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.

iAd details surface, full rollout expected in “a few months”

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Date: Monday, July 5th, 2010, 05:09
Category: iPhone, News, Software

This may not be the sexiest topic in the world, but it affects what you see on your iOS-powered device, so put on your listening caps and pay attention.

In a post on its iPhone Developer News site, has provided some additional details concerning the roll out of its new iAd advertising platform. Per iLounge, the rollout began July 1st, however this initial rollout is limited to North America only, with the service scheduled to be deployed outside of North America in “a few months.” Apple also notes that only a few ads will initially be appearing but the number of ads served will be increased over the next few weeks and months.

A separate post provides additional information for developers on displaying iAds within their applications and cautions developers to take steps to avoid blank banners appearing when ads are not available, noting that apps that display blank iAd banners will not be accepted by the App Store Review Team.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Hulu Plus service for iPad delayed, won’t make May 24th launch

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Date: Tuesday, May 18th, 2010, 06:47
Category: iPad, News

You love Hulu on your Mac.

But you’ll have to wait a little longer for it on the iPad.

Per MediaMemo, sources close to Hulu have cited that Hulu’s new service, dubbed “Hulu Plus” wouldn’t make its anticipated arrival date of May 24th and in fact there was “no way” Hulu Plus would become available next week.

According to the original plan, Hulu plans to charge a monthly subscription for access to Hulu on the iPad through a forthcoming application to be released on the App Store. Hulu executives were initially hopeful that they could release an application potentially alongside the debut of the iPad.

Sources close to the story said Tuesday that it’s likely the service remains in negotiations with content holders. Even with the delays, it’s been reported that the principal partners, including Fox, ABC and NBC have agreed to the basics of the subscription plan, including a US$10-per-month fee for access to “a deeper catalog of broadcast shows plus access to the services like Apple’s iPad.”

“And even if Hulu and all of its partners are seeing eye-to-eye — not a given — getting the rights from various programming partners to sell their shows could be a slog,” Kafka wrote for MediaMemo.

Sources pushing Hulu’s subscription plan behind the scenes did reportedly say that the new service will be “revolutionary.”

One feature that the new Hulu won’t support: HTML5. Last week, the company revealed on its official blog that it doesn’t see HTML5 in its immediate future. The current player on the website is built on Adobe Flash, which is used to stream video, secure content, and handle reporting for advertisers, among many other tasks.

Hulu’s iPad application is expected to be similar to the existing ABC and Netflix streaming players available for download on the App Store. The popular ABC application shows programs like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” for free, with ad support. And that free product has apparently caused concern for Hulu and its subscription plans.

Reports have suggested that Hulu will incentivize its subscription plan by offering streaming to Apple’s iPad, as well as by including a “window” where content is available to subscribers before it can be seen for free by the general public. It is said that Hulu’s business partners have pressured the service into subscription plans to “train” viewers that they should pay for online access to content.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Developer submits App Store application for program that allows wireless iTunes syncing

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Date: Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, 04:30
Category: iPhone, iPod, News, Software

3gs.jpg

Ok, this could be cool if Apple approves it.

Per Engadget, developer Greg Hughes has submitted an application that allows the iPhone and iPod touch to sync wirelessly with iTunes over Wi-Fi, and plans to submit the software to the App Store later this week.

The software, dubbed “Wi-Fi Sync,” requires a separate desktop application on either a Mac OS X or Windows machine that allows the sync to occur over a wireless network. Hughes, released the following video that shows the syncing process with the application, which must first be approved by Apple before it could be released for the App Store:



The first sync includes a pairing process that must only be done once to verify that the iPhone is to be synced with the computer. Once a handset has been paired with a computer by accepting prompts on both devices, iTunes is then launched on the computer and begins syncing with the mobile device.

It’s unknown as to whether Apple will approve the application or if it violates the company’s development rules on any level.

Apple approves Opera Mini Web Browser for iPhone

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Date: Tuesday, April 13th, 2010, 06:21
Category: iPhone, News, Software

operalogo

I’m calling this either a casual miracle or something that eventually had to happen.

Per Opera’s web blog, “Opera today announced its popular mobile browser, Opera Mini, has been approved for iPhone and iPod touch on the App Store. Opera Mini will be available in less than 24 hours, market by market, as a free download.”

It’s here, it’s pretty speedy and it opens up a lot of doors for developers. Download it here, take a gander and let us know what you think.