Apple has always been a "my way or the highway" type of company, but its recently declared war on "sexy apps" in the application store has been making developers rather nervous. The most frustrating part for developers that had their applications pulled wasn't just that their lively hood was in jeopardy, but it was the simple fact that they had no idea what Apple considered as "adult". This is a question App Store developer Jon Atherton has addressed on his blog, and the list of reasons why his Wobble application has been pulled is pretty draconian.
1. No images of women in bikinis (Ice skating tights are not OK either) 2. No images of men in bikinis! (I didn't ask about Ice Skating tights for men) 3. No skin (he seriously said this) (I asked if a Burqa was OK, and the Apple guy got angry) 4. No silhouettes that indicate that Wobble can be used for wobbling boobs (yes - I am serious, we have to remove the silhouette on the menu screen) 5. No sexual connotations or innuendo: boobs, babes, booty, sex - all banned 6. Nothing that can be sexually arousing!! (I doubt many people could get aroused with the pic above but those puritanical guys at Apple must get off on pretty mundane things to find Wobble "overtly sexual!) 7. No apps will be approved that in any way imply sexual content (not sure how Playboy is still in the store, but ...)
Regardless of whether or not you think this is a positive move by Apple, its clearly unfair to developers to constantly keep pulling the rug out from under them, most of the time without any warning. What do you think?
Iwata may be publicly dismissive of current gaming platforms and technology, but lets face it, the DS is long in the tooth, and is in desperate need of an update. The present split-screen design, while innovative in its time, will need more than a face-lift if it’s going to be competitive.
Speculation has it that Nintendo is looking long and hard at the Tegra 250 for its DS and DSi replacement, with eye toward competing with the iPhone and Touch, rather than Sony’s PSP. In which case an accelerometer is a given.
There’s no timeframe for a product launch, but it wouldn’t be out of the question for more substantial news to come from March’s Game Developers Conference or E3 in June.
Attitudes about the iPod Touch and the iPhone can be distilled into two groups: (1) It’s a grossly overpriced unitasker; or (2) it’s a brilliant multitasker that’s well worth the price. And reactions to Logitech’s newly introduced Touch Mouse will perfectly illustrate this dichotomy.
Logitech’s free application for the iPhone and Touch allows users of PCs and Macs to control their computer from their device. It mimics a laptop touchpad, complete with mouse button input. Plus, its got a keyboard option. It’s a small keyboard, to be sure, but it does display the text you type on the iPhone or Touch. Logitech’s offering is a natural fit for those connecting their computer to their TV. You can sit back and relax, without having to drag along a keyboard and mouse, or buy an expensive, sole-purpose peripheral.
Logitech’s Touch Mouse joins other touchpad/mouse apps for the iPhone and Touch, such as Gabriel Höhener’s WeBe Bluetooth Mouse, R.P.A. Tech’s Air Mouse Pro, and JumiTech’s JumiMouse. One advantage for Logitech’s app is the price--it's free.
But, depending on where you stand, this app makes the iPhone/Touch an outrageously expensive wireless keyboard and mouse, or it makes the iPhone/Touch an infinitely adaptable device that is worth every penny you paid for it.
The first part of a typical Apple product launch is out of the way now. During the second leg, skeptics will grudgingly make one final attempt at understanding the device just as fanboys get better at pretending that they know pretty much everything they need to know. Both sides can now also factor in the newfangled prospect of making VoIP calls over the iPad's 3G connection when making their case.
Apple today updated the iPhone developer SDK to accommodate VoIP apps. The move was accompanied by the launch of iCall, the first and only VoIP app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The announcement leaves us with one question, though. Will the iPad support VoIP apps out of the box? There is little reason why it shouldn't.
Apple's ban on VoIP functionality riled many feathers while it lasted. The company's refusal to allow Google Voice to run natively on the iPhone wrecked its relationship with Google, which eventually launched a browser-based HTML 5 app to circumvent the ban. Ironically, VoIP functionality comes to the iPhone barely 24 hours after the launch of the web-based Google Voice app.
It is not clear how this fresh development impacts the hitherto unapproved Google Voice app, which Google claims is not a VoIP app. It uses the carrier's voice network to make phone calls and not the internet connection.
If what happens on the front-end is any indication on what’s taking place on the back-end, then Santa gifted a whole lot of people with Apple’s iPod Touch this year. According to reported figures, the number of app downloads for the Touch soared 1,000% on Christmas day.
The figures come from the research firm Flurry, Inc. In reporting the figures Peter Farago, a Flurry spokesperson, said, “IPod Touch devices must have flooded the market over Christmas.” He also noted that “Apple downloads continue to grow at staggering rates.” The Christmas download rate, according to Flurry, is based on the increase over the December Friday average preceding Christmas.
In the on-going comparison to Android apps, Flurry noted that Android apps experienced a 12% increase in downloads from November, while Apple’s apps increased 51%. In addition, Android’s app download volume was 13 times less than that for Apple. (Android apps did see a 93% increase on Christmas Day.)
Christmas’s downloads for the iPod Touch mark the first time they’ve exceeded app downloads for the iPhone.
Apple iPod touch users craving a bit of higher end gaming have a lot to be excited over. How could they not, after seeing the same Unreal Engine 3 that powers Gears of War 2 running on a third generation iPod touch?
According to an Anandtech write-up, the Unreal Engine 3 tech demo was both playable and had a fly-through. It consisted of a modified Unreal Tournament level and included a virtual thumbstick on the left side of the screen for controlling movement, while tracking your thumb in the lower right corner of the screen manipulated the camera angle.
Anandtech noted that the frame rate was smooth and "the demo looked very good for an iPhone game." Speaking of which, Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games, says the engine also works on the iPhone 3GS, and that you can expect to see it on another mobile platform at CES. How deliciously vague.
Apple's App Store sits about 1,000 applications lighter today, which represents about 1 percent of all apps. The reason? Apple discovered that a large iPhone developer was participating in a ratings scam, and so Apple removed the company's catalog of over 1,000 apps.
The company in question is Moliker Inc., who developed more than 1,000 titles, most of which were based on travel (such as Mobile Travel Guide). The company is accused of giving its own apps 5-star ratings to try to raise the average ratings and boost sales.
But the scam came crumbling down when one attentive user noticed a pattern in most of the reviews. Most of the apps had about 50 five-star rankings with poorly written reviews, which served as a tell-tale sign that the developer was probably using his allotment of 50 promocodes to create fake accounts and review his own apps. The user fired off an email to Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller, or promplty pulled all 1,011 apps from the App Store.
"Yes, this developer's apps have been removed from the App Store and their ratings no longer appear either," Schiller said.
Better late than never, and while it took a long time, iPhone and iPod touch users can now download Trillian, the multiprotocol IM client, through Apple's App Store.
The $4.99 app comes with many of the same features as its desktop counterpart, including grouped and sorted contacts. Tabbed chat windows also find their way onto the iPhone and iPod touch version, and so does the ability to copy and paste, which is more a credit to Apple than Cerulean Studios, the company responsible for Trillian.
Users can also synchronize content across multiple IM clients, so that changes made on the iPhone version will appear in real-time on the Windows client.
In a nod towards cloud computing, Cerulean Studios says that all chats are stored on the company's server, which means they won't be lost if you suffer a dropped connection. The app can also be set up to send IM alerts when Trillian is shut down.
Apple has announced that its App Store now holds over 100,000 apps, highlighting the company's dominance over the also-rans. That includes Google's Android Market and its comparatively paltry 10,000 apps, although Android has had less time on the market.
"The App Store, now with over 100,000 applications available, is clearly a major differentiator for millions of iPhone and iPod touch customers around the world," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "The iPhone SDK created the first great platform for mobile applications and our customers are loving all of the amazing apps our developers are creating."
What makes the feat even more impressive is that Apple was able to accumulate all these apps in just 16 months. There's definitely something to be said for being the first major player.
Of course, quality is just as important as quantity, and here too Apple has been making strides to improve its App Store. Features like Genius recommendations, App Store Essentials, and sub-category listings are all efforts to give quality apps their due.
Sonos has expanded the breadth of its multi-room music system offerings with the introduction of the ZonePlayer S5. The S5 works in combination with the Sonos ZoneBridge or ZonePlayer to provide streaming music through your house. New to the Sonos system is an iPhone/iPod Touch app that allows control of each S5, individually or in unison.
The Sonos system is based on a SonosNet wireless system, which uses mesh network technology, where each device or player serves as a repeater. Because the system is standalone initial set-up and expansion is relatively effortless. Set-up and control of the system is through a free iPhone/iPod touch app or with the Sonos Controller application (for Mac or PC), included with the S5.
The $399 S5 contains 5 speakers: two tweeters, two 3-inch mid-ranges, and one 3.5-inch woofer. Each speaker is driven by its own Class D digital amplifier.
The Sonos system allows access to your personal music collection, through your home network; more than 25,000 internet radio stations, and online music services; such as Napster, Pandora, Rhapsody and SIRIUS.