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Category Archives: Apple

Apple facing antitrust probe over Flash apps ban

A month after rewriting its iPhone Developer Program License Agreement to mandate that all iPhone and iPod touch applications must be written to run directly on the iPhone platform, effectively banning cross-compiler translation tools like Adobe System…

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Cartoonist wins Pulitzer, sudden respect from Apple

Frustrated because Apple rejected your iPhone application and looking for a surefire approach for earning App Store approval? The answer is simple: Win a Pulitzer Prize. It worked for SFGate.com’s Mark Fiore, who last week became the first online-only…

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Next iPhone discovered… in a Silicon Valley bar?

As the blogosphere continues to debate whether or not photos published by technology website Gizmodo depict Apple’s newest version of its iPhone, The New York Times–citing a source with direct knowledge of Apple’s hardware plans–reports the device is…

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iPhone OS 4.0 rumored to debut in tandem with Apple tablet

Following Apple’s announcement it will unveil its “latest creation”–presumably the computing giant’s much-rumored tablet device–at a Jan. 27 media event, Fox News is reporting Apple will also introduce version 4.0 of its iPhone operating system. According to an email invitation mailed out Monday, Apple will release an unspecified new product during an invitation-only event at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater on Jan. 27–citing a source inside Apple, Fox News states the spotlight will fall on the tablet, iPhone 4.0 and a new suite of iLife 2010 software. “While we won’t see new iPhone hardware just yet, we will see the next-generation software,” the report adds, while noting Apple is infamous for making last-minute changes prior to media events.

The Apple tablet and the role the iPhone OS will play on the device have been the subject of months of speculation. Late last year, Silicon Alley Insider reported some Apple developer partners were asked to prepare new, higher-resolution versions of their applications for a January demonstration: “They’ve told select developers that as long as they build their apps to support full screen resolution–rather than a fixed 320×480–their apps should run just fine,” a source said. In addition, French website Mac4Ever is reporting some developers have already gotten their hands on a new iPhone 4.0 SDK beta including a simulator that promises to simplify adapting iPhone applications to different screen resolutions.

For more on the iPhone 4.0 speculation:
– read this Fox News article

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Apple accelerates the App Store approval process

Nearly two weeks into January, most of us have long since abandoned our New Year’s resolutions, but Apple’s App Store continues its march toward self-betterment. In the wake of a bumpy 2009 that culminated in a handful of developers forsaking the iPhone platform while their applications lingered weeks and even months in approval purgatory, 2010 is off to a much more promising start: Developers are now reporting that the App Store is processing their software submissions at record speeds, indicating that Apple has made dramatic strides in improving how the digital storefront operates.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog reports that iTunes Connect, the portal developers use to submit their iPhone and iPod touch applications, was offline from Dec. 23 to Dec. 28. What happened during that blackout period is anyone’s guess–this is Apple, after all–but whatever Steve Jobs’ elves did to improve the app submission protocol, the results speak for themselves. At least one startup, Atomic Cactus, tells TUAW that its new puzzle game Artilect earned Apple’s stamp of approval in less than 12 hours, while its previous submissions took two to three weeks to run the gauntlet. “Today at 4:00 am I submitted for approval our latest app, which isn’t exactly a ‘fart app’ (it’s a pretty polished puzzle game with OpenFeint),” Atomic Cactus developer Yuri writes. “As of 1:30 pm today, the app is in the App Store.”

In related news, the App Store exceeded the 3 billion download benchmark last week–the latest milestone came less than four months after the store surpassed 2 billion downloads, a moment that itself arrived roughly five months after consumers downloaded the first billion iPhone and iPod touch applications. “Three billion applications downloaded in less than 18 months–this is like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” Jobs said in a self-congratulatory press release. “The revolutionary App Store offers iPhone and iPod touch users an experience unlike anything else available on other mobile devices, and we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon.” It’s posturing, of course, but if the App Store is indeed solving the problems that have caused developers so many headaches in the past, Jobs might be speaking the truth. –Jason

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iPod touch app downloads top iPhone over Xmas

Application downloads via iPod touch devices eclipsed iPhone downloads by 172 percent on Christmas Day 2009, according to data compiled by mobile application analytics provider Flurry. Total iPod Touch download volumes grew by nearly 1,000 percent on Dec. 25 compared to the average of all previous Fridays during the month– Flurry speculates that in addition to new iPod touch 3G models received as gifts, iTunes gift cards also drove downloads across earlier generation iPod touch devices. In addition, iPod touch download volumes topped iPhone downloads by 104 percent on Dec. 26. Cumulative App Store downloads increased by 51 percent in December 2009 compared to November totals, Flurry reports.

In early December, Flurry reported the iPod touch accounts for about 40 percent of all iPhone OS-based devices sold worldwide–moreover, the firm contends that the portable media player may boast even greater long-term strategic value than its smartphone sibling, because it’s building a loyal consumer base among teens and pre-teens representing the next generation of iPhone users. “When today’s young iPod touch users age by five years, they will already have iTunes accounts, saved personal contacts to their iPod touch devices, purchased hundreds of apps and songs, and mastered the iPhone OS user interface,” Flurry notes. “This translates into loyalty and switching costs, allowing Apple to seamlessly ‘graduate’ young users from the iPod touch to the iPhone.” As of June 2009, the iPhone accounted for 57 percent of application user sessions tracked by Flurry–the iPod touch represented 31 percent, and Android devices were responsible for 10 percent. As of late November, total user sessions increased across all three devices, with the iPhone accounting for just 50 percent of sessions on average–the iPod touch’s share of user sessions grew to 35 percent, followed by Android at 14 percent.

For more on the App Store’s December growth spurt:
– read this Flurry blog entry

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Study says iPod touch users slower to upgrade mobile OS

While 94.4 percent of iPhone users have upgraded their smartphones to run on iPhone OS 3.0, only 52.24 percent of iPod touch users have made the switch according to a new study released by online advertising network Chitika. The iPhone OS 3.0 software update, issued in mid-June, is free to iPhone owners, but iPod touch users must pay between $5 and $10, depending on when they purchased their device–iPod touch units shipped within the last six months arrive with iPhone OS 3.0 preinstalled.

“What’s it all mean?” Chitika asks. “Well, despite its hype, iPhone OS 3.0 had very little to offer iPod Touch users. Push notifications? MMS? Tethering? Essentially useless on a device that relies on WiFi for a connection. iPod Touch users are essentially asked to pay for copy/paste, in-app purchases, and the ability to buy a segment of the latest apps from the app store.”

For more on Apple mobile OS usage:
– check out the Chitika website

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Youth movement driving iPod touch app usage

With so much speculation about the future of the iPhone–e.g., if and when Apple will launch the smartphone via Verizon Wireless, or what the next version of the device has in store–it’s easy to overlook the iPod touch. As easy as it is to overlook any product that’s sold close to 25 million units over the last two years, that is. But as mobile application analytics provider Flurry points out, the iPod touch accounts for about 40 percent of all iPhone OS-based devices sold worldwide–moreover, the firm contends that the portable media player may boast even greater long-term strategic value than its smartphone sibling, because it’s building a loyal consumer base among teens and pre-teens representing the next generation of iPhone users. “When today’s young iPod touch users age by five years, they will already have iTunes accounts, saved personal contacts to their iPod touch devices, purchased hundreds of apps and songs, and mastered the iPhone OS user interface,” Flurry notes. “This translates into loyalty and switching costs, allowing Apple to seamlessly ‘graduate’ young users from the iPod touch to the iPhone.”

Six months ago, the iPhone accounted for 57 percent of application user sessions tracked by Flurry–the iPod touch represented 31 percent, and Android devices were responsible for 10 percent. As of late November, total user sessions have increased across all three devices, but the iPhone now accounts for just 50 percent of sessions on average–the iPod touch’s share of user sessions grew to 35 percent, followed by Android at 14 percent. No less significant, Flurry states that social networking and gaming sessions on the iPod touch are outpacing that of iPhone and Android, driven by the youth demographic–the iPod touch represented 40 percent of social networking sessions in June 2009 and 42 percent six months later, while iPhone sessions slipped from 50 percent to 49 percent and Android grew from 7 percent to 8 percent. And while half of mobile game sessions tracked by Flurry in June took place on iPhones, that number is now 46 percent–iPod touch sessions grew from 43 percent to 49 percent over that span, and Android fell from 2 percent to 1 percent.

While younger audiences make up the lion’s share of manga readers in the U.S., in their native Japan the comics attract readers of all ages–and now, those fans are consuming manga on their iPhones. With more than a million iPhone 3G S devices sold in Japan in the three months after the smartphone’s mid-2009 introduction there, Flurry reports that Japanese developers and content providers are increasingly turning their attention to the platform, with manga leading the way–one major Japanese publisher is now releasing more than five new manga titles for the iPhone each day, exploiting the device’s rich graphical presentation as well as mobile content snacking habits perfectly matched to shorter, manga-friendly reading sessions. Keep in mind that last month, Flurry reported that books now represent one out of every five new iPhone and iPod touch applications–and with Apple reportedly poised to introduce a larger tablet form factor that will run on the iPhone operating system, it looks like the App Store is ready to write another chapter in its ongoing evolution. –Jason

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Apple’s Schiller on app approvals: ‘We do a very good job’

Apple’s head of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller defended the much-maligned App Store approval process in a lengthy New York Times feature, maintaining “I think, by and large, we do a very good job there.” According to Schiller, the App Store review protocol is a necessary evil predicated on the concept of “consumer trust”–i.e., iPhone and iPod touch user faith that applications distributed via the App Store will not crash the platform, steal personal data or include illegal content. He adds that most applications pass through the approval maze without difficulty, and submissions that do get caught up are typically slowed by bugs or coding glitches.

“Sometimes we make a judgment call both ways, that people give us feedback on, either rejecting something that perhaps on second consideration shouldn’t be, or accepting something that on second consideration shouldn’t be,” Schiller said. “We care deeply about the feedback, both good and bad. While there are some complaints, they are just a small fraction of what happens in the process.”

Schiller notes that the App Store now receives more than 10,000 application submissions each week. “I absolutely think this is the future of great software development and distribution,” he said. “The idea that anyone, all the way from an individual to a large company, can create software that is innovative and be carried around in a customer’s pocket is just exploding. It’s a breakthrough, and that is the future, and every software developer sees it.”

For more on the App Store:
– read this New York Times article

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