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ExtraBITS for 12 June 2017

In ExtraBITS this week, scam apps seem to be making big money in the App Store, iOS review prompts are becoming less annoying, Apple is positioning the iPad for a comeback, and the company has announced the 2017 Apple Design Award winners.

Scam Apps Are Making Big Money in the App Store -- How does an app from a no-name developer earn $80,000 per month on the App Store? Johnny Lin decided to find out. The app “Mobile protection :Clean & Security VPN” claims to scan your iPhone for viruses and malware, charging a whopping $99.99 for a 7-day subscription (it seems to have disappeared now). Of course, thanks to iOS sandboxing and other security features, malware isn’t a significant issue in Apple’s mobile operating system. Lin details how unethical developers are taking advantage of App Store tools and policies to bilk unsuspecting iOS users, and he offers suggestions for how Apple can solve the problem. It’s baffling that Apple approved apps like this in the first place — perhaps it’s a side effect of faster app review times. Until Apple removes these scam apps and improves its app review policies, spread the word to make sure family and friends don’t get ripped off!

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iOS App Review Prompts Become Less Annoying -- Many apps nag users to leave reviews in the App Store, causing significant irritation. Apple addressed this annoyance in part by creating its own review prompt interface in iOS 10.3 and has now gone the rest of the way by requiring developers to use it. With Apple’s solution, apps are allowed to bug you for reviews only three times per year, you can leave a rating from the prompt without leaving the app, and once you leave a rating, that app can never bother you for a review again. In iOS 11, you’ll be able to turn off even these minimal prompts.

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The iPad’s Comeback Tour? -- After a meteoric rise, iPad sales have been plummeting. Apple executives Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller sat down with BuzzFeed to discuss what the company is doing to boost the iPad’s growth, including less-expensive base models, the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and the many iPad-specific features of iOS 11. Some interesting tidbits: it took four years to develop the ProMotion technology in the new iPad Pro, and Apple now likens tablets to crossover vehicles instead of cars.

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Apple Announces 2017 Apple Design Award Winners -- As it does every year, Apple has honored 12 apps with its prestigious Apple Design Awards. Winners this year include the AirMail 3 email client, Enlight photo editor, Elk currency converter, Things 3 task manager, Kitchen Stories recipe app, and Bear writing tool, along with six games. Congratulations to all the winners!

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