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Russia might force Apple to change critical App Store payment policy


Read Epic Games' reasonable idea for opening up the App Store
Russia joined the voices around the world demanding Apple loosen its grip on the App Store and in-app purchases.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Add Russia to the list of countries investigating the App Store. It is reportedly looking into whether Apple’s policy forbidding iPhone developers from telling customers about alternate — and possibly cheaper — payment options is a violation of its antitrust laws.

The U.S. and other countries are asking that same question.

Judge orders huge App Store change in Epic v. Apple ruling


Read Epic Games' reasonable idea for opening up the App Store
How you buy iPhone in-app purchases will never be the same after Friday’s ruling from a federal judge.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple has been ordered by a federal judge to allow iPhone software developers to point customers to their own websites to make in-app purchases. Previously, Apple required all these transactions to happen through its payment system. The change will prevent the iPhone-maker from collecting 15% to 30% of the revenue from transactions that go through developers’ direct payment systems.

This is the primary result of the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit. And it’s exactly what Epic asked for in the first place.

Judge signals possible solution for Epic Games v. Apple court battle


App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges
The judge may have dropped a hint about how she might end the court fight between Epic Games and Apple.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

If the judge in the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit decides to rule against the iPhone-maker, she may have already signaled the significant App Store change she would order to satisfy the game developer’s complaints.

The judge asked a question that shows she’s considering allowing developers to point customers to their own websites to make in-app purchases. Currently, these purchases must go through Apple’s payment system.

Apple’s treatment of Netflix highlights arbitrary App Store rules


Netflix Downloads for You puts suggested shows right onto your iPhone
Unlike Epic Games, Netflix wasn’t banned from the App Store when it did an end run around Apple’s in-app purchase system.
Photo: Netflix

The latest insider info brought to light by the Epic Games v. Apple trial is the lengths the Mac-maker went to convince Netflix to continue taking subscriptions in its iPhone/iPad app. But Netflix stopped anyway, and Apple took no action.

When Epic Games tried to do something similar, Apple banned all its software from the App Store.

Apple’s Family Sharing just got a lot sweeter


Apple’s Family Sharing now includes in-app purchases and subscriptions
Siblings can share an iPad, as well as in-app purchases and subscriptions.
Screenshot: Julia M Cameron/Pexels CC

Developers of iPhone applications that include in-app purchases and subscriptions can now make them part of Family Sharing. This allows a family to share an item or subscription — at the developer’s discretion.

This is already a feature of Apple’s own services. A family can share a subscription to Apple Arcade or Apple TV+, for example. With this change for third-party apps, the Family Sharing option should become more widely available.

Security firm finds sketchy ‘fleeceware’ apps in iOS App Store


The App Store may not always be impervious to "Fleeceware."
Photo: Apple

A cyber-security firm in the United Kingdom has identified 32 iOS apps that it dubs “fleeceware” for subscriptions and in-app fees that amount to a form of online fraud.

More than 3.5 million iOS users installed the apps, most of which were image editors, QR and barcode scanners, horoscope and fortune-telling apps and face filters for selfies. Two astrology apps making the list are among the first 20 in top-grossing iPhone apps in the UK.

Build the skyscraper of your dreams in Lego Tower for iOS


Start playing Lego Tower today!
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Lego Tower, the newest game from Tiny Tower developer NimbleBit, has landed on iOS.

The free-to-play title lets you build a Lego skyscraper world, with apartments, hospitals, stores, and more. The higher you build, the more options you have — and you’ll collect a bunch of awesome Lego toys along the way.

Mario Kart Tour a disappointment to early beta testers


Mario Kart Tour screenshots
Here's your first look at Mario Kart Tour for mobile.
Photo: Resetera

Mario Kart Tour’s first beta test kicked off this week. Nintendo asked testers to refrain from posting images and videos online, but that was never going to happen. And that’s great for those of us who didn’t get beta invites.

Screenshots and clips of the game have now started popping up all over the place. There’s a lot to be excited about if you’re a Mario Kart fan, but it’s not all good news.

Nintendo doesn’t want you to spend too much on its mobile games


Nintendo iPhone
Nintendo wants some of your cash, but not all of it.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Nintendo

Nothing pleases Nintendo more than fans enjoying its game, but the Japanese company doesn’t want them spending too much on in-app purchases.

Nintendo has reportedly told development partners like DeNA that it wants them to limit micro-transactions to prevent its loyal fanbase from dumping too much of their hard-earned cash into free-to-play titles.