Apple, Google ink deal to have Google remain default search engine on iOS-based devices

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Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010, 05:00
Category: News, Software

Internet search giant Google recently extended its contract with Apple, making the outfit the default option on devices running iOS, including the iPhone.

Per BusinessWeek, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt talked about his company’s relationship with Apple. Rose asked about tension between Google and Apple since Google began partnering with smartphone makers for the Android mobile operating system.

“Apple is a company we both partner and compete with,” Schmidt said. “We do a search deal with them, recently extended, and we’re doing all sorts of things in maps and things like that.”

He continued: “So the sum of all this is that two large corporations, both of which are important, both of which I care a lot about, will [remain] pretty close. But Android was around earlier than iPhone.”

Schmidt also characterized the iPhone as a “closed” model controlled by Apple. He portrayed Android as a “turnkey solution with similar capabilities” to the iPhone, but one that gives vendors the “alternative” they seek.

Early this year, rumors suggested that Apple was in talks with Microsoft to make Bing the default search engine for the iPhone. Though that never came to be, the option to utilize Bing search was added to iOS 4.

However, Google has remained the default search provider for iOS devices, and Schmidt’s recent comments would suggest that the company will remain the standard search provider for some time to come.

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.

Apple posts new iOS 4.2 beta, adds AirPrint feature

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Date: Thursday, September 23rd, 2010, 04:10
Category: News, Software

Last Wednesday, Apple released a new beta version of its iOS 4.2 operating system to developers, bringing with it a new feature known as AirPrint. Per ZDNet, the update brings multitasking to the iPad for the first time. Multitasking allows users to run more than one program at a time. The iPhone and iPod Touch have had some multitasking capabilities since the introduction of iOS 4.0.

The update also features wireless printing software called AirPrint. “AirPrint is Apple’s powerful new printing architecture that matches the simplicity of iOS — no set up, no configuration, no printer drivers and no software to download,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, in a statement on Wednesday.

iOS 4.2 is expected to be released in November.

If you’ve gotten your mitts on the new beta and have anything to say about it, let us know what you think.

Apple’s suppliers prepping materials for second-gen iPad due in first quarter 2011

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Date: Friday, September 17th, 2010, 05:15
Category: iPad, News

Apple’s component suppliers are said to be preparing for the launch of Apple’s second-generation iPad in the first quarter of 2011.

Per DigiTimes, the suppliers are completing validation for the second-generation iPad, which will maintain the same 9.7″ screen when it debuts in the first quarter of 2011.

“Component suppliers of iPad are expected to start shipments for the second-generation iPad at the beginning of 2011,” the report said.

Specifically cited suppliers were TPK Touch Solutions, WinTek, Cando, Cimei Innolux. Together, they are said to be validating “ultra-thin glass-based touch panels with Apple.”

As reported last week, Apple plans to move aggressively on adding FaceTime functionality to its entire line of iOS devices, leaving the iPad as the last device to receive the upgrade. A source close to the story indicated that an iPad equipped with a forward facing camera is already in the advanced testing stages at Apple.

Though Apple typically follows an annual upgrade pattern for its devices, it was said that Apple could refresh the iPad line ahead of this year’s holiday season. That person indicated that the FaceTime-equipped iPad was tracking for an introduction no later than the first quarter of 2011.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts first external iOS 4.2 betas, new features on the way

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Date: Thursday, September 16th, 2010, 04:06
Category: iPad, News, Software

Apple on Wednesday released the first external betas of iOS 4.2, which will debut features like AirPlay and AirPrint for iOS devices while also delivering a slew of long-awaited bells and whistles for the iPad, including multi-tasking, folders and threaded mail.

Per AppleInsider, a handful of more subtle refinements will ship along as well:

The biggest new feature for iPhone and iPod touch users is AirPrint, which allows wireless printing via a shared printer, or directly through some HP branded printers. The functionality is accomplished through a new Print Center application that is only available on iOS devices that can multitask, which means the iPhone 3G will not be able to print.

iOS 4.2 for the iPhone will debut a new icon for Apple’s Voice Memos application, a new version of modem firmware, and some new font additions for the Notes application, detailed later in this article in relation to the iPad. It will also add support for importing .ics files directly as a way to add events to the native Calendar application.

Multi-tasking:
iOS 4.2 introduces to the iPad many features that iPhone and iPod touch users already enjoy, including multitasking and folders. Just like on current devices that run iOS 4, users can run tasks from compatible applications in the background, and manage those applications by double-tapping the home button.

20-app Folders:
By dragging icons atop one another on the iPad homescreen, iOS 4.2 also automatically creates a folder. This will allow iPad users to have less clutter on their homescreen, and to easily sort their downloads from the App Store. The iPad’s larger screen real estate allows for a total of 20 applications per folder rather than 12.

New Spotlight Preferences:
Apple has added a new Spotlight Search preference pane under the General Settings panel with options to include or disallow search results based on the following categories: Contacts, Applications, Music, Podcasts, Videos, Audiobooks, Notes, Mail and Events. Users can also reorder those categories to force search results to display in the order of their liking.

New Restrictions:
In addition to allowing or disallowing Multiplayer Games through Game Center, iOS 4.2 for iPad will enable users to allow or disallow changes to Location settings and Mail Account settings.

A new setting in iOS 4.2 for iPad 3G allows users to disable 3G access and revert to EDGE, trading speed for battery life.

Check Spelling:
Like iOS 4.1 for the iPhone, iOS 4.2 for iPad will deliver the option to turn Spell Checking on or off.

Accessibility: Larger Fonts:
Handicapped and elderly users will notice the addition of a “Large Text” option in the accessibility preference pane which offers the option to set font sizes for Contacts, Mail, Messages, and Notes in one of the following sizes: 20pt, 24pt, 32pt, 40pt, 48pt, 56pt.

New Notes Preferences:
Like iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, Apple has added a Notes preference pane that lets users choose between Chalkboard, Helvetica, and Marker Felt for their notes fonts. It also lets users set a default email account to which new notes can be tied.

Wireless Printing:
Of course one of the most highly anticipated features of iOS 4.2 is support for AirPrint, Apple’s wireless printing technology. Apple is updating all of its applicable default apps to support the AirPrint feature.

Game Center:
iPad users will also gain access to Game Center, Apple’s social networking application for games on iOS devices. Game Center allows users to invite friends to play a game, compare scores and achievements with others, and more.

New Orientation Lock and Brightness Controls:
With iOS 4.2 for iPad, Apple will convert the physical orientation lock button on the right hand side of the iPad into a volume mute toggle. Orientation locking will be facilitated through the iPod widget like on the iPhone. iOS 4.2 will also add a display brightness interface slider on the left hand side of the iPod widget (to fill space?).

AirPlay:
AirPlay (formerly AirTunes), is also on its way to the iPad and iPhone via iOS 4.2. In addition to music, the technology will then allow users to stream video and photos over Wi-Fi, as can be seen in this screen capture of the new Photos application for the iPad.

Universal, Threaded Mail App:
For Mail on the iPad, iOS 4.2 will offer a universal mailbox and the option (via the Mail preference pane) to organize mails by thread. Like on the iPhone and iPod touch, messages in an inbox will automatically be combined into a threaded view where applicable, saving space and making the Mail application more efficient.

iAd:
Apple’s iAd interactive advertisements will also begin appearing in iPad applications after the release of iOS 4.2. iAds offer an “app within an app,” allowing advertisers to deliver content to users without forcing them to open a browser and leave their current application. With the iOS 4.2 beta, developers can now begin working to integrate iAds into their iPad software in time for its November release.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the iOS 4.2 beta for the iPad and can offer any comments of feedback, please let us know what you think.

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.

Apple releases iOS 4.1 update for iPhone, iPod touch

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Date: Wednesday, September 8th, 2010, 11:51
Category: iPhone, News, Software

After a fair amount of anticipation, Apple released its long-awaited iOS 4.1 update for the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch. Per iLounge, the update adds a number of bug fixes and new features, including a fix for the iPhone 4’s proximity sensor, Bluetooth issues, patches for security holes and performance problems on the iPhone 3G.

Notably, the iPhone 3G is left out amongst its iOS 4.1-capable peers in support for Apple’s new Game Center social gaming service, which is also included in the update, along with support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography on the iPhone 4, HD video uploading over Wi-Fi, and support for TV show rentals from the iTunes Store. iOS 4.1 is available now as a free upgrade for all compatible devices via the update feature in iTunes and weighs in as a several hundred megabyte download.

If you’ve tried the update and have any feedback to offer, let us know.

Apple outlines forthcoming iOS 4.2 features, ups iPad production to 3 million units per month

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Date: Tuesday, September 7th, 2010, 05:58
Category: iPad, News, Software

For those curious about what’s on the horizon, Apple has created a dedicated page on its web site outlining some of the features in the anticipated iOS 4.2 update that will unify the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad operating systems. Per CNET, the page highlights some of the most coveted features of iOS 4 (currently only running on iPhone and iPod touch) that will finally debut on iPad, including:

Multitasking: A simple double-tap of the home button brings up a quick-switch interface allowing users to easily jump back to recently used Apps. Multitasking also allows for Apps to run in the background while you surf, e-mail, or catch up on the news.

Folders: Just drag one App on top of another and iOS automatically creates a folder. You can even store it in your dock for quick access to your favorite Apps.

Printing: One of the most exciting aspects of the iOS 4.2 update is the inclusion of wireless printing. The ability to create documents, spreadsheets, and other material on the go is one of iPad’s greatest assets.

AirPlay: This feature AirPlay allows you to stream your video content to the new Apple TV and your audio content to any AirPlay speakers, including your AirPort Express.

Other features of iOS 4.2 include Apple’s social network for gaming, Game Center, unified Inboxes and threaded messages in the Mail App, the ability to find and highlight text in Safari, better support for enterprise through stronger security, upgraded accessibility features including VoiceOver control with wireless keyboards, and keyboard support for over 30 new languages including Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew.

The announcement of iOS 4.2 at this week’s media event also led Apple to encourage its production partners to up iPad production (currently at 2 million per month) to 3 million per month for the holiday season. The updated number comes from a report by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty who states:

“Apple recently indicated to its suppliers a desire to move to 3 million per month in C4Q10. This implies a run rate of 36 million in CY11, close to the current 40 million supply chain forecast.”

Recently Apple’s shipping times for iPad have dropped sharply, from 2-4 weeks about a month ago to under 24 hours currently, suggesting any production problems they may have had early on have been solved. With the new operating system update to be available in November, expect iPad to be one of the top-selling tech toys of this holiday season.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iOS 4.1 hits gold master, reported to boost performance on iPhone 3G handset

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Date: Monday, September 6th, 2010, 04:38
Category: iPhone, News

Over the past few days, Apple’s iOS 4.1 update has gone from “coming soon” to “gold master”. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, user report have stated that the update resolves iOS 4.0.2′s stuttering, crashing, and generalized slowness on the iPhone 3G handset and offers better overall performance.

Specific improvements included speed, performance via the Maps app and much faster Spotlight search on the iPhone 3G wherein the app no longer searches through text messages.

Individual mileage may vary, but the iOS 4.1 update could be worth looking forward to once it’s released later this week.