Opera Mobile web browser submitted to App Store for approval

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Date: Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010, 04:41
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Opera on Tuesday revealed that the company had submitted its Opera mobile web browser, which uses server-side compression to offer faster mobile Web browsing, to the App Store.

Per AppleInsider, the app is now awaiting Apple’s review.

“The Opera Mini for iPhone sneak peek during MWC told us that we have something special,” said Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder of Opera Software. “Opera has put every effort into creating a customized, stylized, feature-rich and highly responsive browser that masterfully combines iPhone capabilities with Opera‚Äôs renowned Web experience, and the result is a high performing browser for the iPhone.”

The company has advertised that its server-side rendering allows compression of data by up to 90%.

Nick Bilton of The New York Times used the latest version of Opera Mini for iPhone, and reported Tuesday that the browser “loaded pages extremely quickly.” He also said the browser offers features unavailable in Apple’s own Mobile Safari, including the ability to search the content of a Web page.

Still, Opera Mobile apparently lacks one defining feature of the iPhone: pinch-to-zoom capabilities. The feature could reportedly be added in a future release of the software provided Apple allows this.

Last month, Opera began touting the speed of its mobile browser, which uses a special form of compression to render Web pages more quickly. Before its official unveiling, talk of Opera Mini for iPhone occurred soon after the App Store opened in 2008.

Until now, Apple has rejected any browsers that are not based on the WebKit engine built into the iPhone OS. The company has not indicated that it has changed its policies, suggesting that Apple could reject Opera’s submission.

Officials with Opera have said they believe there is no reason for Apple to reject the Opera Mini browser from the App Store. Opera’s mobile browser is not based on the WebKit open source project.

Opera’s iPhone browser reportedly achieves speeds up to six times faster than Apple’s Safari when running over 3G. The alleged superior speeds are achieved through compression technology used by the company that allows less data transfer by using the company’s servers.

Either way it sounds cool and good luck to Opera, it’d be nice to have a choice of web browsers on the iPhone.

Twitter Leak Shows Apple Adding Scheduling Options for Developers in App Store

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Date: Thursday, March 18th, 2010, 04:39
Category: iPhone, News

You’ve got to admit, Twitter leaks make life interesting.

On Wednesday, developer Amro Mousa from Return7 posted to his Twitter account that Apple has now added the ability for developers to schedule a sale window for their iPhone applications, allowing them to temporarily schedule a different price. According to Macworld UK, this new feature has been independently confirmed.

App Store developers can and already do offer discounts on their apps for specific periods of time, but the process of doing so had been entirely manual to date. With the addition of advance scheduling, it’ll be easier for developers to plan their sale periods and spread the word accordingly. This can also help eliminate the chances of human error resulting in sale windows starting and ending sooner or later than planned.

This isn’t the biggest change in the world for the App Store, but it might make things a little friendlier for the developers who contribute to it.

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 Improves 27″ iMac Ship Time, Raises Cap on 3G Downloads

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Date: Friday, February 19th, 2010, 05:33
Category: iMac, iPhone, News

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Following Apple’s recent troubles with its 27″ iMac and a wait time of up to three weeks, AppleInsider is reporting that the company has dropped the ship time to five to seven days, suggesting that the company has managed to address the video issues that haunted the desktops. The change applies to both the Core 2 Duo and Core i5 powered versions of the computer.

Early adopters of the big-screen iMac have seen a number of hardware issues pertaining to the screen, with reports of flickering and yellow discoloration. The company released two software updates to fix the issues, and also reportedly offered some customers a 15 percent refund for their troubles.

Supplies of the 27-inch iMac have been constrained for months, with Apple in December even apologizing for delays, citing considerable demand form consumers. When it first launched in October, the new iMac was the best-selling desktop machine for the month. The 21.5″ iMac came in first place, while the 27-inch iMac took third in overall sales.

In other news, Apple quietly doubled the download limit for files from the iPhone App Store and iTunes via 3G. Users can now download files up to 20MB in size from a wireless carrier’s data network. The previous cap was 10MB for “over the air” downloads.

In addition to applications, the new limit also applies to multimedia files, such as podcasts available through iTunes. The update expands beyond AT&T in the U.S., with international reports stating the 10MB cap has also been lifted.

If you’ve played around with the new limit, let us know.

MWSF: iBooks App Won’t be Bundled with iPad

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 11th, 2010, 14:59
Category: iPad, Macworld Expo, Software

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Yes, the iPad is coming.

But it won’t come with the featured iBooks application.

Per Apple’s product listing for the device, the iBooks application won’t be bundled with the iPad and will instead be downloaded from the App Store, a move which places it on an equal footing with other e-book readers on the market.

The application is available for free and if you look at the photos of the iPad, the only bundled apps included with the system appear to be Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Maps, Videos, YouTube, iTunes, App Store, Settings, Safari, Mail, Photos, and iPod. Perhaps this will change if and when iBooks becomes available outside the U.S.

Apple Denies iPhone Developers From Creating Location-Specific Ads

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Date: Friday, February 5th, 2010, 07:59
Category: News

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In a recent update to its “News and Announcements for iPhone Developers” RSS feed, Apple both informed developers that they can use an upcoming framework in the iPhone OS SDK to determine the location of users, but cannot use this framework to craft location-aware ads to users of App Store software.

“If your app uses location-based information primarily to enable mobile advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user’s location, your app will be returned to you by the App Store Review Team for modification before it can be posted to the App Store,” the update reads.

Per AppleInsider, Apple sought out mobile advertising firm AdMob, which was later purchased by rival Google. Apple later purchased mobile advertising firm Quattro Wireless, and intends to allow developers to easily integrate its own advertising solutions into App Store software.

Apple’s newly publicized policy on GPS data usage has led to some speculation that the company could retain location-aware advertising for its own, giving the iPhone maker a significant advantage over competitors like AdMob and Google. However, Apple has yet to formally roll out its own integrated advertising solutions, so whether location-based targeted ads would be a part of the network is unknown.

Apple has shown interest in expanding location-based services on the iPhone. One recent patent application described a dynamic home screen that would display specific applications automatically populated based on factors like the current location of the phone. For example, when traveling in San Francisco, a specific “San Francisco” icon could appear on the screen, and give users easy access to local weather, time, maps and contacts.

In addition, this week a new Apple patent application described a system for easily sharing a user’s current location with a contact in-call. Such a system would use the GPS data from an iPhone to allow two parties to efficiently meet one another.

If you have any thoughts on this, please let us know in the comments.

Apple Updates Knowledge Base Articles to Address iPhone, iDisk Issues

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Date: Friday, January 8th, 2010, 07:57
Category: News

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A recent set of Apple Knowledge Base updates include some useful tips for iPhone and iDisk users alike. The tips, per CNET, focus on users who are managing their SIM cards, connecting to data networks, and managing applications purchased from the App store. Apple also has a tip for iDisk users trying to share large numbers of files.

Without further ado, here we go:

Troubleshooting applications purchased from the App store:
iPhone applications may sometimes either not open, or you may have problems synchronizing them to your iPhone. In these cases there are several things you can try, including reauthorizing iTunes and reinstalling the iPhone application.

Removing SIM card prior to iPhone repair:
Apple has a SIM eject tool for the iPhone, but a standard paper-clip or similar device can also be used. This article covers how to eject the SIM.

iPhone: Troubleshooting Tesco connectivity issues:
UK users have the option of using a Tesco SIM card, and Apple’s suggestion is to review their support documentation for troubleshooting problems.

iPhone: Error message when trying to use a custom Access Point Name (APN):
This article covers an issue where long access point usernames and passwords may prevent the iPhone from connecting, resulting in a “PDP authentication failure” message.

iPod touch: Appears in iTunes but not in Finder or Windows Explorer:
This is standard behavior, because by default “Disk Mode” is not enabled for the iPod. If the iPod cannot be recognized in iTunes at all, see this Apple KB article: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2050

iPod shuffle (3rd generation): Enabling and updating VoiceOver:
This article shows you how to enable voiceover on the latest iPod shuffle, which needs to be done through iTunes. Apple also has provided updates to voiceover, and covers how to install them from here.

iDisk: Sharing more than 500 files with the iDisk web app does not work:
Apple’s iDisk web sharing does not support more than 500 items. If you have more than this you will need to reduce the number, otherwise the number of files you have available will be truncated. The article includes tips on how to better manage large numbers of files so they can be accessed.

It’s not the be all and end all, but it can be useful stuff when you need it.

App Store Download Bug Noted

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Date: Friday, November 13th, 2009, 05:06
Category: News, Software

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A number of users have received error code 414 when attempting to download multiple iPhone applications, the end result being failed attempts altogether. Per CNET, the error seems to particularly affect users with more than a few downloads to complete. Most users in this Apple Discussions Forum thread report needing to update upwards of 20 Apps.

Many are calling this a bug in the iTunes Store system related to the “mature content” warnings Apple uses on Apps with a 17+ rating. Over on the Apple Discussions Board, user “ecasadei” described the situation as follows:

“I’m getting the same error. I have 97 app updates available, and when I try to “Download All Free Updates” at once, a window pops up stating “IMPORTANT: This product contains material that may be objectionable to children under 17. By proceeding, you are confirming that you are 17 or older.” and then I get an error message stating that iTunes could not complete my request because an unknown error (414) occurred. I have no idea which of these apps has been given a 17+ rating — at first glance they all seem pretty tame — otherwise, I’d update those manually and then try to download the rest all at once again. As it stands, I’m forced to update them all one by one. I’ve also seen the following error appear when I try to get an update on some individual apps:

MZCommerceBuy.AgeCheckFailureKey.addToCart_message MZCommerceBuy.AgeCheckFailureKey.explanation”

There’s clearly some sort of bug in the age verification process during app updates and this is getting a bit odd.

The general consensus here seems to be to download your 17+ rated Apps one at a time and save all your others for a mass download. It would also be helpful to download your updates for applications before too many build up in your queue. You can update many of your applications directly from your iPhone and download updates on your computer even if your iPhone is not plugged in. While it does not appear that the recent update to Snow Leopard directly addressed this issue, watch for the next iTunes update to tackle the problem.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or located a fix or workaround, please let us know.

Apple, China Mobile Still in Talks Over iPhone Distribution

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Date: Tuesday, September 1st, 2009, 04:43
Category: iPhone

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Following up on the story that Apple settled on wireless carrier China Unicom to distribute the iPhone in China last week, Apple is apparently still in talks with China Mobile to sort out a distribution deal with the company.

According to Macworld UK, the talks between Apple and China Mobile, the world’s biggest carrier by subscribers, have reached no conclusion yet, a China Mobile spokeswoman said Tuesday. An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the company’s three-year distribution deal with China Unicom is not exclusive, but did not say if the company is in talks with other potential partners.

China Unicom will offer the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, with the first handsets going on sale in the fourth quarter. The company began its talks with Apple two years ago, but China Unicom, which operates a 3G network compatible with the iPhone, became seen as the favorite for an iPhone deal in recent months.

One snag in China Mobile’s talks with Apple was the carrier’s plan for its own mobile application store, which was seen as a potential competitor with the iPhone App Store. Another was China Mobile’s use of a mobile standard for its 3G network that was domestically developed and is not compatible with current iPhone models.

The app store and 3G standard snags could remain in any talks. The China Mobile download store went online last month and supports handsets including “Ophones,” or devices that run a China Mobile operating system but have a layout very similar to an iPhone.

Some details of the iPhone launch could still pose problems for China Unicom as well, including how and whether revenue from the App Store should be shared, one analyst said.

Google Voice to Hit iPhone as Web-Based App

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Date: Tuesday, August 11th, 2009, 04:42
Category: iPhone, Software

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In spite of recent drama between Google and Apple, Google Voice will soon be available for the iPhone, though as a web-based application according to the New York Times.

The all-things-phone-management application (which was widely speculated to have been rejected for threatening AT&T profits on calling plans) will be rewritten as a stylized Web site that offers everything the rejected app would have.

It’s currently unclear as to whether Apple would reject a repurposed Google Voice app, though considering that Apple’s recent decision to reject the app managed to draw attention from a wide range of people, including some at the FCC, the company probably thought it best to allow a Google Voice variant slide.

Web-based apps can be bookmarked on the iPhone interface and appear like an app purchased from the App Store.
A text-heavy version of Google Voice can currently be tested on your iPhone by pointing Safari to google.com/voice/m.