Apple has made a rare flip on their policies, particularly in regard to their subscription rules introduced back in February. The rules (as written then) would require apps that offer subscription services to also sell the subscriptions through the App Store, with Apple to take their customary 30% cut; this would also apply to apps like Kindle and Nook, where the books they sold would have to run through Apple’s system as well. This could have had some very chilling effects on the future of subscription services’ apps on iOS, particularly services that were already operating with low overhead.
However, Apple has largely rescinded these rules, allowing for apps to continue to offer access to media and subscriptions without offering to sell them through the App Store as well. However, Apple has changed a policy to where apps cannot offer a link to buy these subscriptions and media through the app. This means that the Kindle app will likely have to remove its button to open up the Amazon web site to buy books. However, services like Netflix would not have to risk choosing between the sizable iOS user base and starting to give Apple a 30% cut of their subscription fees for subscriptions purchased in the app itself.
For those looking to start using Apple’s in-app subscription model, it appears that Apple has offered them a reprieve as well. Previously, according to Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines rule 11.13, “Apps can read or play approved content (magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video) that is sold outside of the app, for which Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues, provided that the same content is also offered in the app using IAP at the same price or less than it is offered outside the app. This applies to both purchased content and subscriptions.” This price requirement has been removed, so hypothetically apps could raise their subscription prices on iOS in order to compensate for Apple’s 30% cut.
The modification of these subscription rules will ultimately be good for developers and users; if left in place, they could have made releasing apps on iOS an unprofitable decision, limiting the potential of iOS devices solely because Apple felt like taking a cut from developers. This move is ultimately good for all parties involved, and Apple stepping down on this requirement shows that they are willing to listen to the outrage from their community.
Source: All Things D
The Lodsys in-app purchase drama has just gotten ugly. Apple roared back last week at Lodsys’ threats to individual developers, claiming that Apple’s license of Lodsys’ technology applied to App Store developers’ products. However, Lodsys remained unflinching in the face of the strong words from Apple, as they have sued 7 developers over the use of in-app purchases in their apps. Notable developers include Quickoffice and their Quickoffice Connect suite Iconfactory, known for Twitteriffic, Ramp Champ, and Astronut, all of which use in-app purchases to unlock features in their apps. The list interestingly includes Illusion Labs, developers of the Labyrinth games for iOS; the Android version of the game is mentioned as well in Lodsys’ suit. This is the second known case of Lodsys pursuing Android developers over in-app purchases, as an anonymous developer was also contacted by Lodsys recently.
Lodsys have posted new blog posts on their site trying to explain their position publicly, reiterating that they believe that Apple’s license does not cover the developers who use in-app purchases in their apps. According to Lodsys’ interpretation of Apple’s agreement with developers, “Apple has specifically absolved itself of any legal responsibility it has with respect to 3rd party patent infringement by Application Developers.” Lodsys has at least been very forthcoming with their position on the matter, even if they have developed a reputation as a patent troll by existing solely as a patent holding firm, and establishing jurisdiction in Marshall, TX — a city that with a court that is very favorable to patent holders.
Lodsys has offered a gesture of goodwill toward the developers they have sued, offering $1000 if it is ruled that developers’ use of in-app purchases does not violate Lodsys’ patents. However, this is largely a token gesture, as according to Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents: “Obviously, $1,000 is not much to gain considering that even an initial analysis of a patent assertion letter by a qualified attorney will typically cost much more than $1,000. And a lawsuit can cost millions.” Lodsys are putting on a public face of being a company that has been wronged by Apple and these developers, although they are just a patent holding firm that are suing developers after Apple already licensed their technology. Like all other cases involving the courts and lawyers, this one may not be resolved any time soon, and the impact of any decisions or settlements may not be known for some time.
Apple today released updates to their three iWork applications, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote making them Universal.
This is a surprise move, one that we would have expected to be announced a week later durung the WWDC keynote. But these welcome updates bring some key productivity applications to the iPhone and iPod touch.
Also included in the update is a document manager in each of the applications. The document manager, possibly a pre-cursor to something we’ll see in iOS 5, allows you to move documents to and from applications via iTunes, WebDAV, or iDisk.
The price of each application remains the same at $9.99.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-04-01 :: Category: Productivity
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-04-01 :: Category: Productivity
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-04-01 :: Category: Productivity
It’s that time of year again, WWDC is rapidly approaching. While we the rumors are that we won’t see a new iPhone this year, nothing is official yet. What we hope we’ll see is a major technological leap in iOS 5. Personally I’m expecting it to be the biggest new OS, feature wise, we’ve ever seen for iOS.
Will Steve Jobs give the keynote? Will there even be a keynote? We’ll know all, or at least most of this, in just a little over a week.
Meet with 148Apps
But if you are a developer and you are at WWDC and have a new iOS game or app you’d like to show off, we’d love to see it. To schedule a meeting, just send a message to me at jeff.scott at this domain and we can set something up.
Parties are always big at WWDC. This year looks to be no exception. One plus we have this year is JDMdesign have created an iOS application to track all of the parties during the week. Grab it to keep track of the parties each night.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-05-13 :: Category: Social Networking
Future / Canvas
Also starting the week of WWDC is the second Future/Canvas iPad art exhibit. This fantastic exhibit of iPad created art and generative art applications was a smash hit last year. This year it looks to be greatly expanded. Starting with the opening night party on June 6th, through 23rd of June. This is absolutely not to be missed!
Apple has finally responded to patent holding firm Lodsys’ claims against developers using in-app purchases in their apps. The gist of the story so far is that Lodsys has a patent that it claims covers the mechanism the App Store apps use to offer in-app purchases. Apple pays a fee to Lodsys to cover the use of in-app purchases, but Lodsys has gone after a series of individual developers, including the developer of PCalc, asking for a fee to use in-app purchases in their own apps. Apple has been silent on the matter for the last week, prompting one analyst covering the matter to say that developers who get notified by Lodsys should just appease the seeming patent troll. That was just before Apple finally responded to Lodsys’ claim recently, and they responded with sound and fury.
Apple claimed that their licensing of Lodsys’ patents extends to developers using in-app purchases in their apps as well, saying that “Because Apple is licensed under Lodsys’ patents to offer such technology to its App Makers, the App Makers are entitled to use this technology free from any infringement claims by Lodsys,” as according to Apple senior vice president and general counsel Bruce Sewell, in a letter sent to Lodsys and the developers who have been contacted by Lodsys. Sewell also claims in the letter that “Apple is undisputedly licensed to these and the Apple App Markers are protected by that license. There is no basis for Lodsys’ infringement allegations against Apple’s App Makers.” Apple has requested that Lodsys cease and desist their claims against developers they have contacted in regards to these patents.
It will be interesting to see where this issue goes from here on out – will Apple provide legal defense for these developers affected? Lodsys is located near a court that is notorious for being friendly to patent holders, so any legal battle could be tricky for Apple and affected developers. Or will Lodsys just back off of their claims, having awoken the big dogs at Apple after trying to nickel and dime individual developers? Dane Baker of Villain, developers of Archetype, who received a patent infringement notice from Lodsys, claims that “We were sent a notice of patent infringement which implies a lawsuit. None of us can operate on the assumption that Apple is going to provide any help here at all, that’s just not smart. In other words it’s not Apple’s problem when Villain are hit with a lawsuit.” Dane also claims that they have spoken to patent attorneys, and that Lodsys will likely sue thousands of developers and “hope for a handful of scared or stupid developers to pay them to go away.” This will likely be an issue settled through a lengthy legal matter, so the impact on individual developers could be unknown for a long time.
Apple has released a press release addressing some of the issues that have arisen in the past week with the recent controversy over the location tracking controversy. First, Apple claims that the iPhone is not tracking users’ locations – they’re “maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around [users'] current location,” which is designed to “help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested,” as GPS satellite data can take up to several minutes to triangulate, and using information about nearby wireless networks and cell towers can speed up this process.
One of the big issues is that the iPhone is storing a large cache of data – according to Apple, this is not the actual user location, but a cache of the wifi/cell tower around you. The problem is that the cache isn’t getting cleared out, and this is a bug that Apple is claiming will be fixed in a future software update. This is in line with what John Gruber has said recently, that the length of the history of this cache is a glitch. Apple claims that they cannot track you with this data – that it is sent to them “in an anonymous and encrypted form” and that “Apple cannot identify the source of this data.” As well, this cache will no longer be backed up in iTunes, and that the file will be encrypted in the next major software update. Now, one of the other controversies is that this data was still being sent (approximately every 12 hours, according to research) even if Location Services were turned off. Apple is claiming that this too is a bug, and one that will be fixed in a software update in the near future.
Now, skeptics may claim that this is old information, and Apple are only addressing it now as the controversy has risen up. Alex Levinson and Sean Morrissey published a book about this in December 2010, after all. However, consider that very few people actually knew about this until the recent controversy that flared up, and it seems plausible that Apple could be telling the truth, especially as Apple is now largely adjusted their behavior to similar to what Android does. As well, Apple has mentioned that they’re starting to collect traffic data in order to provide “iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years.” Along with Apple dumping Skyhook for location services last year, Apple has plenty of reason to be collecting location data. At worst, at least Apple is now fixing these issues since people have been complaining about them.
Living in an Apple centric world, it is hard to imagine that anyone would want to use anything for video chat other than the standard Facetime app. However, sometimes we forget that there is a large world outside of the cushy comforts that the iOS provides. Our good friends over at Android Rundown can attest to this firsthand. Now I am not saying that they are any better off than we are in iOS land, but it would stand to reason that from time to time you may actually want to video chat with someone on an device that uses the Android platform.
This is why the creation of the the Tango Video Calls application is so incredible, because not only do you get to chat for free, but you can also exchange pleasantries with your buddies on Android as well! Due to the constantly evolving ecosystem of the parallel platforms, the software is constantly being upgraded. This most recent release includes the following:
- We now support multi-tasking. Check your email, browse the web, or send a text message while in a Tango call!
- Improved look and feel on several Tango call screens and icons
- Both audio and video is established more reliably when a call starts
- Your Tango Contacts are sorted based on preferences you set in your device’s address book
It is good to know that not only is this app frequently getting updated for functionality, but there are also new and welcome features being added all the time. Even better yet is the fact that there is a free alternative available to Facetime. This is not to say that Apple’s software suite isn’t stellar as it is, but personally, I am all for having options.
We have heard through the grapevine that Tango only takes thirty seconds to configure and then you are online, free and clear. So what is your excuse for waiting?
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-09-29 :: Category: Social Networking
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Apple sets the bar and doesn't disappoint with their portable music creation app.Read The Full Review »
The iPad 2 itself is a faster, stronger, thinner, and lighter version of the iPad. It improves on most of the features of the iPad while not radically changing any of the originals features, making this release pretty much what we hoped for and expected. These updates do a lot to elevate the iPad 2 above any of the announced “iPad Killer” Android tablets like the Xoom or Samsung 10.1. The iPad 2 will be available in 16, 32, and 64GB wifi and 3G versions that work on AT&T or Verizon (not both), the same configurations and price points as the current iPad.
The main changes are in the speed of the iPad 2. The iPad 2 improves on the processor by now including an A5 dual core processor. In addition, the graphics processor has been improved, offering 9x the graphics processing power of the original iPad. Next up, the size of the iPad 2 is now considerably thinner, while remaining the same length and width wise. It now has a flat back and weighs a little bit less while retaining the same 10 hour battery life.
The only real new hardware feature of the iPad 2 is the dual cameras. There is now a front facing and rear camera. These can be used to take pictures, videos, and can be used in Facetime. A welcome addition, but not one that really changes the landscape.
The iPad 2 will be available this Friday. So far we’ve heard that it can be ordered online from Apple.com (no pre-orders though) as well as (starting at 5pm) from Apple, AT&T, Verizon, and Best Buy stores. Other stores will likely announce launch plans this week.
By far the greatest part of last weeks announcements were the new Apple developed iPad apps, iMovie and Garageband. Both look absolutely amazing. We’ll be sure to have full reviews of both as soon as possible. Garageband in particular looks absolutely amazing. Both are priced at $4.99. iMovie apparently only works on the iPad 2 while Garageband will work on the original iPad as well.
You can view the full Apple announcement at Apple.com.
So the question for you, our readers, is the iPad 2 enough for you? Does it have the features you wanted? If you have an iPad, will you upgrade to the iPad 2? We can’t wait to see your answers.
As we mentioned in our previous post, Apple has published changes to their agreement with developers today that require that subscription services that offer digital subscriptions outside of their apps also provide them inside the app. And any subscriptions done inside the app will be subject to the 30% fee Apple charges for items sold through iTunes. This change applies to newspaper and magazine subscriptions as well as other digital content like music and video services.
Apple feels as though they are providing lots of new users for these services and Apple wants to be compensated for that. That makes sense. They are providing a service and bringing users to these subscription services, they should be compensated. But in the end, it’s going to backfire and we the users are going to lose out.
We reached out to a bunch of subscription service app developers for comment. Most are still evaluating the rule changes. Zinio and Rdio both told us that they are not commenting on the changes at this time. Rhapsody has clearly stated that they will pull out of the App Store if required to pay Apple 30%.
The real problem is that most of these service providers are providing licensed content. If you add up the licensing costs and the cost of providing the service (servers, app development, all the costs of doing business) there’s rarely 30% remaining in profit for the companies involved. There’s just no way that they can pay Apple 30% and still operate in the black.
To abide by these new rules, developers really have just 3 options. And in all three of these options, we the users are the real losers.
Option 1 – Pay up
Just pay the 30% for subscriptions through the app. Consider it part of the cost of acquisition for new customers. Companies aren’t going to be happy to lose that revenue and in the end, will go with number 2.
Option 2 – Increase Prices
The other option is to increase prices to balance out the 30% decrease in revenue. This, of course isn’t good for us, the users. It’s also not good for the companies involved where low price is a big draw. Increasing prices could be done across the board or as part of a iOS-only mobile access subscription package.
For instance, Rhapsody has their streaming cost of $10 month for streaming. But what’s to keep them from defining that as a service for any device other than iPhone and iPad? Then having a second offering for a streaming service to iOS devices for $15 per month.
We’re already sort of seeing this from companies like Mog, the music service. They charge one amount for streaming to the desktop and another amount for streaming to the desktop and mobile.
Now, let’s be clear, no one wants this to be the option. It stinks for the consumer as it adds confusion and it stinks for the companies selling the service. Not good, but seems like it will bypass the rule changes. Now, will Apple allow it, we’ll have to wait until companies start testing the boundaries of the rules to see. As we know from the past, Apple has the ability to interpret their rules however they wish and change their mind at any time.
Option 3 – Pull out
The only other option is to just pull out of the App Store. Remove the app from the App Store and lose out on the exposure. Users really lose if this happens.
Option 3b – Go HTML5 / Web App
Once out of the App Store, some developers could probably forego the native app and and go web app based. No reason a music streaming service couldn’t do that as most already provide this service on the desktop. But there will, at least initially, some lost functionality and confusion for users.
In the end, it’s us, the users of these apps that will lose.
[Response to: TechCrunch ]
Apple has finally, formally announced its subscription service for apps. This formal announcement means that any app that provides a digital subscription outside an app must also do so inside the app.
The announcement to day basically comes down to this. If a service provides a method to receive a digital subscription on an iOS device (think Zinio, The Daily, The Times of London) that the option to subscribe needs to be offered inside the app at the same or lower prices. To clear one thing up, this does not mean that print subscription prices need to apply to digital subscriptions. While I’d love that rule, as a consumer, that would be overstepping Apple’s bounds a bit.
One thing to note is that this doesn’t just apply to digital print publications like magazines and newspapers. This also applies to music services like Rdio, Pandora, and Rhapsody. And it applies to video services like Netflix and Hulu+. We’ve reached out for comment from some of these companies to get their reaction.
The result is that services like the above will need to provide a method to subscribe inside the app as well as outside the app. And Apple wants their 30% cut when subscriptions are done inside the app. To ensure that publishers don’t just pass the 30% extra onto the user, Apple has noted that the subscription prices inside the app be the same or lower than those offered outside the app.
If a service provides a subscription outside the app, and doesn’t deliver the subscription in the app, they seem to be excluded from this requirement. The one key phrase from the Apple announcement is “Apple does require that if a publisher chooses to sell a digital subscription separately outside of the app, that same subscription offer must be made available, at the same price or less, to customers who wish to subscribe from within the app.” That does set the likes of Wired Magazine free to continue to only offer their magazine at an inflated per issue price. Wired offers their magazine at $3.99 per issue within the app while routinely offers the print edition at $10/year. But they don’t offer a digital subscription anywhere else.
Despite our rabid suggestions otherwise, it pains us to admit that there is a world of portable gaming outside of Apple’s miniature operating system. Sure, Nintendo announced their exciting three dimensional microsole at E3 last year, in the form of the Nintendo 3DS, but in a sick twist of fate, Sony’s new pocketsized Ferrari of a device has been getting a tremendous amount of buzz. The device, codenamed NGP (Next Generation Portable), would seem to some to be a direct shot across the bow of Apple’s hardware suite, touting features such as front and back mounted multi-touch input, internal six-axis gyroscope and GPS, an OLED display with visuals on par with the PlayStation 3, and even 3G functionality.
As you can imagine, a device like that not only turned heads, but also managed to drag attention away from another HUGE announcement for fans of Sony’s enormous back library of original PlayStation titles: The PlayStation Suite. Initially focused towards taking advantage of the Android phone, tablet, and set top box install base worldwide, the software is a proprietary set of emulation code, used to make a large number of Sony’s original PlayStation library available to the masses, without the necessity of purchasing a Sony device. This is a big step forward for the company, as they move to further proliferate the already ubiquitous PlayStation brand.
With all of this buzz about the NGP being in competition with existing iOS devices like the iPhone 4, many began to wonder if the PlayStation Suite’s Android focus was in an effort to draw attention away from Apple’s platform. I was one of those conspiracy theorists, in fact, noting that there was never any mention of iOS throughout last week’s Sony press briefing, while Android was name dropped numerous times.
In an effort to nip such discussions in the bud, when speaking with Andriasang, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kaz Hirai was quoted as saying:
“There are a variety of OSes, but we’re focusing first on Android. There’s also Windows, iOS and so forth, but we don’t have the resources to make it compatible with everything from the start.”
This is hardly a confirmation of the PlayStation Suite landing on iOS anytime soon, but it is good to know that we are at least on their long term radar. Now the question becomes if and when such a functionality would or could be added, not to mention how long of a head start it will receive on Android.
Unfortunately this will all boil down to a waiting game that no doubt has more nefarious motivations than satiating Cupertino’s fan base. It will be interested to see how this all plays out moving forward and rest assured that if anything breaks, you will read it here first.
As the world awaits the 10 billionth app download and the subsequent $10k iTunes gift card prize to follow, Apple has released lists ranking 40 of the most successful apps of all time. Each list comes from a specific section of the App Store: Free iPhone/iPod Touch, Paid iPhone/iPod Touch, Free iPad and Paid iPad.
Each list stands as a microcosm of purchases, rash decisions and cultural oddities. We still can’t get over the fact that the 7th most successful paid application for the iPad is a fart generator. A fart generator. What does that say about the majority of people that on the device? What does it say about me?
Also ranking among the surprising facets is the spread between Angry Birds and Doodle Jump. Doodle Jump is the most successful paid iPhone and iPod Touch app of all time, while Angry Birds stands in the fourth position between Pocket God and Tap Tap Revenge 3. We’ll attribute that to the amount of time that’s passed since each app’s release. Doodle Jump saw birth on the iOS in April of 2009. Angry Birds? December of 2009.
Paid iPhone/iPod Touch Apps
- Doodle Jump
- Tap Tap Revenge 3
- Pocket God
- Angry Birds
- Tap Tap Revenge 2.6
- Bejeweled 2 + Blitz
- Traffic Rush
- Tap Tap Revenge Classic
- AppBox Pro Alarm
- Flight Control
Free iPhone/iPod Touch Apps
- Google Mobile App
- Movies by Flixster
- The Weather Channel
- Google Earth
- Paper Toss
Paid iPad Apps
- Backbreaker Football
- Calorie Tracker
- iFart Mobile
- GoodReader for iPad
- Cro-Mag Rally
Free iPad Apps
- Google Mobile App
- Movies by Flixster
- Google Earth
- Fandango Movies
What about iBooks? iBooks is actually a suggested download. Users are physically prompt by a notification with the option to download iBooks. Everyone is. So why is it only ranked 9th? It just seems odd.
Application developers will likely take two things away from these rankings: a sense of pride (or disappointment) and the urgency of competition. Sure, Apple likely used these lists as an opportunity to add another layer of exposure for their marketplace, but a potentially unintended side effect could actually be a spurred sense of competition amongst developers.
Angry Birds beaten by Doodle Jump, you say? I bet Rovio and Lima Sky are working hard because of this new spotlight.
The first person to download the 10 billionth application, or submit the first free entry after the 9,999,999,999th download (more on that in a second), will win a $10,000 gift card to the iTunes store. We’ll consider that victory marginally better than the free balloons you get when you’re the millionth shopper at your local market.
It’s absolutely absurd to consider that in the span of only two and a half years (the App Store launched on July 10, 2008) there are more application downloads in a single marketplace than there are people on Earth. Nearly double the amount, in fact. That is, if you consider being shy by two billion a small margin of difference.
Those interested can head to the contest’s page on Apple.com. There you’ll see a scrolling ticker representing how close the world is to seeing that 10 billionth download. Is the ticker an accurate representation of the actual apps downloaded? Probably not. One would assume that Apple took the time to figure out how many apps are downloaded in a given span of time and then applied that rule to the ticker itself. But why is that important?
It’s only important if you plan on using the no purchase necessary form of entry. For those that don’t want to download the 10 billionth app or, alternatively, even for those that don’t have an iOS device, you can simply enter using this form within the contest page. You can do so 25 times a day. Obviously, it’s not fair to let non-purchasing folk walk away with the prize by just entering a bunch of times. So, the factor that contributes to the entrants eligibility is the timing of said entry.
The gift card will go to either the person that downloads the 10 billionth app or the person that uses the entry form immediately after the 9,999,999,999th download, whichever comes first.
A funny thing happened last night as Google briefly launched the Google Latitude iPhone app in the Japanese App Store, only to quickly pull it back down. While the company hasn’t made any statements regarding the “blink and you missed it” accidental launch, it would seem that the new app is primed and ready for release at any second.
Google Latitude allows users to easy track one another by displaying the locations of friends and contacts on a map. This way, if a friend asks you to meet them at Starbucks for coffee, you can instantly see which cafe they’re sitting at and head directly there. The service continually updates so you can keep track of your friends and vice-versa, but sharing settings are heavily restricted and there’s an option to turn off tracking altogether if you’d rather go off the grid for a bit.
Latitude has sort of been available for the iPhone for well over a year, but not as a native app. Thus, it can’t run in the backgound on the iPhone and is ultimately rather pointless for most users. The app has been a longstanding feature of phones running on the Android operating system, but it just now seems that the app may be on the cusp of approval from Apple.
The two companies have been at odds with one another for a while since Apple originally saw Google as a threat to iPhone market dominance, but the two companies have been warming to each other recently and it seems they may be about to settle into a more friendly relationship. Last month Google Voice finally appeared on the App Store, so it seems Latitude is set to follow in its footsteps. Also, with the launch of Google eBooks earlier this week it seems the two rivals may have finally turned the corner. More than anyone else, this is a big win for consumers.
Users attempting to sign into Apple’s Game Center have been prompted with a new Terms of Service (ToS) agreement which they must pretend to read and then agree to before they’re allowed to access the service. Turns out this is one of the times when maybe we should have read the fine print, as the latest provisions now allow Game Center to give out players’ real names to other users. The note attached to the update reads:
“IMPORTANT NOTE: We have changed the Game Center terms and conditions to provide you notice that if you send a friend invitation, the full name associated with your Apple ID will be shared with the recipient. If you accept a friend invitation, the full name associated with your Apple ID will be shared with the sender.”
On the surface, this isn’t a big deal. After all, if you’re sending or receiving friend requests you likely already know who it’s coming from, or it might be helpful to have a real name to go along with a username so you know that xXX_Princess Spanx_xXx is your buddy Mike.Still, below the surface this change of policy sends up some privacy red flags, as it shows Apple’s willingness to unilaterally share your identity with others, whether you want them to or not.
What makes the move somewhat unnerving is the fact that it’s not an opt-in option, but rather a requirement in order to use Game Center. Apple has basically decided they want to blow the very concept of online anonymity out of the water, so that now if you want to use one of their most popular services, you must also put yourself out there to the public. It seems like Apple may be heading down the Blizzard Real ID route on a smaller scale, and we all remember how that turned out. If it comes right down to it, will you give up a piece of your privacy to continue using Game Center?
The long wait is finally over as Apple has officially announced that iOS 4.2 will be available for the iPod, iPhone and iPad today at 10am PST, 1pm EST. The new update brings features such as folders, multitasking and a unified inbox to the iPad, as well as AirPlay and AirPrint to all devices. For a full rundown of all the new features make sure to check out the tutorials we posted last week.
Specifically in relation to the iPad, Apple head honcho Steve Jobs said “iOS 4.2 makes the iPad a completely new product, just in time for the holiday season. Once again, the iPad with iOS 4.2 will define the target that other tablets will aspire to, but very few, if any, will ever be able to hit.”
One of the less publicized but still incredibly important features is the fact that Apple is extending the Find My Phone service to all users for free. The feature, which allows users to track down lost iOS devices remotely, was previously restricted to MobileMe subscribers. The feature is great for those afraid of losing their device and having sensitive data exposed to the world, as Find My Phone allows you to locate your device on a map, lock it remotely and even wipe data if it’s been compromised. Granted, most of us don’t really need such a service, but it still makes our lives feel just a little more like a James Bond film, and that’s always awesome.
At any rate, we’re mere hours away from Apple’s next big major operating system update! How excited are you? Are you planning a party to have all your friends come over and you’ll all eat snacks and download the update together? We’ll bring the dip, but if Susan makes that awful casserole again we’re totally leaving right away and will just keep running 4.1 until we get home.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-06-18 :: Category: Utilities
[via MacRumors and Apple]
One of the main compliments typically paid to Apple is that the company does a great job of making sleek, attractive hardware that is generally easy to use. That’s why it’s such a surprise how badly the company has flubbed past attempts at creating first-party Bluetooth headsets for the iOS market. It seems that won’t be an issue much longer though, as a
recent acquisition should allow Apple to grow much more competitive in the Bluetooth market.
Update: Upon further review, it seems that Apple hasn’t acquired Wi-Gear after all. Despite earlier reports, company CEO Mark Pundsack stated, “The rumor is false. Wi-Gear and its IP are still available for sale.” What actually transpired is that Wi-Gear co-founder Michael Kim accepted a new position at Apple, but the company he started wasn’t part of the deal.
The company has
apparently bought Wi-Gear, a small, San Francisco based Bluetooth headset manufacturer which specialized in iOS devices. Wi-Gear created the iMuffs style of headsets as well as releasing a Bluetooth 2.0 adapter which allowed older model iPhones and iPods to play nice with newer gear. Now it seems that the company will begin creating Apple-branded headsets which will become the “official” Bluetooth devices for iOS machines (and possibly Mac as well). As of yet no firm timetable has been set for Wi-Gear’s first official Apple product.
With an arrangement such as this the sky is the limit for iOS Bluetooth integration. With a new company brought in specifically to handle this aspect of the business, we may finally see Apple fully embrace the technology, which will be a huge boon to business consumers and those who prefer a hands-free setup. While the iPhone has always supported Bluetooth, making it a focus will likely be a net gain by improving functionality and building features with Bluetooth support in mind. Also, could this mean that future iPhones may even come with an official Apple Bluetooth headset? At this point it’s just wishful thinking, but such a pack-in would definitely be welcomed by many consumers.
We’ll keep an eye out for any official product announcements from Wi-Gear. We’ve got our iMuffs plugged into our ears and await their call with more official info.
Turns out that there’s no such thing as a White Christmas, at least not as far as Apple is concerned. The company has announced that the in-demand yet elusive white iPhone 4 is being delayed yet again, with current estimates putting the launch date sometime next Spring. “We’re sorry to disappoint customers waiting for the white iPhone again,” said Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller. When asked to elaborate on the delay, Muller declined to comment.
Making the timing of the announcement even more unfortunate is the fact that just yesterday the white phone started showing up for pre-order, causing many to believe that the device’s release was imminent. Now it appears that we’ll have to suffer through the cold dark of winter with our black and silver phones and hope that a snow-colored phone shows up in time for the Spring thaw.
The white iPhone 4 has struggled for release for quite a while now, originally planned to launch alongside other iPhone 4 models in June, then being pushed to July, then slipping to the holidays and now dropping into next year. Apple has never stated why it’s so much more difficult to make the differently-colored phone, but there’s rampant speculation all over the Internet. We won’t get into the conspiracy theories here though; we’ve got to leave you with something to do while you’re bored at work.
Of course the real question is how much of an effect is this delay having on iPhone sales? While there’s a collective groan every time the device is delayed how many people are legitimately refusing to buy an iPhone 4 until they can have it in white? I suppose there are a few folks rich and superficial enough to care about such things, but it seems like the vast majority will take the phone no matter its hue. While it would be nice to have the option, we’re not all that worried about this development severely impacting Apple’s bottom line.
When most of us were kids, science projects consisted of making fake volcanoes and using potatoes to power light bulbs. That wasn’t enough for a Brooklyn father and son though, as they decided to attach an iPhone to some balloons and send it to space. The two basically stuck an iPhone and an HD video camera into a takeout container, attached it to some weather balloons and then sent the device to boldly go where no phone has gone before. The result is an impressive flight into the darkness of near-space and an incredible video.
Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.
The resulting flight sees the phone travel roughly 19 miles above the surface of the Earth before the balloons pop and send the iPhone hurtling back toward the planet. Thankfully the father/son duo had the foresight to attach a parachute, so the phone gently touches down and its data recovered for all of us to enjoy.
The whole experiment is truly incredible, and a testament to just far modern technology has brought us. The “Brooklyn Space Program,” as they call themselves, has successfully sent an unmanned spacecraft into Earth’s upper atmosphere using tools anyone can purchase. Well done gentleman: if this doesn’t win every science fair from now until that kid graduates from high school then the world is truly an unfair place.
Thanks to an improvement in the availability of components, iSuppli has announced that it is raising the shipment forecast for iPads to 13.8 million units in 2010, up from its July outlook of 12.9 million. Furthermore, the company expects iPad production to hit 2.5 million units a month by the end of the year. The announcement is great news for Apple, which has struggled to keep up with consumer demand for its innovative tablet.
“In its previous iPad forecasts, iSuppli noted that the only constraint on shipment growth now is production—and not demand,” said Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research for iSuppli. “The only factor limiting production is the availability of key iPad components, such as the Field Fringe Switching (FFS) LCD panels, projected capacitive touch screens and NAND flash. Despite ongoing yield issues, Apple’s suppliers have steadily increased monthly production to meet Apple’s demand. Production rates are now on target to meet the expected strong fourth-quarter sales.”
Manufacturing should be boosted once more in 2011, when Apple plans to include new suppliers in the iPad’s production chain. The increased availability of the device will allow Apple to pursue as-yet-untapped markets such as schools and businesses who may be interested in buying the devices in bulk, but can’t yet due to the fact Apple doesn’t offer bulk purchase incentives. With the announcement that AT&T will begin selling iPads direct to businesses it was clear that Apple needed to work fast in order to make sure supply could keep up with demand.
This is also good news for those looking to buy a loved one an iPad as a holiday gift, since now perhaps they’ll be a bit less scarce. Coupling the increased production with the expansion of retailers approved to sell iPads means that perhaps you’ll spend a bit less time tromping through stores and less gas driving from one retailer to the next. Won’t that be nice?
Have you been thinking about upgrading your old iPod Nano to a shiny new Touch? If so, then you may want to head to Toys R Us this week as select stores are accepting old iPods for trade-in credit towards the purchase of a new model. Customers can trade in up to three old iPods and each device will be appraised up to $100 depending on conditions such as model, functionality and overall appearance.
For a deal like this there must be strings attached, and on this one there are plenty. First off, the offer lasts for one week only, so you’ll have to get your devices traded-in by no later than October 23. Also, not all stores are participating, so you may have to call around to the stores in your area to determine who’s on board with the promotion and who’s sitting it out. The offer also isn’t available online, so don’t think you can do some sort of web-based trade-in, you have to actually go to the store. Finally, Apple itself is not involved in any way, so if you don’t like the price Toys R Us offers for your iPod don’t go crying to Steve Jobs, he doesn’t care.
In spite of the restrictions, this sounds like a potentially intriguing offer for folks looking to upgrade their iPod. If video game retailers like GameStop have taught us anything it’s that a lot of people love to trade in their old stuff for something new. Of course if Toys R Us massively undervalues iPod trade-ins the way GameStop handles console games then this promotion may not be as well-received as they would like, but if they offer a fair price we could see a nice spur in iPod sales this week.
Anyone planning to take advantage of this promotion? I’ve got a couple Nanos lying around myself and it would be awfully nice to transform them into an awesome new Touch. Anybody else thinking the same thing?
Discount retailer Costco has confirmed plans to remove all Apple-related products from its stores, effective immediately. The retailer held an emergency conference call informing staff to begin removing all Apple-related product inventory and kiosks from all US and Canadian stores. At this point it appears Costco stores will go ahead and sell their existing stock of iPods, but will not be ordering more units once current inventories expire.
While no specific reason for the action has been given, speculation holds that Costco is angry with Apple for not including the retailer as an approved outlet to sell the iPad, so Costco’s actions are basically a measure of retribution.
Examining the situation it’s hard to tell if it’s a worse deal for Apple or Costco. The retail chain is indeed quite expansive and popular, but it’s hard to tell how many people head to a Costco for electronics purchases in general and iPod shopping in particular. On the other hand, it’s one less outlet where Apple can peddle its devices, and losing such a chain will bear a significant hit on the company’s bottom line over the long haul.
Of course, this whole issue may be little more than bluster, as it likely boils down to Costco’s attempt to make a stand and demand distributor rights for iPads. If Apple relents and adds Costco to the list of iPad retailers then this will all go away quickly. If not, then don’t plan on picking up a new Touch while shopping for gallon jars of mayonnaise and one-pound bags of cereal.
Folks who use their iPhones to send naughty messages back and forth may be in for a rude awakening as Apple has recently filed an anti-sexting patent. Basically, the new feature would allow users to block “sexts” (text message containing sexual or otherwise explicit content), or any other content which they deem inappropriate. Users could also opt to have texts delivered, but with the explicit content filtered out before it reaches them.
“Systems, devices, and methods are provided for enabling a user to control the content of text-based messages sent to or received from an administered device,” reads the patent application. “In some embodiments, a message will be blocked (incoming or outgoing) if the message includes forbidden content. In other embodiments, the objectionable content is removed from the message prior to transmission or as part of the receiving process. The content of such a message is controlled by filtering the message based on defined criteria.”
The desire to clean up dirty language in text message falls right in line with Apple’s anti-porn stance, but this new patent is nowhere near as Orwellian as some of the company’s other policies. From the sound of things this will be an opt-in program, and will be aimed mainly at parents who want to restrict behavior of youngsters and teens who may be prone to sending flirtatious messages. In this case Big Brother Jobs isn’t looking directly over your shoulder, but rather peering at you from across the way using binoculars and a series of mirrors.
[ via TiPb ]
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.
[Image courtesy of Apple]
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.
[Image courtesy of Apple]
The advantages of working on an iPad are growing by leaps and bounds everyday. Photographers may like the idea of working on this sleek device, but they question how they might get their photos from their camera to the iPad. Like a good pal meeting you at the bar, the camera connection kit is here to buy you a round. The question is, do you take the drink or do you hail a cab and go home now?
The camera connection kit comes with two different ways for you to get your digital images to the iPad. The first is via an SD card reader. Just plug this card reader into the 30-pin dock connecter slot at the “bottom” of your iPad device, shove your camera’s SD card into the slot, and you’re off to the races.
The second option comes in the form of a USB connector, or “dongle,” if you will. Plug this USB connector into the same dock connector as above and attach the USB cable to your camera. The iPad and camera connection kit will do the rest.
Upon connecting your camera, or memory card, the photo app launches and takes you right to the photos on the attached device. You then have the option to import everything or select only those photos you want to bring in. A prompt to keep the photos on your camera or delete them will appear once the import has finished.
A big question is how well it works with raw files. I shoot with a Nikon D90. My average RAW file size is 11megs. My photos also surpass the 2304 x 1536 size restriction on the iPad. Surprisingly, the camera connection kit had no issue reading my RAW files from my D90. The photos are resized within the iPad photo application, letting me do my work with minimal stress.
*EDIT* A commenter pointed out that the files do import on their native sizes and file types. I tested this, and can verify that photos are stored on the iPad in their native formats and resolutions. The apps that you use are forced to work within the restrictions set by iOS and the iPad. *END EDIT*
The build quality of these little connection devices is pretty good. They are made of the classic Apple white plastic. A dust cover is included for the doc connector as well. These are small enough to fit in your pocket, yet sturdy enough to take daily abuse out in the field.
I really only found two issues with these magical connectors. The main issue for many professionals and skilled amateurs will be the above-mentioned resizing of photos. It is nice to work on photos on the iPad, but if you need to edit full resolution images, you are out of luck. Just remind yourself that this is a trade off for being able to work on photos from such a small and light device.
The second issue is a small one. There is a dust cover for the 30-pin dock connector, but nothing to protect the USB or SD card slot. It would have really upped the quality standard if Apple had included some way to keep these areas clean from debris as well.
Is the camera connection kit worth your hard earned $30? It most certainly is. Despite the image sizing issues, this quickly became my travel companion, beating out my laptop. I can work on photos easily and conveniently, without toting a big, heavy battery consuming monster. I just make sure to let clients know that higher resolution images will be available once I get home to my laptop. If you’re looking for a way to ditch the laptop and work on photos on your iPad, you’ve just found your solution!
The event of the day started out with Steve Jobs introducing his “partner in crime,” Steve Wozniak, who was in the audience. After a quick welcome, Steve Jobs started with a recap of new Apple Store retail locations including Paris, China, and London. The London store marked the 300th Apple Store and they are now in 10 countries. The foot traffic volume is amazing. Apple now sees on some days over a million total visitors combined coming through their stores. Another interesting stat — over 50% of Macs sold in Apple Stores are still to new Mac users, aka Switchers. A stat that has amazingly held for years.
120 million potential Angry Birds players.
Next up for the day is a recap on how iOS is doing. Steve took pride in noting that there are over 230,000 new iOS activations per day. This does not include upgrades. This goes well over and above the Google quoted 160,000 Android devices activated every day. That brings us up to a total of over 120,000,000 active iOS devices. That’s a staggering number for a new platform that is not even 4 years old.
How about some stats on apps? There have been over 6.5 billion apps downloaded so far. That’s over 200 downloaded each and every second. Also quoted was that the App Store recently surpassed 250,000 applications available, which is a number we’ve been tracking over at 148Apps.biz App Store Metrics page.
Continue reading for the rest of the info on the days events — and way too many pictures.
Continue reading The Big Recap — What Apple Announced, and What They Hinted At »
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