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Apple App Store Serves Up Corrupt Apps, DRM a Possible Culprit

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News Posted: Thu, Jul 5 2012 11:32 AM
There's something funky going on in Apple's App Store that's corrupting several iOS apps, causing them to crash immediately on launch. The issue reportedly affects over 70 apps, including some high profile ones like Instapaper and Angry Birds Space (free edition).

Instapaper creator Marco Arment first noted the issue when, just moments after Apple approved his Instapaper 4.2.3 update, he was bombarded by support emails and Twitter messages complaining that his app was crashing, even when performing a clean install.


"This didn't make sense -- obviously, Apple had reviewed it, and it worked for them. My submitted archive from Xcode worked perfectly," Arment posted on his blog. "But every time I downloaded the updated from the App Sore, clean or not, it crashed instantly."

According to Arment, the issue only affected users in some regions, and within hours of making a stink about it to Apple's App Review division, Apple began distributing a version that worked correctly, though he was never told what the problem was.

Some suspect the issue is with FairPlay, a DRM scheme Apple wraps around its apps as a form of copy protection. This hasn't been confirmed (or denied) by Apple, but whatever the culprit, it definitely appears to be something on Apple's end.
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