Wall Street Journal and Kobo stop direct sales on iOS apps


Over the weekend both Kobo, an e-book retailer, and the Wall Street Journal stopped selling content through their iOS apps, along with Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Google Books. The changes suggest Apple is cracking down on direct sales in apps, which is against Apple’s rules and further solidifies iTunes’ iron grip on content distribution within the Apple ecosystem.

Apple’s rule in question came in February, when the company launched its app subscription service. Apple stated that any content retailer would have to make content available for purchase directly through its app, rather than by linking to outside websites. Apple also said it would take 30 percent of each sale. In June, however, Apple removed the requirement that any media sold through an app outside iTunes would also have to be available inside iTunes, where Apple could take a cut. That change seems to have proved the crackdown on violators of the original rule, which still states that retailers could not have buy buttons in their apps that linked to outside sources.

Kobo chief Mike Serbinis, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, said that Apple told Kobo that it could no longer sell e-books through its App Store-listed app, and that Kobo must remove its digital storefront if the app was to be approved.

Kobo removed the storefront, instead instructing users to surf to the Kobo site on their mobile browsers. Using the site, they can still purchase and download books. The books are still okay to use on any iDevice, but the extra hassle for users of no longer having a native app storefront may strike a big blow to a competitor of the iTunes bookstore.

The Wall Street Journal has had a slightly different approach to selling content because the paper is behind a paywall. Users who downloaded the app, but weren’t already subscribers, were linked by the app to the Journal website, where they could purchase a subscription. Apple’s rules prohibited even that, so now users either must call customer service or surf on their own to the paper’s website. Forcing the paper, which only offers the bulk of its content for subscribers, to remove regular old links to their subscription site seems rather silly when users can go there on their own, and is downright frustrating when it’s a crucial part of the app’s utility.


After fourth attack, hacker puts personal records of 26M people up for sale

A serial hacker going by the name of Gnosticplayers is selling the personal data of 26 million people who have been using the services of six different companies from across the world.
Movies & TV

MoviePass returns to unlimited movies plan, but with plenty of restrictions

Troubled subscription-based movie service MoviePass is making headlines on a daily basis lately, and not in a good way. Here's a timeline of events for the company once described as Netflix for movie theaters.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.

Free yourself! How to unlock a phone from the icy hands of your wireless carrier

Do you want to know how to unlock a phone through your carrier or a third-party service like DoctorSIM? Regardless of which way you want to go, we've compiled a list of requirements and methods for doing so.

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for March 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

Apple iPad Air vs. iPad (2018): Which Apple tablet is right for you?

The new iPad Air replaces the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, but it doesn't pack quite the same punch. It is a fair bit cheaper, starting at $500, but it's a lot more expensive than Apple's 9.7-inch iPad which starts at $330. If you're shopping for…
Home Theater

There isn’t a single good reason to buy Apple’s new AirPods

After nearly a three-year wait, Apple has finally announced a new version of its popular true wireless headphones, the AirPods. We had high hopes for vast improvements, but that's not what we got.
Social Media

Facebook Messenger adds quoted replies to better organize group chats

Facebook is rolling out a feature that should help make group chats a whole lot more organized. The feature allows you to reply to specific messages within a group chat, so others will be able to tell what you're replying to.

The 2018 iPad is often the best iPad for most people — and now it’s only $250

Apple may have recently taken the wraps off of a new iPad Air and iPad Mini, but it's still the standard iPad that is best for most people. Now, the standard iPad has gotten a pretty significant discount -- it's down from $330 to $250.

Looking to keep prying eyes at bay? Here's how to hide photos on your iPhone

People take tons of photos using their smartphones, but not all are meant to be shared or seen. Luckily, hiding photos on your iOS device is easy, whether you want to use built-in utilities or apps with added security.

Give your MacBook Air some added style with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers, and padded sleeves priced from $10 to $130. Happy shopping!

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for March 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for March 2019.
Product Review

The new iPad Mini certainly isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here are our impressions of Apple’s new 7.9-inch…

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks for the best portable chargers.