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Apple pulled Telegram app over child pornography concerns, returned it with a fix in place

Apple temporarily pulled the Telegram app from the App Store last week, and now 9to5Mac has confirmed that the app was pulled over the app being used to deliver child pornography. When the app was pulled, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said Apple had dropped it over concerns about “inappropriate content,” and a e-mail response from App Store head Phil Schiller now confirms his team “was alerted to illegal content, specifically child pornography, in the apps. After verifying the existence of the illegal content the team took the apps down from the store, alerted the developer, and notified the proper authorities, including the NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children).” Schiller said his team has worked with Telegram to remove the offending content, ban the users who posted it and verified that the app developer “put in place more controls to keep this illegal activity from happening again” before adding the app back to the App Store.

Nike offering Apple Music, exercise program and merchandise rewards for working out with Nike+ app

Nike is offering a new set of rewards for those using the Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club apps to document their workouts, TechCrunch reports. The NikePlus Unlocks program will provide exclusive playlists from Apple Music, guided meditations from the Headspace app, credits for the ClassPass fitness app and more. Other offers for purchasing Nike gear through the app also have special rewards, like a free four-month subscription to Apple Music for buying certain shoes, for example.

Report: Apple struggling to police fake apps in Chinese App Store

A new report from TechCrunch suggests that Apple may be struggling to properly vet content in its App Store in China, particularly where copycat apps are concerned. The report cites the example of a Japanese app called “Tabi Kaeru” (“Travel Frog”) that became an unexpected hit in China, resulting in more than 30 knock-off copycat apps looking to profit off its success. While Apple has become very successful at dealing with such apps within the U.S. App Store, the company was clearly not as well-prepared to deal with the issue in the Chinese App Store, where at least one knock-off, an app named 旅行青蛙, managed to not only survive long enough to generate significant revenue for the developer, but also rise to the top of the App Store charts, displacing the original genuine app for the better part of a day.

YouTube TV now available on Apple TV

Google has announced that its live TV service, YouTube TV, is now available for Apple TV users in the U.S.  For a base $35 monthly cost, the service provides subscribers with more than 40 live channels from major networks such as CBS, Fox, NBC, and CBS, as well as sports networks such as ESPN and Fox Sports. The service also includes unlimited cloud DVR storage.

Gucci adds ‘Year of the Dog’ custom Animoji

Fashion house Gucci has created its own emoji to celebrate Lunar New Year, according to a new report from The Verge. Available as part of Gucci’s mobile app, the new creation takes the form of two Animoji dogs based on Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele’s own Boston terriers, further inspired by artworks by Unskilled Worker, a Gucci collaborator. According to the report, the Animoji creations appear to be considerably more limited than Apple’s own built-in Animoji, noting that they “can’t even smile, or look anything other than intimidating and annoyed.” While clearly done as primarily a marketing move on Gucci’s part, it’s probably also just one of the first examples of many more home-grown third-party Animoji yet to come.

Slack drops Apple Watch app

Popular team collaboration service Slack has removed its Apple Watch app in its latest update, continuing a trend that began last year with major players such as Google, Amazon, eBay, Twitter, and Transit all phasing out Apple Watch support for various reasons. While the practical usefulness of the Apple Watch Slack app was open to debate, it did provide users with a few additional capabilities, the company added in the release notes for the latest update that “receiving and replying to messages from your wrist works the same as before,” which will continue to be supported courtesy of normal watchOS rich notifications.

Nintendo announces Mario Kart Tour coming to iOS

Nintendo has officially announced that it will be bringing a long-awaited version of Mario Kart to the iOS platform. With the announcement being made via a single tweet right now, the details are somewhat sketchy, but we do know that the application, which will be called “Mario Kart Tour,” is already in development and scheduled for release sometime by early 2019.

Microsoft OneDrive updated for iOS 11, Office apps get real-time co-authoring

Microsoft has announced a series of updates for its Office suite and OneDrive apps for iOS, adding the collaboration features which came to the Mac version earlier this month and bringing iOS 11 drag-and-drop capabilities and Files app integration to the OneDrive iOS app.

Microsoft expected to begin public testing for iPad-friendly version of Edge browser next month

After announcing that its Edge browser would be coming to iOS last October, Microsoft has confirmed that the program’s iPad-friendly version is in internal testing and will be available on TestFlight for previewing early next month, Neowin reports. While iPad users can technically already use the iPhone version of Edge on their device, the experience is less than ideal since the app is scaled up in an unappealing way and limited to portrait mode. While the Edge browser currently lets Microsoft tablet users mark up websites with a stylus — a feature that could be very useful for iPad Pro users — there’s no word on whether that featue will makes its way to the iOS version.

Nintendo’s Miitomo closing down on May 9

Nintendo has announced (translated link) plans to shutter its first mobile game, Miitomo, later this year. First released almost two years ago, Miitomo represented the venerable game-maker’s first foray into the iOS ecosystem after years of holding out. Although the app was more of a social media experiment than a traditional game, the Nintendo name and marketing machine behind it resulted in a lot of hype, making its relatively short life somewhat surprising, although perhaps not entirely unexpected considering that Nintendo has moved on into considerably more popular traditional games for the iOS platform. In the announcement, Nintendo says that it will stop selling in-app currency as of today, with the service shutting down entirely on May 9. [via The Verge]

Tablo OTA DVR update adds advanced recording features

Nuvyyo has released a software update for its Tablo Over-The-Air DVR (iLounge rating: A-) bringing the more advanced and flexible scheduling and recording management tools that many users have been waiting for. The new features, which are rolling out as part of a firmware update to all Tablo DVR models, will allow users to adjust start and stop times for recordings, choose to keep only a specific number of episodes on a per-program basis, and choose which channel to record from when multiple channels are airing a given program. The new advanced recording features will be available to all customers with an active Tablo guide subscription once their devices have been updated to the latest firmware (2.2.18), which is being rolled out gradually over the next week, and can be accessed using most of Tablo’s apps, including the Apple TV and iOS apps, as well as the Safari-optimzied web app for Mac users. Full details can be found on the company’s blog.

Apple unveils redesigned App Store web preview pages

Following a major overhaul of the App Store in iOS 11, Apple has quietly revamped the App Store’s web preview pages to bring them more in line with new iOS design aesthetic. The new layout opens up with a clear banner notifying users that they will need to open the App Store on their iOS device to actually download the app, followed by a cleaner title area with a larger icon, title, subtitle, developer link, ranking/rating information, and price. Below that the new preview page now focuses on screenshots rather than a description, with links to switch between iPhone, iPad, iMessage, and Apple Watch screenshots; Apple TV screenshots are notably absent from the new preview pages, however. Description and What’s New sections come after the screenshots, followed by a more conspicuous customer reviews section that features a design first introduced in the Apple TV App Store.

App Store download revenue set to overtake amount made by entire movie industry this year

App Store downloads brought in $26.5 billion for developers in 2017, and Asymco’s Horace Dediu has unearthed some interesting stats about how that stacks up against other juggernauts of American business. If App Store downloads continue to increase at the same rate, the amount generated in 2018 will be more than the entire film industry combined, as well as more than the revenue taken in by the entire McDonald’s Corporation in 2016. In the coming year users will be spending about $100 million each day on apps, making the App Store segment of Apple’s business the equivalent of a Fortune 100 company in its own right. And these totals don’t take into account other apps offered from free by companies like Amazon and Uber that in turn are used by those companies to generate revenue. With Dediu estimating that “iOS enables about 50% to 60% of mobile economic activity,” he estimates that between economic activity and hardware sales combined, “the iOS economy cleared about $380 billion in revenues 2017” and is set to approach the $500 billion mark in the coming year.

Apple makes deal to allow tipping to resume for Chinese users of WeChat app

Apple has reached a deal with Tencent that will soon allow the tipping feature to be turned back on in WeChat, The Wall Street Journal reports. Direct payments to content creators were disabled in WeChat and other apps last year when Apple informed the app makers that it considered the payments equivalent to in-app purchases — which means Apple would be entitled to 30 percent of the revenue being sent. The companies objected, arguing that Apple was looking to collect money for nothing since not even the app makers themselves were collecting anything from the direct payments sent from users to content creators.

Roland announces new app for creating split screen music videos

Venerable musical instrument maker Roland has released 4XCAMERA, a new video capture app for iOS devices. Although it’s a slight departure from the company’s usual offerings, 4XCAMERA is still targeted at musicians, with the goal of helping to create music videos that can combine up to four performances on a split screen. Users start by capturing a single video using the app, and can then use that initial video to record up to three more performances, adding new parts on each pass. Users can then apply one of 10 split-screen patterns and adjust volumes for each of the videos separately for the perfect sound mix before rendering a final video file that can be shared directly on YouTube or other social media sites.

Report: Some iOS games using microphone to track users’ TV habits

Games like Pool 3D, Beer Pong:Trickshot, and Real Bowling Strike:10 Pin found on the App Store could be tracking users’ TV viewing habits even when they’re not being played, The New York Times reports. The apps are all built using software from Alphonso, a start-up that specializes in collecting data on TV viewing for advertisers. Even when the apps aren’t in use, Alphonso’s software can potentially use a smartphone’s microphone to pick up on the TV shows and ads playing around the device, then use that information to target ads to the user, although the microphone is less likely to continue being used outside of the app on iOS devices due to Apple’s built-in limitations on background apps.

Face ID can’t be used for ‘Ask to Buy’ purchases on the App Store

Many users who bought the iPhone X this year got an unwelcome surprise at Christmas time, finding that they couldn’t use Face ID to authenticate “Ask to Buy” requests that require kids to ask for parental approval to make iOS purchases and downloads, Ars Technica reports. The “Ask to Buy” feature allows Touch ID to be used to approve the requests, but not Face ID, which has led to speculation that Apple knows there’s a risk of family members — especially children without fully formed features — being able to access another user’s iPhone X with Face ID and approve purchases without permission.

Apple softens position on template-based apps

Apple has revised its App Store guidelines on template-based apps, TechCrunch reports, providing much-needed clarity and a more balanced approach following a report earlier this month that many small businesses were being pushed off the App Store. Apple’s guidelines were intended to reduce the number of low-quality apps and “spam” apps that provide little functionality for users, but the hardline approach banning template apps outright ended up affecting a wider market of small businesses and non-profit organizations that relied on third-party app development houses to gain a legitimate presence on the App Store.

Shazam iOS app gets offline mode after Apple acquisition

Not long after Shazam was acquired by Apple, the iOS app has been updated to include an offline mode. Since it won’t have access to the information it needs to identify whatever it’s listening to, the offline mode of the app will simply save the sample and then produce a result once the device is back online. Sources claim Apple could have paid more than $400 million for the company, and it’s still unclear exactly how Apple plans to use the technology — and whether it will continue to make the service available for use on Apple Music competitors like Spotify.

Apple reportedly planning combined iPhone, iPad and Mac apps to create unified experience

Apple is looking to change the way developers design apps, aiming to create a single set of apps that work on iPhones, iPads and Macs, Bloomberg reports. While developers currently have to create different apps for iOS and macOS, sources familiar with the development claim Apple is ramping up a push to have developers create a single application that can worth with either a touchscreen or a mouse and trackpad while performing equally well across multiple devices. The move is aimed at freshening up the Mac App Store, which features fewer apps and versions that routinely lack the updates of their iOS counterparts.

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