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Apple TV App Store now removes installed apps from Top Charts

Apple has tweaked its TV App Store algorithm to hide apps already installed on the device. After a brief scare when their new app went missing from the Top Charts in Germany, app designer Equinux figured out that the update eliminates apps that users already have from app store lists, presumably to provide more visibility for lesser-known apps and keep customers from having to trudge past all the apps they already have while seeking out new ones.

Report: Developers losing interest in making watchOS apps

Developers are quickly losing interest in developing apps for Apple’s watchOS because of the platform’s limited independence, Business Insider reports. Realm VP Tim Anglade, whose company’s database is used by around 100,000 app developers, said while apps for tvOS are on the upswing, new apps for Apple Watch have seen a massive decline in 2016. “On a weekly basis we’re seeing very few Watch apps, compared to iOS apps,” Anglade said. “For every 1,000 new iOS apps being built, there are 10 tvOS apps and maybe 1 Watch app.”

Source: New AI set to give Siri a massive improvement

New technology obtained from Apple’s acquisition of VocalIQ last year is poised to drastically improve Siri’s search capabilities, Business Insider reports. One unnamed source said VocalIQ’s AI was able to answer complex questions like, “Find a nearby Chinese restaurant with open parking and Wi-Fi that’s kid-friendly,” 90 percent of the time, greatly improving on the 20 percent averaged by Google Now, Siri and Cortana.

Beta testing for Pokémon GO begins in the U.S.

Pokémon GO is now open to beta testers in the U.S. while the game is still in active development. The game, first announced last fall, uses an iPhone’s GPS to let users catch, trade and battle over Pokémon based on their location in the real world. Phones will notify players when they are approaching a Pokémon “in the wild” and give them the chance to catch it by using the touch scree to throw a Poké Ball. Poké Balls and other special items can be collected at PokéStops, placed at “interesting places such as public art installations, historical markers, and monuments.”

Nintendo’s next two smartphone games will be free-to-play

Nintendo’s next two smartphone games will be free-to-play, The Wall Street Journal reports. Smartphone game maker DeNA—who partnered with Nintendo to release the Miitomo app in March and has plans to release four more games by March 2017—announced that upcoming titles Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing will be “free-to-start apps.”

Report: iOS 10 likely to include standalone HomeKit app

A review left on Amazon by someone claiming to work for Apple hints at an Apple-designed HomeKit app coming in iOS 10. MacRumors matched the name of the reviewer to that of a LinkedIn profile for someone who works in Apple’s marketing department, and later confirmed the review was written by that employee. The review recommends a few existing apps to control smart home devices before concluding, “The next version of iOS due this fall will have a standalone ‘HomeKit’ app as well.”

Nintendo bringing Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing to iOS

A tweet from Nintendo America is teasing the release of more Nintendo games for the iOS platform, specifically mentioning Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing — versions of two existing Nintendo franchises.

A year ago, Nintendo announced that it would be moving into the mobile space, promising the release of one title this year — the company’s Miitomo social app — followed by four more games by March 2017. Mobile versions of Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing presumably account for two of these promised four apps, but details are scarce beyond the company’s tweet; it’s unclear whether these will be new mobile games that are loosely related to their respective franchises or full-fledged ports of the Nintendo Wii and DS counterparts.

Apple requiring all new Apple Watch apps to be native apps

Apple has let developers know that starting June 1, apps designed for the Apple Watch will have to be native apps built with watchOS 2 SDK or later. The move makes a clean break with the non-native apps that initially launched with the Apple Watch, which made the Apple Watch seem like more of a second screen for the user’s paired iPhone instead of a device in its own right. Apps designed with the native SDK that launched with watchOS 2 have proven much faster and more responsive because they don’t rely on the iPhone for all of the required processing.

Web previews popping up for some Apple TV apps

Apple has started making preview pages for some Apple TV apps viewable in iTunes from a web browser, finally making it easier to share links to interesting apps with friends, or on social media. While iOS and Mac apps have been visible in iTunes web previews for years, this is a new development for tvOS — it should solve a big problem for developers trying to link to their apps from their own websites or social media pages. First spotted by Twitter user Jeff Scott, the new iTunes previews don’t feature an ability to buy or download the apps since that would need to be done on the Apple TV itself.

Embedded Apple Map on WWDC site leads to speculation about public MapKit web API

The code behind Apple’s WWDC map has led to speculation that the company is preparing to release a web version of its MapKit framework, allowing users to embed an Apple Map view into a website, 9to5Mac reports. The map includes the pan and zoom features you’d expect from Apple’s MapKit, which is currently exclusive to iOS and Mac apps. With a built-in core of users already accustomed to Apple Maps on their devices and recent expansions in map research and development, the company’s entry into the web could pose the first serious challenge to Google Maps, which is now used nearly any time a map is required on a web site.

Apple considering ‘paid search’ option for App Store developers

A number of possible changes to the App Store being explored by Apple in recent weeks include the possibility of implementing a Google-like “paid search” feature, Bloomberg reports. Among the possibilities being considered by a secret team at Cupertino would be a plan to charge developers a fee to have their apps more prominently displayed in search results for specific terms, similar to the business model used by Google. The effort, reportedly being spearheaded by former iAd chief Todd Teresi, would be intended to cash in on the increasingly large marketing budgets of major app developers, which have become significant sources of revenue for companies such as Facebook and Twitter. Teresi’s team is said to consist of about 100 Apple employees, including many engineers from the now-defunct iAd advertising group, suggesting that this strategy may mark a directional shift for that group into pursuing other advertising and marketing-related opportunities, after recent reports that the advertising service suffered at the hands of Apple’s strict customer privacy policies.

Airmail comes to iPad with Split View and Slide Over support

After coming to the iPhone a few months back, popular Mac email client Airmail has released its first iOS version that works with the iPad, complete with support for iOS 9 multitasking features Split View and Slide Over. The update adds new features that work on the iPhone as well, including custom shortcuts and support for Touch ID.

Apple pulls third-party Reddit apps over NSFW toggle, quickly adds them back

Apple has drawn the ire of the Reddit community after suddenly dropping popular third-party Reddit clients from the app store over their ‘not safe for work (NSFW)’ filters. Apple informed the creators of Narwhal, Antenna, Eggplant and BaconReader that their apps were removed from the app store for violating clause 18.2 of the App Review Guidelines, which prohibits apps from displaying “user generated content that is frequently pornographic.” Rick Harrison, co-creator of Narwhal, told MacStories it was odd that third-party Reddit apps were removed after being available for months but Reddit’s official app, which launched last week, wasn’t pulled despite Apple contacting Reddit over the same concerns. “I reached out to Reddit asking them if they knew anything, and they informed me that they did not request Apple to pull these apps, and they were also receiving issues from Apple about 18.2,” Harrison said. “I think that Apple did not pull their app because they are a big company and were recently featured. As shown time and time again, Apple does not really care whatsoever about indie developers. From taking 30 percent of barely any revenue to rejecting apps based on features that have been available for 18+ months.”

India’s high court rules Apple can’t use ‘Split View’ name

The Delhi High Court has directed Apple to stop using ‘Split View’ to describe its multitasking feature that allows users to run two apps side by side in iOS 9, The Economic Times reports. Vyooh, a vendor for Microsoft, developed a similar software in 2006 under the name Splitsview to allow users to work within multiple windows. The company filed an objection to Apple’s use of a similar name for a similar product, leading the court to rule that Apple cannot use the term ‘Split View’ on any of its products or services in India. Apple declined to comment, but is appealing the ruling.

Reddit releases official iPhone app

Reddit has released an official iPhone app for its popular online service, allowing users to more easily access Reddit content while on the go. The app allows users to browse all of Reddit directly, search and discover new communities by topic or interest, submit comments, images, links, and posts, and access messages, comment replies, post replies, and mentions. The app also provides the ability to customize Reddit with themes, including a night theme, and see content in either compact or card view layouts. Reddit is also gifting three months of Reddit Gold, its premium membership program, to users who log in to the new mobile app during launch week.

Apple News Twitter account starts promoting stories

The Apple News account on Twitter appears to be up and running, promoting stories as of last night. So far the feed has sent out a handful of sports and news items with links that direct users back to the Apple News app. Anyone clicking on story links from a device without Apple News or in a country where Apple News isn’t available will be redirected to the affiliate news provider’s site instead.

Siri security issue lets users bypass iPhone 6s/6s Plus lock screen (Update: Apple issues fix)

A newly discovered security flaw in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus allows users to bypass the lock screen and gain access to contacts and photos. The exploit only works on 3D Touch-equipped phones set to allow Siri access to Twitter, Contacts and Photos, but if all of those variables are in place, gaining access to a user’s photos is relatively easy.

If a Twitter search run through Siri yields a tweet that contains an email address, a 3D Touch gesture can then be used to call up the contextual menu with options to send mail to the address or add it to contacts. Choosing to add the address to contacts allows access to the phone’s existing contact list, and using the contact list’s option to add photos to a contact, the user can browse the phone’s photos without ever entering a passcode. To guard against the potential intrusion, users need only disable Siri’s Twitter integration under Settings > Twitter. [via Apple Insider]

Update: Apple has tweaked Siri to stop the personal assistant from allowing access to Twitter searches from a locked iPhone. A spokesman confirmed to the Washington Post that the company pushed out a fix to make Siri force users to unlock their phone before delivering Twitter search results. The update was handled on Apple’s on servers, so it won’t require any action from users.

Starz launches subscription app for iOS, Apple TV

STARZ has launched the STARZ Play app for iOS devices and Apple TV, offering a standalone subscription to cord cutters for $9 a month and free access to existing cable subscribers. The app allows up to four users to watch simultaneously, supports universal search through the Siri remote and is the first premium cable app to allow full download rights “for most titles.” Which titles are exempted isn’t clearly specified.

Siri improves MLB knowledge, but results are hit-or-miss

In honor of Opening Day in the MLB, Apple has rolled out some improvements to Siri’s baseball knowledge, but we’ve found there’s still a lot of room for improvement. The personal assistant is supposed to be able to provide more detailed statistics, including historical data going back to the beginning of baseball records, but simple questions like, “What was Ty Cobb’s best single-season batting average?” returned, “I don’t know who leads the league in batting average,” so she can’t even answer the question we didn’t ask, much less the one we did.

Nintendo releasing Miitomo app in U.S. this Thursday

After releasing Miitomo in the Japanese App Store earlier this month, Nintendo announced it is bringing its first iOS app to the U.S. and several other countries starting Thursday. The free-to-play app revolves around creating custom Mii characters and sharing responses to questions like, “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?” and “If you were given ten grand to spend in one day, what would you do?” Answers are shared among friends, who can give responses a “heart” and reply with a picture or written comment.

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