Apple finally accepts official Google Voice app for App Store

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Date: Wednesday, November 17th, 2010, 05:57
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apple finally accepted the official Google Voice application into the App Store on Tuesday, bringing to the iPhone an application that was previously rejected and resulted in an inquiry from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Per the Google Voice Blog, the Google Voice App is a free download available in the App Store, and works for any users of the Google Voice telephony service. Features of the application advertised by Google include:

- Cheap rates for international calls

- Free text messaging to U.S. numbers

- Voicemail transcription

- Display your Google Voice number as caller ID when making calls

The software also offers a number of features that can only be accomplished with a native iPhone application. Previously, Google had offered a mobile Voice service through a website.

The native app will alert users when they receive a new voicemail or text message with push notifications. In addition, most calls will be placed via Direct Access Numbers, making them connect just as quickly as regular phone calls.

Google Voice for iPhone requires iOS 3.1 or later and a valid Google Voice account to use the App. It is currently available in the U.S. only.

Reports that Apple would change its stance on the Google Voice application first surfaced in September, after Apple revised and published its own App Store Review Guidelines. Applications that accessed the Google Voice service were pulled in 2009, after Google submitted its own official application.

Apple refused to accept the official Google Voice app into the App Store, which prompted an investigation from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Apple told the FCC that it was reviewing the software, but contended it did not outright reject it.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple previews Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” at media event

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Date: Thursday, October 21st, 2010, 01:53
Category: News, Software

In the midst of Apple’s product announcements yesterday, the company previewed its next-generation operating system, Mac OS X 10.7, dubbed “Lion”.

Per AppleInsider, the update will bring iOS features to the Mac platform, including multi-touch gestures, the App Store and Home screens, and will arrive in the summer of 2011.


Features of Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” highlighted by Jobs Wednesday include:
- Multi-touch gestures

- App Store

- App Home screens

- Full screen apps

- Auto save

- Apps resume when launched

The preview highlighted just a few of Lion’s features, including the Mac App Store, a new way to discover, install and automatically update desktop apps; Launchpad, a new home for all of your Mac apps; system-wide support for full screen apps; and Mission Control, which unifies Exposé, Dashboard, Spaces and full screen apps into an innovative new view of everything running on your Mac, and allows you to instantly navigate anywhere.

“Lion brings many of the best ideas from iPad back to the Mac, plus some fresh new ones like Mission Control that Mac users will really like,” Jobs said in a press release. “Lion has a ton of new features, and we hope the few we had time to preview today will give users a good idea of where we are headed.”

Multi-Touch:
Jobs said that touchscreens don’t work when in front of a user, which is why devices like the iPhone and iPad are successful. Given that, Jobs said Macs will stick with products like the trackpad and Magic Mouse for input.

“This is how we’re going to use multi-touch on our Mac products,” he said.

Mac App Store:
Lion will bring the Mac App Store, which, like on iOS, will include one-click downloads, free and paid downloads, and revenue sharing with developers. The Mac App Store will also include automatic updates, and software will be licensed for use on all personal Macs.

Apple said the Mac App Store brings the App Store experience to OS X, making discovering, installing and updating Mac apps easier than ever. Like on iPad, you purchase apps using your iTunes account and they download and install in just one step. App updates are delivered directly through the Mac App Store, so it’s easy to keep all of your apps up to date. The Mac App Store will be available for Snow Leopard within 90 days and will be included in Lion when it ships next summer.

A demo showing off the Mac App Store showed off the ability to purchase and install Pages with just one click. Applications can also be added to the Launch Pad, which can be selected from the Mac OS X Dock and brings an iPad-style grid of icons and pages onto the screen as an overlay.

Mission Control:
Jobs also announced a new feature, Mission Control, which allows users to view anything running on a Mac and instantly navigate to anywhere. He said this will combine existing features, like Expose, with new ones like full screen.

Apple said that Mission Control presents you with a unified view of every app and window running on your Mac, so you can instantly navigate anywhere. Mission Control also incorporates the next generation of Exposé, presenting all the windows running on your Mac grouped by application, alongside thumbnails of full screen apps, Dashboard and other Spaces.

Mission Control clusters alike apps, making them easy to select when in Mission Control.

LaunchPad:
Similar to the Home screen on iPad, you can see all the apps on your Mac elegantly displayed just by clicking the Launchpad icon in the dock. Apps can be organized in any order or grouped into folders, and you can swipe through multiple pages of apps to find the one you want.

Lion includes system-wide support for full screen applications. With Lion, you can enter full screen mode with just one click, switch from one full screen app to another with just a swipe of the trackpad, and swipe back to the desktop to access your multi-window applications.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple patent shows efforts towards expanded cloud-based syncing

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Date: Friday, October 1st, 2010, 02:40
Category: News, Patents

applelogo_silver

A new Apple patent published this week, entitled “Configurable Offline Data Store”, shows that future mobile devices from Apple could sync and save large amounts of data over the Internet, allowing future access to information when an Internet connection is no longer available and removing the need to tether to a PC.

The invention, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on June 14th, 2010, would synchronize data for offline use when an Internet connection is not available.

Per AppleInsider, the patent describes a system that would allow users to access content from a remote computer or server, but also save that information locally for use when an Internet connection is not available. The application also notes that users may want to disable their Internet because constant syncing and updating may result in poor performance.

It describes individual applications that would be able to access this cloud-stored data, dubbed “savvy applications.” These are distinguished from “non-savvy applications,” which would not have access to the remote data.

The smart syncing system would predetermine which data might be “reasonably requested” when the two machines are reconnected, having it queued an ready to go immediately. The system would also allow for other “requested records,” which would occur when changes are made to lesser-used files.

Current mobile devices from Apple like the iPhone have a number of options for users to sync basic data, such as iPhone contacts, with Internet-based services. But the company is also said to be interested in offering a cloud-based streaming service for purchased iTunes content, like music and movies.

The technology described within the patent application would allow such data to be stored locally, and synced from anywhere with an Internet connection, rather than on a local network or via a USB cable.

Such a feature could also be used with Apple’s App Store, where software downloads greater than 20MB in size are not allowed over cellular data networks. When on a 3G network, the client-side machine (an iPhone or iPad) could save an intended download for later, when it can be obtained over a Wi-Fi network.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Official Google Voice app approved, should arrive in App Store in a few weeks

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Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010, 04:34
Category: iPhone, News, Software

The official Google Voice application for iPhone has finally been granted acceptance into the App Store by Apple.

Per TechCrunch, a source stated that the application will be released in the next few weeks. Apple reportedly accepted the application submitted in mid-2009, though Google plans to update it to support the iPhone 4 and multitasking capabilities in iOS 4.

Last week, applications that access the Google Voice service began appearing in the App Store, after being banished for more than a year. The first two that became available were GV Mobile + and GV Connect.

The opportunity for Google Voice applications to return to the App Store came after Apple revised and published its own App Store Review Guidelines, giving developers an idea of what kind of software will or will not be allowed for iOS devices.

Google Voice applications were previously available in the App Store, but were pulled in July of 2009 after Google submitted its official application. Apple refused to accept the official Google Voice app into the App Store, which prompted an investigation from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

In a letter to the FCC, Apple claimed it was reviewing the Google Voice application, but had not outright rejected it. Google, on the other hand, said the software was rejected. Over a year passed, however, with no word on its official acceptance or rejection.

Instead, Google opted to release a Web-based application for Google Voice, which allows users to access the service from the Mobile Safari browser on the iPhone. Unlike the App Store, where Apple controls what content is available, basic Web content is not filtered or restricted.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple digital newsstand app in planning phases, talks being held with content providers

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Date: Monday, September 20th, 2010, 04:43
Category: iPad, Rumor

While it’s hard to say if Apple can help save the overall publishing industry, it appears to be doing its part to try. Per Bloomberg, the company is rumored to be creating a new digital storefront for newspapers and magazines that, like iBooks does for print books, will serve as a standalone iPad app for purchasing repurposed print content.

The new store has been described as standing apart from the established App Store and iBooks applications. The product is said to be in the early planning stages, as negotiations with major content providers are reportedly ongoing.

“Apple’s effort is aimed at luring more consumers to the iPad and helping publishers sell subscriptions, rather than single issues,” the report said. “The main hang-ups between Apple and publishers including Time Warner Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst Corp. and News Corp. are who controls data about users and how to split subscription revenue, the people said. Pricing for subscriptions also hasn’t been worked out.”

People involved in the discussions reportedly said the digital newsstand could open as soon as in a few months, or the talks could fall apart altogether. It was also suggested that Apple could wait until it launches its next-generation iPad in early 2011 before unveiling the new store.

The plans are said to be part of Apple’s ongoing talks with print publishers who want to offer subscription plans for customers to access content from the iPad. This week, it was reported that Apple has agreed to allow an opt-in function which would let subscribers share their personal information with publications. The print business relies on demographic information to share data with advertisers.

The new application will reportedly “make it easier and cheaper to create digital versions of magazines and newspapers, with extras such as high-resolution videos integrated with stories.” The storefront will aim to simplify the process, in order to attract publishers.

Before the iPad was released earlier this year, publishers and Apple were said to have struggled to reach a deal, as Apple was reluctant to share consumer data beyond sales volume. But advertisers and publishers consider demographic data to be the “most valuable asset.”

Two Google Voice apps receive Apple approval, Google Voice may be forthcoming

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Date: Monday, September 20th, 2010, 04:10
Category: News, Software

In a change on previous decision, two Google Voice applications were accepted into the App Store on Sunday: GV Mobile + and GV Connect. Per AppleInsider, their acceptance marks the first time that Apple has allowed such software since it removed Google Voice apps in July of 2009.

Earlier this month, Sean Kovacs, the developer of GV Mobile +, indicated he had spoken with Apple, and representatives with the company indicated they would approve his software. The change in policy came after Apple published its App Store Review Guidelines for all to see.

Still missing in action, however, is Google’s own official Google Voice application. The “non-rejection” of that application in 2009 caused a controversy and even led to an inquiry from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

In a letter to the FCC, Apple claimed that it was reviewing the official Google Voice application. The company said it had not outright rejected the software, but was instead considering it. Over a year passed with no official acceptance or rejection.

Google, on the other hand, said in its own letter to the FCC that Apple had outright “rejected” the Google Voice application from the App Store.

The approval of the two apps would suggest that the search giant could once again submit its Google Voice application, and have it accepted into the App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple crafting newspaper subscription plan for iPad

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Date: Thursday, September 16th, 2010, 04:26
Category: iPad, Rumor

It’s hard to say whether the iPad will save the newspaper industry, but it looks like Apple might try.

Per the San Jose Mercury News, Apple will soon announce a newspaper subscription plan for the iPad, introducing a revenue sharing model similar to the one that has been employed for applications sold on the App Store, according to a new rumor.

Per sources close to the story, Apple has agreed to implement an opt-in function to allow subscribers to share their personal information with publications. Print publications rely on that information to share demographic data with advertisers.

Earlier this year, before the iPad was even released, publishers and Apple apparently struggled to reach a deal, as Apple was reluctant to share consumer data beyond sales volume. Advertisers and publishers, on the other hand, consider demographic data to be the “most valuable asset.”

Author John Boudreau spoke with Roger Fidler, head of digital publishing at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute in Columbia, Mo., who said that the anticipated plan will likely resemble the current App Store model, which would give Apple a 30% cut of all subscriptions sold through the digital download service. In addition, Apple could take as much as 40% of the advertising revenue from those applications.

Fidler also indicated that publishers are not pleased with the deal, as they would rather pay Apple a fee than a cut of their subscription and advertising revenue.

“They had hoped to offer app editions as part of subscription bundles that include print versions of the paper,” the report said. “Instead, they must use Apple as an intermediary with subscribers.”

Publishers have struggled with Apple in bringing their content to the iPad. At first, Apple did not allow subscriptions to magazines through the App Store. This impasse was broken in August, when People magazine became the first publication to offer subscribers free access to its iPad application.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Voice-enabled apps to go through resubmission process for App Store approval

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Date: Friday, September 10th, 2010, 03:38
Category: News, Software

In spite of software companies nipping at each other’s heels, there tends to be second chances.

Google has received confirmation from Apple that its voice-enabled app will “most likely” be re-approved for the App Store.

Per AppleInsider, Sean Kovacs, the developer behind the GV Mobile app, posted the news on Twitter Thursday. The resubmission process may take as long as a week, said Kovacs.

Apple announced Thursday that it had was making “important changes” to its iOS Developer Program license. In response to criticism about the openness and lack of transparency of the App Store, Apple also released the company’s App Store Review Guidelines.

Kovacs posted a Twitter message Thursday speculating that GV Mobile complied with the changes to the license. “Since GV Mobile complies with all 110+ guidelines newly posted by Apple, it should get approved?”

Several hours later, Kovacs received “confirmation back from Apple that it will most likely get back in” once he resubmits the app.

In July of last year, Apple removed third-party Google Voice-enabled apps, including GV Mobile, from the App Store. Kovacs was later contacted by an Apple representative, but was given few details about the takedown. He responded by moving the app to Cydia, an alternative app store for jailbroken devices.

The app removals by Apple prompted an investigation by the FCC. A ‘he said, she said’ debate ensued, with Google claiming that Apple had rejected its Google Voice app, and Apple claiming that the app was still “under review.”

In a filing with the FCC, Apple said it had not consulted with AT&T in reviewing the Google Voice app. Apple took issue with Google Voice because it “replaced the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail” and uploaded the user’s contacts to Google servers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple opens iOS development to third-party tools, introduces Review Board

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Date: Thursday, September 9th, 2010, 06:30
Category: News

Apple on Thursday announced that the company would no longer ban intermediary development tools for iOS as long as App Store software does not download any code, potentially paving the way for third-party software to convert applications from other formats like Adobe Flash.

Per Macworld, the company revealed that it had made “important changes” to sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 of its iOS Developer Program license, relaxing some of the restrictions that were put in place earlier this year. The company has also published the approval guidelines for its tightly controlled App Store, in which all software must be reviewed before it is released.

The changes come just weeks after evidence surfaced that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission was looking into a complaint from Adobe over Apple’s banning of Flash from iOS devices. The FTC denied a public records request related to the case, stating that the release of such documents could interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Earlier this year, Apple updated its iOS 4 SDK to ban intermediary tools that would allow the porting of applications from Adobe’s Flash, Sun’s Java, or Microsoft’s Silverlight/Mono.

The change was made after Adobe announced that its Creative Suite 5 would include an application that would allow developers to port their applications to the iPhone from Flash. Adobe eventually abandoned further development of the application following Apple’s announcement. That was also when the company filed a complaint with the FTC.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs publicly commented on the matter in an open letter published in late April, in which he slammed Adobe Flash as a Web tool that is unfit for the modern, mobile era of computing. He also said that an intermediary tool for converting Flash applications to the iPhone would produce “sub-standard apps,” and would hinder the progress of the platform.

At the time, Jobs said he knew from “painful experience” that allowing developers to become dependent on a third-party tool, such as Adobe Flash, rather than writing natively for the iPhone is restrictive. “We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers,” Jobs wrote.

As for the publication of App Store approval guidelines, Apple has repeatedly come under fire for not being open enough with developers. Some who write for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch have complained that it is unclear what software is acceptable.

The most high-profile App Store review incident came in 2009, when Apple refused to approve the Google Voice application, a telephony service from the search giant. The matter was investigated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, and Apple at the time denied that it had rejected the Google Voice app, but said it was continuing to “study it.”

The full statement from Thursday is included in its entirety:

“The App Store has revolutionized the way mobile applications are developed and distributed. With over 250,000 apps and 6.5 billion downloads, the App Store has become the world’s largest mobile application platform and App Store developers have earned over one billion dollars from the sales of their apps.

We are continually trying to make the App Store even better. We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year.

In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.

In addition, for the first time we are publishing the App Store Review Guidelines to help developers understand how we review submitted apps. We hope it will make us more transparent and help our developers create even more successful apps for the App Store.

The App Store is perhaps the most important milestone in the history of mobile software. Working together with our developers, we will continue to surprise and delight our users with innovative mobile apps.”

Finally, Apple also revealed the formation of an App Review Board, with the goal of giving developers “the opportunity to appeal the rejection of an application if [they] believe that the functionality or technical implementation was misunderstood.”

This new board should help address the accusations often made about the arbitrariness of the app approval process by providing developers with a way to formally ask Apple to review a rejection, based on criteria that may not have been anticipated by the approval guidelines; that’s often been the source of embarrassment for the company.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Analyst divulges details as to upcoming Apple TV successor

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Date: Thursday, August 26th, 2010, 04:35
Category: Apple TV, News, Rumor

Like the iPhone 4 and iPad, the new Apple TV will run the iOS operating system and be powered by a processor with ARM architecture, and will also have access to the App Store, according to one prominent analyst.

Per AppleInsider, Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros. issued a note to investors Wednesday in which he revealed that sources indicated the “biggest potential change” to the forthcoming Apple TV refresh is the move to an ARM architecture processor running the same iOS software that powers the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The current Apple TV hardware relies on an Intel x86-based chip, running a “light” version of Mac OS X and its Front Row software.

Wu also said that the new Apple TV, which some have said will be called the “iTV”, will have access to the App Store, Apple’s digital software download storefront. Like the iPad, the new Apple TV could have access to the iPhone App Store, which offers about a quarter-million options for users, though such functionality is apparently not guaranteed.

“Our sources indicate there is some debate within Apple whether to allow this or not, or to have it run only Apple TV-specific apps,” Wu said. “We believe the ability to run the same apps makes a lot of sense and believe this feature could be enough to drive significantly more volume for Apple TV. We find the potential to run video game apps on a TV set most intriguing, as it has been proven in the marketplace that there is (a) large market for casual gaming at inexpensive prices.”

Wu did not indicate, however, how iPhone or iPad applications would run on a TV set, as those that rely on the touchscreen interface require users to interact with the images on screen. But games that rely on the accelerometer in Apple’s mobile devices would likely be suited for the allegedly forthcoming set top box.

As for reports that Apple is negotiating with networks to offer 99 cent TV show rentals (reaffirmed this week by The New York Times), Wu said such an offering would benefit not only the Apple TV, but the company’s entire ecosystem, including the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac lineup.

“From our checks with supply chain and industry sources, we believe potential changes could turn Apple TV into a bigger hobby and a multi-million unit seller,” the analyst wrote. “And perhaps be a precursor to a bigger effort to address the home entertainment space down the road.”

This should sort itself out on September 1st, so stay tuned until then and we’ll feed you the details as soon as they become available.