Look, Ma, no bad reviews!
It looks like Apple has been furiously working behind the scenes the last couple of days, responding to the problem some app updates were having, which was later shown to be an issue with Apple's FairPlay DRM and specific app updates.
Apple said that it has fixed the problem. “We had a temporary issue that began yesterday with a server that generated DRM code for some apps being downloaded,” Apple said, in a statement to All Things D.
The fix, at the time, was to have users with an affected app to re-download it from the App Store.
Today, it seems as if some updates are fixing themselves, whether users have updated or not. Our own inestimable Jeff Scott said that this morning, "I had an update to Instapaper that when installed fixed the broken app, with no need to re-install." Good news, then for app developers and app consumers.
In another rare move, Apple flexed some editorial muscles this morning, hiding any one-star apps that resulted from the DRM snafu.
As of this morning, it appears Apple has indeed removed negative reviews from apps affected by the bug. Apps like Instapaper, GoodReader, and The Early Edition are showing no reviews for the latest versions available, which are the ones that were crashing earlier in the week. We haven’t checked on every single app that was affected, but it is safe to assume at this point Apple will remove all reviews (not just negative ones) from any app that received a corrupted update.
Cult of Mac weighed in with its own thoughts on the mechanics of this move, pointing out that "Apple didn’t actually delete the reviews, though. Instead, what they did was force all of the affected apps to trigger a new “app update” on users’ devices, then moved the old 'Current Version' reviews to 'All Versions.'"
All in all, a good day for consumers and developers alike. For Apple? Maybe not so much, though they do get kudos for being so quick with a fix.