Archive for the ‘App Store’ Category

Ebook Reader Apps Updated to Comply with App Store Rules

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Several ebook reader apps, including those of Amazon (Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook), and Kobo, have removed in-app links to their online ebook stores in order to comply with App Store guidelines. Updates for the Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Google Books app hit the App Store in the past few days, the timing of which suggests a deadline not announced to the public.

Kobo sent out an email to customers noting this change yesterday:

Last month Apple revised its App Store Review Guidelines, removing a requirement that all apps that accessed content purchased elsewhere also offer the ability to purchase that content within the app at the same or a lower price. In conjunction with this removal, Apple clarified that apps that include a link to purchase content outside of an app that is not also available for purchase within an app — and therefore subject to Apple’s 30% cut — would be rejected.

The enforcement of these guidelines leave Apple with the only ebook store easily accessible from its iOS devices through its own iBooks app.

I purchase ebooks from Amazon and Barnes and Noble and I am disappointed to see these handy in-app links to their respective ebook stores go away, though it’s an inconvenience easily remedied by simply bookmarking them in Safari.

  • Books

    Kindle – Read Books, eBooks,...

    Last Changed:
    5 weeks ago
    4.50 (1643)
    iOS Universal

    The Kindle app is optimized for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, giving users the ability to read Kindle books, newspapers, magazines, textbooks and PDFs on a beautiful, easy-to-use interface....

  • Books

    NOOK from Barnes & Noble -...

    Last Changed:
    35 months ago
    2.50 (370)
    iOS Universal

    NOOK™ for iPad and iPhone from Barnes & Noble offers an incredible reading experience for NOOK Books, magazines and newspapers including New York Times Best Sellers, new releases and hot...

  • Books

    Kobo Reading App – Read Books...

    Last Changed:
    5 weeks ago
    4.50 (91)
    iOS Universal

    With Kobo, you can read on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch anywhere, anytime. Visit Kobo and browse more than 3.5 million free and affordable titles in the Kobo Store, including bestsellers, award...

  • Books

    Google Play Books

    Last Changed:
    8 months ago
    2.50 (206)
    iOS Universal

    With Google Play Books for iOS start reading today with millions of titles from Google Play on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. Take your favorite books with you on the go and personalize your...

Apple Releases iTunes 10.4, iWork Updates

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Following the release of Mac OS X Lion this morning, Apple has released updates for iTunes and its iWork suite for the Mac.

iTunes 10.4 is available for download via Software Update on the Mac or directly from Apple’s site, offering specific compatibility with Lion. Additionally, iTunes is now a 64-bit Cocoa application for improved performance on compatible machines. Keynote, Pages, and Numbers also get Lion-specific features to utilize the new full screen, Resume, Auto Save, and Versions features in the latest version of Mac OS X.

Additional information about iTunes 10.4 can be found on a dedicated Knowledge Base page on Apple’s site here.

iTunes remains a free download and the updates to Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are free to existing users of iWork 9.0 and later.

  • $1999Buy Now


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    3.50 (24)
    Mac OS

    Easily create gorgeous presentations with the all-new Keynote, featuring powerful yet easy-to-use tools and dazzling effects that will make you a very hard act to follow. The Theme Chooser lets you...

  • $1999Buy Now


    Last Changed:
    2 weeks ago
    2.50 (105)
    Mac OS

    Create gorgeous documents in minutes with the all-new Pages for Mac word processor — featuring a stunning new design, new writing tools, and improved performance. Start with an Apple-designed...

  • $1999Buy Now


    Last Changed:
    2 weeks ago
    3.00 (25)
    Mac OS

    Create gorgeous spreadsheets with the all-new Numbers for Mac. Get started with one of many Apple-designed templates for your home budget, checklist, invoice, mortgage calculator, and more. Add...

  • $2999Buy Now

    OS X Lion

    Last Changed:
    30 months ago
    3.50 (420)
    Mac OS

    OS X Lion is the next major release of OS X, the world’s most advanced desktop operating system. It includes over 250 new features that will transform how you interact with your Mac.  Tap, swipe,...

iOS Device Owners Downloading More Apps at Higher Prices, Analyst Says

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Fortune reports that Apple iOS device owners are downloading more apps this year than before at higher prices, according to a client report by Piper Jaffray analyst, Gene Munster. Munster’s report comes on the heels of Apple’s announcement last week that more than 15 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store.

Munster reportedly built his own model to calculate what’s going on with the App Store, coming to the conclusion that iOS device users will download more apps in 2011 compared to 2010 and that the average selling price of apps is up in 2011 compared to a decline of in 2010.

More apps: The average iOS device owner will download 83 apps in 2011 vs. 51 in 2010, a 61% increase year over year. “Smartphone users are showing an increasing appetite to use apps to add features to their phones,” Munster writes, “and iOS has the leading app ecosystem.”

More expensive apps: The ASP (average selling price) per app is rebounding. ASPs are up 14% y/y in 20111 vs. an 18% decline in 2010. “After the initial race to the bottom in App Store pricing,” says Munster, “we are seeing users pay up to add features and games to their iOS devices.”

The breakdown of paid vs. free apps in App Store sales over time

Image courtesy of Fortune

Compared to Apple’s App Store with more than 425,000 apps, Android’s App Market offers less than half as many apps with around 200,000 available. While 200,000 is not a small number by any means, it speaks to the robustness of Apple’s ecosystem comparatively and goes a long way to explain the growing sales and popularity of iOS devices.

Munster also notes that the majority of apps in the App Store are free – 82% of them, according to his calculations. And speaking of free apps, our sister site TouchArcade points out a report from Flurry, a mobile analytics firm, stating that freemium (free to download with in-app purchase upgrades available) games are earning more revenue for developers than paid games. With this kind of solid data, developers have incentive to make apps free (while offering additional virtual items and features for purchase in-app), a scenario that can be ideal for the budget-minded iOS device owner or those who like to test drive apps before plunking down any hard-earned cash.

I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that AppShopper can help you get even more apps for free or at a lower price by notifying you of sales through our Wish List function via email or push notifications on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad through our official AppShopper app. The app is free (ad-supported with permanent ad removal costing $1.99 via in-app purchase) and is universal to offer an optimized interface on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

App Store Surpasses 15 Billion Downloads

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Apple announced today that its App Store has surpassed 15 billion downloads by more than 200 million iOS device users since its inception in 2008.

In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Thank you to all of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for surpassing 15 billion downloads.

A graph showing the growth of the App Store from 2008 to present, courtesy of MacRumors

The App Store debuted with the release of the iPhone 3G in July 2008, boasting more than 500 apps at its opening, a paltry-sounding number by today’s standards. The App Store was a hit immediately, reaching 10 million downloads in its first weekend alone and it hit the 10 billion downloads mark earlier this year in January. Today, the app store has over 425,000 apps, of which more than 100,000 are iPad-specific.

iOS Developer Collects and Reveals Most Common Passcodes, Apple Pulls App from App Store

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

The Next Web reported earlier this week on an interesting experiment by developer Daniel Amitay who anonymously collected user passcodes through his app Big Brother Camera Security. Amitay posted the results of this anonymous data gathering on his blog and the internet was aflame yesterday with the information along with dire warnings about choosing a secure passcode for your iOS device.

From the data he collected, 1234 was revealed as the most common passcode used, followed by 0000. Note that these were not the passcodes used to access the iPhones and iPod touches sampled but simply those used to access his Big Brother Camera Security app. However, it’s likely that many of these users also use the same passcode to unlock their iPhones or iPod touches.

A chart of the most common passcodes published by Amitay:

Amitay stated today that Apple removed Big Brother Camera Security from the App Store over concerns that he was collecting this information:

Got a call from Apple last night regarding the removal of Big Brother from the App Store. Apparrently, Apple believed that I was “surreptitiously harvesting user passwords.”

Amitay has since removed this data-collecting code from the app and re-submitted it to Apple for approval though he stands firm that his app did not violate any of Apple’s guidelines since the passcode data collected came from his app alone and did not include any information to identify users.

On the surface, Amitay’s actions are a little alarming in that it’s abundantly clear developers can easily collect data on how you use their apps (not that we didn’t already know this, but this situation is a blatant reminder). I do believe that sharing information like this can help iOS device users be more mindful of the passcodes they use and could cause some to choose more secure ones. However, if Amitay did not disclose up front to users of Big Brother Camera Security that this data would be collected, his actions feel underhanded despite the lack of any malicious intent.

Apple Backpedals on In-App Subscription Pricing

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

As reported by our sister site MacRumors early this morning, Apple has changed the pricing guidelines for in-app purchases that it first rolled out in February, removing a requirement that made selling content within apps much less appealing to publishers.

Previously, Apple required that publishers offer content via in-app purchase at the same or a lower price than available outside of the app. The updated App Store Review Guidelines now make no mention of such a requirement, a change that is certain to be welcomed by publishers looking to maintain profit margins on content sold through the App Store after Apple’s 30% cut.

The old language in the App Store Review Guidelines was as follows:

11.13 Apps can read or play approved content (magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video) that is sold outside of the app, for which Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues, provided that the same content is also offered in the app using IAP at the same price or less than it is offered outside the app. This applies to both purchased content and subscriptions.

This section now reads as follows, with section 11.14 providing additional clarification on content purchased outside of an app:

11.13 Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, such as a “buy” button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected

11.14 Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app

Apple made this change quietly – no press release or other official announcement has been made about it. I’m not quite sure what prompted Apple to make this change but it’s definitely a good one for users of iOS devices who are sure to benefit from it as publishers move to make more content available within apps without pricing restrictions from Apple.

Apple to Unveil iOS 5 and iCloud at WWDC

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Here’s something new: Apple has issued a press release announcing that the company will unveil iOS 5, a new cloud service called iCloud and Mac OS X Lion at the keynote for its Worldwide Developers Conference next week. The press release states that the keynote will be presented by Steve Jobs and other Apple executives starting at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time on June 6.

Apple® CEO Steve Jobs and a team of Apple executives will kick off the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a keynote address on Monday, June 6 at 10:00 a.m. At the keynote, Apple will unveil its next generation software – Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS® X; iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s advanced mobile operating system which powers the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch®; and iCloud®, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering.

The press release doesn’t provide specifics on what new features will be in iOS 5 or what the new iCloud will offer so there’s still plenty of room for rumors. Hopefully notifications will see a major overhaul in iOS 5 and that Apple’s new iCloud will make it easier to access documents and media from anywhere. Bring it on, Apple.

Apple Defends App Developers Against Lodsys Patent Infringement Claims

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Earlier this month, patent holding firm Lodsys sent letters to several iOS developers threatening legal action over the infringement of a patent purportedly violated by in-app upgrade functionality within apps. The patent, which was filed in 2003, covers “methods and systems for gathering information from units of a commodity across a network ” and does not explicitly refer to mobile smartphone apps or Apple in any way.

Several developers publicly expressed concern over the notification from Lodsys including James Thomson, the developer of PCalc Lite, via his Twitter account. Other developers also revealed that they had received similar notifications from Lodsys, including Iconfactory, the maker of Twitterific, Take Five and others.

The backlash against Lodsys was strong, prompting the company to publish an FAQ defending its actions in its blog and define that the company was seeking 0.575% of U.S. revenue as a licensing fee for the patent.

Apple had remained silent in the matter until today, responding to Lodsys by letter as reported by Macworld.

The letter, which has been published in full by Macworld here, bluntly states that there is “no basis for Lodsys’ infringement allegations” against app developers and notes that Apple has licensed the patents in question and is “fully prepared to defend” its license rights. In short, Apple states that its license of the patent in question extends to developers since the use of the in-app purchase system uses Apple’s own systems, APIs, software, etc. The letter closes by asking Lodsys to cease pursuing its claims of patent infringement.

While Lodsys isn’t seeking a particularly large amount of money from developers to license its patent, its actions could have a chilling effect on the App Store ecosystem, preventing developers from offering free apps with in-app upgrades to avoid paying the licensing fee. This could result in fewer developers bothering to create apps or that more apps would be paid apps instead of free ones. Additionally, Lodsys’s actions could pave the way for other similar claims against developers in the future. It’s good to see Apple stepping up to defend developers here.

Apple Now Preventing Reviews for Apps Purchased via Promo Codes?

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

As MacRumors points out, a forum member at our sister site TouchArcade describes that Apple has apparently changed its review policy and no longer allows users to write reviews for apps obtained with a promo code.

Forum member slewis7 described that he had tried to post a review for an app downloaded via a promo code but encountered errors and was then told by an Apple support representative that “it is no longer possible to rate or review an app if it was downloaded using a developer’s promotional code to prevent comprimising (sic) of the rating system.”

Another forum member received the following response from an Apple support representative:

It is no longer possible to rate or review an app if it was downloaded using a developer’s promotional code. You can review this app by purchasing it on a different iTunes account using something other than a developer’s promotional code, such as a Gift Card, Gift Certificate, or other payment options.

Other members who participated in that thread describe a variety of results in writing reviews for apps obtained with promo codes, indicating that there may be some other criteria involved such as the date the promo code was generated.

Promo codes are a resource that app developers often use to help promote their apps since they allow recipients to download paid apps for free. Apple allows developers to generate up to 50 promo codes per app release. Many developers give away promo codes in forums and through Twitter and other mediums in hopes that users who might not otherwise purchase an app will try it out and leave a favorable review in the App Store. Of course, positive reviews that aren’t merited can be misleading to potential buyers, a situation Apple may now be actively trying to prevent.

Apple has not released an official statement on this purported change though we’ll be sure to let you know if one is made.

Resolved: Mac App Screenshots Are Back!

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Last week we noted that screenshots for Mac apps on AppShopper were missing. We obtain all of the app information shown on AppShopper directly from Apple and these screenshots were missing from the feed provided by Apple for some unknown reason.

We’re happy to report that this issue has been addressed and screenshots are now visible again in individual Mac app listings. We appreciate your patience!