In January of this year Apple was the first company to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over Apple’s handling of in-app purchases. The company agreed to make it harder for children to purchase in-game content and apps without the express consent of parents or guardians, and Apple agreed to pay out $32.5 million to parents affected by its lax policy - and if the payouts were less than that amount the balance of the settlement would go to the FTC.
According to a study highlighted in The Guardian, 85 percent of the top 50 grossing apps on Apple and Android stores across the world are games. The data comes from Midia Research, and shows that 84.9 percent of the 700 apps covered by the study were games, with the next nearest category being social networking and only accounting for around 4.1 percent.
"The app economy is, for now at least, a games economy," the report concludes.
Apple has pulled developer Manitoba Games' app about growing and dealing weed from its App Store. The game, called Weed Firm, was yanked from the Apple App Store because of its depiction of illegal activity, according to the developer. The game revolves around "the vicious and lawless career of Mr. Ted Growing," an expelled botany sophomore who decides to take over a pot growing operation. The goal of the game is to become the biggest pot dealer in town, by growing and selling to a cast of amusing and dangerous characters, all while avoiding the long arm of the law.
GamesIndustry International has an excellent article chronicling the plight of a female developer whose game was banned from Apple's App Store for depicting a sexual act. At first blush the game, HappyPlayTime, might sound like pornography, but it's more about education in a fun and entertaining way, according to its creator.
The jury foreman in the most recent Apple v. Samsung patent showdown says that the biggest loser in the case wasn't the combatants, but consumers. Speaking to the San Jose Mercury News, jury foreman Thomas Dunham, a retired IBM supervisor who delivered the jury's decision in the case on Monday, said that the case was bad for consumers in the long run, but that he hoped it would help these two companies finally settle the matter outside of a courtroom in the future.
Apple has laid out the steps consumers need to take in order to get a refund for unapproved in-app purchases in iOS apps, Polygon reports. The refund process is part of the company's efforts to fulfill its part in a recent $32.5 million settlement of a federal complaint.
A German court has dismissed two cases - one against Apple and another filed against HTC - by patent-assertion entity IPCom. The court rejected the company's assertions in both cases that its 3G/UMTS cellular standard patent was violated. The company was asking the court to award it $2.2 billion in its case against Apple.
The decision comes on the heels of a letter sent to the EU signed by Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft, and other tech companies deriding entities like IPCom, whose only business is to file lawsuits against other companies and extract settlements.
Putting aside the fact that the Arizona law that would allow businesses to refuse services to gays and lesbians is likely unconstitutional, critics are saying that it will also hurt the state's ability to engage in commerce across state lines, damage local businesses who do not want to refuse service to anyone and will be lumped in with those who do, and may cause companies who want to bring jobs to the state to find somewhere else to go (either they are publicly opposed to the bill or do not want to be associated with the state or its controversial legislation).
The Federal Trade Commission ruled this week that Apple must refund at least $32.5 million to parents whose children made in-app purchases on iOS devices without their consent. In its ruling, the agency said that Apple did not do enough to ensure purchases made by children were knowingly authorized by their parents. The FTC also highlighted a practice it did not like: allowing users to enter their passwords once for a single purchase then continue to make purchases throughout a 15-minute window.
Apple revealed this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that App Store customers spent over $10 billion in 2013, with $1 billion of that total paid out in the month of December.
"We'd like to thank our customers for making 2013 the best year ever for the App Store," said Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue.
"The line-up of apps for the holiday season was astonishing and we look forward to seeing what developers create in 2014."
Apple has responded strongly to reports that the National Security Agency claims a "100-percent success rate" in attaching spyware to iOS apps. The revelation about the NSA's targeting of Apple products comes from a recent Der Speigel report featuring leaked documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided to various journalists. The NSA program targeting Apple products is called DROPOUTJEEP, and allows the agency to intercept SMS messages, access contact lists, locate a phone using cell tower data, and even activate the device’s microphone and camera.
According to IBM's newly released "Digital Analytics Benchmark Report," purchases made from iOS devices accounted for about 23 percent of the online shopping done on Christmas Day in the U.S. The report tracked millions of transactions from approximately 800 U.S. retail websites. Around 4.6 percent of purchases were made on Android devices.
Rockstar Consortium (partly owned by Apple and Microsoft), a patent-holding company formed from the bankrupt Canadian telecom company Nortel, sued Google and manufacturers of Android phones over patents almost two months ago. Earlier this week Google punched back at the company, filing a counter-suit seeking to invalidate Rockstar's patents. That's a normal step for a defendant in a patent lawsuit, but Google didn't file its counter-claim in the East Texas court where Rockstar sued them. Instead it filed in Northern California.
Minecraft and Candy Crush Saga are the top iPhone and iPad apps of 2013, according to Apple's annual year-end report on its free and paid apps for its iOS devices.
On both the free iPhone and iPad charts, Candy Crush Saga was the king of the hill, while paid apps on both platforms were ruled by Mojang's pocket edition of Minecraft.
Both games beat out some pretty powerful competition including YouTube, Google Maps, Skype, and even Instagram.
The full list can be found below:
Top 10 Free iPhone Apps
A federal judge last week ruled that a class action cannot hold Apple responsible for apps on the iPhone and iPad that sold their users' data to advertisers. Jonathan Lalo was the lead plaintiff on a class action filed in 2010 claiming Apple had approved apps for the iPhones and iPads that intercepted personal information and tracked users' habits without authorization.
GungHo Online Entertainment's Puzzle & Dragons has surpassed two million downloads in North America, which is pretty impressive but pales in comparison to previous numbers in other regions. Puzzle & Dragons is available for free on the App Store and Google Play. To date, Puzzle & Dragons has collectively reached 23 million downloads in Japan, North America and Korea alone.
Atlanta-based indie game developer Secret Library can't seem to catch a break from Apple. It submitted its retro 8-bit iOS game Hot Mess to the App store and had it rejected because it contained animated naked people kissing. In Hot Mess players step into the shoes of a firefighting robot who goes haywire and mistakes the burning passion of romance as the flames that burns down houses. He thinks couples kissing is dangerous and therefore tries to hose them down to avoid fires...
While more people are downloading apps via Google Play for Android devices of various shapes and sizes, Apps on the Apple App Store are making more money, according to the new App Annie's third quarter 2013 report.
Apple today revealed the iPad Air, a new re-imagining of its iPad line of tablets. The new system promises to be 20 percent thinner and a slimmer outer bezel that's 43% narrower than the previous iPad model. The iPad Air will also offer 9.7-inch Retina display, the new A7 64-bit chip that debuted in the iPhone 5S, MIMO tech (Multiple-In-Multiple-Out) for Wifi, a 5MP 'iSight' camera supporting 1080p video, dual microphones for stereo sound, and up to 10 hours of battery life.
The iPad Air will start at $499 for the WiFi only model in black, grey and white.
AllThingsD is reporting that Apple will reveal a new version of the iPad at the end of this month. At an event on Oct. 29, Apple will reveal the new iPad and make some other product announcements, according to the report.
The UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning app and game developers that high-pressure monetization in programs that are aimed at children needs to be avoided going forward. The OFT made its announcement today after months of investigation (which began in April) into allegations that some free online apps and games for children were using questionable tactics to get children to purchase in-game items - often without parental consent. The OFT examined 38 games related to this practice and drafted a set of guidelines for UK developers.
Apple is denying that it paid publisher Electronic Arts to delay the release of the Android version of the game. The denial relates to a statement by EA executive Frank Gibeau that the iOS device-maker paid EA to delay the Android release of Plants vs Zombies 2. That statement was made in an internal company presentation by Gibeau, as reported by GiantBomb.
Apple announced that its two new iPhones - the iPhone 5C and 5S - have collectively sold more than nine million units in their first three days of availability. We're certainly not shocked by those numbers, nor is Apple CEO Tim Cook:
"This is our best iPhone launch yet," beamed Apple's Tim Cook. "More than nine million new iPhones sold is a new record for first weekend sales."
Apple also said that the new operating system for its phone and tablet devices - iOS 7 - is now being used on more than 200 million iOS devices.
In a highly competitive promotion against Apple's favorite tablet, Microsoft has decided to give consumers willing to turn in that old iPad a couple of hundred bucks in their store - presumably to spend on their Surface tablet... The promotion, which runs until October 27, allows people to trade in their "gently used" iPad 2, 3, or 4 tablets to receive a minimum of a $200 gift card to the Microsoft Store.
The Obama administration has lifted an International Trade Commission ban on older models of Apple's iOS devices (iPhones and iPads). As a general rule, presidents do not intervene in cases handled by the ITC - the last time an ITC ban was overturned was in 1987. The news was revealed over the weekend by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, who announced that he would stop both an import ban and a cease-and-desist order that would have required Apple to remove the products from shelves.
According to this Reuters report, the Taiwanese company Pegatron Corp. is being accused of forced overtime, low wages and the use of underage workers. Pegatron is one of several companies that works in Apple's supply chain for various iOS devices. So who is accusing the company of such horrendous practices?