will soon be able to offer the same auto-renewable content through in-app purchases in Mac App Store apps.
Mac apps on the latest releases of OS X already support non-subscription based in-app purchases. For example, items that are purchased once and automatically applied to a user’s account. Up until now, developers offering an auto-renewable or non-renewing subscription in their iOS apps couldn’t do the same in the Mac App Store equivalents. Read more
We’ve reported on a number of big improvements coming to iOS 7 for both app developers and accessory manufacturers already. Yesterday we reported first on the new blinking and smiling detection features available to camera and photo app developers, and earlier this month told you about some of the new Bluetooth related APIs coming this fall.
We previously walked you through some of the new APIs and features for gamers, but there is still a lot more coming to third-party app developers in iOS 7. A few big improvements: a text to speech API, background downloads for in-app content, motion effects, 3D maps, and much more.
Head below for details on some of the more notable new APIs available for developers to take advantage of in iOS 7: Read more
As expected, Google just started rolling out its brand new inbox to iOS users after first introducing us to the new category-based design last week. While its not a tabbed design like on the desktop, much like the Android app that just started rolling out iOS users can now access the new feature that groups emails into separate inboxes by selecting categories from the app’s side navigation bar.
Meet the new inbox: If you’ve enabled the new inbox, your mail is now grouped into categories so that you can see what’s new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read when. Primary mail is shown first and it’s easy to access and keep track of email in other categories by opening the menu. Configure this feature by going to Gmail.com on your computer.
Today’s Gmail update also brings improved notifications allowing you to customize what emails you receive notifications for: Read more
Update: Microsoft provided us with the following comment noting that “people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app.” In other words, it doesn’t look like Apple will be getting a cut of additional storage purchased, but users won’t be able to do so via the iOS app:
We worked with Apple to create a solution that benefited our mutual customers. The SkyDrive app for iOS is slightly different than other SkyDrive apps in that people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app.
Back in December we heard reports, later confirmed by Microsoft, that Apple was delaying updates to its SkyDrive iOS app. The delays were apparently over a dispute regarding whether or not Apple should receive its usual 30% cut for additional storage that users purchased through the app.
While there is no word yet on exactly how Microsoft and Apple resolved the issue, Microsoft announced today on its Windows SkyDrive blog that a new update is available for the iOS app via iTunes starting today.
Version 3.0 of the app, the first update to SkyDrive for iOS since June, brings support for iPhone 5 and iPad mini, a revamped user experience, enhancements to photo features such as the ability to download full res photos to iPad and iPhone, and much more: Read more
A police officer in the U.K. named Doug Crossan reported his own 13-year-old son for fraud after Apple refused to refund £3,700 that the child ran up playing freemium App Store titles on his iPad. DailyMail has the story:
Cameron then racked up more than 300 purchases on games such as Plants vs Zombies, Hungry Shark, Gun Builder, Nova 3. Many of them are free to download but users can buy in-game extras – in one game Cameron had purchased a virtual chest of gold coins costing £77.98.
But the technology company has refused and his only way of recouping the money is to report the purchases as being fraudulent. So Mr Crossan, of Clevedon, North Somerset, has shopped Cameron to the Action Fraud helpline – meaning his son could face arrest and questioning by the his father’s colleagues. He said: ‘I am sure Cameron had no intention to do it, but I had to have a crime reference number if there was any chance of getting any credit card payments refunded.
We reported last week that Apple was adding a new “offers in-app purchases” warning in the App Store to better inform consumers downloading free apps that additional content will require a fee. The move followed a settling a class action lawsuit that alleged children were able to rack up thousands of dollars through the iOS freemium model, i.e. in-app purchases, with both parents and children under the impression that the games were free. Apple is refusing to refund Crossan, citing “parental responsibility and pointing out that iPads contain password locks to prevent accidental or unwanted purchases.”
In June, Google decided to update Google Play with a very useful feature for developers: the ability to respond to the user reviews attached to their apps in the store. The feature is an important one, allowing developers to respond to criticisms, provide updates on necessary upcoming fixes, and perhaps most importantly, communicate directly with their users. Google’s decision to introduce the feature made it clear the App Store needs to revamp its customer support—and developers agreed.
Apple has yet to introduce any sort major overhaul to its App Store customer support and rankings. However, Freshdesk, creators of cloud-based help desk software, introduced a product today that provides direct, in-app customer support for iOS developers.
The free “MobiHelp” SDK allows a developer to implement customer support directly within their iOS apps using a single line of code. This will allow developers to not just respond to comments in the store like Google Play, but also communicate directly with their users from within the app. From there, devs can view and respond to feedback inside of FreskDesk HTML5 app on the desktop or mobile:
Apple’s App Store is currently taking approximately four times more revenue generated by the 200 highest grossing apps in comparison to the Android Market. According to research firm Distimo’s recently published 2011 report, a significantly increasing portion of app downloads are originating in China.
Likely further increased by Apple’s recent announcement to begin accepting App Store payments in Chinese Yuan, Distimo said when comparing the United States and China, 30 percent of downloads are coming from China. This is up from approximately 18 percent reported by Distimo in January 2011.
Growth in China is even more impressive when looking at just iPad numbers with China now accounting for 44 percent of all downloads from the two countries. Distimo reported late last month that App Store downloads for the top 100 paid apps in China nearly doubled just days following Apple’s decision to accept Yuan.
During Apple’s fourth quarter earnings call, CEO Tim Cook called the progress in China “amazing” and said the country represents “enormous opportunity.” As of that time, revenues from China accounted for 16 percent of Apple’s revenue for the September quarter – approximately $4.52 billion.
Some of the other interesting numbers reported by Distimo, include: 50 percent of App Store revenue for iPhone is now generated by freemium apps and in-app purchases for the 200 highest grossing apps; there are currently 79,077 games for iPhone, 28,683 for iPad, and 46,045 for the Android Market.
While the report noted App Store downloads have been on the decline for the year, downloads peaked following the release of the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. Distimo attributed the increase to what they call the “anticipation effect” for Apple’s new devices.
Distimo put together their App of the Year Award based on total downloads worldwide across all platforms. Not surprisingly, Angry Birds took the top spot, followed by Facebook, Skype, Google Maps, and iBooks. Check out the full top 10 below.
The Financial Times has officially been removed from the App Store after failing to comply with Apple’s in-app subscription model that requires payments to be processed through iTunes (giving Apple a 30% cut in the process).
The publication used to have an iPhone and iPad app, which appear to have been removed from the App Store today. Fortunately for FT (not so much for Apple), they also have an HTML5 web app alternative that they’re urging iOS users to use instead.