If you're a budding developer hoping to get rich by submitting a killer application to the iPhone App Store, keep reading. Or better yet, don't keep reading - far be it for us to take a pin to your balloon with silly statistics and likely scenarios.
For those of you still following along (and planning to retire in month or two once everyone buys your app), don't say you weren't warned. The cold reality is you're not likely to make much bank by selling apps, and what little you might make will take a lot of work. How hard can it possibly be? Just ask Rick Strom, one of the many registered iPhone developers with nearly 20 apps under his belt, three of which are on the chart. These include Zen Jar (#34, paid), Spirit Board (#36, free), and Spirit Board Pro (#95, paid).
"With two apps on the paid charts, one would assume I’m rolling in dough. After all, this is a gold rush, right?," Rick Strom wrote in his blog. "The reality is much more startling. In order to place #34 on the social networking charts, you need 30-35 downloads a day. At the standard app store pricing of .99, and after Apple takes its cut, that means your app needs to bring in a little over $20 a day to chart at that position."
By Strom's math, you'll need to make just $4/day to break into the top 100, and the overwhelming majority of the other 36,000 apps are doing "absolutely nothing. They aren't selling at all."
Strom has plenty more to say on the topic right here.
A couple of announcements surfaced today, one each for both of the smartphone heavyweights - Apple's iPhone and T-Mobile's G1. If you own, or are considering, one or the other, keep reading.
Amazon Updates Kindle App for iPhone
Score a win for iPhone owners, who now have an improved Kindle app to mess around with. Now in version 1.1, the updated release addresses a few customer complaints, one of them being that users can now read in either portrait or landscape mode. And to make reading easier, you can now change the background and text color combination. Other changes include tap support for turning pages, and multi-touch pinch to zoom in on images.
G1 'Cupcake' Update Pushed Back Until June
G1 owners who have been anxiously awaiting the much anticipated 'Cupcake' update (Android 1.5) will have to wait a little longer. What was originally supposed to be an "early May" release looked like it was finally going to start trickling out this week in the U.S., but word has come down that the update has been delayed at least one more week.
"We are working diligently to get Android 1.5 out as soon as possible, while aiming to ensure a consistent, positive experience for our customers," a T-Mobile forum moderator announced. "We're finalizing this build this week to ensure optimal functionality and smooth delivery. Therefore, the rollout schedule has been reset by approximately a week, and we expect all G1 customers will have the update by early June."
Barring any last minute changes, Android 1.5 will add on-screen keyboard support with auto-correction, text prediction, user dictionaries, and third-party keyboard layouts, live folders, folder shortcuts for YouTube favorites, starred contacts, MPEG4 and 3GP video playback, stereo Bluetooth, a new Linux kernel, browser enhancements, and several other goodies.
When's the last time you surfed on over to your Pligg and updated what you were doing for the entire Internet to see? What about Elgg? Have you changed your favorite movies to reflect that big blockbuster hit you saw this weekend? You probably don't have to, because all of your friends using the Tweetero client on their iPhones could just log on and see exactly what you were up to. Or not. Because you aren't on Twitter -- you're on Identi.ca, the open-source equivalent of the popular messaging program.
Unlike the open-source software world, where even the smallest gems of programs can find a meaningful existence, the open-source social networking world depends on people. Masses of people. You can't just launch a new social networking platform and expect it to flourish if it doesn't have a decently sized audience. And you're never going to pull away the users that are already comfortable on their existing Web 2.0 platforms if you just imitate the best practices of the current litany of sites. But that's what's happening in the open-source social networking world right now. There's a healthy mix of innovation and duplication, giving some segments of the online world new and interesting applications... and others with their 25th version of Twitter.
Which areas of social networking are dead zones for open-source development? Click the jump to find out!
Sure, Apple’s app store has been known to make its fair share of senseless moves, but this one just about nears the top of the list. Recently they rejected Maza Digital’s Drivetrain, an app that would allow users to control the Transmission Bittorrent client from anywhere. Why? Because those that use it are infringing upon rights, of course!
Apple’s reason for denying the app was because “this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights.” So, while there are millions of legal torrents available and it’s quickly become one of the most popular ways to download files, those that use it are (and I’m paraphrasing here) criminal.
Well, at least you can still get Ze Frank’s free iPhone app. I wonder if they’ll try to deny it too?
According to the website for the Missouri University School of Journalism, “Effective Fall 2009, students majoring in Journalism at Missouri are required to have either an iPod Touch (the minimum requirement) or iPhone to allow for the delivery of freshman-orientation information as well as course material. Students will electronically download such material to either of those devices from iTunes University, a no-cost component of the iTunes Store.”
On top of this, undergraduate students will be required to have wireless laptops, with Microsoft Office installed. “Students are encouraged to acquire wireless laptop technology from Apple, which the School has designated as its preferred provider,” continues the website.
And, for those that prefer a Windows machine, “That's an option, but it's one we do not recommend unless you plan to make a career of computer-assisted reporting. By the time you purchase photo, audio and video software for a PC, you probably will have spent more than you would if buying a comparable Apple Computer. Buy a PC if you prefer to do so, but make sure it is wireless and has Microsoft Office. Almost 100 percent of last year's freshmen chose Apple computers.”
As if going to school wasn’t expensive enough, now it would seem that the Apple tax is a requirement. Oh well, what’s another few grand on top of the 40 or so that you’re spending on a year’s tuition?
And for good reason, too! Mr. Reznor has admittedly done a lot for the digital music landscape, and while he does support Apple, he’s got a rather large bone to pick with their app approval process (the very same process that approved the baby shaking game).
In a nutshell, Apple rejected an update to the official Nine Inch Nails iPhone app due to “objectionable content.” Oddly, said content isn’t actually a part of the app, instead it’s a song that the application can stream called “The Downward Spiral.” And, while the hypocrisy of this situation runs wild in my mind, it’s best described by Trent… after the break (there might be little eyes watching, so be warned of language).
Citing people familiar with the situation, USA Today claims Verizon and Apple are at least talking about developing an iPhone for Verizon. If that were to happen, it would be the first time Apple has produced an iPhone for a CDMA wireless network, and come as a blow to AT&T, who has exclusive U.S. distribution rights until sometime in 2010.
"Breaking the iPhone exclusivity with AT*T is a huge thing," says Roger Entner, head of telecom research for Nielsen. "That would send shivers into AT&T's stock and senior leadership."
AT&T's iPhone deal has proved to be a lucrative one, as evidenced last week when the telco posted impressive wireless numbers. According to AT&T, it has signed up 1.6 million iPhone customers during the quarter, with 40 percent of them beng new to AT&T. It's mobile revenue was also up 40 percent.
AT&T would still boast the faster network if Verizon started selling iPhones, but Verizon's aggressive ad campaign, combined with the iPhone's immense popularity, would likely be a recipe for success, even if a bitter one for AT&T.
Sure, your iPhone is pretty cool. It lets you check your email, stocks, Facebook page and even your Twitter. But, can you write calligraphy on it? Wait, you can? Oh. Well, at any rate, it looks like some designers have created a concept of a calligraphy board that allows users to practice their scripture skills without all that messy ink and paper.
Designers Soonkyu Jang, Chung Lee and Yonghuk Yim recently decided to take a big step for linguists, by showing the world their concept for the electronic calligraphy board. While initially the board would only come with tools to teach users Korean, there’s no doubt that other languages would be available within months.
No word on how much it would cost, or if it’s even going to see the light of store shelves.
Thanks to some obvious inspiration from Apple, it looks like the Nartron Corporation is going to bring a very iPhone inspired dashboard to Chrysler’s 200C concept car.
The 200C concept will feature a next-gen dashboard system, dubbed iQ Power. Thanks to iQ Power, drivers of the car will be able to use “any smartphone” as a smart key for the car (primarily used to unlock doors and even view a video stream of the car’s interior). And, thanks to some big colorful controls and cover-flow for browsing album art, it’ll no doubt be easy for iPhone users to feel right at home in this environment. iQ Power will even feature a wireless tablet that allows passengers to send music recommendations straight to the driver’s console (though, it seems like a simple tap on the shoulder would work well too).
If you've been eyeing the iPhone ever since it came out but have been reluctant to switch from your cellular service provider to AT&T, then you may want to rethink that approach. That's because AT&T, who struck gold when it inked a deal with Apple to be the exclusive iPhone carrier, is in discussions to extend its contract until 2011, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
When asked to comment on the talks, an Apple spokeswoman offered little other information, saying only "We have a great relationship with AT&T."
And vice versa. According to AT&T, it has added 4.3 million iPhone subscribers in the second half of 2008, many of which -- about 40 percent -- were new to AT&T. But if AT&T is going to secure exclusivity rights to the iPhone for at least a year after its initial deal comes to an end, it's going to have to make sense for Apple as well, who will face increased pressure from Google's Android platform as the open-source OS starts to spread beyond T-Mobile's G1. And with Android 1.5 adding a bevy of new features, things could get awfully interesting in round 2.