Those who jumped on buying an unannounced, and apparently unfinished, first-party iOS application from Apple ended up getting their money back from the company today.
Buyers of GameStore--a 99-cent app that appeared briefly on the App Store on Saturday and listed Apple as the developer--today received an e-mail from the company notifying them about the refund. Following its discovery, the software was pulled off the App Store.
In its e-mail to customers, which has been posted by Macrumors, Apple acknowledged that the software was put on the App Store "prematurely."
You recently purchase (sic) the GameStore app. The app was made available for sale prematurely. We apologize for the problem and have refunded the purchase amount back to your account. These funds will be applied to your original payment method within 5 business days.
iTunes Store Customer Support
An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the matter, but confirmed to CNET that the above e-mail to customers came from the company and not a third-party. The company is not disclosing how many individuals purchased the app while it was available.
The app itself included a series of in-app purchase options for virtual gaming goods, however there was no game to speak of. The only description on its product page said that GameStore "allows you to buy different things from within the app."
TUAW's Erica Sadun, who downloaded and analyzed several of the code strings within the software, suggested it was "sample code" set up as a demo to let developers test Apple's in-app purchase system.
Updated at 8:13 p.m. PT with comment from Apple.