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Apple Closes App Store Doors to iOS 3.1.3?

Consumers owning the iPhone and iPod Touch are complaining that they have been blocked from downloading software from Apple's App Store. The problem resides with iOS devices running v3.1.3 and appeared after an update released on December 16. According to numerous complaints, affected users can't download paid and free apps, rate software, view developer screenshots or send details to others using the "tell a friend" option.

"Whenever I go into a specific app in the app store, none of the buttons work properly," claims one consumer. "Clicking on the price no longer downloads the app, the 'top in-app purchases' banner is just text now, pictures usually don't show up.  They usually appear as five gray rectangular boxes with white borders (though in one app one too-large-for-the-window picture shows up."

Additional reports indicate that these users can still update apps obtained prior to the update via the iTunes client, and they can transfer the software from the iTunes PC/Mac client to the iOS 3.1.3 device. But for now, iOS 3.1.3 consumers can't purchase or install new apps directly from the device itself. This may be somewhat inconvenient, but it's better than being completely blocked from the App Store, especially during the holidays.

So far Apple hasn't responded to the complaints, but it's possible the device block is simply a glitch stemming from the update. Unfortunately, there may not be any kind of resolution until after the holidays: the App Store staff alone will be taking an 8-day break starting Thursday, thus no new apps will be added within that period.