EFF Publishes Full Apple iPhone Developer Agreement, Blasts Apple Over Key Points

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Date: Wednesday, March 10th, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPhone, News

Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation both posted a recent version of Apple’s confidential license agreement to which all iPhone, iPad and iPod touch developers must agree as well as took a critical stance against the document.

Per AppleInsider, the foundation came to the conclusion that by controlling the App Store and preventing rival competition by blocking competing options, Apple’s “future of computing” is headed towards an era that could stifle innovation. It suggested the Cupertino, Calif., company’s actions have been that of a “jealous and arbitrary feudal lord.”

“Overall, the Agreement is a very one-sided contract, favoring Apple at every turn,” the EFF wrote. “That’s not unusual where end-user license agreements are concerned (and not all the terms may ultimately be enforceable), but it’s a bit of a surprise as applied to the more than 100,000 developers for the iPhone, including many large public companies.

“How can Apple get away with it? Because it is the sole gateway to the more than 40 million iPhones that have been sold. In other words, it’s only because Apple still “owns” the customer, long after each iPhone (and soon, iPad) is sold, that it is able to push these contractual terms on the entire universe of software developers for the platform.”

The EFF noted that public copies of the license agreement are “scarce,” in part because the agreement itself prohibits its release. The foundation managed to obtain a copy by making a request to NASA under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, and presented what it felt were “a few troubling highlights.” They include:

- Developers, including government agencies such as NASA, cannot make public statements about the iPhone OS developer agreement.

- Applications created through the development kit can be sold on the App Store only.

- The iPhone OS cannot be reverse engineered, and the foundation asserts this even applies to methods that courts have recognized as fair use.
- Apple can remove an application at any time. In 2008, a researcher discovered a “kill switch” in the iPhone software that would allow the company to remotely deactivate an application.

- No matter what, Apple is never liable to a developer for more than $50 in damages. “That’s pretty remarkable,” the foundation said, “considering that Apple holds a developer’s reputational and commercial value in its hands — it’s not as though the developer can reach its existing customers anywhere else.”

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available and if you have something to offer on this, please let us know.

Apple Releases iPhone OS 3.2 SDK Kit Beta 4 for iPad

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Date: Wednesday, March 10th, 2010, 05:40
Category: iPad, News

Yesterday, Apple released beta 4 of its iPhone OS 3.2 Software Development Kit for iPad development. Per iPhone Alley, the new beta includes several fixes for the SDK, including a fix for Safari’s bookmark feature within the simulator. Additionally, it seems that Apple has removed the “Camera” tab from the Photos app within the iPad simulator. The tab led many to believe that the iPad may ship with a camera, however Apple clarifies by saying in the release notes, “The Camera tab represents photos available via the Camera Connection Kit for iPad, and is not relevant for the Simulator. The Camera tab will disappear after a few seconds.”

Apple is slated to release the iPad on April 3rd of this year.

Jobs Confirms That iPad Won’t Offer Tethering Functionality

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Date: Monday, March 8th, 2010, 06:55
Category: iPad, News

You’ve got to love Steve Jobs for one reason alone: he gets to the point.

Per 9 to 5 Mac, Apple CEO Steve Jobs answered a customer question on Friday, his reply making it quite clear that the iPad will not support tethering to the iPhone.

A Swedish Mac user emailed Jobs directly to ask whether or not he could tether a Wi-Fi only iPad to his iPhone to provide an Internet connection. Jobs simply replied, “No.”

On some jailbroken iPhones it is possible to create a Wi-Fi network, allowing other devices to connect and use the 3G data plan. This option isn’t available unless the phone is jailbroken.

Tethering is something that AT&T users have long desired that the company has never delivered on. A possible reason is that AT&T is worried about tethering bringing its network down. The company’s network has been brought down in major cities around the U.S. before, so this may be a likely concern.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Best Buy Posts, Removes Intel Core i7 Logo From MacBook Pro Page

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Date: Monday, March 8th, 2010, 06:49
Category: MacBook Pro, News

This could be a mistake, but it is interesting fodder for the rumor mill.

According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, a recently published Best Buy web site displayed a MacBook Pro page with an Intel Core i7 chip logo.

The site has since been updated and the logo removed, though such a notebook is highly anticipated by many users.

Rivals such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell are now offering laptops in various product lines with the Core i5 and i7 processors. These Dell Studio laptops, for example, all sport Core i7 processors. Dell Alienware mobile systems come with both 45-nanometer quad-core Core i7 processors and the newest dual-core 32-nanometer i7-620M chip.

Apple Denies iPhone App Which Measures Radiation Exposure, Cites Interface Issues

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Date: Monday, March 8th, 2010, 05:57
Category: iPhone, News

As cool as the App Store can be, sometimes it’s the rejected applications that prove the most interesting.

Last week, the TechCrunch reported that Apple rejected an application that promises to measure and minimize a user’s exposure to cell phone radiation.

The application, which had been developed by Israeli company Tawkon, had spent 18 months in development with the firm looking to sell it for between US$5 and US$10.

“Our message is moderate, we don’t claim to try to stop users from using their phones,” said Tawkon co-founder Gil Friedlander. “We just say to do so responsibly.”

In rejecting the application, Friedlander was told by Apple the information about radiation levels provided by the application may be confusing for users despite an excellent interface. “They are very clear about the fact that they make content decisions about what they want to post or not.” An Apple spokesman reportedly declined to comment about the issue.

According to the company, Tawkon’s RRI patent pending technology alerts the user when radiation levels cross a predefined threshold and provides simple, non-intrusive suggestions to reduce exposure to radiation. The application leverages various smart-phones capabilities including the built-in Bluetooth, motion and proximity sensors, GPS and compass to determine the results.

The technology collects and analyzes your phone’s dynamic SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) levels, network coverage, location, environmental conditions and phone usage at any given moment to help determine those results.

Apple to Release Wi-Fi iPad on April 3rd, 3G-Capable Models to Arrive in Late April

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 08:46
Category: iPad, News

Apple finally announced that it will release the Wi-Fi version of its long-awaited iPad on Saturday, April 3rd (full press release available here) in the U.S. with 3G-capable units arriving in late April. All models of the device will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK come late April.

Users will be able to pre-order both the Wi-Fi and the 3G-capable units from Apple’s online store come March 12th or reserve a Wi-Fi model to pick up on Saturday, April 3, at an Apple retail store.

Prices are slotted at US$499 for the 16GB unit, US$599 for the 32GB unit US$699 for 64GB unit. The Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available in late April for a suggested retail price of US$629 for 16GB, US$729 for 32GB and US$829 for 64GB.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know if you plan to snag an iPad at launch or wait a bit…

New Potato Introduces FLPR Universal Remote Dongle for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 05:45
Category: Accessory, iPhone, News

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With the right software, your iPhone can do just about anything.

On Thursday, accessory developer New Potato Technologies released the FLPR, a hardware dongle for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows the handset to function as a universal remote control capable of controlling a variety of device such as televisions, cable and satellite boxes, stereo systems, lights, ceiling fans and almost anything that requires an infrared remote control.

Per iPhone Alley, the dongle corresponds with the free FLPR app from the App Store. Once the FLPR application has been launched, users can navigate through a device’s type, brand and name before tapping “use it” to search through the remote control codes in the 14,000+ item database, which includes all major electronic brands.

The FLPR has a range of about 30 feet, is available from the New Potato Technologies web site and will appear in-store nationwide at Best Buy starting March 28th, 2010 for US$79.99.

The FLPR app requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run.

Apple Dramatically Lowers Pricing for Mac OS X Developer Program

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 05:19
Category: News

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Following a brief outage on Thursday, Apple’s developer site came back online offering a restructured developer program for the Mac modeled after the US$99/year iPhone development program according to MacRumors:

“Modeled after the highly successful iPhone Developer Program, we’ve relaunched the Mac Developer Program to offer members technical resources, support, access to pre-release software, developer forums and more, all for just $99 per year. As our developer base continues to grow in leaps and bounds, we’re working hard to ensure we provide our developers with everything they need to create innovative applications for both the iPhone OS and Mac OS X.”

Apple had previously offered assorted tiers at much higher prices (Select and Premier for US$499 and US$3,499 a year, respectively), but also offered hardware discounts and assorted membership perks. The company may be looking to tempt the large number of iPhone developers to easily jump to Mac development. Existing ADC members accounts will continue as is until they expire, at which time members can then join the new $99/year program. Prospective Mac developers can still download the Xcode tools for free, but without access to the pre-release software and technical support.

Wall Street Journal Developing iPad Content, Keeping Prototype Under Lock and Key

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Date: Thursday, March 4th, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPad, News

Apple’s legendary secrecy around its products continues as Rupert Murdoch revealed that the Wall Street Journal, in developing its iPad edition, has a pre-release model that is checked in on nightly by Apple.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch confirmed during a speech in New York on Tuesday that his News Corp. publication will be offered on Apple’s forthcoming iPad. According to a report in the Journal, the executive also gave insight into Apple’s secretive practices as the paper has had access to a pre-release iPad.

“In fact, we’ve been allowed to work on one, and it’s under padlock and key. The key is turned by Apple every night,” Murdoch was quoted as saying. “But we will be on that with The Wall Street Journal.”

The Journal and Apple had an iPad-related altercation last month when editor Alan Murray posted to Twitter from the device when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs visited the paper to pitch its e-reader capabilities. That incident reportedly upset Jobs, who was said to be “furious” and allegedly had the editor delete the post. In a subsequent e-mail, Murray would not confirm the incident, but merely said that “Apple’s general paranoia about news coverage is truly extraordinary.”

The Journal stands as one of the high-profile publications developing content for the iPad and last week, the Associated Press revealed that it is also creating an app for the iPad centered around a subscription model.

How much to charge for content on the iPad and other devices remains a point of contention. While reports have suggested that Times executives cannot agree whether to charge $10 per month or closer to $30 per month, the Journal began charging users of its iPhone application late last year. Murdoch has previously said that News Corp. intends to charge for all of its online news sites, noting that “quality journalism is not cheap.”

Murdoch added that he believes the iPad is just the first in a number of devices that many will use to read newspapers on a daily basis. He reportedly said there will be a “half dozen or more” introduced in the next year.

As always, feel free to hurl your two cents in…

AT&T CEO Confirms Tiered Plan Pricing to Be Inevitable, Company Will Retain 3G Network for Time Being

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Date: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010, 05:25
Category: News

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AT&T executives stated recently that the wireless industry will likely eventually charge bandwidth-heavy users more for their data plans than those customers who use networks more sparingly, but added that the company in no rush to roll out its next-generation technology.

Per MarketWatch, the comments came as part of a broad presentation by AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson to investors attending a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, in which he stated his belief that most early adopters of Apple’s soon-to-ship iPad device will largely rely on WiFi instead of purchasing another 3G wireless plan.

It’s going to be “interesting to see the customer reaction to the iPad,” he said, answering investors’ concerns that yet another popular Apple device could further strain its 3G network in congested major metropolitan cities like New York. “We think it’s going to be a largely WiFi-driven product.”

Stephenson reemphasized AT&T’s commitment to continue strengthening its 3G network by pouring millions into backend technology in regions where customers have experienced the most problems. He added, however, that another safeguard against over-saturation could see the carrier eventually adopt a new metered pricing model that will charge its bandwidth-guzzling customers more than those who make more modest use of its network.

In an update on AppleInsider, AT&T spokesman James Carracher clarified Stephenson’s comments, which were meant to portray where the CEO thinks the wireless industry as a whole is headed and offered the following:

“For the industry, we will progressively move towards more of what I call variable pricing. The heavy consumers will pay different than the lower consumers.”

The remarks could rekindle speculation that tiered iPhone 3G data plans may be on the horizon. Rumors to that end first surfaced in an research report from Kaufman Bros last February but only gained widespread attention when AT&T consumer services chief Ralph de la Vega later seconded the notion during a UBS investment conference in December.

More specifically, he cited statistics as revealing that 40% of AT&T’s network capacity is used by just 3% of smartphone users, adding that it’s inevitable that those high-bandwidth users will be charged for what they use. Following public outcry over the matter, AT&T spent the next week attempting to cool rumors of tiered iPhone data pricing, with de la Vega clarify his comments to suggest the carrier would instead begin offering incentives to users to “reduce or modify their usage.”

In other revelations Tuesday, Stephenson confirmed that the iPhone will remain a staple of AT&T’s business for “quite some time,” but stopped short ruling out the possibility that rival carriers could also begin carrying the device stateside. He also said AT&T is in no hurry to push out its 4G network, which is based on technology referred to as LTE or Long Term Evolution.

Although its LTE network will greatly broaden its wireless pipelines and provide customers with much faster download and upload speeds, the carrier reportedly believes its existing 3G network is ‘sufficient to handle data traffic for the next few years.’

“We’re not in a tremendous hurry on LTE,” he said. Instead, the carrier doesn’t plan to begin rolling out the next-gen technology until 2011, before taking it mainstream in 2012.