Apple locks App Store screenshots to foil scammers
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is implementing new rules that lock down iOS application screenshots submitted by its developer partners, a measure designed to thwart App Store bait-and-switch schemes.
"Beginning Jan. 9, app screenshots will be locked in iTunes Connect once your app has been approved," reads a brief announcement posted to the Apple Developer portal Wednesday. "New screenshots may be uploaded when you submit a binary for an update to an existing app or a new app."
With the new policy, Apple has effectively made it impossible for iOS developers to upload application screenshots for App Store approval, then swap them out with images from another, more popular app in an effort to fool unsuspecting consumers. For example, in early 2012 TouchArcade reported on an unofficial, non-functional version of Nintendo's Pokemon Yellow that apparently snuck by App Store gatekeepers via nondescript screenshots; after the app was approved, the developers substituted images from the official Nintentdo release, and the bootleg version rose as high as No. 3 on the App Store's Paid Apps chart before Apple removed it.
MacRumors notes that a series of Minecraft clones also have slipped past App Store censors, presumably in a similar fashion. Apple has consistently refunded the purchase prices of these fake apps.
The new screenshot rules represent the latest step in Apple's ongoing efforts to crack down on App Store malfeasance. Last year, Apple warned iOS developers to avoid so-called "bot farms"--robotic installation services that set up automated, recurring downloads to artificially inflate App Store rankings--and threatened the loss of Apple Developer Program membership for anyone found gaming the system. Mobile user acquisition platform Fiksu calculates the bot clampdown may have slashed daily App Store download volumes by as much as 25 percent.
The App Store now boasts more than 775,000 applications optimized for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, including 300,000 native iPad apps. More than 500 million consumers in 155 countries have active App Store accounts. Earlier this week, Apple reported that App Store downloads now top the 40 billion mark, with close to half of those installs occurring in 2012 alone.
- read this MacRumors article
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