Archive for the ‘tech.commentary.apple’ Category

iRig Mic Cast Inroduced at CES

iRig MicIK Multimedia introduced the iRig Mic Cast ultra-compact voice recording microphone at CES this week. The iRig Mic Cast was designed for iDevice slingers that conduct interviews, podcast, and need to capture the occasional voice memo. Connects to your iPod, iPhone touch, or iPad headphone port. A stand is included (pictured) – nice touch – and it even has a mini-jack you can use with headphones to monitor what you’re recording in real-time. Suggested retail price is $39.99 – available later this month. A great little accessory, at the right price-point.


iOS Auto-renewable Subscriptions

AppleMarco Arment’s post The limited world of auto-renewable subscriptions is a good read for any iOS developer thinking about using Apple’s auto-renewable subscription system for anything other than traditional-style  media publishing apps.

Reading between the lines on my rejection call, and seeing it codified more clearly here, it’s obvious that only traditional-style media publishing apps can use auto-renewable subscriptions. They were created solely for the existing newspaper and magazine industry, not web services.


iOS Multitasking Myth

Apple
Frasier Speirs, “Misconceptions About iOS Multitasking“:

There is one iOS “tip” that I keep hearing and it is wrong. Worse, I keep hearing it from supposedly authoritative sources. I have even heard it from the lips of Apple “Geniuses” in stores.

Here is the advice – and remember it is wrong:

All those apps in the multitasking bar on your iOS device are currently active and slowing it down, filling the device’s memory or using up your battery. To maximise performance and battery life, you should kill them all manually.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

 


Store Wars

App Store WarsEnjoyed the Store Wars infographic forged by WebPageFX. Facts that caught my attention incude:

  • An estimated total app store revenue of $15.1 billion in 2011, up from $5.2 billion in 2010
  • The average number of apps used on an iPhone – 48 – 35 on Android
  • Average price of Top 100 paid apps is significantly lower on the iPhone – $2.15 vs. $4.57 on Android

It’s easy to see why Apple, Android, RIM, Amazon, and others are joing the Store Wars. Dig the theme WebPageFX, thanks for putting this together.


iPad 2

iPad 2

The dust has settled on the streets around the Yerba Buena Center, the venue Apple selected to pull the white sheet off the iPad 2 Wednesday. Tim Cook sat in the front row of the audience, as Steve Jobs took the stage to present the all important iPad – responsible for 17% of Apple’s revenue last quarter. The unveiling went as expected, except maybe for Steve showing up, and now a lot of us are anxiously waiting for March 11th to arrive.

Apple streamed the event, and as usual Steve did a great job of walking us through the changes to the iPad. There weren’t any surprise features, and that disappointed some. I for one, think it would have been a mistake for Apple to mess with a product that’s doing as well as the iPad is. Refining the iPad, and adding a few well thought out features, e.g. the cameras and upgraded processor, was a smart move on Apple’s part.

The improvements include:

  • A 1GHz dual-core A5 chip, which will make the iPad 2 nearly twice as fast as the origina iPad
  • 2 cameras, 720p video recording at 30fps from the rear-facing camera
  • 1080p HDMI output
  • The iPad 2 is 33 percent thinner than its predecessor, and a slim 8.8mm
  • Both white and black options, and an improved shell
  • Ships with iOS 4.3 installed, which offers all kinds of cool improvements

A lot has been written about the iPad 2 and Apple’s announcement. Scoble weighed in on the iPad 2 vs. the Motorola Xoom, HP’s TouchPad, and the RIM PlayBook. He even wrote an iPad lovers review of the Motorol Xoom post. The iPad 2, in Scoble’s opinion “wins big time.” Engadget did a nice job with their iPad 2 first hands-on post. And Engadget rounded-up the best selection of Apple’s press pictures and videos, one embedded below.

The rumors and speculation that preceded the unveiling were fun to follow as usual. Devin Coldewey did a great job with his iPad 2 Rumor Roundup post over on CrunchGear – fortunately the high-resolution display didn’t materialize – that would have been tough on developers. Fortunately, iMovie and GarageBand for the iPad did materialize and the iPad thinned out and lost some weight.

I for one am looking forward to getting my iPad 2 next week. I think Apple made some smart improvements, enough to make 2011 another iPad year. A number of good Android tablets are available now, and more are coming this year, but it’s Apple’s software ecosystem that’s the real barrier to entry competitors are going to be banging their heads agains for years to come.


iPhone 5 Part Proof of 4-inch Display?

iPhone 5 Bezel

Is this the bezel for the iPhone 5 digitizer panel?

Is this the bezel for the iPhone 5 digitizer panel? The thinner bezel on all sides matches up with the WSJ’s report that the iPhone 5 will feature an edge-to-edge 4-inch display.

I think it’s likely the iPhone 5 will sport a larger display. Android devices with 4-inch displays, like the new Samsung Galaxy S , will be popular this year and anything less than a 4-inch display will leave iPhone fans and technofiles clamoring for more. Bigger is better for most in the mobile display world, just like it is in the HD TV world. I’m not saying everyone wants an iPad in their pocket, but they do want the biggest, most beautiful mobile display possible. The good news is that an edge-to-edge display will get us to 4-inches without needing to increase the size of the phone, it might even be smaller. Bigger and lighter is going to be something we hear over and over again this year. I know I’m hoping for a 4-inch display.


App Review: Tiny Wings

Tiny Wings, from first time iOS developer Andreas Illiger is receiving rave reviews from top sites like AppAdvice and touchArcade. I caught a glimpse of it on AppAdvice earlier today and made a mental note to take it for a spin with the kids after dinner.

Tiny Wings is cute. You play a plump little bird with wings that are too small to generate the lift you need to fly. Fortunately, you’re a smart little bird and you’ve figured out that you can use the rolling hills in your fantasy world to get a little wind under your wings. You slide down hills, tucking in your wings to increase your speed, and use the opposite upward sloped hills as ramps to launch yourself into the air. Tuck your wings to control where you come back down, ideally on a down slope, and launch yourself off again. You can only fly at night, so move as fast as you can. A perfect launch, and landing, is surprisingly rewarding and consecutive successes will launch you into the clouds. Collect coins, speed boosts, and complete objectives to boost your score multiplier.

Tiny Wings is great because it’s simple and complex at the same time. It’s a one-touch game, so it’s easy for the first time player to get started – touch the screen to tuck your wings. As you move through the game, jumping from island to island, the theme changes and you’re always presented with a different set of increasingly challenging hills. Every tap on the screen makes a big difference so you really need to concentrate, especially if you’re trying to control your decent from way up in the clouds.

For those with an interest in competing openly, OpenFeint is included for online high scores and twenty seven achievements for more replay.

Tiny Wings is beautifully executed and a joy to play. My kids and I loved the look-and-feel, and the audio track is matched to the whimsical artwork beautifully. Highly recommended, and available for the iPhone in iTunes for $0.99.


Layar Player

Layar PlayerGood news for iOS developers that want to add augmented reality features to their Apps – Layar, the company behind the Layar Reality Browser for the iPhone, just released the Layar Player. The Layar Player is a tool designed to make it easy for developers to add augmented reality features into their own Apps.

The Layar Player requires iOS 4.o or higher, and a 3GS iPhone or higher. More good news, Layar is giving the tool away for free and there isn’t a licensing fee.

Layar writes about the new tool over on their blog:

The Layar Player is a free and easy tool allowing you to offer AR experiences directly within your own iPhone App. It is a unique piece of code that can be embedded in your App like a YouTube video on a website.

Whether you have an advanced knowledge of Xcode or you are just beginning to explore the iPhone development environment, with the Layar Player it is easy to add engaging Augmented Reality elements to your App.

More information on Layar Player 1.0 after the jump.


Bubble Ball Bumps Angry Birds From Top Spot

Robert Nay & Mom

Fourteen-year old Robert Nay, left, and his mother Kari Nay are shown in this picture. Robert's game Bubble Ball is the #1 free game in Apple's App store.

Bubble Ball, an iPhone app developed by a 14-year-old, bumped Angry Birds from the top spot on the Top 10 Free Apps downloaded list in the iTunes App Store. The physics stimulating app has taken the globe by storm with over 2 million downloads worldwide. It’s a huge succes in the iPhone App Store, and is also available in the Android Marketplace.

Bubble Ball was developed by Robert Nay, a youngster who apparently has a passion, and a gift for programming. Nay used Ansca Mobile’s Corona software development kit (SDK) to develop Bubble Ball.

“I’m pretty surprised by how well it’s doing,” 14-year old Robert Nay told AllThingsD, via MSNBC, about the app-store topping hit “Bubble Ball”.

Well, it’s doing great Robert! Love the humility and congratulations.


Apple Dropping Home Button?

iPad Home ButtonApple’s support for multi-touch gestures in iOS 4.3 BETA has some speculating that Apple is going to drop the Home button in future versions of the iPad and iPhone. Apparently, Apple employees are already testing devices that don’t have a Home button. BGR broke the story yesterday.

The Home button is fairly useless, it returns you to the Home view, or the multitasking pane. The addition of multi-touch gestures that allow  you to access the Home view and the multitasking pane render it useless and redundant. Personally, I think the Home button makes the device feel a bit PLAYSCHOOL and I’d be happy to see it go. Word is that Steve Jobs didn’t want any physical buttons on the original iPhone, so I’m sure he’s been pressing for this from the beginning.

Are you for or against the Home button?


New Multi-Touch Gestures in iOS 4.3

Engadget does a great job of summarizing the new multi-touch gestures available in iOS 4.3 in this short video. You can use four or five fingers to pinch to the Home Screen; swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar; and swipe left or right between apps.


iPad Orientation Lock Option In iOS 4.3

Good news for those of you that miss having the ability to lock the iPad’s screen orientation using the physical switch on the side of the device. The iOS 4.3 beta includes a new setting that let’s you determine how you want the switch to work – you can select between “Mute” or “Lock Rotation.” “Mute,” the current behavior in iOS 4.2, is selected by default. If you choose “Mute,” “Lock Rotation” will appear in the multitasking tray, if you choose “Lock Rotation,” “Mute” will appear in the multitasking tray. Pretty cool.

iPad Orientation Lock

I’m glad Apple is making the setting available for a couple of reasons. 1) I preferred it when the switch locked screen orientation, so I’ll be taking advantage of this setting. 2) It shows that Apple is willing to backtrack on usability decisions based on feedback from their customers.


iOS WiFi Hotspot

Personal HotspotThinking you might want to switch from the AT&T iPhone to the Verizon iPhone because you want an iPhone that supports the Personal Hotspot feature? Good news for the few of you that aren’t contemplating the switch. Boy Genius Report says they have a source that’s reports this feature will be coming to all iPhones in iOS 4.3. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean AT&T will support the feature. Still, chances are they won’t have much of a choice in the matter.

According to BGR, the OS version will be 8F5148b, the baseband will be 04.08.00, with technical acceptance planned for March.

In the meantime, you can read this guide on how to jailbreak your iPhone to turn it into a personal hotspot. Or, get a phone running the Android OS which has the ability baked into it already.


iOS App: Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis

Mish's Global Economic Trend AnalysisDo you enjoy reading Mish (Mike) Shedlock’s popular financial blog, Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis? “Yes,” you say? Wish you could take it with you into wi-fi or network dead zones? Or, on safari in Africa perhaps? Well, now you can. Concentric Sky recently launched a handy iPhone app that provides users with off-line access to Mish’s insightful, and well regarded, financial and economic analysis. The free app caches posts, and Mish’s fantastic charts, for off-line viewing at the user’s pleasure. Download and search hundreds of posts. It’s a simple app that solves an obvious pain point for fan’s of Mish’s blog.

Disclaimer: I’m the Director of Technology for Concentric Sky and had a hand in developing this app for Mish Shedlock. Still, it’s a slick little app that fan’s of Mish’s blog will really appreciate.


Making the Glif

The Glif folks are about to ship the first round of their cleverly designed and crowdsource-funded tripod mount for the iPhone 4.

Glif is a simple iPhone 4 accessory that can act as a standard tripod mount for your iPhone 4, or as a kickstand to prop your iPhone up at an angle. Great for hands-free FaceTiming, watching videos, making movies, using your iPhone as an alarm clock, and more. I love the simplicity of the design.

I bumped into this short video – a behind the scenes look at the injection molding manufacturing process used to manufacture the Glif.

Making the Glif from Glif on Vimeo.

From there, intrigued by the Glif story, I ended up on the KICKSTARTER website, where you can read more about their campaign to raise funding and watch their crafty campaign video. Their funding goal for the project was 10k, they’ve already raised $137,417. Congratulations Tom and Dan. Side note, loving the whole crowdsourced funding thing.


New App: The Economist for iOS

The EconomistEnjoy reading the latest from The Economist over a latte and a biscotti? Well, there’s an app for that.

On Friday, The Economist launched iPhone and iPad apps. Built by TigerSpike, which also built The Times’ Eureka iPad app, the apps contains all the content from the print magazine, in a UI that’s customized for iPhone and iPad.

Full access to The Economist on iPhone and iPad will be free for current print or online subscribers. If you are not a subscriber you can purchase a digital subscription ($110 a year) from within the app or subscribe online. New editions will be available to the digital apps by 4pm (U.S. East Coast) every Thursday. If you like to try things like this on before you buy, an “Editor’s highlights” selection of content is available for each issue.

The apps are fairly reserved, which is appropriate for The Economist.  There is one feature that sparkles a bit in the apps – audio is provided for all the articles. A button at the top of the interface provides you with easy access to audio versions (read by professionals) of all the articles. So… instead of putting yourself to sleep reading The Economist, you can let the sweet lullabies of  The Economist lull you into a slumber. Kidding.

The interface is clean, and easy to use – you won’t find yourself getting lost in these apps. Pages are flipped through (as opposed to scrolled through) and it’s easy enough to flip your way through a whole issue. Ads are included, but they don’t get in the way of the experience too much. All the illustrations from the print edition are included – unfortunately, you can’t do anything interesting with them – i.e., you can’t zoom in on a photograph.

The Economist is a great publication – one of the few news publications that can boast a growing subscription base – and they’ve produced equally great apps for the iPad and iPhone.

The Economist App Store Link


The Beatles – now available on iTunes – Yawn

Apple Is Such A Tease, And We Took The Bait

The Wall Street Journal was right. Apple’s “big” announcement was that a band which broke up in 1970 was finally allowing its music to be sold in the iTunes store. -via appadvice.com

Glad to have The Beatles available on iTunes, but I was hoping for more. What was I hoping for? A Verizon iPhone. Or, iTunes everywhere.

modulIR iPad Case System

My wife just asked me if I could come up with a way to mount the iPad in the kitchen – she wants to be able to access the Epicurious app while she’s cooking. A quick search turned up the iPad Case system from modulIR. I might just have to bite. I especially like the Universal Swing Arm they’re getting ready to launch. The video below is a good introduction to the system.


Samsung Galaxy Tab

Samsung Galaxy Tab

The SamSung Galaxy Tab, slated for launch in November 2010, has been getting a lot of attention in the press – for good reason – it stacks up nicely feature-for-feature against Apple’s iPad. I’m not going to write a review here, it’s been done over and over again, but I will provide you with a list of the resources I’ve used to research this popular device and the things I like most about it.

Learn more:

What I like most about the Galaxy Tab:

  • Size – the 7″ screen makes the Galaxy Tab more portable than iPad which has a 9.7″ screen
  • Weight – at .82 pounds it weights about 1/2 of what the iPad weighs
  • External memory – adds capacity for an additional 32G
  • HDMI out – can’t do that with an iPad
  • The FF and RF camerera (w/ a flash) is a nice addition

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a Galaxy Tab. The Galaxy Tab may just be the 1st Android powered device I buy. Most of all, I’m glad to see competition in the tablet space heating up.


Verizon iPhone


The WSJ reports that the long, long-rumored Verizon iPhone will be entering mass production by the end of the year.

AT&T Inc. is about to lose its lock on the iPhone.

Apple Inc. is making a version of its iPhone that Verizon Wireless will sell early next year, according to people familiar with the matter, ending an exclusive deal with AT&T and sharpening the competition with Google Inc.-based phones.

I think it’s unlikely a Verizon iPhone will be confirmed by Apple before the end 2010. I’d put my money on confirmation in early 2011 – after Apple wraps-up the 2010 holiday shopping season.


About palmIT

palmIT is authored by Cale Bruckner [LinkedIn], President at Concentric Sky, and former SVP Product Development at Palo Alto Software.

Cale Bruckner

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