Apple Now Allowing Developers to Offer App Pre-Orders

Apple is implementing a new feature that allows developers to offer pre-orders for unreleased apps, letting customers purchase popular apps ahead of their release date.

The pre-order feature is listed in a new iTunes Connect Resource and Help document, which was discovered this afternoon by MacStories. The document says that developers are able to "make new apps available for pre-order on all Apple platforms."

Customers can see your product page and order your app before it's released for download. Once your app is released, customers will be notified and your app will automatically download to their device. For paid apps, customers will be charged before download.
Apple outlines the specific steps developers will need to take to list an app for pre-order, which includes navigating to the Pricing and Availability section of iTunes Connect, choosing "make available for pre-order," and submitting an app for review.

To be made available for pre-order, an app must have a release date at least two days in the future, but no more than 90 days in the future. Pre-orders are available for both free and paid apps.

When an app is pre-ordered, on release date, it'll be automatically downloaded to a customers device. With paid apps, the purchase price will be charged when the app is released, not before.

As our sister site TouchArcade points out, there are already two apps available for purchase using the new pre-order feature. Both Gorogoa ($4.99) and Inside (Free) can be pre-ordered from the App Store ahead of a release coming later this week.


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Fake ‘MyEtherWallet’ App Rises to #3 Spot on the iOS App Store’s Finance Charts

An unofficial iOS app for MyEtherWallet.com rose to the top of the App Store over the weekend, nabbing the third spot in the Finance category after being on the storefront for a little over a week (via TechCrunch). MyEtherWallet.com is a popular service made for storing cryptocurrencies but it doesn't have an official iOS app, so the company tweeted out a warning for users to not be fooled by the "MyEtherWallet" iOS app, as well as asking for Apple to remove it from the App Store.


At the time of writing, MyEtherWallet still remains at #3 on the App Store's Finance chart. The app lists its developer as Nam Le, who has two other iOS apps -- "Panda Warrior: Kung Fu Awesomeness" and "Mr. Beard: Icehole Fishermans" -- and one Apple Watch app called "Wrist Count." MyEtherWallet costs $4.99 and its App Store page says that it allows users to anonymously manage their ethereum wallets, create wallets offline, and store wallet keys securely inside their iPhone.


As the company's mission statement explains, MyEtherWallet.com is a "free, open-source, client-side interface for generating Ethereum wallets & more," so the fake app's $4.99 price tag raises legal questions in addition to the questions of how it got past Apple's app review process in the first place. Tracking service Apptopia told TechCrunch that the app's week-long existence on the App Store has seen around 3,000 downloads so far. Apple has yet to comment on the unofficial app's existence and if it will be allowed to remain on the App Store.

Apps for buying and selling cryptocurrency have become popular recently, with one called "Coinbase" -- this one official -- rising to become the #1 most downloaded free app in the United States iOS App Store last week. This happened after the price of bitcoin rose past $17,000 and saw a price jump of over 20 percent in one day. As the app climbed the App Store charts amid the bitcoin frenzy, Coinbase servers crashed for much of last Thursday, affecting both its website and the iOS app's performance.


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Apple to Switch From Dollars to Brazilian Reals for App Store Purchases in Brazil in 2018

Starting in early 2018, Apple users in Brazil will pay for purchases from the App Store, iTunes Store, and iBooks Store using Brazilian reals instead of dollars. Reals will also be used for Apple Music subscriptions and iCloud storage charges.

Apple began notifying users about the change from dollars to reals in emails that were sent out today.

Apple says that once the currency change happens, all new purchases and subscriptions will be charged in reals rather than dollars.

Since the iTunes Store became available in Brazil in 2011, customers have been required to pay in dollars using an international credit or debit card payment.

At one point, the Brazilian government looked into Apple's payment scheme, leading to speculation at the time that Apple was using dollars instead of reals to avoid software taxes that would negatively impact developers.

(Thanks, João!)


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Apple’s Best of the App Store in 2017: Calm, Splitter Critters, Affinity Photo and The Witness

Apple today published its annual Best of 2017 charts for the App Store, iTunes Store, and iBooks Store, highlighting the top media content and trends across 2017.

Apple's App Store editors chose two standout games and two standout apps for the iPhone and the iPad as their best of 2017 picks. On the iPhone, meditation app Calm and popular game Splitter Critters won top honors, while photo editing app Affinity Photo and puzzle game The Witness took the top spots on iPad.


- iPhone App of the Year: Calm
- iPhone Game of the Year: Splitter Critters
- iPad App of the Year: Affinity Photo
- iPad Game of the Year: The Witness

Apple shared apps that are part of the top Trends of the Year, which included augmented reality apps like IKEA Place and Very Hungry Caterpillar, meditation-style apps like Calm and Joyable, multiplayer games like Art of War: Red Tides and The Elder Scrolls: Legends, and modern storytelling apps like Hooked and Serial Box Publishing.

Apple has also published the top apps for 2017 across multiple App Store charts. Top free iPhone apps included Bitmoji, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, while top paid iPhone apps included Facetune, HotSchedules, Tabs & Chords, Enlight, and the 7 Minute Workout Challenge.

On iPhone, the top games included Super Mario Run, 8 Ball Pool, Ballz, Snake vs. Block, and Word Cookies. Top paid iPhone games included Heads Up!, Minecraft, Plague Inc., Bloons TD 5, and Monopoly.

YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Chrome were the top free iPad apps, while Procreate, Notability, Toca Life: Hospital, Toca Life: Salon 3, and GoodNotes 4 were the top paid iPad apps.

Super Mario Run, ROBLOX, Rolling Sky, Word Cookies, and Bowmasters were the top free iPad games, and Minecraft, Geometry Dash, Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location, Bloons TD 5 HD, and the Escapists were the top paid iPad games.

The full list of top iPad and iPhone apps and games, along with additional details on the top App Store content in 2017, is available through the App Store on an iOS device.


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Apple Store App Updated With iOS 11 Enhancements and Support for iPhone Purchases Without Carrier Pre-Activation

Apple today updated its Apple Store app to version 4.4, introducing iOS 11 enhancements and a new scanner feature for quickly adding your credit card information at checkout.

According to the release notes, the app update also allows customers to bypass pre-authorization and activate later on full price purchases of iPhones, a purchasing option that has been available for the iPhone X on the Apple Store website since November.
What's New in Version 4.4
- iOS 11 enhancements
- Scanner now available to easily add your credit card information at checkout
- Customers now have the option to bypass pre-authorization and activate later on full price purchases of iPhones on AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint
The Apple Store app is Apple's iOS storefront, allowing customers to find and purchase a range of Apple products and accessories. It can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Apple Support App Updated With Redesigned Interface and New Discover Section

Apple today updated its official Apple Support app to introduce an overhauled interface and a new "Discover" tab for learning about new features in the products you own.

The new Apple Support interface features a cleaner look with more white space and a universal search bar at the top of the "Get Support" section for locating articles more quickly.


When selecting a product to get help, the app is better organized into different topics, with support articles separated into "Popular Topics" and "More Topics." More recommended articles are also offered up during the support process, making it simpler to find help.

A new navigation bar at the bottom of the app is separated into "Discover," "Get Support," and "Account." Aside from Discover, these features were previously available, but were organized differently.

The new Discover tab is the biggest addition to the Support app. It's designed to surface tutorial articles that are specific to the device you own. On an iPhone 7 Plus, for example, the Discover section offers up articles like using the Files app, capturing Live Photos, and using Messages.

There's also a "Collections" feature that has sections like Welcome to iOS 11, Get to know your iPhone, Get the most from your iPad Pro, Apple Watch Workout, and more.

The new Support app is available starting today, with the update available in the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Apple Pulls App Store Games That Glorify Philippine President Duterte’s Violent Drugs War

Apple has taken down games from its App Store that glorify the Philippine government's deadly drugs war, according to a regional organization supporting victims of illegal drugs (via The Philippine Star).

Last month, the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD) sent Apple CEO Tim Cook a letter demanding that the company remove several iOS games which it said valorized "the emerging tyranny of Duterte's presidency and his government's disregard for human rights principles".

Tsip Bato by Ranida Games

The group named 131 organizations from several countries as supportive of the letter of complaint, with groups working on human rights, youth and drug policy reform among them.

In a statement posted on its website yesterday, ANPUD said that it never received a direct response from Cook, but the runner games that its letter accused of promoting murder, extrajudicial killings and violence appeared to have been removed as of Tuesday.

They include Duterte knows Kung Fu: Pinoy Crime Fighter, Duterte Running Man Challenge Game, Fighting Crime 2, and Tsip Bato: Ang Bumangga Giba!, all of which featured Duterte or Philippine National Police chief (Ronald) Bato dela Rosa shooting down criminals while evading obstacles.

Despite their removal from Apple's App Store, the games remain available for Android users to download from the Google Play store.

Police chief Ronald dela Rosa told the Philippine Star that the removal of the games was a good idea, and that the government's operation to tackle drug users was not about killing or the use of violence, despite Duterte openly endorsing extrajudicial killings in his drugs war campaign.

"They made the wrong interpretation. Tokhang [the campaign] is not about shooting people," dela Rosa told reporters. Rather, he said, it involved policemen knocking on people's doors and urging suspects to stop illegal drug-related activities.

As least 7,000 suspected drug dealers and users were killed in the first six months of Duterte's crackdown, according to estimates from The Human Rights Watch group. Many of the killings are attributed to "unidentified gunmen".

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Apple to Shut Down iTunes Connect From December 23 to 27

Each year, Apple shuts down iTunes Connect for a week around the holidays to give its App Store staff time off from work. This year, iTunes Connect will be shut down from December 23 to December 27.

While iTunes Connect is shuttered, Apple will not accept new apps or app updates, so all price changes and app submissions will need to be locked in before that date.

Developers often offer sales and promotions ahead of when the App Store closes for the holidays, and those sales remain available until the App Store re-opens in late December.

Apple says developers can let customers know about promotions, upcoming features, and in-app events using the promotional text field available in iOS 11.

While app store submissions will be unavailable, other iTunes Connect tools will remain accessible to developers throughout the holiday period.


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Apple Has Removed Skype From App Store in China to Comply With Local Law

Microsoft has confirmed that Skype has been "temporarily removed" from the App Store on iPhone and iPad, according to a statement given to The New York Times.

Apple told The New York Times that it was forced to remove a number of voice and video calling apps from the App Store in China to comply with laws in the country.
We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law. Therefore these apps have been removed from the app store in China. These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business.
Skype has been unavailable on the App Store since at least late October, according to users on Twitter and other websites. The service appears to function normally still for users who have already installed the app.

Skype is the latest victim of China's strict internet filters, colloquially known as the Great Firewall. Earlier this year, Apple was forced to remove many VPN apps from the App Store in China due to regulations, while other apps affected in the past or present include WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Microsoft wouldn't comment on why Skype is also unavailable on at least a few major third-party Android app stores. Many of Google's services, including Gmail and YouTube, have been blocked in China for several years.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Apple Launches New ‘This Weekend Only’ App Store Deals Feature

As part of its newly updated App Store in iOS 11, Apple is introducing a new "This Weekend Only" feature for the "Today" section, which will see the company offering "new ways to save" with apps.

Apple will introduce an app with a special deal each Thursday, with discounts available through Sunday. To celebrate the launch of the feature, Apple this week is offering exclusive discounts within five apps.


You can find the discounts by opening the App Store on an iOS device and navigating to the "Today" view. It's listed under "Introducing: This Weekend Only." This weeks deals are listed below.

- HotelTonight: With the HotelTonight discount, customers booking a last minute hotel room can receive up to 40 percent off of the original room price.

- Glasses by Warby Parker: With Warby Parker's new app, customers who place an order for glasses or sunglasses this weekend will receive a free geometric case, valued at $15.

- Under Armour: Purchases over $100 made within athletic apparel app Under Armour will be discounted by $20.

- Chipotle: When purchasing an entree at Chipotle, customers can get a free order of chips and queso.

- Shoptiques: Apparel and accessory app Shoptiques is providing 15 percent off all orders over $100.

Apple's new "This Weekend Only" App Store section is just one of the ways the company is using the new design of the App Store to highlight apps. Each day, there's an array of new content available in the Today section of the App Store, which is designed to surface a range of new apps and games.


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