Apple blocks users on beta versions of iOS from writing App Store reviews

via Ryan Orbuch

via Ryan Orbuch

In a move that will certainly please iOS developers, Apple has finally disabled the ability to write app reviews on the latest beta version of iOS 9. When attempting to review applications in the store, beta users will now be met with a message informing them that the feature is unavailable. The change was spotted by several Twitter users earlier this evening.

App makers have long been put off by low reviews from users experiencing problems related to unsupported versions of the mobile operating system, which often hurt an app’s overall ratings and possibly affected their downloads as potential buyers took note of the negative feedback without knowing the full context.

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12-inch MacBook review roundup: The future of the notebook, but USB-C, keys and speed are issues

12-inch MacBook 2015

We originally reported that Apple was preparing to release a redesigned 12-inch MacBook in January and the company made the device official during its Spring Forward event. The 12-inch MacBook doesn’t go on sale until tomorrow, April 10th, but reviews have already started pouring in today.

The all-new 12-inch MacBook has been completely redesigned and is the thinnest MacBook Apple offers. The laptop sports a 2304×1440 resolution display and is just 13.1mm thick at its thickest point. To get the laptop this thin, Apple made compromises and those compromises have made many potential buyers worry. The new MacBook only features a single USB-C port, with Apple encouraging users to use adapters to fulfill their other needs. Performance concerns also arose when benchmarks allegedly emerged from the laptop showing performance on-par with that of a 2011 MacBook Air. You can read our roundup of all the 12-inch MacBook reviews below:

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Review: LifeProof Nüüd is just the right amount of protection for your iPhone 5/5s

nuud

This case has been around for a while, and frankly, I’ve always been a no-case kind of guy. But when I found myself not being as careful with my now almost two-year old iPhone 5, I thought that maybe I should just go all the way. Maybe I should get ahold of one of the more protective cases out there, without going off the deep end and getting something would provide more protection than I need.

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Review: mik Sound Case cranks up the volume on your iPhone

photo

The mik Sound Case is a new type of phone case available for the iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5/5s. It amplifies the phone’s speaker by an additional 15 to 20 decibels and improves the clarity and quality of the sound. By blocking the speaker, the case forces the sound to travel through a hollow space and out an opening on the back of the phone. Thankfully, the lightweight case doesn’t add any additional weight to the phone.

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iPad Air reviews go live, highlight thinner & lighter form factor, battery life, and speed improvements

Apple-iPad-event-2013 2013-10-22 at 2.07.02 PM

During last week’s media event, Apple announced a new model of the iPad that is lighter and thinner than the previous generation. The iPad Air weighs only one pound and improved internals. The new tablet features the same 64-bit A7 processor found in the new iPhone 5s, support for MIMO Wi-Fi, and an improved FaceTime camera. All of this is packed into a 7.5mm case, a noticeable improvement over the previous 9.4mm fourth-generation iPad.

Tonight, tech writers across the web published their reviews of the iPad Air. The reviews are mostly positive, with much emphasis on the new form factor, battery life, and faster processor. You can find links and highlights for each review below.

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Apple reportedly testing changes to App Store ranking algorithms, now including user ratings

apprankgraph

According to a new report from research firm Fiksu, which regularly tracks changes to App Store charts, Apple might be experimenting with new algorithms for iTunes and App Store rankings that incorporate user ratings. Apple previously only used the number of downloads and how fast an app was being downloaded in order to rank apps for its top charts, but Fisku thinks it has recently started incorporating user rankings:

In late July, we first began to notice apps unexpectedly shifting position without a corresponding increase or decrease in downloads. Upon closer inspection, we discovered these position changes correlated with the apps’ ratings. As evidenced by the graph below, apps with ratings of 4 or more stars received a rank boost in late July and have maintained that rank throughout August. Poorly rated apps with less than 3 stars received the opposite treatment about two weeks later, dropping off precipitously in rank and staying that way. Average rated apps, between 3 and 4 stars, suffered a slight degradation in rank but have generally been less affected.

The report also notes that, in recent weeks, Apple appears to be updating App Store charts every three hours opposed to the 15 minute intervals it was using previously. Fisku speculates that the increase could be to help prevent manipulation of the app charts, noting that “three hours allows enough time to identify anomalies and remove apps before they suddenly appear at the top of the rankings.”  Read more

Hit indie game ‘Limbo’ arrives for iPhone & iPad for $4.99 in App Store

We already knew critically acclaimed indie game Limbo would be arriving on iOS this week after an announcement from Danish developer Playdead late last month. Today the title has finally arrived in the App Store for all users and comes with a mere $4.99 price tag for one of the best reviewed indie console games in recent years.

Early reviews for the iOS port seem to be positive and, apart from some tweaked controls for the touchscreen, includes the entire game experience from the console versions.

Limbo ($4.99) for iPhone and iPad is available on the App Store now. Read more

Review: Panic’s Status Board — the ultimate information dashboard for your iPad

My personal Status Board

The guys over at Panic Inc. have been teasing their new iPad app on their blog and Twitter all week, and today the app known as Status Board hits the App Store.

Panic was kind enough to allow us a preview of its app, and needless to say, we liked what we found.

The Oregon-based software company is largely known for their OS X FTP client Transmit, but entered the iOS space in April 2011 with the launch of Prompt, their SSH client for iPhone and iPad, followed by their affectionately named web editor Diet Coda this past May. This marks the third year in a row that Panic has released an entirely new app on the iOS platform.

Let’s jump right on board:

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