A Russian coder Alexey Borodin discovered a bug that allows free in app purchases. He created a hack using this bug which allows free in app purchases on apps downloaded from both the App Store and the Mac App Store. Surely this hack has become a headache for Apple as well as developers who are losing out on potential revenue. This bug can permanently be fixed via a software update and Apple says that the fix will ultimately come with iOS 6.
This bug exists in iOS 5.1 firmware and older versions. All iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices are affected as well as those capable of running Mac App Store. The in app purchases ecosystem provides greater opportunities for developers to earn revenue from their creations apart from the initial cost of the app itself. A huge number of free in app purchases have already been made courtesy of this hack and Apple is yet to reveal whether it plans on giving a monetary compensation to affected developers.
Right now the company has come up with a temporary fix. Apple has always been against allowing developers to use private APIs. Now for the time being it has allowed developers to use private APIs. The company has also posted a new document online which lists steps for securing apps against this bug. Again, for the time being Apple has done the right thing. iOS 6 is still in beta mode and requires more than a couple of months until it is finally ready for public release.
The same goes for Mac App Store. The next Mac OS platform update will fix this bug. Until then developers have to make do with the ways that they are allowed to use. One thing remains though, a bug of this stature is not good for App Store reputation, a service which Apple considers to be one of it’s finest.