In-app purchases flaw exposes developers to costly hacks

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With 2 million apps, the App Store is almost too big.
With 2 million apps, the App Store is almost too big.
Photo: PhotoAtelier/Flickr

Sloppy coding in some popular iOS games allows hackers to give themselves and others thousands of dollars’ worth of in-app purchases for free.

The hole was discovered by developers at DigiDNA, creator of a backup tool called iMazing that allows iPhone and iPad users to access their devices’ hidden file systems. The developers found that the app backup/restore feature in iMazing 1.3 exposes weaknesses in the way games like Angry Birds 2 and Tetris Free handle in-app purchases.

To demonstrate how easy it is to hack in-app purchases using this method, the DigiDNA team tweaked Angry Birds 2 to start the game with 999,999,999 gems — the equivalent of $10,000 of in-game credits.

Angry Birds 2 flings its way onto the App Store

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The thirteenth Angry Birds game is here.
The thirteenth Angry Birds game is here.
Photo: Rovio

5 Apple Watch apps that are best left unmade

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Netflix Watch
Don't look for Netflix on your Apple Watch any time soon. You'd go blind.
Photo: Netflix (via YouTube)

The Apple Watch has been out for a few months now, and it’s given us plenty of time to decide what we do and don’t want from the wearable. It’s a versatile device, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean that we expect it to do everything for us. In fact, a lot of the apps that we use all the time on our iPhones and iPads would be ill-suited, if not impossible for that plucky little screen.

Here are some Apple Watch apps that wouldn’t break our hearts if nobody ever got around to making them.

Angry Birds 2 flings itself onto your screens July 30

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They're back, bigger and angrier than ever.
They're back, bigger and angrier than ever.
Photo: Rovio Entertainment

The disgruntled avians are headed your way yet again in a new game, cleverly titled Angry Birds 2, according to a fairly vague website and trailer from Finnish developer Rovio.

Details are scant, but here’s hoping we see more of the compelling gameplay of the first title in the series — and way less of the karting and endless running of recent releases.

The New Nintendo 3DS XL deserves a spot in your laptop bag

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It's bigger and shinier than any Nintendo handheld ever made. Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac
It's bigger and shinier than any Nintendo handheld ever made. Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Your iPhone and iPad are decent options for gaming on the go, but they can’t do everything. Sometimes touch controls work, and sometimes they don’t.

If you’re a dedicated gamer who wants something that combines the simplicity of touch controls with the precision of actual buttons, I recommend Nintendo’s newest handheld gaming device.

The latest incarnation of the 3DS handheld system is appropriately named the New Nintendo 3DS XL (North America didn’t get the smaller version, but my massive man hands and I are not complaining). It offers a wider viewing angle for its glasses-free stereoscopic 3D graphics, a faster processor and even more buttons than the old one. And if you can swing the $200 price, you’ll be buying a lot of fun. But as commenters love to point out to me, this is Cult of Mac and not Cult of Whatever I’m Writing About, so we’ll skip to the big question:

Will this replace your iPhone or iPad for gaming?

Angry Birds lose a few feathers in first revenue drop

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It's hard out there on a pig. Photo: Rovio Entertainment
It's hard out there on a pig. Photo: Rovio Entertainment

It’s tough at the top.

Mobile video game publisher Rovio Entertainment detailed Thursday its first revenue drop since the Finnish company hit it big with the Angry Birds franchise in 2009.

Perhaps the saturation of the market with no less than 11 Angry Birds-themed games since then (and three spin-offs) and way too many toys and animation projects has something to do with the loss of revenue, down 9 percent to $170.6 million in 2014.

Of course, as Rovio’s mobile gaming business did rise a bit (16 percent), making the overall drop in revenue that more incredible, the company seems to be focused on doubling-down on its mobile game offerings.

“2014 results show that steps in the game portfolio, free to play competency building and advertising are going in the right direction. I am confident that with new simplified organisation and clearer vision, we will be back to the path of growth in 2015,” said CEO Pekka Rantala in a statement.

Rovi-oh-no: Angry Birds dev plans to lay off 16% of its workforce

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Photo: Rovio
Photo: Rovio

Things go from bad to worse for Angry Birds developer Rovio. Having seen its CEO step down in August, now the Finnish studio has announced that job cuts are on the cards — to the tune of up to 130 people.

In a blog post, outgoing head honcho Mikael Hed claimed that these cuts were part of an effort to simplify the company after a period of ambitious growth that is considered no longer sustainable.

Celebrity nudes, iPhone 6 event details and the rest of this week’s hottest Apple news

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post-294340-image-3b9c511bd0873bd9e9634090e0ee4307-jpg

Trusting the Internet can be one of the silliest things you can do, especially when it comes to private matters. While what you do within the comfort of your own circle deserves to stay within its parameters, sometimes things don’t play that way.

Some celebrities found that out the hard way this week when their “personal” photos were hacked from their iCloud accounts and leaked online. With the world frantically sharing the photos left and right, this has turned all eyes toward Apple and the security of its cloud operation.

Rovio CEO steps down as Angry Birds profits plummet

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Can Rovio dodge the curse of the video game movie when it brings Angry Birds to the big screen?
Angry Birds developer Rovio has a new CEO, who hopes to restore this freemium title to its previous glory.

Are we seeing the collapse of freemium game makers as the monster money spinners they were a year or so back?

Following the recent news that the recently-public Candy Crush Saga maker King had posted a disappointing quarter in terms of revenue, now the CEO of Angry Birds dev Rovio has announced that he is stepping down for similar reasons.

CEO Mikael Hed says he is “passing the hoodie” to new CEO Pekka Rantala, who recently joined Rovio after serving as head of Finnish drinks maker Hartwall.

“It has been an amazing ride and in the coming months I will be very happy to pass the hoodie to Pekka Rantala, who will take Rovio to the next level,” Hed noted in a statement. “Pekka is known to be a great leader with experience building successful global consumer brands. I will continue to play an active role and will support Pekka in any way I can to ensure Rovio’s continued success.”

Angry Birds become Transformers in new action-packed Comic-Con trailer

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angrybirds

The Angry Birds are, ahem, transforming yet again in this new trailer from Rovio and Hasbro, released to coincide with San Diego Comic Con this week.

You’ve got the red bird cosplaying as a voice-less Optimus Prime, running his way through an island-style world, smashing through crates, and then finally facing a giant, laughing pig-bot Deceptihog. It doesn’t get much better than this. Check out the video below.