Get ready for the mandatory update message next time you turn on iTunes as Apple has released version 10.1 into the wild. This isn’t your garden-variety new version though, as iTunes 10.1 introduces support for iOS 4.2 and some of its sexy new features.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of iTunes 10.1 is the fact that it includes AirPlay support, which is kind of a big deal. Now users will be able to download and start a movie or TV show in iTunes on and then push it over to their Apple TV via AirPlay. Of course this is contingent upon actually having Apple TV, but for those that do it’s a great way to watch your video content without messy cables or extra time hooking stuff up.
AirPlay support landing in iTunes also pushes web-based video content one step closer towards killing traditional cable and satellite television models. As popular shows and movies appear online with generally lower prices than standard cable and satellite packages more and more folks are thinking about “cutting the cable” and moving to purely web-based consumption. What’s held them back until now has been the issue of trickier tech for non-savvy folks, but when you can start a show on your computer or iOS device and then instantly send it to your TV that takes out a lot of the fear. Granted, there are still some other issues to work out such as the amount of content available and general questions about reliability, but you have to walk before you can run.
iTunes 10.1 is available now and will likely show up next time you boot up iTunes or your computer does a sweep for new Apple-related software. If you absolutely can’t wait any longer you can also head over to the iTunes page and download it from there. Also take heart that this likely means iOS 4.2 should be just about ready for launch, but then we’ve been holding our breath so long we’re about to turn blue.
Apple regularly schedules a September event to unveil new iPods and other odds and ends in time for the holiday buying season. I think we can assume this year will be more of the same. What will we see and what won’t we see? I’m going to try to put some odds to the various rumors and possible announcements. Note that these are all just my opinion as a guy that watches what Apple does with a rather critical and overly obsessive eye.
New iPod Touch – odds: even money
It’s almost guaranteed we’ll see a new iPod Touch introduced. This, like the iPhone announcement in June, has become a regular event. The question is what are the features we’ll see? I’m hoping we will, as in past years, see feature plurality with the current generation iPhone. So we’ll hopefully see the Retina Display (odds: 2-1), front facing camera with Facetime capability (odds: 3-1), rear camera (odds: 5-1). I’m also wondering if we’ll see the storage capacity increased beyond 64GB (odds: 4-1). And will we see other iPod lines retired like the iPod Classic, perhaps (odds: 8-1)?
iOS 4.1 Officially Announced – odds: even
This is also a given. iOS 4.1 has been in beta for 9+ weeks now and it’s been over 3 weeks since the last beta release. Betas usually come out every 2 weeks. So I think we can guess that it’s done and ready to release. We can expect the release either next week on 9/1 or very shortly after. What features will it have? A fix for the proximity sensor (odds: even) and a Game Center release (odds: 3-1) are the best bets. There’s the possibility that the length of time since the last beta was due to Apple adding in a mystery feature or two (odds: 5-1), or maybe it has to do with….
iOS 4.1 on the iPad – odds: 8-1
While I can’t wait to get iOS 4 on the iPad, it won’t be for a couple more months. I’m hoping that we’ll at least get some details on iOS 4 for the iPad (odds: 4-1), but I won’t hold my breath for that. Features I’m hoping for include support for running iPhone 4 resolution apps (odds: 4-1) and dashboard / icon layout update that takes better advantage of the screen size (odds: 30-1).
Updated Apple TV / iTV – odds: 5-1
This is the big new announcement most are expecting and an update to the Apple TV has been a long time coming. But I think Apple still sees it as too small of a market. I could be way off base here, but I think it’s too early for this rumored update. Apple has had so many leak problems that we tend to know just about every detail of a new device before it’s launched. We haven’t seen anything about a new Apple TV other than a few persistent rumors. While this would be the perfect time to launch it, just before the holidays, I just think it’s too early. But, in case it will be announced, the rumored features are a $99 price tag (odds: 10-1), and iOS based system (odds: 3-2), and App Store support of some kind (odds: 3-2).
Not having iOS 4.0 on the iPad is a total drag for a number of reasons, one being that you can’t listen to your iTunes music unless the app has built in music access. ComicBookPad 1.0 works around the limitations of iOS 3.x and lets you use the app as well as iTunes simultaneously, something that can’t been done on many other book readers in the app store. “There are quite a few comic book readers for iOS,” commented the founder Radi Danchev. “But none have both full iPad optimization, and iTunes plus reader capability.”
As well as the nice iTunes functionality, ComicBookPad 1.0 is also designed to be “glitch-free, with no choppy images, sluggishness, or lags.” When the desired comic book is launched, ComicBookPad loads all of the pages into the cache, enabling you to flip through the pages at an speed desired. The best part of all is that the animations are done right, moving to the next page without any strange animation jerks when you go for a page turn.
Book navigation has also been a challenge on many comic book readers, but ComicBookPad has seemingly fixed this with a large navigation bar in the bottom that is as handy as it looks.
Like all comic book readers, ComicBookPad 1.0 supports all the major comic book formats (.cbr, .cbz, .rar, and .zip), has a quick zoom feature, and a bookmark system.
With iOS 4.x coming soon to the iPad, the whole music aspect of the app will soon be a non-issue, but ComicBookPad still looks like a solid app if you are looking for an iPad comic book reader.
Apple’s new iAd mobile advertising platform looks to be gearing up for its launch on July 1st with test ads and spaces for iAds appearing in apps on the App Store.
iAd offers a way for developers to make money from free applications by including advertising spaces within their apps that are then filled by Apple’s new service. iAd looks to deliver more engaging advertising by comparison the traditional mobile ads that Steve Jobs seems particularly averse to.
iLounge points to a selection of applications from Avantar that are currently showing spaces for iAd adverts and, at one point, included “iAd integration” in release notes before changing the information to “minor bug fixes”. Whether or not Apple had a hand in this change is unclear although the big space within the app interfaces reading “Test Advertisement” next to the Apple logo would be a dead giveaway if they were going for some secrecy.
Apple already knows more than most about the pain of losing an iPhone and as a result has launched a new app to help you find yours should it go missing.
Unfortunately, you will need to be a subscriber to Apple’s MobileMe service in order to use the application which immediately rules it out to most who are unlikely to want to pay $99 a year for the privilege. A sixty-day trial is available here.
If you happen to be a subscriber it’s worth turning the Find My iPhone service on, however, as this app could help you track down your iPhone or iPad by locating it on a map or sending a message and alarm to the device with your contact details so a kindly stranger can return it. In the worst-case scenario you can also lock or wipe your device to secure your data (and those blackmail-friendly photos).
While the app could be useful, it’s not essential. The Find My iPhone service can be accessed via the web and, therefore, if you have a web connection to download the app, you might as well simply browse to the site instead. On the other hand, with Find My iPhone installed on all of your devices, it may come in handy if you simply mislay your iPhone or iPad somewhere in your home, office or at a friend’s house.
We’re still a week away from the official launch of iPads in select countries outside the US but it seems that international iPad App Stores are beginning to switch on already. It is likely that Apple is adding iPad downloads to international App Stores so that all potential issues are ironed out in time for the launch of the iPad in these countries. App Stores in countries like the UK, Germany and Canada don’t currently have the iPad and iPhone buttons on the App Store front page like in the US, so users can’t yet split browsing between the two devices. App Store search results are split into iPad and iPhone categories, however. International users with US-bought iPads have, until now, been unable to access their local App Stores via the device but today should have full access despite some noted teething trouble on some stores.
A lot of excitement was generated by a new App Store submission a while back that promised the ability to sync your iPhone with your computer using Wi-Fi, doing away with the need for a physical connection via USB.
Greg Hughes’ aptly named Wi-Fi Sync app has now been rejected by Apple for security reasons as well as that fact that it encroaches on “what they can and cannot allow” on the App Store, according to the developer who explained the rejection to Engadget.
With new file sharing features available for the iPad, another reason for Apple to reject this application could be that it’s planning a similar feature in future versions of iTunes.
Greg notes that the app will be available on the unofficial Cydia app store for iPhone users who have jailbroken their device, however interested iPad users may have to wait a little longer. Writing on his homepage, Greg says that the app isn’t officially supported on the iPad, but he is “working on this”.
The team at ALK Technologies has launched its GPS navigation app, CoPilot Live HD, for the iPad on the App Store. The app has been designed specifically for the iPad 3G’s GPS receiver and large screen to provide turn-by-turn, voice-guided navigation.
With recent news of iPad’s being fitted into car dashboards, this is particularly exciting news for those shopping for a new SatNav device for their vehicle.
Street maps are stored on the device and the app can display both 2D and 3D map views with turn instructions for the driver. The app automatically switches between portrait and landscape view and provides iPod controls from within the application, another bonus for those planning to dashboard-mount their new Apple tablet or connect it to their in-car sound system.
CoPilot Live HD offers a feature for users to plan trips offline and preview routes to find the most efficient journey before setting out.
“CoPilot Live HD provides an absolutely sensational GPS navigation and planning experience on iPad 3G,” said Michael Kornhauser, Managing Director at ALK Technologies. “Developing for iPad was a natural step following the tremendous popularity of our CoPilot Live iPhone app. It’s a really fantastic platform for navigation that allows us to fully exploit the many years of expertise we have gained from supporting tablet computers with our CoPilot Live Laptop products.”
CoPilot Live HD is priced at $29.99 for unlimited use with free quarterly map updates through 2010.
The next time you hear of a cool app and jump straight on to the App Store to get it, make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for and check where it’s coming from.
That’s the advice of Marco Arment, developer of Instapaper for iPhone and iPad.
Writing on his personal blog, Marco notes the staggering number of applications playing on the name of successful apps or using similar keywords in order to con unwitting App Store customers into buying them.
Popular bird-launching game, Angry Birds, is one such successful application plagued by a host of pretenders that are found when searching the App Store for its title. Of the top ten search results, only four apps appear legitimate with the actual Angry Birds game and its Lite version making up two of these. Six of the top ten search results are made up of cheat apps and walkthroughs.
ESCAPP’s Angry Birds Cheats, for example, appears in the top five searches and uses a lookalike icon. At $0.99 (the same price as the full Angry Birds app) the application’s description reads “Wonderful and addictive cheats. Accept No Imitations”.
That should be no imitations other than the imitation of affiliation with an actual application and/or developer.
We’ve not downloaded Angry Birds Cheats, but with 432 one star reviews out of 487 and reviews entitled “Absolute Rubbish!!” and “Waste of time money and effort” we’re willing to gamble our reputation on this being a pretty poor app. Add to this that the developer, ESCAPP, doesn’t have a working website but a GoDaddy holding page instead, and the fraud is complete.
InTekOne, LLC is another app publisher working in a similar way but this time using a modified version of the Angry Birds icon for its Angry Birds Walkthrough app. Once again, its site does not appear when clicked in iTunes and it’s left up to the poor developer, who was presumably commissioned to create the app, to shoulder the blame.
Chillingo, the publisher of Angry Birds, is equally unhappy with these apps: “We are going to send a formal copyright infringement request to Apple about these apps soon,” said Joe Wee, Director of Chillingo.
Chillingo prefers to reward loyal gamers with hints and tips at no cost by providing walkthrough trailers on its Developers’ YouTube channels. That way, they get free, valid information directly from the source. Angry Birds’ developer Rovio provides official suggestions for Angry Birds here
So what can you do to avoid inadvertently downloading fake apps or “squatters” who use successful apps as a marketing tool? Unfortunately, not a lot. Of course, you’re free to contact Apple and let them know your thoughts and Marco Arment also lists ways developers can protect their intellectual property from such apps on his site here.
For the average consumer, however, it appears that vigilance is your only weapon. Find out the name of the developer, check their website and, most importantly, read the app’s reviews for consumer feedback before buying.
Neither ESCAPP nor InTekOne, LLC have responded to our contact regarding their applications at time of writing.
If you haven’t gone ahead and jailbroken your iPhone already, you’re no doubt as excited as us at the prospect of iPhone OS 4.0. So many of the features we’ve long been craving to have on our phones will be at our fingertips, hopefully some time this June.
Whether you’re looking to prevent the RSI-inducing homescreen swiping that occurs when you install more than 50 or so apps or you simply want to change your background image, iPhone OS 4.0 will have the answer.
Music fans will love the ability to run apps like Pandora in the background while browsing the web or checking emails, and non-iPad owners will relish getting hold of their first iBooks for iPhone.
But we know all of the cool new features in the next OS already, don’t we? Apparently not. Sources who have their hands on the latest developer builds of the next iPhone operating system are providing snippets of information on some more great tweaks that weren’t even mentioned during Apple’s “Sneak Peak” back in early April.
In iPhone OS 4.0 a swipe to the left of the first homescreen (which takes you to Spotlight in OS 3.0) brings up a new interface with some new buttons. iPod controls, much like those you see when double clicking the home button in OS 3.0, sit in the center with a quick iPod app launcher button to their right. On the left is the best new feature yet and previously only a plaything of the iPad owner – orientation lock. At last, browsing the web in bed is no longer something you have to do sitting up or lying at an angle only familiar to contortionists. 9to5Mac, who posted images of these new features, suggest that this could be part of a wider plan to introduce “mini-widgets” in the final build of iPhone OS 4.0
File Sharing and more
Meanwhile, over at The Boy Genius Report, even more cool tidbits are surfacing. First is the ability to drag manually add files to your iPhone via iTunes. Simply plug in your phone and access the File Sharing section under the Apps tab in iTunes to drag files to and from your computer and on to your device. Closing running applications (as part of the multitasking feature) has become easier too. In much the same way you currently delete apps from your iPhone, simply holding on an open app’s icon will produce small close buttons for you to click on and shut down the app.
This is about as much that’s out there at the moment but remember, Steve Jobs promised over 100 new user features when showing off OS 4.0, so expect many more neat tricks and enhancements in the coming weeks.
After Apple acquired music streaming service Lala Media at the end of 2009, many believed it would be bringing this cloud-based technology to its iTunes service very soon. While Lala will shut down on May 31st it appears that it may still be a while before a streaming version of the iTunes Store for both desktop computers as well as iPhones and iPads will be launched.
Lala offers a catalog of over 7 million songs that stream directly to users over the internet. In order for listeners to listen to a specific song at any time and as many times as they wish they are required to pay a $.10 fee. Songs are also available to download at prices similar to the iTunes Music Store. Apple acquired the company in December 2009 for an undisclosed fee thought to be around $17 million.
However, after initial excitement at the Lala Media shutdown announcement, it appears not to denote an imminent launch of Apple’s own streaming product.
Apple is said to be talking to record labels regarding a streaming service but these discussions have been pegged as “preliminary at best” according Peter Kafka writing for MediaMemo at All Things D.
The success of streaming music and video applications like Spotify and Pandora for the iPhone and the new ABC Player for iPad have added weight to the rumours that Apple will begin to deliver music and movies in the same way via iTunes but it appears this move could still be a way off.
Apple is well aware of the demand for streaming music services after showing Pandora’s application streaming music while making use of the new multitasking feature found in the upcoming iPhone OS 4.0.
One of the key factors in such a service is the method in which payment would be made by consumers. While Apple has strong ties with the major record labels it took a long time to thrash out a mutually beneficial deal. Changing the landscape for music delivery may introduce further issues. Streaming music a user already owns on iTunes is one possible outcome however a subscription model may also be made available which would tie in to an iPhone and iPad application.
With Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference only a month away, those hoping for an announcement on the topic will likely be disappointed, with many sources claiming the launch of a streaming iTunes service won’t happen before the third quarter of this year.
Last year we brought you news that Best Buy had a great, but short sale on iTunes gift cards. These sale cards are a great way to get all of your app purchase on the app store at a discount. As a matter of fact, it’s the only way to get a discount on the App Store. These iTunes gift card sales come few and far between. But for those of you in the US, there’s a new sale you can take advantage of.
Now through April 2nd, Costco has $60 iTunes Gift Card packages on sale for $48.99, a nearly 20% savings. There is not tax on the cards at Costco — at least not here in California, your local laws may vary. Also, Apple may or may not charge tax on the purchase, again depending on where you live.
There was an sign on the display at Costco that said limit 2 per member, but I bought 6 and got the full discount on each. Again, your local rules may vary.
With the iPad quickly approaching, this is a great way to add virtual money to your iTunes account to be ready to get all those new iPad apps. This also works for those of you without a credit card — just use cash at Costco to get the cards.
If you head to Costco to get this deal, what was it like at your local Costco? Were they out of stock? Did they limit you to 2? Let us know in the comments.
MoodAgent mixes up your listening experience by generating playlists based on your mood. Though it could still use some refinement, it's a great, simple app with a sleek interface. Oh, and it's free...so there's reason not to try it!
Just under a week after Apple’s media event, iPhone OS 3.1.3 is now available for both iPhone and iPod touch. The update comes after Apple released iPhone OS 3.2, which is iPad exclusive, to developers in its ADC network. As expected by many, this new update includes no new features however it does come packed with a few security fixes.
– Improves accuracy of reported battery level on iPhone 3GS
– Resolves issue where third-party apps would not launch in some instances
– Fixes a bug that may cause an app to crash when using the Japanese Kana keyboard
The update is compatible with all iPhone and iPod touch models, and is available for download from iTunes right now.
You may remember a few months back now that Apple unveiled a new system in which it used a web-based interface to show song information for an individual iTunes URL, before you were physically transferred to the actual iTunes store itself. The move came in sync with the iTunes store re-design which saw the store become more streamlined overall, with a cleaner, crisper interface. Until now, these new web-based ‘Preview‘ pages have lay dormant, offering no real purpose other than to provide necessary links to albums and individual tracks on the iTunes store.
Today, Apple has reportedly enabled studio 30 second previews of all tracks in it’s current iTunes catalog to work in-browser. Mac Rumors are reporting via GigaOM that these previews are encoded in 44.1 KHz AAC format at 300+ kbps, and playback is issued via QuickTime.
The move falls in line with Apple’s recent acquisition of the online music streaming service Lala, which could see Apple move it’s entire current catalog online, possibly offering all-you-can-eat subscription based plans in the future.
On November 28th 2008 Apple hit a landmark for their iPhone App Store. They reached 10,000 approved applications for their device. Less then a year later, Apple has hit another landmark in approving their 100,000th app. This number is mind boggling when you think about the amount of development man hours that have gone into it.
Recently I’ve read some other saddening numbers in that some developers are seeing piracy rates of upwards of 90% on their applications. I firmly believe that Apple’s recent move to allow developers to sell in game purchases in their free apps is a direct response to the massive pirating we see going on. If developers, publishers, startups and the like are going to make money consistently on the device in a complete sea of pirates and the race to $0.99 they are going to do start thinking and doing things completely differently. A lot of people are starting to expect a lot of game for almost no money. The problem is very few companies can exist by merely selling their app for such a low price, but then you’ll almost never get noticed if you price yourself higher. It is definitely a catch 22 for many devs. What I see happening in this space is that the devs who take the model of giving their game away for free and then convincing me to go farther by spending $0.99 or $1.99 will more likely succeed. The other approach is to lock people out of the game based on a timed events similar to how iMob does it. There may even be a 3rd or 4th solution to this problem that has yet to emerge.
This flood of apps will not stop, and some analysts are saying that we’ll see 250,000 applications by this time next year and that number may even be low if we look at the growth pattern over the last year and half. Crazy as it sounds, I think this is just the tip of the iceberg that will be the app store. Everyone will be developing stuff for the iPhone. At some point, Apple will be changing it’s slogan to “There are 100 apps for that” as extreme over saturation hits in all areas. Even Adobe is releasing a Flash game converter that allows you to make your Flash game into an app and with that every Flash game will get converted in no time.
In all of these months since the app store launched, I’ve been hesitant to be negative of Apple and the app store approval process. Developers have responded passionately and repeatedly with stories of rejected apps and even apps removed from the app store for various reasons. Sometimes they were right, the rejection didn’t make sense. But many times, they were wrong, the app should have been rejected due to obvious reasons.
But today, it seems as though Apple has gone from being just mysterious in it’s approval process to outright complacent. With the removal of apps that use the Google Voice APIs to allow you to access their services, Apple has crossed a line into scary overlord territory. It almost seems as though roles in the 1984 commercial have been reversed.
So yes, these apps may duplicate some of the functions of the iPhone. But as many argue, they don’t, as the features they supply aren’t available on the iPhone. They no more duplicate functions than any of hundreds of apps that provide weather information, calendar interfaces, embedded browsers, contact management, sms services, heck, even the dozens of voice recorders already released now duplicate a default application in OS 3.0.
My big question is, what made this happen now? Is AT&T behind this rejection? If so, this adds to a list of innovative apps they have neutered. For example, SlingPlayer, an application that AT&T even publicizes for Blackberry was restricted to only working over Wifi for the iPhone. Ridiculous… that basically strips 90% of it’s functionality. And if they are behind the rejection of Google Voice related apps, an application that’s already available on Blackberries as well, on their network even, I have to wonder what’s going on? What are they thinking? What are they afraid of?
I can’t believe it’s really their network. They have been adding new customers regularly. Not just this quarter, but for the past 2 years. They’ve had time to upgrade their network as needed for all these new iPhone customers.
Further, why would Apple be in such a stranglehold from AT&T? Why would Apple allow AT&T to stifle innovation in this platform and restrict such applications? It’s boggling why AT&T treats iPhones and their users with such a lack of respect even though we pay more for the same service than other customers.
So, to get to my point, what all this adds up to is that the iPhone is still the best mobile platform to develop for, by far. We all know that. But the platform that freed developers in so many ways is being increasingly perceived as a hostile environment. There are too many unknowns for some developers to put the time and expense into developing the next big, innovative app for the platform when they have no way of even verifying that they can ever release their app.
People are starting companies, risking their livelihoods and their futures on the iPhone and the iTunes App Store. It’s just bad developer (not to mention public) relations to operate such a veiled process like this knowing that so many people depend on it for their livelihood. Not to mention that it will eventually end up in court and could cost Apple a bundle.
So, Mr. Jobs, I ask this of you. You have the power to fix all of these problems. Please do so and we can all be a big happy family again.
First, take the developer agreement and re-write it. At its core, the problem is that Apple has only published rules to developers that basically say, we’ll approve what we want to, here are a few very non-specific guidelines to follow.
Get your product managers in there and tell them to re-write it so that it is written for the benefit of the developers not Apple’s legal department. No blanket statements, be specific with details about what is and is not allowed. Leave nothing out. Then, open it up for discussion with your devoted developers to get their feedback. And then, stick to it. No exceptions like you made for AT&T (going around the in-app purchasing with their GPS app), or Google (use of undocumented APIs for the proximity sensor). We’ll all be happier if we are all on a well explained and level playing field.
Second, slap AT&T, tell them that they have no control over the app store. Apple, you have created a revolution with this platform and it’s bigger than AT&T. But, if they are restricting innovation it can never come close to it’s full potential.
And Steve, can I call you Steve? That brings up a bigger topic related to AT&T. Can you please do something about the AT&T exclusivity in the USA? They treat the iPhone like it’s a cheap Nokia feature phone, not like the best phone ever seen by man. They treat it like a nuisance and it’s users like second-class citizens. We aren’t treated as we should be treated, as their only hope for a future and the only reason they are still in business. AT&T are acting like narrow-minded, slow to upgrade, innovation stifling knuckleheads. So, please, use your powers, the ones that you so deftly used a few years to get your way with AT&T, to either get them to clean up their act, or move on to Verizon like everyone thinks is going to happen.
Publisher / Founder
Over the weekend, Trent Reznor, front-man for Nine Inch Nails, received quite a bit of bad news from the App Store. It seems that the update to their app, nin: access, was denied.
The app is currently in the App Store, available for free, having already passed through the approval process once. The changes in this update? Well, they’d fix some of the bugs that have left many users giving the app a poor rating due to unexpected issues.
So what exactly was Apple’s reason for denying the update?
“Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.”
In under 9 months the app store has grown from 0 to over 30,000 apps. To break that down a little, here are some stats from our old 10,000 Apps page — the image isn’t up to date, but the stats are updated every few minutes:
Number of apps (some currently inactive): 30,005
Number of games / entertainment apps: 10,126 (33.7% of total)
Number of apps submitted in September, 2008: 2,944 (98/day)
Number of apps submitted in February, 2009: 5,872 (209/day)
Number of free apps / games in the store: 7,086
Total cost to buy every app ever submitted to the app store: $81,444.81 ($2.71 average/app)
The app store will be 1 year old on 7/11/2009 — if things continue on this growth curve, we should hit 50,000 apps by then. That feat, for a new platform and distribution model, would be amazing.
Note: Philip Elmer-DeWitt Apple 2.0 blog on Fortune.com has some more info and some interesting analysis. He believes the tide of new apps has slowed. February, 2009 was the largest month ever, and it’s still early in March — we’ll have to see how the month finishes out before we’d agree with that theory.
Correction: the app Chopper was on sale during the holidays, and continues to be on sale. The app is regularly priced at $4.99 but is on sale for $0.99. Sales figures updated below.
Many developers are seeing their iTunes sales reports for the first time after iTunes Connect opened back up after Apple closed it for the Christmas rush, and those sales numbers are amazing. With many apps showing 2-4x normal sales of their paid apps on Christmas day and increased sales continuing in the days following. Free app download number showing up to 5x normal rate as well. Could this be all the new iPhone and iPod Touch owners looking for apps to fill up their devices or most likely people with newly gifted iTunes gift cards to burn.
David Frampton of Majic Software, the developer of Chopper (iTunes Link), the number 2 paid game and number 3 paid app overall, reported sales 3x normal on 12/25 with sales in the days following still much higher than normal, but dropping off by about 30% on the 26th and another 10%/day on the 27th. The Chopper developer pulled in sales of over 50,000 copies of his $4.99 app (on sale for $0.99 during the holidays) for the 4 day period of 12/24 – 12/27 with around half of those sales coming on Christmas day. That’s nearly $25,000 in sales in one day, 12/25, alone.
Another developer we talked with, Mark Johnson, reported sales of over four times normal on Christmas day. Hit Tennis (iTunes Link) the $1.99 tennis game, currently number 55 in the top 100 paid iPhone Sports games, had sales of nearly 200 on 12/25 with normal daily sales in the 40s.
Gabriel Pasqualini from Portengo, developers of Cartoonize Me (iTunes Link), the top 15 app on the Entertainment paid app list showed sales 3x normal on the 25th with sales on the 26th being about 90% of what they were on the 25th.
Other stories are similar in nature with most developers of apps on iTunes top 100 lists showing sales 2-4 times normal. Other developers of apps not in any of the top 100 lists also reported much higher than normal sales, though not 4x.
Tim Haines, developer of Burn Ball (iTunes Link) which is not currently in the top 100 paid games reported a similar 3x normal sales on 12/25. He also reported that the free version of his game, Burn Ball Lite (iTunes Link), had download numbers 5x normal on 12/25.
No one knows how long the increased sales will continue, but this is a much deserved present for these independent developers.
It looks like app developers have decided to participate in Black Friday sales and have started early. There are a bunch of really great games and apps on sale in the iTunes App Store right now with more being added every time we check out our price drops page. We’ll keep the list of the top tier apps here and send out a message on our Twitter stream when we update this page.
Apple has scheduled an event Tuesday. The main purpose of that event is to launch new iPod Nano and Touch models. But it’s also expected that iTunes 8 will be released with features like a Pandora-like Genius, new visualization, and grid view.
But more importantly iPhone OS 2.1 should also be released to coincide with the expected release of the notification service scheduled to be released in September. With the iPhone OS 2.1 and notification service I would expect to see Apple release a mobile version of iChat. Or at least I would hope to see it. This was rumored from the start for the 2.0 release but it seems that the notification service was not ready for that release in July.
Unlike last time, when 2.0.1 was released, we aren’t waiting. We are installing this right now. Hoping that it fixes some of the issues with stability we’ve had over that past couple weeks (two restores last week alone).
No word on what is new, just Bug Fixes listed by Apple.
Steven Frank of Panic has said the things that many developers are thinking, but due to the NDA not sure if they can.
I work in the software industry so I can (A) solve problems that annoy me, and (B) make money on which to live. While I respect the GPL and Open Source movements, I believe that commercial software is a necessary and important part of the ecosystem — however NOT at the expense of the above basic freedoms.
The iTunes App Store distribution model mangles almost every one of those tenets in some way, which is exasperating to me.
If you are a developer or not, read the entire article here, it’s worth your time.
Apple today posted the first update to the iPhone OS for both generations of iPhones (original and 3G), and the iPod Touch. The updated only lists mysterious bug fixes. Some users are reporting that it gets rid of the lag seen in Contacts and the Camera. We’ll be trying it once a few more brave souls have and report back. Hopefully it will address some of the more serious bugs as well.
So developers are blaming Apple, Apple isn’t commenting, as they never do. But the deal is that for any iPhone OS 2.0 users there is a major stability issue that is causing data loss to watch out for.
Here’s how it happens — you are running an app and the screen goes blank and your iPhone or iPod Touch restarts. You see the Apple logo and it looks like the device is restarting. And the Apple logo doesn’t go away. And it still doesn’t go away. So, let’s try restarting again– hold down the power button for 8 seconds and it goes blank. Start it again. Same thing happens — seems to be stuck in the boot up process.
I know that thishashappened to at least 3 people on Twitter. Doesn’t seem like it’s an uncommon problem.
What do you do? Well the only thing that seems to work is to force a restore from iTunes. For info on how to do that, see this Apple support article. So after you give your phone the death grip and breathe a sigh of relief as the restore process starts you begin to wonder what happened?
I have a theory and it’s just a theory. I have no way to prove this. But I think the crashes are being caused by lost memory. Applications may not be properly cleaning up after themselves, known as releasing memory, when an application ends. This lost memory is building up over time and causing the crashes as other applications can’t get enough memory to work properly.
What you can do to keep this from happening. Probably not much, it’s mainly up Apple to fix what is causing this. There are some things you can do that might mitigate the problem or help you recover when it does happen.
First, if an application crashes and you are returned to the application list, don’t just go on with what you are doing. It’s a good idea to restart the phone to help it clean up lost memory. To do this, hold down the power button for a few seconds and slide the shutdown slider. Wait a couple seconds and hit the power button to boot back up.
What you can do the help recover if your phone does crash is let that agonizingly slow backup process in iTunes complete. This will help so that you won’t lose all your preferences (and your high score in Poker Dice!) when your phone needs to be restored. It’s time consuming, but hopefully not as time consuming as setting everything back up though.
So, about an hour later, hopefully your restore has worked completely and that includes the backup restore process. If the backup restore process doesn’t work you will still luckily retain any synced contacts, calendar, etc.
To me this problem is just an indication that Apple has pushed out the 2.0 update a little early. They had deadlines and didn’t make things as bullet proof as 1.x was.