While browsing Apple’s App Store this weekend, you may have been surprised to see an iconic game sitting among the most popular iPhone apps. When a Pokemon Yellow app appeared in the App Store for $0.99, many unsuspecting users quickly jumped at the chance to finally have the highly-additive Nintendo RPG on their mobile devices. Those people would end up disappointed because the app was plagued by crashes, making it completely unplayable. What’s more, it was an unauthorized copy created by “House of Anime,” and Nintendo had nothing to do with it. The game peaked at No.3 on the App Store charts and garnered a one-and-a-half star rating with 1,352 negative reviews before it was finally pulled by Apple, Ars Technica reported. Though thousands of people ended up getting ripped off by this obvious fake that Apple let into its App Store, there is one positive takeaway from the ordeal: if Nintendo ever does decide to stray from its current stance and build iOS apps, the company will undoubtedly have some blockbusters on its hands.
Apple may be working on an overhaul of its iTunes Store and App Store, according to 9to5Mac. Due to growing competition from music streaming services like Spotify and the growing popularity of Amazon’s online music store, the redesign of the iTunes Store is considered “a top priority for Apple.” The Cupertino-based company is looking to simplify the service and deliver a more user-friendly interface than the one afforded by its current design. The redesign will reportedly simplify content discovery, and it will “make the iTunes Store a much more engaging experience.” The revamped stores are reportedly scheduled to launch later this year.
Apple on Friday initiated a countdown to 25 billion iTunes App Store downloads. The running total currently sits just under 24.3 billion downloads and Apple is offering a prize to the user who downloads the 25 billionth application. “As of today, nearly 25 billion apps have been downloaded worldwide. Which is almost as amazing as the apps themselves. So we want to say thanks,” Apple wrote on its website. “Download the 25 billionth app, and you could win a US$10,000 App Store Gift Card. Just visit the App Store and download your best app yet.” Apple’s iOS App Store opened its doors in July 2008 alongside the launch of the iPhone 3G, and the company would later launch the Mac App Store in October 2010.
Apple remained silent as Path and other developers were called out for ostensibly stealing users’ contact data. Without asking for permission or even notifying users at all, these apps would transmit a user’s full address book to remote servers where the data would be stored for later reference. But as BGR mentioned in our post explaining how to prevent these sneaky apps from stealing contact data, Apple was partially at fault for letting these apps into the App Store. According to a statement Apple issued on Wednesday, this will no longer be the case. ”Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines,” an Apple spokesman told All Things D. “We’re working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.” It is unclear if or when Apple plans to remove apps already in the App Store that transmit Address Book data first without seeking permission from the user.
On Monday, a Touchstone Arcade thread from a disgruntled developer claimed numerous apps in Apple’s App Store were promoted into the top 25 using illegal services. The poster accused a number of big-name developers such as Crowdstar of using such services. Crowdstar’s co-founder Suren Markosian immediately denied the accusation, assuring customers it promotes its apps “using legitimate advertising channels such as flurry, chartboost, iAds, etc.” The thread gained a good deal of buzz, however, prompting Apple to post a warning to remind developers to adhere to guidelines when promoting their apps. “Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it,” reads Apple’s warning. “However, when you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts. Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership.”
Apple has addressed a major security vulnerability with the latest version of its iOS software. Just released on Thursday afternoon, iOS 5.0.1 was welcomed with open arms by iPhone users plagued by poor battery life. Apple promised that this new build addresses issues causing the lackluster battery performance — though its effectiveness remains in question — and it also addresses a much more serious problem. Security expert Charlie Miller revealed a major security flaw in iOS last week that allowed developers to sneak malicious apps past Apple’s App Store review process. Once installed by an end user, a hacker was able to use the vulnerability to steal data or perform any number of other unauthorized functions. IOS 5.0.1 addresses the vulnerability, Forbes reports, preventing apps from receiving malicious payloads. Apple credits Miller with having discovered the bug — he reported it to Apple nearly a month before going public — though the company has yet to restore his developer account, having banned him from its developer program after he planted an app in the App Store in order to demonstrate the vulnerability.
Apple’s iOS App Store is the world’s most popular on-device mobile app portal by leaps and bounds, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best opportunity for developers according to Berlin, Germany-based market research firm research2guidance. Apple has a wide lead over competitors in terms of overall downloads and the number of applications in its App Store, but individual apps seemingly have a greater chance of success in rival offerings from Nokia, Microsoft and RIM. ”The ‘average app’ has a better chance to generate downloads on ‘non-hyped’ platforms,” the firm said in a press release on Wednesday. In the second quarter of 2011, the average application in Nokia’s Ovi Store generated 160% more daily downloads than the average iOS app in Apple’s App Store. Individual apps were downloaded from Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace 80% more often each day than from the App Store on average, and apps in RIM’s BlackBerry App World generated 43% more daily downloads than Apple’s offering. Software titles in Google’s Android Market were downloaded 5% less often each day compared to the iOS App Store, and Apple had HP’s webOS App Catalog beat by 95% last quarter. Research2guidance’s full press release follows below along with a chart outlining the firm’s second-quarter data.
Cablevision launched a unique implementation of TV viewing with the company’s iPad app a few months back. In short, the iPad actually sits behind your home network, connects through your Optimum cable model directly to the company’s internal network, and essentially acts as a TV tuner. This delivers every channel you’re subscribed to that you can view on your TV, and now Optimum is bringing this capability to the iPhone and iPod touch. In addition to TV viewing, you’re also able to use the iPhone as a remote control giving customers even more flexibility and control over their shows. We’ve been playing with the app for a little while and it ‘s pretty solid — watching TV on the iPhone is crystal clear, and it’s sure better than digging for the remote control every few minutes. Optimum’s updated app is available for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad in the App Store.
We were one of the first publications with a dedicated iPhone app years back, but since then the app has become a little… stale. Well, we’re back with a brand new BGR app for the iPhone and it’s completely redone from the ground up. For starters, you’re able to view the most important stories right on the first tab, in addition to all recent articles as well. We have full gallery viewing built-in, along with the ability to just view your favorite category so you only see the news you want. There’s also support for sharing via Twitter, Facebook and email, and best of all — push notifications for breaking news alerts. We made the app in partnership with Sourcebits, one of our favorite mobile development companies. The app is live in the App Store now as a free update for iPhone and iPod touch devices, and we’re working on an iPad version in addition to an Android app. Hit us with feedback in the comments so you can help shape the next update of BGR for iPhone; we promise the next update won’t take so long.
Apple’s iOS App Store, which is now home to over 500,000 applications, is currently down according to several tips we have received via email. Preliminary reports of the outage first came in shortly after 2:00 p.m. Eastern. The store is accessible and app pages can be opened, but apps cannot be installed on iPhones, iPads or on iPod touch units. Users report that app updates are not being downloaded either, though available updates to appear on the Updates tab. BGR has confirmed the issues on several iOS devices. Oddly, some users are reporting that installations are working sporadically, while others are not able to install any apps at all. Let us know if the App Store is working for you in the comments below.
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