On-Device App Store Downloads Currently Broken for Pre-iOS 4 Devices [Updated]
Engadget points to a growing thread in Apple's discussion forums documenting an issue in which users on pre-iOS 4 devices are unable to purchase or download apps from the App Store on their devices. The issue appears to have started on December 16th with a change in the way Apple is serving App Store content to the devices.
Whenever I go into a specific app in the app store, none of the buttons work properly.
1) clicking on the price no longer downloads the app,
2) the ratings button does nothing,
3) the 'tell a friend' and 'git this app' buttons jump back to the top of the app window,
4) 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 (see pic),
5) the 'app support' button still goes to the developer's website.
6) the 'top in-app purchases' banner is just text now.
Users are reportedly having difficulty convincing Apple support staff that the issue on Apple's end, with support staff so far only suggesting a range of potential solutions that could help address device issues but which have proven unsuccessful for affected users.
Broken App Store display on iPhone running iOS 3.1.3
Given the display anomalies experienced by affected users, it seems likely that the issue is a bug on Apple's end rather than any sort of planned obsolescence of pre-iOS 4 operating systems and devices by cutting off App Store access. For the time being, affected users can still download apps via iTunes on their computers and then sync them to their devices. It is unknown when Apple might roll out a fix for the on-device App Store access problems.
The original iPhone and first-generation iPod touch do not support iOS 4 and are thus limited to a maximum of iOS 3.1.3. Other users of devices such as the iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod touch have elected not to upgrade to iOS 4 for a number of reasons, most commonly due to complaints over those devices becoming more sluggish with the upgrade to iOS 4.
Update: Engadget now reports that the issue has been fixed. Readers in our forums have been reporting mixed results over the past few hours, with some seeing improvement while others were still having difficulty fairly recently.