Some Users Unable to Log In to App Store Due to 'FATAL' Error

Some iTunes and App Store users are currently unable to log into their accounts using their Apple IDs, receiving a the following error when attempting to sign in: "FATAL::Unable to process your request. Please try again." 

The problem, which seems to have originated last night, is ongoing according to a thread on Apple's online Support Communities and multiple users on MacRumors' forums. The error occurs on both mobile devices and Macs and according to user reports, it is affecting the App Store, the Mac App Store, the iTunes Store, and the iBookstore...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Updated Versions of iWork and iLife Begin Appearing on the App Store

Apple today released major updates of its iWork and iLife suites for both iOS and OS X. All the apps are now live on their various App Stores. 

The iLife suite has been revamped for both platforms, with iPhoto receiving a new look on iOS along with the ability to create and order photo books on the iPad. Both iPhotofor Mac and iPhoto for iOS are 64-bit-optimized, allowing for faster browsing and editing. New tools are included that allow users to create more dramatic images, and favorite images can be saved as custom slideshows...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

After Numerous Delays, BlackBerry Messenger for iOS to Launch Today

Five months after it was initially announced, and after an unplanned delay due to unexpected demand, BlackBerry Messenger is finally launching on iOS. The app, which is similar to Apple’s own iMessage, was first announced back in May. It should launch on the App Store later today. 

Back in September, the BBM for Android and iOS apps were delayed after an unreleased version of BBM was leaked that "caused issues" with the BBM servers...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Apple Implementing Changes to App Store Rankings to Promote Better App Discovery

Apple may be implementing some changes to the way that it ranks apps for its Top Charts in the App Store, reports TechCrunch, citing studies from a number of app analysis services. It appears that new factors, such as app ratings and user engagement, could be influencing app position and preventing developers from artificially inflating the rankings. 

According to app marketing service Fiksu, app rankings began fluctuating in late July, favoring apps with ratings of four or more stars in the App Store. While those apps jumped to higher positions without a corresponding increase in downloads, apps with poor ratings saw their rankings fall...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

iPhone screen recording app slips onto the App Store

An iPhone application that allows users to record their screens, including screen activity while using third-party apps on your phone, has managed to sneak onto the App Store.

xRec, which was published on Saturday and costs $1.99 on (iTunes), can record screen activity in its entirety. The software requires an active Internet connection to work and, according to tech site Giga (Google Translate), uses code from jailbreak app RecordMyScreen, which offers a similar feature set and user interface.

The app shows a red, pulsing bar at the top of the screen when it's recording, something that cannot be removed. Users also can record audio at various quality levels with the app. You can save the captured data to your camera roll or send it to other installed apps.

Screen recording is not something Apple provides to developers to add to their apps, let alone something that can record activity in other software.

The software, which Apple likely will remove, requires iOS 5. Its developer says it will not work with iOS 7, Apple's upcoming mobile operating system update.

This is not the first screen recording app to hit the App Store, but the capability to record activity from other applications is unique. iOS app UX Recorder also records on-screen activity, but it's limited to the front-facing camera and the Web browser built into the app.

Source: CNET

Apple Announces Winner of App Store's 50 Billionth Download Contest

Apple today announced the winner of its "50 Billion App Countdown" promotion that saw the company pass that milestone on Wednesday afternoon. 

Word game Say the Same Thing from the band OK Go was the milestone download, with Brandon Ashmore from Mentor, Ohio making the winning download. Ashmore will will receive an iTunes Gift Card worth US$10,000. For the first time, Apple also gave the fifty downloaders after the big winner US$500 iTunes Gift Cards.

Apple ran similar promotions for ten billion and twenty-five billion downloads, in January 2011 and March 2012 respectively. 

The App Store took just under five years to hit the fifty billion download mark, though the rate of downloads has been accelerating and is now at more than 20 billion app downloads per year.

Source: Mac Rumours


Apple Begins Countdown to 50 Billion App Store Downloads

Apple has posted a new contest on the App Store offering a $10,000 gift card to whomever downloads the fifty billionth app from the App Store, similar to previous promotions. Apple said during its most recent earnings call that the company has surpassed 45 billion app downloads.

Apple's most recent contest was for 25 billion downloads back in February 2012. This time around, Apple is also giving $500 gift cards to the next fifty people to download apps after the fifty billionth.

The download count currently stands at just over 49.2 billion.

Source: Mac Rumours


Chinese hackers launch pirate App Store, no jailbreak needed

Chinese hackers have launched a pirate app store that allows people to download pirated iOS apps with no jailbreaks needed. The online web store uses geolocation to determine a user's whereabouts. If the user is outside of China, he is not granted access to the store, instead being redirected to another page run by the hackers.

Out of respect for the hard work iOS developers do, we aren't linking to the store or revealing its name.

Piracy takes away from the development of apps on iOS. Many of the best apps today were created by a single developer or small development team that didn't initially have a lot of financial resources. If the apps being created are pirated and result in limited financial reward to the developers, why would they want to continue to come up with new and exciting apps? Some of the best apps in the App Store -- apps that are part of the reason your iPhone is so cool -- wouldn't exist.

So please, think before you pirate, because in the long run, you're hurting not just the developer, but the entire iOS ecosystem and yourself as well. And no, "I pirate an app to see if I'll like it and then buy it if I do" is not any kind of valid excuse.

[Source: TUAW]

WSJ: Apple's App Store climbs towards $25 billion in sales

The Wall Street Journal has posted an article covering the meteoric rise of the App Store, from its inception just a few years ago to its current state of almost $25 billion in annual sales. But while the App Store is growing like crazy, it's also presenting more problems for developers as well: Finding a significant crowd of customers is getting tougher and tougher, and just making a name for yourself in such a huge market isn't always easy.

And it doesn't help that customers are flying through apps extremely quickly. Mobile analytics firm Flurry tells the WSJ that while users do now spend about two hours a day on apps, the apps they use don't stick around for very long. About 63% of the apps in use today weren't used daily a year ago, and most customers focus on about eight apps at a time, according to the research. That makes sense: In such a huge market, with so many apps to try, why focus on just a few?

But it also means that the app market is going to have to mature. The WSJ cites ESPN for shuttering one of its apps while focusing on the more popular Scorecenter utility, and they also mention Shazam, an app that has found all sorts of functionality (and more revenue streams) as it has matured in the App Store. Apple's App Store marketplace has gone from zero to billions in just the past few years, and no one's got an exact road map for where it's headed next.

[Source: TUAW]

Apple: 40 Billion Apps Downloaded to Date, Nearly Half of Those in 2012

Apple announced Monday that there have been more than 40 billion app downloads from its iTunes App Store to date.

Surprisingly, nearly half of those downloads were during 2012 alone, which just goes to show the incredible growth that Apple’s store has gone through the past year — especially as new devices, such as the fourth generation iPad, the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini begin to take the market by storm. The popular game Temple Run, for example, has already been downloaded 75 million times since its release.

The iTunes App Store now offers more than 775,000 iPhone apps and 300,000 applications for the iPad.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Apple Reminds Developers of App Store Freeze During Holidays

Apple has sent reminders to App Store developers that the annual shutdown of iTunes Connect is scheduled to take place from Friday, December 21, 2012 to Friday, December 28th, 2012. 

iTunes Connect is the portal for developers to submit app updates and changes. As a result, no new apps, app updates or price changes will be reflected in the App Store during that time.

We strongly recommend that you do not schedule any pricing changes in iTunes Connect that would take effect between Friday, December 21, 2012 and Friday, December 28, 2012. Pricing changes scheduled to take effect during this date range will not be reflected on the App Store and your app or In-App Purchase will become unavailable for purchase until after the shutdown. 

We also recommend that you do not schedule any apps to go live during the shutdown. Releases scheduled with a start date between Friday, December 21, 2012 and Friday, December 28, 2012 will not go live on the App Store until after the shutdown.

As a result of the shutdown deadline, a large number of App developers have been cutting prices today as they compete for top ranking on the App Store Top Charts during the lucrative Christmas sales period.

[Source: MacRumors]


iOS 6 Adoption Up 29% After Google Maps Hits App Store

Google Maps was released for iOS on December 12, and in the five days after it hit the App Store, ad management platform MoPub noticed a 29 percent increase in unique iOS 6 users. 

The data from MoPub, which supports 12,000 apps and monitors 1 billion ad impressions daily, suggests that quite a few iDevice owners were waiting for a better mapping solution before upgrading to Apple's newest operating system.

TechCrunch spoke to MoPub CEO Jim Payne, who had this to say:

"We observed since the launch of Google Maps for iOS 6 a 30 percent increase in unique iOS 6 users, and we think it's related to Google Maps. It verifies that hypothesis that people were actually holding back to upgrade until Google Maps was available."

MoPub's data does, however, conflict with another report from mobile ad network Chitika, which saw just a 0.2 percentage point increase in iOS 6 users in the first 36 hours of Google Maps availability. MoPub seems to include a wider set of data than Chitika and which was taken over a longer period of time, and MoPub's inclusion of weekend data in particular seems to have contributed significantly to the observed increase in adoption, as people may have been waiting to do the lengthy update to iOS 6. 

An increased iOS 6 adoption rate following the launch of Google Maps not only benefits Google, but also Apple, which naturally wants as many users as possible on its latest operating system version. With Google's mapping solution now taking some of the pressure off of Apple's own flawed product, one major reason holding some users back from updating to iOS 6 has been addressed.

[Source: MacRumors]