Myst Comes to the iPhone and iPod Touch

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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

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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

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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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