Apple Nearing Completion of Chinese iPhone Deal

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Date: Thursday, June 11th, 2009, 17:52
Category: iPhone

Apple may be making progress towards a Chinese iPhone deal, as noted by signs on the company’s web site as well as that of a Chinese government organization.

According to Macworld, an Apple handset that uses one of the next-generation mobile standards offered in China has appeared on the approved product list of the State Wireless Inspection Center, a government-managed industry arbiter. The handset, apparently an iPhone, was cleared last month to use its assigned frequency range for five years, according to the center’s Web site.

Unicom, a Chinese carrier currently negotiating with Apple about offering the iPhone to the Chinese market, operates a network based on the standard used by the approved Apple handset, WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access).

Separately, Apple has also posted an ad on its Web site for a <a href=”http://jobs.apple.com/index.ajs?BID=1&method=mExternal.showJob&RID=35658&CurrentPage=1″>Beijing-based job</a> overseeing “iPhone training” across Asia. The job’s tasks include designing training for carrier partners that sell the iPhone.

Apple has stated that it hopes to begin selling the iPhone in China in 2010. Still, talks with China Unicom have hit disputes over whether the phone will use Wi-Fi and whether China Unicom will be allowed to pre-install non-Apple programs, such as a media player other than iTunes, analysts say.

The Chinese government appears to have lifted a long-standing ban on Wi-Fi in handsets in recent weeks. Still, it has gone on to require phones with Wi-Fi also to use a China-developed security protocol for wireless LANs, said Liu Ning, an analyst at BDA, a telecommunications research company.

The protocol, called WAPI (WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure), can also be used without dual support for the equivalent Wi-Fi protocol, Liu said.

The iPhone might require an additional chipset to support WAPI, though a software upgrade might also make it compatible, he said.

The frequency approval is just one of three government tests the iPhone must pass to receive a network access license. But the “major difficulty” for Apple is still the terms of cooperation with China Unicom, Liu said.

The argument as to how to split revenue from sales in the iPhone’s App Store is another snag in discussions about what applications the carrier can put on the phone, said Liu.

TomTom Looking for Developers to Help Create iPhone Application

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 11th, 2009, 08:46
Category: iPhone, security

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Navigation and not-getting-as-lost outfit TomTom is apparently stepping up its efforts to create a turn-by-turn application for the iPhone.
Per Electronista, a jobserve.us job listing doesn’t mention the company but asks for someone to develop navigation software in Amsterdam, the location of TomTom’s headquarters. The ideal candidate would start in May or June and work on developing the application for at least six months.
TomTom was one of the earliest GPS device makers to express an interest in iPhone applications, confirming its attempts a month ahead of the App Store’s launch last July.

Opinion: iPhone Applications Not Worth Your US$0.99

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 7th, 2009, 08:33
Category: Opinion

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By Rachel Hoyer
Who can explain the popularity of goofy iPhone applications? Here’s some of my favorite iPhone applications not worth your US$0.99:
The Moron Test – This quiz features increasingly difficult puzzles which eventually become tricky for even Mensa members to solve. I’m guessing that the point is that it waits for you to get a wrong answer so it can tell you that you’re a moron. Why not save yourself a dollar and go talk to your boss? Furthermore, do you really need validation from your phone that you’re not a moron?
Larry the Scary Cockroach – Now you can make an animated cockroach run across a friend’s iPhone. How scary. Instead, you could get a free real cockroach off the sidewalk and place it on your friend’s phone, now that would be icky!
iHunt 3D – Target virtual deer and shoot them by clicking. You can hunt without actually being outdoors or actually killing animals. Anyone remember Duck Hunt? It’s like that, but less fun and without the cool plastic gun.
iBeer Special – An application that turns the screen of your iPhone into a glass of beer. You can select from a variety of types of beer and then “pour” them by rotating your phone. This is an a highly popular application. Kinda reminds me of those trick plastic mugs with attached plastic beer pouring out.
Zip Codes – Reference guide to U.S. zip codes. Type in the name of a city and find out its zip code and county name. The U.S. Post Office offers this service for free on their website, or you could just type the city name into any web browser. This application can not be used for its only logical purpose: Determining the zip code of a letter or parcel you’d like to mail. The application’s database doesn’t include street names, you can only search by city or county name. This application would be an ideal gift for people who enjoy memorizing phone books and train schedules.
Animalizer – You know those pieces of plywood with clowns or silly characters painted on them, but face holes cut out so you can place your own face in them and take a picture? Now you can take pictures of friends and then paste their face onto an image of an animal.
Smacktalk – If you like Animalizer, you’ll love Smacktalk. Speak a phrase into your iPhone microphone and the audio clip is modified to a squeaky voice and repeated back to you by a dog, cat, or other cute animal. The best part of this game is the glowing testimonials on its App Store page.
iFart – Ever wished you could embarass yourself in public more often? This is the application for you. Choose from a variety of fart noises to play on your phone, from wet ones to staccato ones to really, really loud ones. As a gag, it would make more sense for the application to send audio clips of farts to other people’s phones. Then your unsuspecting friend would receive an iPhone whoopie cushion. Oddly enough, it’s not only extremely popular, but has also received excellent reviews.
Name Analyzer – Type your name into your iPhone and it randomly assigns words to describe you based on the acronym. For example: If you type in “Jen” it could respond with “Joyous, Esoteric, Nerdy.” Its database includes both positive and negative words … I suppose if people want to fart in public more often, perhaps they also like to be insulted by their phone.

Myst Comes to the iPhone and iPod Touch

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009, 23:35
Category: Game, iPhone, Software

Ah, the beautifully rendered scenes, the clever puzzles, and the creepy ambient sounds and music. If you’ve been a Mac user since the days of the beige cases, you probably remember all of these characteristics from playing the game Myst and its sequels, developed by Cyan which was founded by Rand and Robyn Miller.

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The original Myst, released in 1993, sold over 12 million copies and held the title of best-selling computer game until The Sims was released in 2000. The game was partly responsible for the CD’s increase in popularity as it was the first game to be released exclusively on CD. The game made extensive use of Apple’s QuickTime technology for its gameplay, and all the environments were complete 3D modeled creations, which was rare for games at the time.

Now, the entire game has been reproduced in iPhone/iPod Touch format and is available in the App Store [app link]. The game has been updated to use multi-touch controls rather than the original point and click navigation. Otherwise your trip through the four Ages of Myst to solve its puzzles and unravel the mystery of Atrus and his “linking books” remains intact from the original.

Myst requires 1.5GB of free space to install, though it will reduce in size to 727MB or so once it’s finished installing. The game requires iPhone 2.2.1 software and is $5.99 in the App Store.

Rumor: Apple May Relax App Store Rules with iPhone OS 3.0

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Date: Tuesday, May 5th, 2009, 07:22
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Following the rejection of a recent App Store application the developer didn’t produce the content for, the rumor mill has it that Apple has given signs it may allow more risque software on the App Store once iPhone OS 3.0 and its enhanced parental locks become a reality.
According to iLounge, the response came as part of a rejection notice sent to Newspaper(s) app creator Makayama over the initial submission of its article reading software; the software’s inclusion of the UK edition of daily newspaper The Sun, which is well-known for the topless models in its Page 3 section, purportedly violated App Store rules against obscene content.
The application was eventually pulled to allow Makayama to clear Apple’s review process. Since then, Makayama has stated that it might have a chance at resubmitting the application, complete with its original content, once iPhone OS 3.0 is available. It “would be appropriate” to try submitting the app once the new firmware’s parental controls are an option for iPhone owners, the Cupertino company said.
iPhone OS 3.0, due to ship in the summer, is set to provide significantly expanded content filters that aren’t limited to Apple’s software. Although the block system hasn’t been fully illustrated, it should allow parents screen for particular kinds of apps and, in theory, prevent younger children from seeing Page 3 or other more controversial content in the future.
Requests for such a change policy are steadily becoming more prominent with the growth of the App Store and reached a possible boiling point this weekend, when Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor published Apple’s rejection letter and accused it of hypocrisy in rejecting an update to the NIN: Access music fan app.

Truphone 3.0 Released

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 23:26
Category: iPhone, Software, Uncategorized

Software Cellular Network Ltd., makers of Truphone software and call services, released version 3.0 of its popular iPhone app. The new version, available in the App Store (iTunes link), adds the following new features:

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  • View your call history in real time.
  • Instant messenger tool is now integrated into the app.
  • Super-clear sound and improved reliability.

The new version requires an iPhone running firmware 2.1 or higher.

Versions of Truphone are also available for the iPod Touch and G1 (Android) Smartphone.

Apple Apologizes Over “Baby Shaker” Application

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 24th, 2009, 07:05
Category: iPhone, News

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Ok, this was embarrassing.
After software developer Sikalosoft’s “Baby Shaker” app was briefly approved for the App Store later this week, Apple pulled the application and offered the following apology:
“This application was deeply offensive and should not have been approved for distribution on the App Store. When we learned of this mistake, the app was removed immediately. We sincerely apologize for this mistake and thank our customers for bringing this to our attention.”
According to Macworld UK, the application featured a drawing of a baby accompanied by audio of a baby crying with the goal was to shake the handset until the baby stopped crying. Some groups have called the application offensive, especially in relation to the dangers of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Defenders of the program, meanwhile, have said the application is clearly humorous in intent.
Though Sikalosoft has yet to officially comment on the situation, the company’s web site contains the following message:
“Okay, so maybe the Baby Shaker iPhone app was a bad idea. You should never shake a baby! Even on an Apple iPhone Baby Shaking application. No babies were harmed in the making of Baby Shaker.””
The site goes on to feature a description of the dangers of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

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Apple Clamping Down on Jailbreaking, Other Practices with Latest iPhone NDA

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Date: Thursday, April 2nd, 2009, 08:19
Category: iPhone, Legal

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With iPhone OS 3.0 en route, Apple appears to be taking a more aggressive stance against develops writing applications for jailbroken iPhone handsets. Per an Ars Technica article, Apple has recently updated its “iPhone Developer Program License Agreement”, the new version explicitly disallowing jailbreaking, assisting in jailbreaking, and developing and distributing jailbreak apps.
The report goes on to mention that while previous agreements forbade the creation of apps that violate privacy, facilitate crimes, or violate intellectual property laws, the new one restricts developers from jailbreaking their own phones.
Back in February, Apple publicly defined its legal stance on iPhone jailbreaking, arguing that it represents copyright infringement and a DMCA violation. During this time, an Electronic Frontier Foundation proposal asked for an exemption that would allow jailbreaking of iPhones or other handsets, effectively liberating the devices to run applications other than those obtained from Apple’s own iTunes App Store.
The report also states that developers are also “forbidden from using the iPhone OS, SDK, or other developer tools to develop applications for distribution in any way other than the App Store or Ad Hoc distribution.” The new changes place significant restrictions on distribution, which is now only available via the App Store at Apple’s sole discretion.
The report also notes that updated segments of the NDA specifically restrict jailbreaking or circumventing the iPhone’s built-in OS security. Though such agreements aren’t likely to entirely prevent third-party developers from writing applications, they will likely discourage developers from submitting their unapproved or rejected app on other distribution outlets that offer alternatives for customers interested in buying, testing, or installing with their software.
The text defining these restrictions reads as follows:

(e)You will not, through use of the Apple Software, services or otherwise, create any Application or other program that would disable, hack or otherwise interfere with the Security Solution, or any security, digital signing, digital rights management, verification or authentication mechanisms implemented in or by the iPhone operating system software, iPod touch operating system software, this Apple Software, any services or other Apple software or technology, or enable others to do so; and
(f) Applications developed using the Apple Software may only be distributed if selected by Apple (in its sole discretion) for distribution via the App Store or for limited distribution on Registered Devices (ad hoc distribution) as contemplated in this Agreement.

Last September, Apple extended its iPhone Developer NDA by restricting the information that developers could discuss publicly by telling developers in its App Store rejection letters that “the information contained in this message is under non-disclosure.” While discussion of details in iPhone development is generally restricted, numerous developers have complained publicly about rejections without repercussion.
If you have two cents to hurl in about this, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Skype for iPhone Expected Tomorrow

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Date: Monday, March 30th, 2009, 06:33
Category: iPhone, Software

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Months after an initial preview at CES in Las Vegas, Skype for iPhone is expected to hit Apple’s App Store sometime tomorrow.
According to C|NET, which was able to sit down and play with the application, the program will sport standard features generally found in mobile applications as well as a few iPhone-only perks.
For starters, the screens are well organized and use the iPhone’s ability to add filters, for instance, to sort your contacts alphabetically, or by who’s online. The application also allows for chatting and a relatively cheap per-minute fee to landlines. The application only allows calls if you’re in range of a Wi-Fi network and calls will not work over the cell phone network on the iPhone (but chatting will.) Assuming your connection is solid, you can dial a number or quickly call a contacts stored in your address book. iPod Touch users will need earphones with an embedded mic to talk. During a call, users can mute the line, go on hold, or put the call on speakerphone.
The current build of the program can accept incoming conference calls. While you won’t be able to initiate a call, users will be able to jump on one if a buddy invites you in.
Features missing from the first release of the app on the iPhone include SMS, setting up a conference calling group, purchasing SkypeOut credit directly, and being able to field a second incoming Skype call are a few as well as file transferring and getting Skype voicemail.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think of Skype on the iPhone in the comments or forums.

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Cydia Opens Unauthorized iPhone Application Store

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Date: Monday, March 9th, 2009, 06:07
Category: Legal

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Though the App Store provides some incredibly fun and useful stuff, there are still some iPhone and iPod touch applications that can’t be acquired through this end. Applications like Cycorder, which lets you use your iPhone as a camcorder or PdaNet, which allows users to use the iPhone’s cellular data connection on their computer via a Wi-Fi connection, may never see the light of day via Apple’s online retail channel for the handset and according to Wall Street Journal, have been available through Cydia, a software installer developed by 27-year-old California graduate student Jay Freeman.
Starting today, Cydia will be opening its own app store, providing a way those jailbreak developers to easily sell their applications.
Freeman has stated that Cydia “intends to charge developers no more than the commission Apple does for his site’s billing services.” The paper reported that two more rival app stores are also underway, including one interested in “selling adult games for the iPhone.”
Though this seems like these App Store rivals may need to have their lawyers on speed dial, many technology law scholars have said that an Apple legal victory isn’t necessarily a given, as this qualifies as uncharted legal territory.
“Courts have said you shouldn’t use the DMCA to leverage your copyright monopoly into other markets,” said Susan Crawford, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, who said that federal courts ruled that previous DMCA-related cases were less about preventing copyright infringement, but rather about stifling competition.
Last December, the EFF proposed an exemption to the DMCA that would legalize jailbreaking. In response, Apple filed their opposition to the proposal in February arguing that it could lead to problems with the iPhone’s security and reliability, as well as providing a potential venue for pirated iPhone applications.
Many tech law experts still say that the jailbreakers might actually have a viable defense. While jailbreaking and unlocking are not the same process, the iPhone unlocking process requires jailbreaking, so it seems likely that the same legal reasoning to defend against unlocking might hold.
Either way, Cydia’s Freeman has stated that he’s ready for the impending legal challenges to come…
If you have two cents to throw in on this, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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