Apple has finally settled a 2011 lawsuit with parents whose kids spent insane amounts of money on in-app purchases. A group of parents originally sued Apple after their kids raked up enormous iTunes bills on apps that were downloaded for free from the App Store.
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One of the cool unsung new features of iOS 6 is the way it doesn’t ask you for a password every single time you go to make an app purchase. Remember those days? Ugh.
The downside of this convenience is that anyone who uses your iOS device within about 15 minutes of you having entered the password–like to buy that free game app for your kid, you know, the one with the in-app purchases–they will be able to purchase other apps or (gasp!) complete in-app purchases without entering the password. No, Apple, I really don’t want $100 worth of Smurf Berries.
Short of turning off in-app purchases–which, really, you should if you have children using your iOS device often–there’s another way to protect yourself from this kind of snafu.
Fieldrunners 2 is one of my favorite iOS games, hands down. Developer Subatomic Studios has taken the tower defense genere to a new level with this sequel to their popular and multi-platform game, Fieldrunners. This second game was released in July of this year, almost 4 years after the first iteration came out on iOS, then Mac.
Today, the studio announced that they’ve added in-app purchasing to the game, something many games come with from the start. Those games, however, typically come at no up-front cost. Fieldrunners 2 was released as a premium, paid game, at $2.99 for the iPhone and $7.99 for the iPad version. Why did they add this freemium-style in-app purchasing system to a game that’s already doing well as a paid app?
The fans of the game wanted it.
EA’s free Theme Park game for iOS broke down yesterday, and gamers were unable to access the parks they’d spent time building. The company managed to get everything working again, but once the game was back online, users found that all of their progress had been wiped.
The parks they’d build, the achievements they’d earned, and worse, the items they’d bought using in-app purchases were gone.
Now that Apple is fixing the in-app purchasing exploit that Russian hacker Alexei Borodin brought to light this week, it seems as if he’s at it again. This time, however, it’s an in-app purchasing hack that works in the Mac App Store.
The method here is similar as the one Borodin used in iOS, with the user installing some fake security certificates and then pointing the Mac’s DNS servers at a false server run by Borodin. The remote server then pretends to be the actual Mac Store and verifies the purchase, bypassing the real system for in-app purchases set up by Apple and use by developers of Mac apps. Borodin claims that this system has allowed approximately 8.4 million free purchases so far.
Looks like applications that were once getting rejected due to their use of the Dropbox API are once again being approved in Apple’s iTunes App Store. What apparently was at issue was Apple’s rules regarding “out of app” purchases that bypassed Apple’s app store as well as it’s 30 percent cut of the fees.
A recent update to the iTunes Terms and Conditions adds an interesting clause regarding free trials for in-app subscriptions in the iOS App Store. Ever since the launch of the App Store in 2007, users have been clamoring for some kind of demoing system for paid apps. It looks like Apple may be slowly making strides towards that reality.
Publishers “may offer a free trial period” via in-app subscriptions in an iOS app, according to Apple.
Today Amazon launched an iPad-optimized Kindle Store web app. Visiting amazon.com/iPadKindleStore on the iPad will now take you to Amazon’s new web portal for buying ebooks from Apple’s tablet.
Once you’ve logged into your Amazon account, you’ll be able to browse and purchase ebooks in Mobile Safari on the iPad. Your purchases will then be pushed by Amazon to your Kindle device or Kindle iOS app.
Here at Cult of Mac, we’ve got our own axe to grind against freemium App Store games that try to get kids to max out their daddy’s credit cards with expensive in-app purchases, so it’s nice to see The Daily Show take freemium game makers to town in an absolutely hilarious, spot-on segment that shows how scummy these waters of the App Store can really be.
Remember those sneaky Smurfs? The in-app iPad purchases from the free game Smurf’s Village – and dozens of games like it – had parents seeing red as their toddlers accidentally ran up credit card bills.
The Kindle Fire also has a similar problem. Kids who play about with the 7-inch tablet are just a few swipes away from Amazon’s famous 1-Click Ordering, a feature that cannot be disabled on the device. (If you haven’t disabled in-app purchases on your iPad, here’s how.)
Reuters reports that Jason Rosenfeld’s 3-year-old daughter basically bought her own Christmas presents after seeing Dad’s shopping history on the tablet.