Friday, September 10, 2010

New App Store TOS, Google Voice coming back?

Google has applauded Apple’s relaxation of its mobile advertising policy which previously locked out Google’s AdMob platform from in-app advertising on iOS devices.

Apple’s new terms are set to open up in-app advertising to competitors.

Advertising systems that work across a range of platforms will also be enabled, including IE. iPhone and Android, Google says.

“Today, Apple updated their iPhone Developer Program License Agreement,” Google’s Vice President of Product Management, Omar Hamoui, acknowledges in a blog post.

“Unlike the previous version, these new terms ensure that Apple’s developers have the choice of a variety of advertising solutions (including Google’s and AdMob’s) to earn money and fund their apps,” Hamoui explains.

“Apple’s new terms will keep in-app advertising on the iPhone open to many different mobile ad competitors and enable advertising solutions that operate across a wide range of platforms.”

The Google exec further stresses that, “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.”

According to Google’s VP of Product Management “Mobile advertising has already helped to fund tens of thousands of mobile apps across many different platforms and devices, and it will help do the same for many more in the years ahead.”

Google particularly appreciates Apple’s decision to provide immediate clarification about the status of mobile advertising on its iOS platforms, a move that will undoubtedly benefit users, developers, and advertisers alike.

A breakdown of the benefits for each party is then provided by Google’s Omar Hamoui:

Users will benefit from more free, or low cost, apps that can now more readily be supported by advertising.

Developers will be able to choose from a variety of competitive advertising options and pick the solution that works best for them, to boost their revenues.

Advertisers will have access to simple and effective advertising solutions that can reach users across a wide range of devices.

Hamoui cannot stress enough how pleased Google is to see Apple clarifying its terms, adding that the search giant is 100% committed to developing the best possible advertising solutions and formats for the iPhone.

Hamoui does not forget to mention Android, Blackberry, and Palm devices, as well as hardware that runs Windows mobile. Google anticipates even more platforms to come and make a name for themselves, according to Hamoui.

In related news, an Apple representative reportedly told Sean Kovacs, the developer of third-party Google Voice application GV Mobile, that he was welcome to resubmit the application for review, following Apple’s amendment to the App Store Review Guidelines.

On July 28 2009, two iPhone applications that offered support for Google Voice were silently removed from the Apple App Store. One was Kovacs’, the other was actually Google’s official Voice app.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

iOS 4.1 update

Apple has started rolling out the iOS 4.1 software update for the iPhone and iPod Touch that CEO Steve Jobs announced would arrive this week.

The software includes the Game Center venue for multiplayer games, 99-cent iTunes TV show rentals and HD video uploads to YouTube and MobileMe. It also brings HDR photography to the iPhone (but not iPod Touch), a setting in which multiple exposures are captured into a single, spruced-up image.

And the new software is also required if you hope to make FaceTime video calls between a Touch and an iPhone 4. Indeed, moments after installing iOS 4.1 on my iPhone 4, I successfully made a video connection with a Touch.

To install the new software, connect your Touch, or the iPhone 4, 3GS, or 3G to your computer via USB, click on your device under the Devices list in iTunes and click "Check for Update."

Android vs. Iphone: Not So Easy Call

Google's Android mobile operating system proved a formidable rival to the wildly popular iPhone in a recent real-world test.

Android will overtake the iPhone in sales this year, according to an IDC forecast released Tuesday. IDC predicts that by year's end, Android will have a 16 percent market share worldwide, compared with the iPhone's 15 percent. Symbian will continue to lead with 40 percent, and the BlackBerry platform will hold on to second place with about an 18 percent share, IDC said.

Trying out a Motorola Droid 2 on Verizon Wireless alongside my own AT&T iPhone 3GS over the past few weeks, I found Android a tempting alternative to the iPhone platform, though there were surprises on both sides.

Even leaving aside the improved display and other advances in the latest model, the iPhone is a remarkably easy device to use. It's far more approachable than the Droid 2, which runs the latest Android operating system, Version 2.2. Yet Apple's simpler user interface presents some limitations.

The most obvious additional feature the Droid 2 has is its physical keyboard, which feels well-made, with a nice sandy texture and good-sized keys. Yet it takes some getting used to. Whereas a virtual keyboard like the iPhone's can redraw itself in several modes, the Droid's physical keyboard requires an ALT key to activate numerals and some punctuation marks. Those marks appear in blue on the black keys, and at handheld scale, it can be hard to tell the punctuation marks apart. The phone also has a virtual keyboard, but although it's well-sized in landscape mode, the Droid's narrower screen becomes a liability when it's flipped to portrait mode. Then, the virtual keys become too small to easily use.

The Droid also falls short in its general screen design -- out of the box, at least. The seven panels of the homescreen were cluttered with large, ungainly widgets along with some smaller icons. In a "drawer" that's pulled up by touching an arrow at the bottom of the screen were several dozen more icons. The iPhone's screen, by contrast, has just one level, unless the user adds folders. It also comes with far fewer built-in application icons, and those icons are bigger and more attractive than the ones on the Droid.

However, with a bit of work, the Droid's central homescreen reveals its advantages. The widgets can be removed. And taking a frequently used icon from the drawer to the main screen requires nothing more than pressing it for a few seconds and watching it reappear on the main screen. To send it back, there's a trashcan icon that appears on the main screen when an icon there is pressed for several seconds. On the iPhone, once a user has tapped into the vast App Store and filled up a few extra screens with new icons, getting the most important ones on the main panel requires a whole series of displacements, like a slider puzzle.

The iPhone still has the superior touchscreen in terms of sensitivity and accuracy. On the Droid, it's easier to activate the wrong thing by accident. However, Android 2.2 brought a whole other type of interface for many tasks: voice. Extensions to its Voice Search feature allow users to send an e-mail or text message, go to a Web page, get directions or a map and carry out other functions. These worked fairly well, though the cloud-based speech recognition system wasn't always able to understand a phrase on the first try. But it's not clear how often these tools would be useful. Google gave the example of walking through an airport with no hands free, yet using Voice Search functions requires at least one finger tap and sometimes more. The iPhone's built-in voice search functions are much more limited.

Another tool available for use with Android 2.2, called Chrome to Phone, also is unlike anything in the iPhone, and it might be useful occasionally. With a free app on the phone and a plug-in for Google's Chrome browser, users can send a Web page or a map from a PC-based browser to the phone. There is no tool yet for sending items the other way.

The Droid 2 has something else that can't be found on an iPhone, even though AT&T now allows tethering to one computer. The Motorola handset can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for several devices at once. This worked remarkably well in several tests with one or two devices at close range to the Droid 2, though connection speeds degraded when three devices were connected. Using, a MacBook achieved downstream speeds as high as 1.73M bps (bits per second), with upstream links up to 190K bps. The hotspot capability is available at extra charge from Verizon.

Network performance is one trait for which Verizon is often praised and AT&T frequently criticized, and for the moment at least, Verizon's touted coverage isn't available with an iPhone. In informal testing in San Francisco -- ground zero for AT&T-bashing -- the Droid 2 did experience a better online experience and fewer dropped calls overall. However, this wasn't always the case. Some subway stations with usable AT&T coverage were without any Verizon signal at all. In addition, a drive halfway across California into rural and mountainous areas showed Verizon stronger in some locations and AT&T in others.

The distinctions between the phones go on forever, at all levels of the user experience. Add in what's available from the Android and iTunes app stores, and it gets even more complex. But two final examples of telling details demonstrate how differently a smartphone can be conceived of at this stage in the game, and how much more room there is to refine these devices.

In ringtones, the Droid is heavy with electronic and classic-rock bits, many of which sound outdated even in terms of quality, like old polyphonic ringers. The iPhone's selection won't satisfy anyone who really wants to rock, but its tones are by far the better in quality. However, when it comes to wallpaper, Android has taken a step ahead of the iPhone's colorful, static screens: It offers animated wallpaper. This means the background image on the Droid 2's homescreen can change from blue sky at midday, to dim light at dusk, to darkness and stars at night. It's the kind of stylish, ingenious move that might have been expected of a company like ... Apple.

[via PC World]

Play Poker on you iPhone

If, just for a chance, you decide not to follow every single game of the World Cup, I think I have just found the perfect place for you…..on your Iphone!

Last night, I spent hours on a new poker application on the Iphone and it is great!

I was always a bit cautious about playing poker in casinos or even with friends because I never really knew if I was good at it. I always wondered where all these people were training to become so good. Well, now I found the perfect tool for that my Iphone…

There are several applications worth the try, such as Poker Texas Hold’em, Absolute Poker or Zinga Poker live is excellent. You can play without spending a fortune and you can train as much as you like to become a real pro.

The best thing is that you get lots of advice and tricks and you really can improve very quickly. I did! You can also choose who to play against, real people, your friends or very realistic players.

Check out this website PokerListings, and especially their quick guide to poker on iPhone to get all the info you need and see you soon on the green carpet…

[iPhone news]

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Apple Updates Find My Phone

Apple has released a minor update to its Find My iPhone app for iOS devices, adding support for the new fourth-generation iPod touch and translation fixes for French, German and Japanese languages. Find My iPhone is a free app that allows MobileMe subscribers to access the Find My iPhone service directly from an iOS device. Users can log in to their own MobileMe account and locate, play a message, or remotely lock or wipe any devices that are registered with their MobileMe account. Find My iPhone is available from the App Store as a free download. A MobileMe subscription is required.

Via iLounge

Apple iPhone 5 is Not a Reality, But Who Will Convince the Fanatics!

With the Apple iPhone 4 just being a couple of months old (not from the time it was found lying on a dance floor), it is hard to believe that the fanatics have already started talking about the next generation of iPhones. Not just talking, they are readying their own designs (as though to please Cupertino), giving flight to the fancy, to say the least. One of the fanatics has created a design which is much slimmer than even the recently revealed iPod Touch, forget comparing the sizes with the iPhone 4.
His design is to unrealistic to be true at this point in time, however, there is every chance that Cupertino will end up selling a slim iPhone some time in the future and when it happens, that iPhone variant will be the most rocking edition of an iPhone ever.
Another one of the designers has a cartoon-edition of his iPhone 5 ready and he believes that the iPhone 5 will differ from the others with a discreet set of applications which we’ve never come across before. Applications like ‘Attracting UFOs’ and ‘enabling exfoliation and time travel’ are the ones on his list.
Let us just wait for the current generation Apple iPhone to get rid of its problems and probably then, we will like to give the iPhone 5 a more realistic touch. For now, we just intend to enjoy the creativity of these fanatics.
Source: TFTS

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"iCulture" Gives Apple a Tactical Advantage

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled an updated line of iPods this week, including the updated iPod Touch 4 which is essentially an iPhone 4 without the phone function. The range of gadgets available from Apple offer a degree of consistency that gives it a tactical advantage over competing smartphones and tablets.

The iPod is a sort of "gateway" gadget that gets younger users hooked into the Apple culture. Entry-level iPods like the iPod Shuffle and the iPod Nano have a dominant presence in the portable music player market, and begin the process of building comfort and familiarity with iTunes.

Eventually, many users transition from base model iPods to an iPod Touch. At that point, the relationship with iTunes evolves beyond music to include apps and games. Users get indoctrinated into the iOS user interface and conventions, and begin investing in a library of apps that expands the functionality of the device and makes the iPod Touch uniquely personal.

As the young iPod Touch user matures and the time comes to move on to the world of smartphones, the iPhone is the natural choice. There are a wide variety of very capable--and in some ways superior--smartphone options available, but choosing Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 or some other platform would require abandoning the familiar iOS interface and throwing away the cumulative investment in apps.

The same logic holds true with tablets. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is only the first of an expanding array of iPad competitors that will be hitting the market. Tablets built on Android, WebOS, the full Windows desktop OS, and hopefully the Windows Phone 7 mobile OS will all be available soon. But, a user with an extended relationship and indoctrination into the Apple culture is likely to stick with what they know, and preserve the accumulated library of apps by keeping it simple and embracing the Apple iPad.

Other platforms recognize this tactical advantage and are making efforts to establish a similar addictive indoctrination. Microsoft has had marginal success parlaying user comfort with the Windows desktop operating system into Windows Mobile users, and in trying to establish the Zune as a gateway gadget similar to the iPod--especially with the new Windows Phone 7 devices which are built on a familiar Zune-like interface.

Android is the most successful Apple competitor in terms of developing an extensive library and culture of apps. The iPhone may outsell any individual Android smartphone, but there are many Android smartphones and the sheer volume has enabled Android to gain ground on iOS as a mobile platform.

Just as users comfortable with the iOS interface and invested in iPhone apps are likely to adopt the Apple iPad, users that are familiar with the Android OS and have built a library of Android apps are more likely to select an Android-based tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

The genius of Apple's iCulture strategy is that the relationship with iOS and the investment in an extensive library of iOS apps is a much stronger bond than the two-year wireless contract. Aside from the early termination fee, there is no reason most users won't switch wireless providers given a better deal, but switching platforms requires a culture shift that many are unwilling to embark on.

The recipe for success is hook 'em young and keep feeding the addiction.

[via PC World]

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Twitter for iPhone adds iPad Support

Twitter released Twitter 3.1 on Thursday finally adding an iPad-native interface to the social networking client app.
Version 3.1 adds some new features beyond a native iPad interface such as quick access to account information for other Twitter users, single tap support for opening links in tweets, and a feature that shows other Twitter users that the app deems to share similar profile traits.
Twitter 3.1 is free for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and is available at Apple’s iTunes-based App Store.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Apple's iOS 4.1 ships for iPhone next week, will add HDR photos

Apple announced Wednesday that iOS 4.1 will add a new feature, allowing users to take high dynamic range photographs that produce stunning pictures, and will ship next week for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs showed off the HDR photo capability at Wednesday's keynote in San Francisco, Calif.

He revealed that the new feature will take three rapid photos -- one regular, one underexposed and one overexposed. When the pictures are combined, it creates an HDR photo.

"It's pretty amazing," Jobs said. When taking an HDR photo, both it and the normal photograph will show up in the user's Photos application, so they can compare the two and choose which one they prefer.

Also Wednesday, Apple highlighted GameCenter, showing how easy the application will make it for users to join a friend's game. One title running Epic Games' latest Unreal Engine was demonstrated -- Project Sword -- with a fully interactive 3D environment.

"That's on a phone," Jobs quipped after the title was shown off. "That's pretty remarkable.

The update will also address Bluetooth and proximity sensor issues that currently exist with the iPhone 4.

"All the bugs that we get mails on," Jobs said. "We think we've nailed a lot of them, and we think you're going to be pretty happy with it."

[via Apple Insider]