This Week in App News

Fresh off the presses, here is MacAppStorm’s weekly news roundup.

Happy reading!

Tweetbot for Mac Alpha 2 released

After last week’s initial hype of the first public alpha of Tweetbot for Mac being released, the app’s developers Tapbots have released the second Alpha to the public, which is available for immediate download either via their website or via the Check for Updates option from within Tweetbot for Mac.

Tweetbot Alpha 2

The second Alpha version of Tweetbot for Mac has been released to the public.

The new version includes support for notifications on Mountain Lion, a couple of new features (for example now pressing the Command + U keys will give you the option to go straight to a particular user) and several bug fixes (such as the pull-to-refresh system, which was a bit temperamental in the first version).

Of course, Tweetbot for Mac is nowhere near completed and there are still several key features that are still missing (iCloud sync for example, which will not be available until the app goes on sale in the App Store, presumably to prompt people to buy the full version instead of using the beta version). There has been no word on an official release date but given the fact that only a week has pretty much passed since the release of the two alphas, we can expect a much more solid beta version and maybe even a final version with us very shortly.

Head over to their website to download the Alpha 2 version of Tweetbot for Mac (direct download link). Remember that the app is still in alpha version, so will still contain plenty of bugs and problems, though!

Google buys Sparrow for ‘new Gmail project’

Probably some of the most shocking tech news of the week came on Thursday when the CEO of Sparrow, Dom Leca, announced that his company has been bought out by Google for, according to The Verge, ‘under $25 million’, as the financial terms of the deal have not been fully disclosed.

Sparrow Google

Sparrow was acquired by Google on Thursday for an undisclosed sum.

The move heralded a significant advantage for Google, which may be looking to integrate some of Sparrow’s features from its iOS and Mac programs into their e-mail clients (we may also see a standalone Mac client coming up) but a blow for Sparrow’s faithful user base, as no new features will be developed for the Mac and iOS apps, with the company concentrating on developing for Google, not on further developing its own products.

In-app purchase hack also discovered in Mac apps

The hack developed by Russian developer Alexei Borodin, which allowed iOS users to circumvent in-app purchases by spoofing Apple servers has now been ported over to the Mac with his new “In-Appstore for OS X” service.

In-Appstore OS X

Alexei Borodin’s new “In-Appstore OS X” service, which allows Mac users to circumvent in-app purchases in Mac apps

The method is extremely similar to the iOS version – users install two local certificates then point their computer’s DNS settings towards Borodin’s server, which is located in the Russian Federation. On the server there is a companion app called Grim Receiper which must be run on the user’s local machine in order to bypass the receipt system put in place by Apple.

According to stats released on the developer’s website, his method has been used to allow over 8.5 million “free” purchase transactions, representing both a significant loss for both developers as well as Apple, who also take some commission from in-app purchases as well. Apple have issued two new APIs to developers to try to patch up the loophole on iOS, however there has been no official word on a fix for Mac apps at the moment.

Heard Anything Else?

If you’ve heard anything else exciting that’s happened this week then go ahead and post a link to it in the Comments section below for the benefit of our other readers!