An app designed to alert residents of New York City to crimes being committed has been pulled from the App Store, The Guardian reports. In a blog post about launching the Vigilante app, parent company Sp0n said it monitors crimes reported to 911 and alerts nearby users so they can get to safety or film crimes as they unfold. But the app didn’t last long on the App Store, with Apple citing concerns about its content, according to the app’s creator. While Sp0n claims “the closed system excludes the community while the open system informs and empowers citizens,” it’s easy to see how encouraging average citizens to get involved in investigating or stopping suspected crimes could be problematic. Apple declined to comment on why it removed the app, but a Sp0n spokeswoman said, “The team is working with Apple to resolve the issue and they are confident the app will be made available in the near future. Vigilante will introduce an Android version of the app in the upcoming weeks with plans to expand in additional cities later this year.”
In an announcement on its developer website, Apple confirmed that it is now allowing developers to send a limited number of promo codes out from iTunes Connect to give away in-app purchases to select users. Developers can now send up to 100 promo codes for any single in-app purchase item, and up to 1,000 promo codes total per app. The move is aimed at allowing “press and influencers” to gain free access to items and features that are usually behind an app’s paywall.
CBS has decided to turn the mobile game Candy Crush Saga into a game show, Deadline reports. CBS hasn’t released an initial air date or announced a host, but the show has been in development for two years and will feature players attempting to match colorful candies in groups of three or more while defeating obstacles to make it through more than 2,000 levels. Developed by the same people who brought the obstacle-course hit Wipeout to ABC, Candy Crush will feature “teams of two people [using] their wits and physical agility to compete on enormous, interactive game boards featuring next generation technology to conquer Candy Crush and be crowned the champions.” While Candy Crush Saga isn’t as popular as was it years ago, the game can still be found on Apple’s Top Charts, under free games.
Following Nintendo’s lead, Sony is planning to launch more than five mobile games for iOS by March 2018, CNBC reports. As previously reported, the games will be produced by Sony’s ForwardWorks subsidiary and released first in Japan and other Asian markets where the company has seen lagging console sales. Sony hasn’t elaborated on which games will be coming first, but Serkan Toto, CEO of Japanese gaming consultant and advisory group Kantan Games, warned against looking for the company to replicate the early success of titles like Pokémon GO. “Sony doesn’t have the same power as the Nintendo IP. There is nothing that comes even close to Mario,” Toto said.
Apple has removed popular API documentation browser Dash from the App Store, claiming that an account linked to the app’s parent company Kapeli engaged in App Store review manipulation. In a statement to The Loop, Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr said almost 1,000 fraudulent reviews were discovered across the 2 accounts and 25 apps associated with Kapeli. Who posted the reviews and which apps received those reviews is still unclear. “Warning was given in advance of the termination and attempts were made to resolve the issue with the developer but they were unsuccessful,” Neumayr said. “We will terminate developer accounts for ratings and review fraud, including actions designed to hurt other developers.”
The Phoneys sticker app for iMessage has landed its creator in a serious conundrum after Apple called him with demands that he change it or face its removal from the iMessage app store. In a post on Medium, Adam Howell explains he built the sticker pack—which allows users to paste a convincing-looking iMessage bubble over a friend’s message to make it look like they said something they didn’t—with every expectation that it wouldn’t make it through the approval process. Once it did, people took notice, and with a little publicity, it shot to the top of the Top Paid list on the iMessage store.
Apple has sent out an email to registered developers announcing the debut of search ads in the App Store. Apple SVP Phil Schiller announced earlier this year that search ads would be coming to the App Store, however provided few additional details at the time beyond saying that Apple was giving careful consideration on the best way to implement ads in a customer-friendly manner. Search Ads will allow developers to easily create tailored ads to promote their apps at the top of App Store search results, with basic ads created automatically using metadata and imagery from the developer’s app and automatic matching of ads to relevant searches in the App Store. Advanced features will allow developers to target their ads to iPhone or iPad users, adds their own keywords, specify a target demographic for ads, and schedule campaigns to appear only during certain time periods. Apple has published a new set of pages at searchads.apple.com where developers can find out more information on the new service and sign up to receive a $100 credit toward their first campaign.
Apple is making a big push to turn HealthKit into a diagnostic tool, Bloomberg reports. The app currently collects fitness data from a user’s devices, but people familiar with Apple’s plans said the company has scores of health-care experts building improved software to analyze and understand the implication’s of patient information. The team is also working on new apps for the Apple Watch, including one that tracks sleep patterns and another that gauges fitness levels by measuring the time it takes a user’s heart rate to fall from peak to resting levels.
Google has brought its new Allo messaging app to iOS, making an effort to pack as much functionality as possible into the messenger so that users don’t have to leave it to get outside information. The main selling feature is integration with Google’s other services, integrating search and calendar functions into the chat to give users the ability to look up information and make plans without toggling between multiple apps. The app includes a preview edition of the Google Assistant as well, giving users the ability to type @google to ask for help to find an address, look up a dinner location or find and share a YouTube video, all within the conversation in real time.
Twitter has released the anticipated Apple TV version of its popular social networking app, following reports last month that it was in talks with the NFL to live-stream Thursday-night football games on the big screen. The new Twitter app for the Apple TV goes beyond NFL streaming, however, providing a live Bloomberg Markets channel which can be viewed while accompanied by Tweets, along with Twitter Moments and Top Vines and Top Periscopes. Notably, the app does not provide any access to a user’s own timeline or messages, and reports indicate that the NFL Thursday Night Football feed being used by Twitter is being supplied by CBS.
Apple has updated its suite of iWork apps — Pages, Numbers, and Keynote — for iOS 10, adding beta support for real-time collaboration with other iWork users. With the new feature, users can edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real-time across the iWork applications on iOS, macOS, and iCloud.com. Documents can be shared publicly or only with specific people. You can view who else is currently editing, and view their cursors in real-time as they’re editing. The apps also gain a new format pane for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, wide color gamut image support, support for older iWork ‘05 documents, improved downloading on-demand, and enhanced keyboard and navigation shortcuts. Additionally, a new Keynote Live feature in Keynote allows users to broadcast a slideshow to Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iCloud.com users, and the Apple Pencil can now be used to highlight when presenting from an iPad Pro.
Apple made the entire iMessage App Store available to iOS 10 beta users yesterday, ahead of today’s iOS 10 launch. The store includes apps like OpenTable, games like Words with Friends, and exclusive sticker packs from big names like Disney and Nintendo. While some of the new apps are standalone exclusives to the iMessage App Store, many others are simply extensions of existing apps already available in Apple’s primary App Store. The sticker packs are a varied bunch as well, ranging from the simple Super Mario Run tie-in that doesn’t do much of anything, all the way to Disney’s animated Star Wars stickers that can be peeled and pasted directly onto messages. We’ll have more on the iMessage App Store’s new offerings as we delve into iOS 10 after today’s public release. [via 9to5Mac]
Google has released an update to Google Photos, incorporating some of the Live Photos features it debuted in its Motion Stills app earlier this year. While Google Photos added support for backing up and viewing live photos back in March, Google Photos 2.0 now allows users to apply image stabilization to Live Photos and save them as looping animated GIFs or video clips for easier sharing with non-iOS devices. The new version of Google Photos will also allow users to freeze the background in a Live Photo or create “sweeping cinematic pans” — although more advanced Live Photo editing features beyond this remain the purview of the full Motion Stills app. The Google Photos 2.0 update also adds the ability to choose a new thumbnail for faces in the People section, sort photos in albums chronologically or by date added, and more streamlined sharing to YouTube.
As expected, Apple has released the final “GM” versions of iOS 10, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10 to registered developers in advance of their final release, scheduled for Sept. 13. Barring any significant problems, these final developer releases are normally identical to the versions that are ultimately released to the public, and are listed in the Software Updates scenes simply as the base versions (e.g. “iOS 10”) with full final release notes and no “beta” designation. Notably, iOS 10 on Apple’s Developer Download Site is listed as “iOS 10.0.1” and includes a build number of 14A403. watchOS 3 has a build number of 14S326 and tvOS 10 is 14T330 — these numbers should be identical to the final versions released next week, so as usual, developers installing the GM seeds will not need to install the final public release.
During today’s fall Apple Event, CEO Tim Cook provided an update on the state of the App Store, highlighting that the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are now the most popular gaming devices in the world, and he used the opportunity to segue into an announcement that Nintendo will finally be bringing the venerable Mario to the iPhone. Cook handed over the stage to the “father of Mario,” Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, to expand on the announcement, revealing a brand new mobile-optimized game, “Super Mario Run,” that will be coming to the iPhone. It’s designed exclusively for mobile, one-handed play.
Apple is moving ahead with some more of the App Store changes promised back in June, with an email sent to developers today announcing new auto-renewable subscription capabilities and advising that they can now begin getting their apps and games ready for the new subscription model. As Apple’s developer page on Offering Subscriptions explains, auto-renewable subscriptions can now be offered on all Apple platforms and in all app categories, including games, to provide users with access to content or services on an ongoing basis, and automatically renew until a user chooses to cancel. Developers will be able to allow users to sign up for subscriptions with free trial periods, subject to the normal subscription durations, and will also be able to offer upgrades, downgrades, and crossgrades to subscriptions, all controlled via Apple’s in-app purchase APIs.
In an email sent to registered developers, Apple today announced that as of Sept. 7 it will begin “an ongoing process of evaluating apps” and removing any apps that “no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated” with a goal of improving the quality of apps in the App Store and making it easier for users to find apps which meet their needs. The announcement notes that the review will cut across all categories on the App Store, and developers of apps that don’t meet the criteria will be contacted to be given a 30-day window to make any necessary changes in order for their app to remain on the App Store. Apps that are completely non-functional — that is, those that crash on launch — will be removed immediately. Apps that are removed will only be taken down from the App Store’s catalog, and users who have already downloaded a removed app will be able to continue using it and even take advantage of in-app purchases.
Instagram’s latest update to its iOS app adds the ability to pinch-to-zoom on photos and videos, a feature long requested by iPhone users. The improvement allows users to get a closer look at images and videos, but notably, snaps back to the original size instantly when released. The updated app also makes changes to the Stories feature, providing better options for taking photos and videos in the dark by adding a low-light button that will appear when the camera detects darkness.
While Siri is the usual public focus of Apple’s artificial intelligence endeavors, a new Backchannel story points out that much of the behavior iPhone users notice in their device is also powered by the company’s increasing push to improve its AI. When the iPhone guesses which apps you’ll want to use next when you swipe your screen, that’s Apple’s AI at work, but the device also lashes together pieces of information from several places to provide a more complete picture. Machine learning helps Apple devices do everything from extending battery life between charges to identifying a caller who isn’t in its contact list by referencing emails. It’s also responsible for the iPad Pro knowing the difference between the Apple Pencil’s touch and the palm being dragged alongside it while a user is drawing, accepting the Pencil’s input while rejecting the palm’s. “If this doesn’t work rock solid, this is not a good piece of paper for me to write on anymore — and Pencil is not a good product,” said senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi. “If you love your Pencil, thank machine learning.”
The Nike+ Running app has gotten a total facelift and a new name with version 5.0.0. Now called Nike+ Run Club, the app provides plenty of new options for runners, including the ability to create coaching plans that adapt to their schedule and progress. Post-run sharing options add a social aspect and allow runners to compete with their friends by hash-tagging runs.