Apple says Spotify wants ‘the benefits of a free app without being free’


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Apple is firing back in response to Spotify’s European Commission (EC) complaint. In a newsroom release, the company said that Spotify “seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem … without making any contributions to that marketplace.” It added that the App Store has generated $120 billion for developers while offering users a secure platform, and that Spotify is seeking to side to sidestep the rules that every other app follows.

“Spotify has every right to determine their own business model, but we feel an obligation to respond when Spotify wraps its financial motivations in misleading rhetoric about who we are,” the company wrote.

Source: Apple

Spotify files EU complaint against Apple’s App Store rules


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Spotify announced in a blog written by CEO Daniel Ek that it has filed an unfair competition complaint against Apple with the European Commission (EC). The streaming company is claiming that Apple’s App Store stifles competition by “acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers.”

By way of illustration, it said that Apple forces Spotify and other services to “pay a 30 percent tax on purchases made through Apple’s payment system.” That in turn forces Spotify to artificially inflate the price of its Premium membership “well above the price of Apple Music.” In other words, by acting as a gatekeeper to apps like Spotify, while also offering a competing app, Apple is competing unfairly, Spotify said.

Apple opens in-app subscription discounts to existing users


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In a ploy to keep people paying for apps, Apple will let developers offer discounted subscriptions to current and recent subscribers. Until now, developers could only offer freebies and introductory discounts to new users, which means that they couldn’t easily incentivize lapsed subscribers to re-join. As more apps turn to subscription models over one-time purchases, this change will likely go over well with developers and users alike.

Via: MacRumors

Source: Apple

Facebook’s internal iOS apps return after temporary Apple ban


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After revoking Facebook’s enterprise certificates that allowed the company to distribute the software outside of the Apple App Store, Facebook announced today that the certification has been restored, per Mike Issac. Internal apps used by the company are running again, once again allowing employees to communicate and collaborate with one another. Facebook said the revocation of the certificates did not have an impact on its consumer-facing services.

Source: Mike Isaac

Google also has a data-vacuuming iOS app that bypasses the App Store


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Facebook isn’t the only tech giant to offer a data-vacuuming app that sidesteps Apple’s App Store. Since 2012, Google has allowed people to earn gift cards by offering up their data through its Screenwise project. On iOS and Android, the company gains access to participants’ data through a VPN app called Screenwise Meter. But if Facebook’s latest turmoils are anything to go by, Google could suffer Apple’s ire over it.

Source: TechCrunch

Apple bans apps that trick you into subscriptions


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Ever had an app trick you into a more expensive subscription than you were expecting, or hide the real terms in fine print you were never going to read? Apple wants to put a stop to it. The company has revised its guidance for App Store subscriptions, and they now include explicit rules for how developers can ask for your cash. Most notably, the pricing has to be crystal clear. The largest text has to represent how much you’ll actually pay — if you’re buying a full-year subscription, for instance, a company has to highlight the total cost instead of using the per-month equivalent rate to fool users.

Via: AppleInsider, 9to5Mac, TechCrunch

Source: Apple Developer (1), (2)

Fake Alexa setup app is topping Apple’s App Store charts


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If you received a new Alexa device over the holidays and are working on setting it up, be warned that a fake Alexa setup app has been making its way up Apple’s App Store charts. The app is called “Setup for Amazon Alexa” and it’s from a company called One World Software that, as 9to5Mac points out, has two other shady apps in the App Store as well. As of writing, the app was ranked at #75 in the “Top Free” apps list and #6 in the list of top utilities apps.

Via: 9to5Mac

Apple’s new rules can make gifts out of in-app purchases


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It looks like Apple will soon allow users to gift in-app purchases to friends and family thanks to a recent change to the company’s App Store Guidelines. First spotted by MacRumors, the updated text shows developers can allow people to buy in-app purchases for one another. That includes everything from ongoing subscriptions to one-off boosts. Apple’s policy previously barred such gifts.

Via: 9to5Mac

Source: MacRumors

Tumblr is back on the App Store ahead of ‘adult content’ ban


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Tumblr is back in the App Store. Apple pulled the app from iTunes in November, and it was reportedly due to the presence child exploitation photos on the platform. Tumblr said it found those photos during a routine check and that they slipped through its filters, because they haven’t been added to the database of known child sexual abuse material yet. Since then, the website has been flagging adult content on the platform more aggressively, until it finally announced that it will no longer allow any adult content starting on December 17th.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: iTunes, Tumblr

App Store scammers are using Touch ID tricks to steal money


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Reddit users are exposing shady iOS fitness apps that use the Touch ID feature on iPhones and iPads to scam people out of cash. Both “Fitness Balance app” and “Calories Tracker app” were active on the App Store until recently, though Apple appears to have now removed them.

Source: u/kristikoroveshi94 (Reddit)

Stolen Apple IDs reportedly used for mobile payment theft in China


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Users of two major mobile payment services in China — Alipay and WeChat Pay — have reported unauthorized Apple App Store spending in recent days, with some losing nearly $300 through fraudulent transactions. The companies say that stolen Apple IDs are to blame, the Wall Street Journal reports, and Alipay has asked Apple to investigate. In the meantime, Alipay is telling its customers to minimize potential losses by reducing how much money can be used from their accounts without a password.

Via: 9to5Mac

Apple yanks Alex Jones’ InfoWars app


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After Alex Jones and InfoWars drew bans from Facebook, YouTube and Apple Podcasts over repeated violations of their conduct policies, fans of the network downloaded its apps to continue accessing the same content. Tonight Apple confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it has permanently banned InfoWars from the iOS App Store.

Apple was not specific about what caused the move, simply referring to its guidelines about objectionable content in the store. Before Twitter finally banned Jones and his site yesterday, we listed a series of posts that violated its policies and had somehow not resulted in the accounts being removed. Despite whatever reason the app had avoided removal until now despite engaging in the kind of defamatory and discriminatory language explicitly banned, Jones’ move to confront reporters and even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey around the Senate building on Wednesday while livestreaming and posting appears to have been the beginning of the Continue reading “Apple yanks Alex Jones’ InfoWars app”

Top-grossing Mac App Store app steals users’ browser histories


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Adware Doctor is a top app in Apple’s Mac App Store, sitting at number five in the list of top paid apps and leading the list of top utilities apps, as of writing. It says it’s meant to prevent “malware and malicious files from infecting your Mac” and claims to be one of the best apps to do so, but unbeknownst to its users, it’s also stealing their browser history and downloading it to servers in China.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Objective-See

Facebook pulls iOS VPN app following Apple’s privacy objections


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Apple’s increasingly tougher stance on app privacy has led Facebook to pull one of its iOS apps. The Wall Street Journal has learned that Facebook is removing its VPN-based Onavo Protect program from the App Store after Apple warned the social network that it violated stricter policies (enacted in June) that limit how and why software collects data. Onavo Protect’s collection and analysis of user activity beyond the app reportedly violated the new data collection limits, a source said. It also broke a clause in the developer agreement forbidding apps from using that data for either unrelated purposes or advertising.

Source: Wall Street Journal, Matthew Panzarino (Twitter)

Netflix tries bypassing Apple’s App Store for payments


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Netflix is bypassing App Store for its recurring subscription fees. Currently, Netflix pays a 30 percent cut of first-year subscription fees to Apple and 15 percent for each recurring year. But now in 33 countries, TechCrunch reports that new or lapsed customers in places including Canada, Germany, Mexico and Poland will be asked to pay via mobile web rather than in-app. The streaming service did something similar on Android earlier this year.

Source: TechCrunch

Apple pulls 25,000 gambling apps from China’s App Store after pressure


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Apple is once again removing apps in response to Chinese government pressure, although under somewhat different circumstances this time around. State media reports that Apple pulled 25,000 gambling apps from China’s App Store after a bevy of media outlets (again government-backed) criticized it for inadequate filtering that let through the titles, which have long been illegal in the country. Some of them had slipped into the store by posing as lottery apps.

Via: Ars Technica

Source: Wall Street Journal

InfoWars fans flock to apps following recent bans


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While a number of tech companies have purged their sites of Alex Jones podcasts and accounts over the last couple of days, not all InfoWars-related content has been taken down. And what’s still available continues to attract interest. CNBC reports today that the InfoWars app, which is still available through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, is being downloaded quite a bit, taking the fourth spot in Apple’s chart of top free news-related apps. As of writing, the app was number 12 in Google’s chart of top free news and magazine apps.

Via: CNBC, 9to5Mac

Apple to stop people earning money from affiliate app sales


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Starting on October 1st, apps won’t be part of Apple’s affiliate program anymore. Cupertino has announced that partners will no longer be getting commissions for iOS and Mac apps as well as in-app content after the next couple of months. The tech giant cited the launch of the new App Store and the fact that it was designed to be much better for app discovery as the reason behind its decision. Partners can only continue earning affiliate money if they recommend the other types of content Apple sells: music, movies, books and TV.

Via: TouchArcade

Source: iTunes

A prescient Steve Jobs predicted our obsession with mobile apps


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As the App Store turns 10 this month, it’s fascinating to see how it all began. While it may seem obvious that most people have a small rectangle of glass and metal that they spend a ton of time staring at now, it wasn’t always a foregone conclusion. Back in 2008, a reporter at the Wall Street Journal, now a senior editor at The Information, interviewed Steve Jobs at the App Store’s one-month mark. The Apple co-founder and CEO was clearly impressed by the performance of his company’s new service.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, The Information

Mobile-gaming titans keep ripping off indies


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The word “casual” has long been flung out as an insult on video-game forums and social media. It’s deployed to belittle the interests of people who enjoy more relaxing experiences than gritty shooters, strategy-rich online games or time-sucking RPGs. Unsurprisingly, it’s most often hurled at anyone who says they like mobile games.

For Voodoo, “casual” isn’t an insult. It’s a cash cow.