In one of the smaller announcements today, Apple announced that iOS 5 on the iPad 2 will support a feature called AirPlay mirroring. This feature is something that I’ve been telling people would eventually come to the iOS world and basically backdoor Apple into the console market.
If you aren’t familiar with HDMI mirroring on the iPad, it’s a feature that lets you plug in an cable into a special adapter on your iPad 2 and display your screen on an HDTV. This feature is great for use in classrooms and has even seen some play in games as well with Firemint using this feature to allow 1080p output on your TV from their Real Racing 2 HD via mirroring. But, you are tethered to the TV with a cable.
So, what’s AirPlay mirroring then, you ask? According to Apple, “AirPlay® Mirroring to wirelessly display everything you do on your iPad 2 right on your HDTV through Apple TV®.” To me, that means with an iPad 2, you’ll be able to do that mirroring without a cable. That means anything you see on your iPad 2, you will be able to see on an Apple TV. Let that sink in and then think using that feature for games.
This means that any game you play on your iPad 2, you’ll be able to play on your TV, wirelessly. Yes, wirelessly. You launch Angry Birds on your iPad 2 and the Angry Birds screen will show up on your TV. Boom, instant game console with $0.99 game downloads.
To control the game, you would use the iOS device as the controller. The Apple TV becomes the cheapest console out there at $99 with the largest game library at nearly 100,000 games. Your iPad 2 becomes your controller, albeit a very expensive one. We can assume that this feature will also be available in the next iPhone and iPod touch, once their processors and memory are upgraded and on parity with the iPad 2.
Let’s wrap that all up together, and it means that you can consider the Apple TV to be firmly in the game console market now. This is huge! I can’t stress enough how much of a game changer this is for the gaming world.
Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft should be worried. They have all been rather slow to adopt downloadable games, now Apple has gone and made it easy and cheap. If Apple does to the console market what they have done to the mobile software market, they should be very worried. The Apple TV, which started out as Steve Jobs hobby, could turn out to be the most popular home game and entertainment console around.
It just goes to show you how popular the apps from Outfit7 are. The makers of the Talking series of apps released Talking Tom 2, a free app, last week and nearly instantly saw 1.8 million downloads. And the most amazing thing is that it was downloaded over a million times on Sunday alone according to a tweet from Outfit7 CEO Andrej Nabergoj.
Outfit7 must be the most downloaded app company on the App Store with well over 100 million downloads across all of their apps. Their series of talking animal apps are hugely successful with kids and adults alike.
Andrej Nabergoj, Outfit7′s CEO remarked “With more than 55 million downloads and a cameo on ABC’s hit Modern Family, it’s clear that Talking Tom Cat has fans around the world eager to see how his character & story will evolve,Talking Tom Cat 2 not only offers a new look and story for Tom but also makes it really easy and appealing for people to create and share their stories. We are really about empowering our users to become story-tellers themselves through original characters and creative interactions.”
Amazing success. While these apps are not the kind of app we generally report on, the amazing success has to be noted. Congratulations Outfit7!
The App Store was all quiet on July 10, 2008, with just five hundred applications to its name. But that all changed with the iPhone’s growth in both consumer and business markets, as well as the creation of the iPod Touch and iPad. This week Apple approved the 500,000th application, in a sign of stellar strength that defied the global financial crisis. “It’s amazing to see the growth of the iOS App Store” writes 148Apps Founder Jeff Scott. “Very few devices will ever see 500,00 applications created for it. But to see this many created in less than three years is astonishing.”
In recognition of the App Store’s latest milestone, we’ve teamed up with App Store search service Chomp and game developer Chillingo, to bring you contests and giveaways aplenty in the upcoming months. We’ve also created a special info-graphic to mark the occasion. Click here for all the details.
148Apps will be coming to this year’s Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), and if you’re a developer, we’d love to meet you. Got a new game or application in the works? Schedule a meeting with Jeff Scott here.
The Editor’s Choice badge this week was awarded to Tower Defense: Lost Earth, for its five star graphics and sound, as well as a flawless user interface. “[This game is] one that genre loves and armchair generals should not miss” quips Rob Rich, a contributing writer with the 148Apps network. “Even people who don’t generally care for tower defense games might want to give it a try … it’s certainly won this jaded nitpicker over.” Tower Defense is available to purchase for $2.99. Read the full review here.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-05-26 :: Category: Games
Favorite Four took a turn to video this week, with writer Kevin Stout examining the top four free applications that provide video content on-demand. Crackle, SnagFilms, ABC Player and TED all made the mix, with BBC iPlayer getting a special mention for our UK users. Episode 86 of The Portable Podcast is also available to download, featuring guests Alex Fateyev from A-Steroids and Brett O’Brien from Viddy. Host Carter Dotson discusses their applications, Vampire Rush and Viddy.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-04-11 :: Category: Photography
In a final piece of news this week, Apple issued a response to the recent controversy created by Lodsys’ patent claims of in-app purchases. Presently, Apple pay a license fee for the use of in-app purchases, an idea originally thought of, and patented by, Lodsys. The company has spoken to a number of App Store developers, claiming that, without proper licensing, they are in violation of patent laws. Apple’s response? “There is no basis for Lodsys’ infringement allegations against Apple’s App Makers.” Read all about it right here.
That’s all for this week – and remember, keep an eye out for frequent contents and giveaways in celebration of the App Store’s unmatched milestone.
The App Store hit a major milestone today, in less than three years since the launch in July, 2008, Apple has seen over 500,000 applications approved in the US App Store alone. Over half a million applications!
It’s amazing to see the growth of the iOS App Store. Very few devices will ever see 500,000 applications created for it. But to see this many created in less than three years is astonishing.
Before we go to far, please note that while 500,000 have been approved, the App Store is just shy of 400,000 live apps in the US. There are a lot of reasons for this. We’ve seen quite a few apps removed that were never updated to work with the latest OS, or abandoned by their developers. Still others removed due to violations of Apples terms. We’re not sure if 20% abandoned/removed applications is high or low for a platform. My gut feeling is that it’s about average.
Let’s get geeky and take a look at some numbers. From that nearly three years of data we know that you’d need a 7.5 terabyte iPhone to hold all of the apps available at once on your device. I guess we have a new high end target for the storage limit of the iPhone 5. Oh, and it would cost you $891,982.24 to buy all of the apps.
37% of all live applications are free while 15% are games. It’s interesting that in recent months Books has been the largest category. But just this last month we saw Games overtake Books once again.
Here’s a small segment of the infographic. Click the image for the full thing in its full glory.
To celebrate this major milestone, we’ve teamed up with Chomp and Chillingo. Over the next few months we’ll have a bunch of contests / giveaways, and look back at the life of the App Store and some of the developers that make it the fastest growing platform ever. You can keep track of all of that over at a special 500,000 Apps Facebook page we’ve set up and of course right here.
This week, May 16-20, significant updates were released by major titles, including Angry Birds, Need for Speed and Infinity Blade. Rovio’s Angry Birds Rio is receiving a new expansion pack called “Beach Volley” – which adds thirty new stages to the game that is already sixty level strong. Its sister game, Angry Birds Seasons, is due to be updated mid June. EA’s Need for Speed Hot Pursuit update is now available, and adds a new feature called ‘Autolog’ – where you’ll “be able to track your career progress, personal best times and how they compare against your friends” and more. Finally, Infinity Blade now has an ‘Arena’ that allows multiplayer game challenges with friends through Game Center.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-12-09 :: Category: Games
148Apps Editor Rob LeFebvre continued his monthly series on iOS editorials by publishing “Why, Freemium, Why?!” in response to the App Store’s love/hate relationship with the controversial pricing model, whereby consumers get the core part of a game or application for free, and then have to pay for extra levels or features. “As an avid gamer across all platforms, I’ve seen my share of games. And, to be honest, Freemium as a business model doesn’t inspire me to play a game” writes Rob LeFebvre. “Many of these games seem to be about the mechanics alone … we need something new, if the freemium model isn’t to crush itself under its own weight and continued copy-cat-ism that reigns in space.” Read the full editorial here.
The Editor’s Choice badge was awarded to Japanese this week, an English-Japanese and Japanese-English language converter with an extensive dictionary database, as well as tools like flashcards and handwriting recognition. Bonnie Eisenman reports. “I’m going to be studying Japanese in Japan this summer, and I knew that I’d need a dictionary … Japanese is a comprehensive dictionary app with all the features that I could ever ask for, save perhaps for voice recognition.” The language application features approximately 160 000 words, as well as 12 000 kanji entries, the modern Japanese method of writing. “It’s impressively comprehensive, including everything from a giant database of words and example sentences to flashcards and handwriting recognition for kanji. The only thing it lacks is audio.” Japanese is available to download for $9.99.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-09-15 :: Category: Reference
Bungie, the creator of the Halo and Marathon franchises, is believed to be coming to the App Store sometime in the near future. Through an official brand name filing description, the company wrote: “Computer game software for use on mobile and cellular phones” – and we all know that means the iPhone. Read all about it here.
That’s all for this week! Remember that you can follow us via Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed and through a myriad of RSS feeds that will keep you in the loop about all the latest, most exciting applications and games. Click here and choose the options which suit you best.
Earlier today it was announced that EA intends to acquire the superstar Melbourne iOS development house Firemint. At the time I first read this, I was outraged. I have never seen an acquisition work well, other than monetarily, for the acquired company. With rarely an example in the other direction, the members are eventually reassigned in the company and the founders exit within 2-3 years. Let’s hope EA won’t put out the fire in Firemint.
For once, I holstered my temper and restrained myself from posting a passionate knee-jerk reactionary rant, though I wrote three of them this morning. What held me back is that I am a huge admirer of Firemint the studio, the people involved, and their games. And I don’t want to see the creative and original games go away. I feel that while this may be good for Firemint and the founders in the short run, only EA will profit from it in the long run. And we, as gamers, will most certainly lose. Let me explain.
This acquisition will likely mark the beginning of the end of one of the most interesting indie studios developing games for the iOS platform. Why do I say that? When was the last time you saw an acquired company thrive when purchased by a huge company like EA? It may work out in the short run as Firemint will get an influx of cash to keep doing what they are doing. But in the long run, meeting the schedule and bottom line of EA and the shareholders will be the undoing of the way Firemint works and what makes their games special.
For example, at the Game Developers Conference earlier this year, Firemint introduced their latest game, Agent Squeak. This combo route / maze game has been in development for well over a year. I’m guessing that during the acquisition talks EA praised Firemint for their dedication to getting the game out when it was right, not out quickly. But once it’s EA’s bottom line begins getting impacted by a 20 month development cycle for a casual game, the dedication to a quality over speed may not be as strong.
There’s no doubt as to why EA wants to acquire Firemint. EA has failed to show any real creativity in mobile games. They half-heartedly tried with 8 Lb. Gorilla, an internal studio for quick, casual games. That group was to produce a game per month. They disappeared after just 1 game.
During decades in the video games business, EA has built a huge portfolio of franchise IP — John Madden, Need for Speed, Tiger Woods. That has lead to a plethora of franchise games and console companion apps, but we have seen a real lack of creativity when it comes to mobile focused games from EA.
On the other hand, Firemint has produced 3 amazing games – all well thought out and designed from the ground up for mobile platforms, not franchise IP squeezed onto a 3.7″ screen. I can’t remember a single EA game that has given me 1% of the awe at the originality and creativity that Flight Control gave me on first play. I mean, come on, Coconut Dodge? Looks and plays like a feature phone game reject. In all fairness, EA is just publishing that game, but still, really?
So what will happen? In the best case nothing will change, Firemint will be left to do their thing and EA will publish the games. In the worst case, Firemint will be absorbed into EAMobile and we’ll see Flight Control 2 and 3 rushed to market with guest appearances by a silly coconut catching crab. The real answer is probably somewhere in between. But anything past the first scenario and we, as iOS gamers, will lose.
Perhaps some of the vitriol I have comes from being part of a company acquired by the hapless Yahoo!. A group that was then wasted, split up, and then forced out. Even so, stories of acquisitions going well for those acquired are few and far between in the valley. For their sake, and they are truly nice people, I hope it goes well for Firemint and everything I said above is completely wrong.
Acquisition news comes at strange times. Today is no different. Late in the day just before a long holiday weekend it was announced that OpenFeint had been acquired by Japanese company GREE for $104 million.
[Updated 7:00pm, PST] Reportedly the acquisition shouldn’t change either company drastically. Users shouldn’t expect any immediate chances to the OpenFeint system, and both parties are positioning this acquisition as a one plus one equal three kind of thing, the sum is greater than the parts.
We are all very familiar with the little green leaf of OpenFeint with it’s social gaming network already integrated with over 5,000 iOS and Android games. GREE, is a Japanese social games company much like DeNA, the company that acquired ngmoco last year. They develop massively social games for the Japanese market.
For OpenFeint, the investors get over a hundred million dollars, and validation of the network that they have built, the largest mobile social gaming network. For GREE, they get quick access to the US, and the iOS and Android platforms. GREE will also seed some more money to help OpenFeint accelerate and grow. A good sign that they are interested in building the company and not just absorbing them.
In an open letter to developers who use the OpenFeint platform, Jason Citron, CEO & Founder of OpenFeint tried to assure developers that this change will be good for the platform as it will increase the speed of updates and new features. OpenFeint have also posted a FAQ with answers to some common questions on the deal.
In my opinion, most acquisitions seem have a negative side to them. One company gets the short end of the stick. But thus far, this acquisition seems to be a win for both parties and will allow OpenFeint to continue to do the great work that they do while letting GREE better benefit from that. Time will tell.
A big congratulations to all at OpenFeint!
Read the full press release and note from Jason Citron below, after the jump.
The AppNation conference will be held April 27 & 28 at the Moscone Convention center in San Francisco and 148Apps is a proud media sponsor. The agenda is shaping up to be a great one and this year, I’ll be moderating a panel called the App Rock Stars. For this panel, we’ll be talking with some of the people with the most app downloads out there. In total, the participants have over 100 million app downloads, and we’re going to find out how they did it. The panel line-up is scheduled to include:
Dave Castelnuovo, Co-Founder, Bolt Creative (PocketGod)
Thomas Chung, CEO, The Playforge (Zombie Farm)
Andrej Nogeskoj, CEO, Outfit7 (Talking Tom)
Berkeley Malagon, Founder, Distinct Dev (Moron Test)
It should be a very informative panel. Want to attend AppNation? 148Apps network readers can get a 30% discount on the registration fee by using code APP148 on the registration page.
More About APPNATION
APPNATION is an ambitious and bold thought leadership conference and exposition focusing exclusively on the burgeoning consumer applications revolution and global app economy. The second annual APPNATION event will be held April 27 – 28 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco and will feature speakers and exhibitors from leading companies from across the app economy including Digital Chocolate, Marvel Entertainment, Jumptap, Nielsen Mobile, Sequoia Capital, WIP, Fox Broadcasting, Greystripe, Norwest Venture Partners, Wall Street Journal and dozens of others. DEVELOPERS: Submit your app and have a chance to pitch at the AppCircus@Appnation on April 27th! AppCircus is powered by dotopen, and is a unique global traveling showcase of the most creative and innovative apps presented by their creators during some of the most influential international events in mobile/web. AppCircus is open to developers, startups and any other organization and offers each participant a chance to get a nomination to the annual Mobile Premier Awards at Mobile World Congress. Visit AppCircus for full details, rules and submission information. Deadline for entry is April 17th.
Developers NOTION Music, Inc. released Progression Free earlier this week, a guitar tab editing application built to “write, edit and playback guitar tablature using real audio samples.” The free application includes an interactive fretboard, whereby users can tap on the board to input data. “Progression gives even the inexperienced guitarist an abundance of guitar functions, including but not limited to: vibrato, slides, string bending, hammer-ons, pull-offs, trills, whammy-bar methods and more,” reads the official release.
This is a tool that a number of more popular applications, such as Guitar Pro and TabToolkit, lack the ability to do. Although the interface behind Progression Free isn’t perfect, it certainly makes it easier to tab on-the-go. Files are saved in a unique .notion extension, with the ability to email a PDF version for non-iPad users, or those seeking to print the tablature. No word yet on what future updates will hold – I’m hoping the ability to export as .gp and .ptb and .txt will be in there – but it’s certainly a step in the right direction, and sure beats using Notes.
There are over eight thousand applications in the Productivity section of the App Store, totalling almost 2.5% of all applications available to download. Why then – and how – has 6 Wunderkinder’s Wunderlist come from nowhere to almost eight million task creations, being labelled as iPhone App of the Week by Apple in both the US and German App Stores? Through a beautiful design and integrated interface, all with no price tag attached, its one million users have everything to be happy about.
The sleek get-things-done application aims to simplify life’s tasks with one interface and minimal fuss. “Wunderlist makes it dead simple to organize your daily life. Just add some lists and start filling them with the things that need to be done” reads the official release, noting the capability to add tasks by e-mail. The application is free to download on both the iPhone / iPod Touch and iPad, with no strings (or adverts) attached.
There doesn’t appear to be any compromise between price and security either. The free application sports SSL encryption, meaning every login and sync happens securely with no interception from third parties. All data is stored on secure servers run by Media Temple, a 103-employee strong company that operates twenty four hours a day to ensure that secured data remains secure.
Earlier this week, I got in touch with Robert Kock, Co-Founder of the company behind the application. Here’s what we talked about:
What was the inspiration behind Wunderlist? Robert: Before we started working on Wunderkit, we discussed how we could gain awareness for our brand and our work even before the initial launch. How could we get thousands of people being interested in us? We wanted to make it big, so we decided to built a software and give it away for free. Thinking about an application that literally everyone would need, we came up with a concept of a task manager called Wunderlist. To improve the user experience to a maximum, we combined several aspects of popular software. So now we have an easy-to-use task manager for nearly every device that provides cloud sync and sharing functionality for free.
Why and how is the service free? Robert: Wunderlist is free because it is a give away. We want users to get used to our philosophy of simplicity and good usability and we wanted them to get to know the 6Wunderkinder brand. We managed to built a substantial fan base literally within several weeks.
What are your future plans? Robert: Because the development and the maintenance of the Wunderlist service requires more and more of our resources, we thought about monetize Wunderlist later on. But we won’t consider any actions before we asked our community which way they’d like us to go. Besides all that, we are working on Wunderkit and hope that all of our users will love it as much as we do.
When Apple launched the iPhone in June 2007, there was one application that seemingly everyone wanted to get rid of: Stocks. To those who used it, it was invaluable. To those who didn’t, it was worthless. Perhaps this is why, when Apple launched the iPad in April 2010, Stocks wasn’t to be found anywhere – even as an optional download. Financiers and stock enthusiasts still rely on third party solutions to make up for the lost Stocks application, from the Financial Times to Bloomberg to CNBC Real Time. And now there’s a new Finance application on the block, namely MarketDash by Yahoo! Inc.
Aesthetics aside, MarketDash is Stocks (not least because Stocks acquired its data from Yahoo! Finance) with a few subtle differences, such as external related news and additional ratios like earnings per share (EPS). Charts now enjoy a 5Y and max timeframe, as well as the usual 1D / 5D / 1M / 3M / 6M / 1Y / 2Y. Most notably, MarketDash provides real-time tracking of stocks during the trading day for selected markets – there’s no 15 or 20 minute delay to be found. Mathematical algorithms automatically calculate adjusted market cap, price and % change every minute.
The home screen includes a personalized “watch list” along with an option to import your personalized finance portfolios from Yahoo! Finance. Quotes can be retrieved from a long list of exchanges, the full extent of which can be found here
When you blow up the charts to full screen, a beautiful and financially relevant feature is to be found: comparisons. The correlating graph of another stock or exchange can be added to the graph you are currently looking at, illustrating the full extent of the success of the stock or exchange in relation to another section of the market. What’s more, you can add more than one comparison. This is something I’ve yet to see in any other finance application.
Like Stocks for iPhone, MarketDash for iPad is free to download. There are no in-app purchases, no unlockable features: it’s a truly free application and available now.
From the developers of the Musée du Louvre application, one of the most downloaded educational applications in the App Store’s history, comes a new project: HDvision. The iPad-only magazine, second of its kind only to Virgin’s Project, immediately shot to the number one downloaded News application (and number seven overall) in its premiere in the French App Store. Now it’s available in the US and a number of different App Stores across the world.
HDvision is devoted to high definition media and technology. “Get the best of Cinema, Blu-ray, TV Shows, Video Games, VOD, Multichannel Sound and Technology on your iPad with the HDvision magazine” reads the official blurb, all through an interactive app that includes embedded HD video trailers, HD picture galleries and interactive slideshows. The first issue of HDvision is free to download. This month’s magazine weighs in at 619MB, heavy even for magazine standards but to be expected given HDvision’s focus on high definition content.
I spoke to David Fakrikian of HDvision earlier this week, asking him about the inspiration and development of the popular magazine. “The [printed] project was refused by every publishing company around for both costs reasons, and political reasons … until the iPad came about, and Mastery Pictures International offered to team up with us” he writes. “The idea was irresistible: iPad offered the possibility to blend both contents of the original magazine (features articles + video) into one package, and make an international (english) edition, offering us for the first time the possibility to be read worlwide, as well as by most directors and actors we interview.” The pricing strategy behind the magazine application is yet to be determined, given its early stages.
The magazine’s inception stems from DVDvision, a print magazine that Fakrikian created and edited between 1999 and 2003. You can download the first edition of its new counterpart, HDvision, for free. Just check out the link below the YouTube teaser.
Chillingo, a division of Electronic Arts most recognized for its creation of Angry Birds, which sits almost always as the #1 paid application in App Stores across the world, announced today that Cut the Rope will receive a special update for Valentine’s Day, February 14.
“The new Cut the Rope 1.2 update marks the annual celebration of love and affection with adorable Om Nom as cupid in a special Valentine’s Box filled with 25 gorgeous levels. A romantic and fun, “split-candy” gameplay is also introduced to challenge players as they strive to slice the right ropes to feed the insatiable green creature. Brand new artwork and a distinctive Valentine’s icon make Cut the Rope the perfect gift for your special someone” reads the official release.
“This 1.2 update is our gift to you this Valentine’s Day for being the greatest fans out there; we hope players love the new box, levels and features just as much as we enjoyed creating it,” states Efim Voinov, CTO of Zeptolab. “Thank you for the continued support, we are already working closely with Chillingo to enhance the game and think fans will be extremely delighted!”
Such holiday updates are becoming more and more popular, even within Cut the Rope’s own development. In December of last year, 148Apps reviewer Brad Hilderbrand announced the Christmas update of the popular application, which to date has now sold more than six million copies. Conservatively, that means Cut the Rope has generated over $4 million in revenue (after Apple’s 30% commission), not taking into account the price difference between the iPad and iPhone version of the immensely popular game. It stood as the sixth most popular paid-for iPhone game in 2010.
When 148Apps reviewed the game last year, writer Carter Dotson awarded it 4 stars. “Cut the Rope is ingenious, following a similar formula to Angry Birds – charming graphics, simple gameplay that gets complexity steadily layered on top of it in a way that feels natural, almost without even feeling like it’s getting more difficult” he writes. “That is just brilliant game design, and with more levels promised, Cut the Rope has an exciting future, but is still great with even just the core game content.”
Available for $0.99 on iPhone and $1.99 for iPad, a free lite version is also available to download, allowing you to try-before-you-buy. A sneak peak video of the update is available below:
iPad users will notice something a little different when they open the App Store on their device and open up search. The App Store application, which itself does not require updating, has been refreshed and includes new (and frankly, necessary) features that make it much easier to discover apps that you’re looking for, as well as pinpointing applications that you’ve downloaded before but no longer have installed – perhaps due a fresh iOS install.
The refined search now allows you to show results from a specific category and subcategory (eg. Games or Action Games or Utilities); apps released within the past 7 / 14 / 31 days; free or paid (no specific price brackets); iPad, iPhone or universally built; and apps that have received a certain overall consumer rating (eg. 2+, 3+, 4+ or 5 stars). These filters are inter-compatible, meaning you can search for an app and then limit results by, for example: games only, iPad only, 4+ stars. With over 330,000 applications currently available to download, such filters are a welcome addition.
And that’s not all. Conveniently, applications that have been bought but are not currently installed on your device will now show up in the App Store as “Install” rather than “Free” or “Buy Now” – meaning you can be sure that what you’re downloading is what you’ve bought. Beforehand, consumers had to manually check their iTunes receipts to confirm that the application had been bought, and then hit “Buy Now” despite having already bought it. Only after the iTunes password was entered – which meant your account could then be charged if you didn’t own the app – did a notification arise stating that you’ve already bought the application and that you’d be able to download it without charge. The update, that will already be installed on all iPads, fixes all of that. In addition, any apps that require updating will read “Update” in the App Store rather than “Free” or “Install”. Presently, the update is iPad only, meaning iPhone users are still relegated to the old search.
On a related note, 148Apps has updated its search engine – making it easier than ever to find the apps or blog posts you’re looking for. Go ahead and try it out!
The year is 1983, and Midway Games, developer and publisher of Ms. Pac-Man, Spy Hunter and Tron are preparing to launch what is later to become a world classic: Tapper. The objective is simple, the gameplay challenging: serve fresh beer whilst collecting old mugs (and hopefully a few tips too) successfully. Its originality proves that games don’t need to have the best graphics to make it into the history charts.
Fast forward 28 years to 2011 and history seems to be repeating itself, albeit with a more modern touch. Yep – you guessed it – Tapper is coming to the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch in the Spring of 2011, courtesy of Warner Bros Digital Distribution.
Working with animator Don Bluth, alongside developer Square One, Tapper World Tour for iPad will feature all-new bars from all across the world, with new graphics, advanced gameplay and a taste of originality. The developers plan to include multiple game modes, difficulty settings and a ton of locations to meet your customers’ need for thirst quenching beverages.
You’ll be faced with at least three counter tops and an exponentially increasing number of customers, each of which will want their own drink of choice. As things get busier, customers arrive more frequently, drink faster and gradually all will get closer to the bar. You’re going to want to be on top serving form, as all customers must be satisfied before you can move on to the next level. So there’s no slacking in iPad games either.
There’s no word on pricing yet, but this is one game you’re not going to want to miss. Check below for some actual in-game screenshots for both iPhone and iPad. It looks the game will be optimized for iPhone 4 too. If it’s anything like the original, then there’s much to look forward to.
We’ll continue to post details as we know them, but until them, check out the official Facebook page here.
Real Racing 2, possibly the most ambitious app to hit the App Store launched today. It’s a new version of one of the best racing games ever seen on a mobile device, and better than many seen on consoles. Firemint, based in Australia, has a lot riding on this game with a reported 2 million dollars spent on it’s development. We fired off a few questions to the fine folks down under to get some of their thoughts on the iOS platform and development of Real Racing 2.
Q: Real Racing 2 integrates Game Center for multiplayer, leaderboards, and achievements. How have you seen the performance of the Game Center multiplayer system? You’ve been able to do something others haven’t by bringing 16 player multiplayer to iOS.
Game Center has been great for us and we are big supporters of it. Beyond just leaderboards and achievements, we can use your Game Center ID to locate your save games and link to other services like Youtube uploads etc. The awesome thing about Game Center is that it provides an easy way to create peer to peer multiplayer connections with up to four players at once. We have supported this in Flight Control, Real Racing, Flight Control HD and Real Racing HD.
For Real Racing 2 we have implemented a hosted solution because we wanted to support our 16 car single player grid in multiplayer games as well. We also wanted to make it really simple to find and play multiplayer games, on every device. This is something we have been working on for a long time. It is more difficult for us to do things that way, but it means we are able to support all devices.
Q: A few months ago you released a story about how you had tuned the AI in your bots to such an extent that they were cheating. Are you sure they aren’t still cheating? Some of the AI race drivers seem awful good! Tell us more about the AI in the game for the computer drivers.
Well the Real Racing 1 AI weren’t cheating as such, it was more that they were finding exploits in the physics engine, the same exploits that human players could find. An example of that was that the AI found if they hit a certain corner at exactly the right angle, they would explode down the track faster than any car could drive. Needless to say, we fixed that bug before release!
In Real Racing 2, we have gone to great lengths to make sure the AI are competitive without cheating. Some games allow their AI to have faster or more responsive cars, or add catchup code so that they are competitive. On release, our game has none of this, the opponents never drive a car that out performs the ones the player can drive in the game. However, they may take you to the cleaners if you enter a hard career race under-spec’d. So choose a car with as high a performance rating as possible and ideally well suited to the particular track, for example top speed is pretty critical on an oval but it’s not so helpful on a winding track. If the AI is driving a car that you know has a higher top speed than yours, then you can be pretty sure that they won’t be so good on the corners.
The AI have been written to use the same inputs that the player has, accelerate, brake and steer. The down side of this as developers, we have to make our AI really smart to keep up with a human player.
One advantage that the AI do have is that they are precision drivers, the best AI can hit a precise racing line every time, so while it may seem like they are cheating, they actually take great lines through the corners and may come out of them faster than you if you make a small mistake. So just like when you are down at the track, winning at the high levels in Real Racing takes precise driving.
Even with all our effort into improving the AI, we would still rather take on the fastest AI we have than try to compete with a top ranked Real Racing player!
Q: What can we expect in the future for Real Racing 2? Any planned updates? An iPad version perhaps? Voice chat like we’ve seen you recently add with Flight Control?
You can be pretty certain that we will do an iPad version and we want to do something special, but definitely not until next year. We also have the online save game system now so that we can share your progress across versions of the game including from iPhone to iPad.
We do have all sorts of ideas and plans for Real Racing 2, however they are just ideas at this stage. Announcing things is easy, but delivering is hard, so we are cautious about announcing too much at this stage. Hopefully then, when we do deliver something, we will have over-delivered
Q: You’ve developed your own 3D engine for Real Racing 2, Mint 3D. Can you tell us a little more about it and what are the advantages of a custom engine over a pre-built one?
Mint3D is a powerful and highly optimized rendering engine designed to get great performance out of the current iOS platforms, particularly iPhone 4 and iPod Touch 4. It supports standout visual effects like shadow mapping, depth of field, motion blur, detail textures, reflections, level of detail, specular highlights, glints, flares, particle effects, animation and even some improved real time shadows, whilst being able to push large quantities of polygons and models through the hardware each frame. The cool thing is, we have a very optimized legacy engine within Mint3D that was developed along with Real Racing, which is how we are able to continue to support earlier devices, albeit without the same high level of effects possible on the newer hardware.
We have to render a 3 mile track being traversed at high speed, from any angle with 16 cars, sometimes all on the screen at once, all with unique textures, see through windows, reflections, shadows, damage etc. It all has to look great regardless of what the player is doing with their car or with the camera or where they are driving. Everything moves by very quickly so dealing with a large object count is very important to a racer, and when you have 16 cars with physics and AI on top of that, there is a lot of variety to deal with. Mint3D is designed to handle this and to do a large variety of things well and at consistent framerates.
The choice of going with a custom engine over something pre-built is something that should be made for each game and each developer individually. It is not just an economic choice, sometimes a pre-built engine is the right choice for creative reasons. In our case, we design the game first and the engine has to keep up with that. By using our own engine we have the freedom to do whatever it takes to make it deliver for our particular needs. It feels like that is the best way for us to build signature titles and make them stand apart.
Q: How about some racing tips? Do you have any tips our readers for getting the best times on the Real Racing 2 tracks?
Generally, the fastest race times can be achieved by turning and braking as minimally as possible: a good race line with the goal of taking straight lines through corners, sufficient but minimal braking (losing traction washes off a lot of speed) and trying to maintain a high, constant speed throughout the race will hold you in good stead.
Every car handles differently, and braking and acceleration in and out of corners can count for a lot. Learn to exploit the varying performance attributes of each car and practice the techniques listed above. Driving with assists can be a very helpful way to learn to get your braking and racing line right.
Thanks to the folks at Firemint for answering our questions. Real Racing 2 is out now, and I strongly suggest you grab it if you enjoy a good race. Feel free to add me in Game Center, I’m jeff148apps — I’ll see you on the track.
A string of major free updates have landed this week in the App Store, just in time for the beginning of the holiday season that always witnesses fierce competition and price reductions for consumers. This week, Sleep Cycle, Twitter and Boxcar all rolled out significant additions to their already impressive applications, enhancing functionality dramatically.
Developers Maciek Drejak Labs rolled out version 3.0 of Sleep Cycle alarm clock, rated 5 stars by 148Apps and holding the position of #1 top paid application in numerous countries. The $0.99 application tracks your sleeping pattern in an effort to wake you up during your lightest sleeping phase. The free update now allows you to wake up to your own music from the iPod application, or choose not to have an alarm at all but still track your sleeping pattern. In addition, the application now offers full support for iPod Touch and is “up to 5x more sensitive to your movement”. A new intelligent snooze feature has also been integrated, along with a plethora of general improvements that make this application a thorough ‘buy’ recommendation.
In social networking news, a much-anticipated and long overdue update to the official Twitter application for iPhone and iPad brings push notifications for @replies and direct messages, a feature that third party applications such as Boxcar (see below for a twist) offered to satisfy users who were forced to make use of an unofficial alternative.
However, Boxcar, an application that satisfied push notifications for Twitter before the update, have gone one step further still and now offer push notifications from anyone on your timeline, regardless of whether or not the message is a standard tweet, @reply or direct message. This is big news, particularly for twitter feeds dedicated to posting breaking news, where speed is everything. Version 4.1 also provides Foursquare, Gowalla and Reddit push integration.
With the holiday season fast approaching, expect more and more developers to provide added incentives, release significant updates and reduce prices in a bid to ensure that their application remains top of the charts. The best things in the tech life really are free – updates!
VITO Technology‘s award-winning astronomy application for iPad and iPhone turned two years old yesterday, and to mark its birthday there’s a major update revision on the line as well as a promotional code giveaway right here.
Star Walk, which holds the title of official Apple Design Award (iPad Developer Showcase) 2010 Winner, remains the top-paid application in the Education section of the App Store, based on its ability to show the true workings of the Heavens above through the iPhone and iPad’s in-built GPS in an easy to use interface. View constellations, stars and planets in new ways by holding your device up to the sky. It’s a very impressive application – awarded 4.5 stars by 148Apps – and was marked by Apple in the Best of 2009 Applications.
Version 5 of the application, available soon, offers four new major features and a plethora of updates, including compass calibration and a new “general catalogue” that adds even more deep sky objects, galaxies and nebulae. Augmented Reality becomes a reality in version 5 of Star Walk for the new iPod Touch, as does a new “big screen” feature which allows you to connect your iPad to a second display through VGA, just in case the iPad’s 9.5″ screen wasn’t big enough. In addition, over 150 satellites including the International Space Station can be tracked in live time. Finally, a new feature called Telrad can “help you measure angular distance between nearby stars” in order to gauge the true extent of deceivingly small distances in the universe.
There’s more birthday celebrations, too. Prices for VITO Technology’s entire “Walk” series (Solar Walk, Star Walk and Geo Walk) have been dropped for 24 hours, and some lucky commenters today will receive free promotional codes that allow you to redeem these applications for free. In order to be in for a chance, just make a comment below. We have six codes available – 2 for Star Walk on iPad, 2 for Star Walk on iPhone and 2 for Star Walk (universal, iPhone and iPad compatable natively).
Less than a month ago, on October 5 2010, not a single person had used Instagram publicly. It wasn’t even released on the App Store. Today, the iPhone application has had over 750 000 photos uploaded, experiencing growth at a phenomenal rate, even by web standards. Business Insider went as far as to say “it could become this decade’s equivalent of Flickr.” So what is it, and why is everybody hopping on board?
Instagram provides a quick of way of sharing photos, with effects, across an entire spectrum of social networking sites, right from your iPhone. The inspiration, as the team note, came from a cross between old Polaroid cameras and new social sharing ideas. The “instant” feature of a Polaroid camera gave birth to what over 500 000 people now know as Instagram, the photo sharing app of choice.
“I think that communicating via images is one of these mediums that you’re going to see take off over the next few years because of a fundamental shift in the enabling technology.“ – Kevin Systrom, CEO Burbn (Instagram)
The free application supports all generations of the iPhone, and can upload photos (or “posts” as they are known) to Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and Facebook. In addition, users can check in to Foursquare whenever a photo is uploaded with a location attached. Photos can be commented on, and everyone has the ability to make use of a Twitter-style “follow” feature, allowing users to follow one another’s photos on-the-go. With over a dozen filters to choose from, even poorer quality photos can turn out semi-decent once uploaded. The application makes it fun, rather than a chore, to upload photos to a plethora of social network sites, for all your friends to see.
The development team are “just getting started” – be sure to keep an eye out for Burbn on the news, both here and on the App Store. I have a feeling that it’s a name we aren’t going to forget any time soon.
[Quote courtesy of TechCrunch, image with thanks to Instagram]
There once was a time when paper and blackberries dominated the commercial world. Now, it’s turning into iPads and iPhones. With more and more businesses seeking not only paperless solutions but also backup solutions, the iPad’s role as a paper replacement is becoming more and more popular, most evident from yesterday’s financial data, released by Apple, announcing that some 4.19 million iPads were sold in Q4 alone.
Of course, the commercial world requires commercial applications. And that’s where iOrder comes in. The application, created by moveinCloud, “can collect orders from your customers in no time at all. iOrder keep archives of your customers and your products on your device, this means that you do not need to be connected to the Internet for work.” The official blurb continues “through an account moveinCloud.com, if you want you can also synchronize your data with the platform and access it from your web browser wherever you are.”
In essence, iOrder is an all-in-one customer utility tool for salesmen and marketers, allowing customer order information to be visible within just a few taps. The application goes further still, with order placement and an entire catalogue of available products right there on screen. It all works through moveinCloud, a web-based online data storage service that removes the need to install applications.
But how far will the iPad branch into the commercial world in the near future with regards to sales? iOrder is certainly a step in the right direction, but I’ve yet to see a salesman bring out an iPad for an order. Even the Apple staff stick to macs when it comes to ordering in-store.
WeDoodle is ngmoco’s latest application to be launched on the iTunes App Store, a game based on multiplayer sketching and guessing that’s sure to improve your all-necessary doodling skills.
WeDoodle is free and available for both iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, providing users with a miniature digital canvas to draw on. The application features various “creative crafts” like stencils, brushes, canvas backgrounds and more so that the drawings aren’t so much doodles as they are sketches, making it easier for those who have the task of having to guess exactly what is being drawn. With support for seven languages built in, as well as a multiple game mode that “allows doodlers to challenge the world in live in online play,” the game is sure to shake some heads and provide hours of doodling practice. Who says the iPhone isn’t productive?
On a related note, this is ngmoco’s first release since its now-confirmed acquisition by DeNA, the Japanese gaming company, who are branching out into a world that is already over 250,000 applications strong.
Much is riding on the future health of ngmoco’s releases. Although DeNA put forward $300 million in cash and securities, an additional $100 million is available assuming specific milestones are met by the company throughout next year. With a free application, the right marketing and advertisements are crucial. One thing’s for sure – if ngmoco’s platform of free applications and advertisements is successful, we could well be seeing a glimpse of what the future has to hold. Until then, you’ll just have to doodle about it.
The Incident version 1.2 will be submitted to the Apple App Store for approval within the coming days, bringing with it an extensive list of updates and fixes at no extra cost, according to Matt Comi and Neven Mrgan, creators of the popular 8-bit game.
In The Incident you play as Frank Solway, “a regular guy who finds himself having to avoid the sudden, unstopping rain of everything in the world.” In order to survive, you must avoid falling items whilst climbing higher in order to reach the “kitchen-sink shower” source of all this madness. It’s as crazy is it sounds, with everything from Smart cars to the Easter Island statue falling towards you. The universal game, which is built for iPhone and iPad natively, has been featured by Apple and awarded 4.5 stars by 148Apps.
The upcoming update includes some notable extras, such as the provision of a Controller Mode that allows users to play the retro game on their iPad, using the iPhone as a controller. In addition, the release will provide an official Game Center Leaderboard on an all-new game mode, Endless Nightfall, allowing you to directly challenge your friends’ top scores even when you aren’t together. On top of all this, there are 53 new items ready to fall on you, as well as a number of new sounds and an improved in-game menu. A number of bug fixes are also included in the update.
If you haven’t yet played The Incident, you can pick it up for $1.99 by following the links below. For more information, see the official site here or watch the embedded video below.
Full list of new features: New game mode: Endless Nightfall; Game Center leaderboard: Endless Nightfall scores are sent to Game Center; remote control: control your iPad using an iPhone or iPod Touch; 53 new items (including 3 items drawn by guest artists); new power-up balloon in Endless Nightfall; access options without returning to the main menu; added music to the Twitter screen; Escape Bubble must be recharged between uses; new sound for pipe objects; various bug fixes.
Mozilla, developers of the popular desktop web browser Firefox, have updated their application Firefox Home to offer worldwide availability in fifteen different languages, as well as providing a number of new features. The latest update, 1.0.2, includes a smarter search bar, meaning users only have to remember part of a URL rather than the beginning of it, and “instant access to open tabs, just the way you left them on your PC” (Mozilla). The application is built to compliment Firefox for desktop, allowing users to sync “browsing history, bookmarks and open tabs to your iPod or iPod Touch” (Mozilla). It’s free to download both the application from the App Store and the sync add-on that’s required for desktop users.
In addition, the team have outlined a future development roadmap that aims to “provide more access to Firefox data on your phone” as well as adding “social functionality” like Twitter and Facebook. Tools like password synchronization, YouTube integration and Firefox Panorama settings are all to be expected in future updates, but for now remain merely an idea. Interestingly, the team also noted that it is “difficult, if not impossible, to build the full Firefox browser for the iPhone” – suggesting that the developers are perhaps not working on a Safari substitute. Instead, they “are focused on building Firefox Home as a rich, cloud-based application and making it a valuable product that people will continue to love and use” (Mozilla).
For full details, and also a video of Firefox Home in action, see here. For more information on the development roadmap, here is where you’ll want to be.
There’s something to be said for altruistic developers who decrease the prices of their application for no real reason. Although Monday marks official Cinnamon Roll Day and World Animal Day, somehow I don’t think that’s why prices have been lowered. Similarly, I thought that it might be Back to School sales, but with most of the applications games and entertainment related, that doesn’t quite add up either. Turns out that Apple itself initiated this Big Games, Great Prices sale in the App Store, but we’re still not sure what the reason is. We’re gonna go with “Cinnamon Roll Day” for now.
Firemint’s Real Racing, awarded 5 stars in our review and our Editor’s Choice badge, is down to $2.99 from the usual $4.99 – a real steal for an application that provides hours of fun and releases your true competitive spirit. EA leads the pack with a Need for Speed Shift reduced from $6.99 to just $0.99, along with Civilization Revolution featuring an equally competitive drop. Prices have also been reduced on FIFA 10, down to $4.99, and NFL 2011, down to $2.99.
The list, found originally by Touch Arcade, contains even more price reductions on what appears to be an iPhone / iPod Touch specific sale with nary an iPad game in sight. No matter Apple’s reasoning for having a sale right at this moment, this is good news for the consumers looking for a cheap game for entertainment’s sake. It’s not often that sales of this magnitude come along with no real major holiday nearby, so make the most of it while you can. You can find all the reviews you’ll need linked above.
In The West Wing, Chief of Staff Leo McGarry once remarked “where’s my jet pack?” when referring to the advancements of technology in his lifetime. In one sense, he’s right to remark. But technology has come remarkably far in the past number of decades, especially for the end consumer.
One area where it has excelled is in the concept of augmented reality. To ‘augment’ something means, in cruder terms, to increase it. And one of the ways to increase reality is to increase the information that we have about reality – hence the aforementioned term. The iPhone’s GPS-capable hardware and internet data connection means that it is possible to actually hold up your iPhone and see information about your surroundings, with an overlay of reality. Pretty impressive.
That’s what Wikitude World Browser for iPhone does. As one of the first augmented reality browsers available, it does exactly what it should do. Just hold your iPhone up and have what is, in essence, wikipedia for reality at your fingertips. To top it off, the application is free to download.
WWB has just been updated to version 2.4 on the iTunes App Store, bringing with it a number of new features and enhanced integration. For example, a point of interest like a restaurant can now be viewed in more detail, with telephone numbers provided so that you can call ahead for a reservation. In addition, upgrades to overall speed make the application easier to use, and quicker navigation exists due to a new tab bar. The points of interest are wide and varied, with information from sources including Wikipedia, YouTube, Hertz Car Rental, Flickr, Foursquare and Google Local. The developers note that “there are around 500 worlds [augmented reality mapped areas] with 110 billion point of interests available” to date, with those numbers increasing as the days go by. One additional feature 2.4 includes allows you to search for specific places in all augmented reality mapped areas, rather than just a specific one that you might be in or near to.
Augmented reality is a massive technological step forward – imagine Google Streetview with all the additional information that you’ll need. It’s technology of the future available for consumer devices today. And with Wikitude, it’s free.
Condé Nast Digital’s latest addition to Gourmet is the launch of the official application for iPad, called Gourmet Live, allowing users to explore their “passions for every aspect of food in a brand new way” (Condé Nast). The application is free, includes some recipes to get started, and is available to download now.
“This app brings together the key components of a good meal — great company through access to social networks, the best ingredients in the form of fantastic content, and a beautiful presentation,” said Juliana Stock, General Manager of Gourmet Live, and Creative Marketing Director for Condé Nast Consumer Marketing. “We’re serving up content developed exclusively for Gourmet Live and curating the great content of Gourmet magazine in reimagined ways.”
Gourmet Live brings more than just recipes, offering news and food-related information from celebrities and even President Obama: “Read about how the Obamas’ eating habits reflect on national food trends. Hear a four-time Oscar nominated actress talk about her love of food, family and butter. Follow one man’s quest for authentic British food in NY and LA” reads yesterday’s release.
New covers are updated every day on the application, with new stories and recipes “at least once a week.” The application also includes a social networking ‘reward’ feature, allowing you to save articles and get inside tips if you connect with Facebook or Twitter. The application’s design is modern and pictorial, placing emphasis on images on the home page and text within the articles. The layout is clean and the font smart, but there is no interactivity (like check boxes).
Whether this will become another essential utensil in your kitchen, or just an application that you’ll try out once, it’s free to download and quick to install – meaning there’s nothing to lose. Just be sure that your hands are clean when you tap the iPad, otherwise there’s going to be even more cleaning to do!
For more information and frequently asked questions, see here.
Ask any advertiser what the most important things about ad development are and they’re sure to say “target audience” as one of the points. With over a quarter of a billion downloads to date, the App Store caters for a great spectrum of demand from business to entertainment, finance to games, social networking to utilities. Fine-tuning this broad spectrum is no easy task for application developers, where price levels and targeted advertising can be just as important as the application itself. Inevitably, there are great applications out there that just have the wrong price or the wrong advertising. The result? A wrongful position in the App Store.
Earlier this week Dreadnought Design, the iPhone games company led by John Thornewill, launched the first “in a series of research initiatives designed to better understand the characteristics of the fledging iPhone games app market.” Available only through their official Facebook page, this is a one-question only poll to see how much iPhone (or iPod Touch, we assume) owners spend on new games each month.
Votes like this don’t just help the developers, but end users too. If developers become more aware of how much users are willing to spend, then prices can be adjusted accordingly to allow customers to reap the benefits of their application. We encourage you to vote.
“The iPhone games market is very dynamic. Demand for game apps has exploded over the past 18 months or so, and very little is known about the people who buy the games and play them, and what motivates them to like or dislike a game,” says John Thornewill, CEO and lead designer at Dreadnought Design. “The more we can know about iPhone gamers – who they are and what they like – the better we, as iPhone game developers, can serve them.”
The poll remains open until October 31, where the data will be published on Dreadnought Design’s website for free.
Members of the Apple Developer Program now have the option to download and install the preliminary beta of the much-hyped iOS 4.2 by Apple for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. MacStories is reporting that the download weighs in at 514MB for iPad and 617MB for iPhone 4.
iOS 4.2 for iPad includes a number of features already built, optimized and released for the iPhone, including multitasking, folders support and unified mail inboxes. In addition, the Game Center application is now present, allowing users to challenge and compete against their friends or anyone else who has a free Game Center account. New features not seen before on any devices include the ability to print photos, web pages, documents and more to a printer shared on the wireless network, and AirPlay, a free service that allows the streaming of video, music and photos from the iPad to the newly-updated Apple TV. Furthermore, the update includes the ability to search for text on web pages and features a variety of updates with regards to enterprise support, providing businesses with the ability to “take advantage of stronger security features, new device management capabilities, and improved enterprise integration.” (Apple, Inc.)
As is evident from a number of screenshots from MacStories, iPad folders will support up to 20 applications, and a brightness control slide bar can be accessed via the iPad’s home button for applications that don’t integrate it themselves. Apple have also reportedly changed the purpose of the switch on the iPad that serves as a rotation lock to a mute switch, like on the iPhone. The rotation lock button is now accessible through the multitasking bar.
Apple usually releases around five betas followed by Golden Master (GM) version before rolling out the update publicly to all users, in an effort to iron out bugs and improve overall efficiency. iOS 4.2 is scheduled to be released publicly sometime in November.
iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad developers – rejoice. Yesterday Apple released a statement announcing the removal of a number of restrictions placed on developers, relaxing the development process and making the approval process significantly more transparent by publishing official guidelines for the application approval process.
Beforehand, developers were unaware of the official process, creating a significant grey area where writers of applications remained in the dark with regards to certain policies – adult content, the use of physical buttons on iDevices etc. For example, earlier last month the developers of ReadItLater – a tool similar to Instapaper that saves webpage content for later reading – had version 2.2 of their application rejected by Apple due to a registration process seen on thousands of other applications live on the App Store. “Applications cannot require user registration prior to allowing access to app features and content” wrote the statement of disapproval from Apple. The application was later resubmitted – unchanged – and approved. It is not yet known when the guidelines will be published for viewing by developers.
The press release also announced that Apple “are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code.” In other words, no longer are developers limited to tools made by Apple specifically for iOS software development. “This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need” the release continued.
Finally, Apple also relaxed restrictions on mobile advertising, an unexpected change given Apple’s recent iAd integration. Specifically, the new changes allow developers to choose which type of ads (if any) they want their application to include. “The new terms provide immediate clarification about the status of mobile advertising on the iPhone and will benefit users, developers, and advertisers. Users will benefit from more free, or low cost, apps that can now more readily be supported by advertising” wrote Omar Hamoui, Vice President of Product Management at Google Mobile. “This is great news for everyone in the mobile community, as we believe that a competitive environment is the best way to drive innovation and growth in mobile advertising.”
The changes represent a big step forward for developers, who now have much clearer rules regarding application development. And that’s good news for the end user as well as the developers.
Eighteen months ago, the then-little-known developer company Firemint published Flight Control – a game where you land increasing quantities of planes on runways with a limited amount of space both on the ground and in air. It was awarded five stars across the board by 148Apps, as well as the Editor’s Choice badge.
Today, Firemint has announced that sales of Flight Control have passed the three million mark – on average, a little over 5500 copies a day are bought by new users for their iPhone or iPod Touch. At $0.99 a piece, with developers earning 70% of revenue, that totals just under $2.1 million for Firemint’s work – or, to put it another way, $3814.67 a day. In other statistics, some two billion planes have been landed according to Flight Control’s online leaderboards, equating to 2548 planes a minute or a little over 42 every second.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced on September 1st that the iPod Touch alone has more than 50% of market share for portable gaming, outselling Nintendo and Sony combined. The App store has already enjoyed over a quarter of a billion downloads to date, reflecting the ever-growing importance of third party application developers and their software.