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Apple Temporarily Freezing In-App Purchase Approvals?

TUAW reports a number of iOS developers have been unable for over a week now to get their in-app purchase content approved by Apple, as the company requires in the iTunes Connect developer portal to test IAP with a test user account, but this account has been offline with no explanation from Apple.

As a matter of policy, Apple requires developers to test in-app purchases (IAP) with a test user account before the application in question can be approved. Unfortunately, this test account has been offline for a week now with no word as to why. If you are a developer, you can see the relevant thread on Apple's own developer forums here.

Whilst the impossibility to test in-app purchases and thus get the additional content approved may simply be a technical error on Apple's side, it looks rather curious considering the recent debate surrounding Lodsys and its patent infringement claims against independent iOS developers. As TUAW notes, this can be a simple coincidence that has nothing to do with Lodsys, but The Guardian reported yesterday Apple was "actively investigating" the claims that hit iOS devs, so there's a chance Apple might have suspended IAP approvals before a decision is made.

If you're a developer and have encountered a similar error, let us know in the comments. More information is available on the Dev Forums.

Update: the iTunes Connect Developer Guide was updated on 5/11 including some changes to in-app purchases, but we can't confirm whether these changes are related to the inability of testing in-app purchases with a test user account. The ITC Developer Guide can be found here.

Improvements to In-App Purchase creation and edit flow. The Manage Your In-App Purchases module is no longer available on the homepage of in iTunes Connect. In-App Purchases can now be managed from the app summary page for a specific app within the Manage Your Applications module.

[Thanks, Jason]

Update #2: TUAW reports the issue seems to be resolved.

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