Apple to Begin Stress-Testing iPhone OS 3.0 Push Notification Functions

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Date: Tuesday, May 19th, 2009, 09:03
Category: iPhone, Software

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This week, Apple joined forces with the Associated Press and called upon some of its iPhone developer community to help stress test a Push Notification service scheduled to arrive with iPhone OS 3.0 later this year.
According to AppleInsider, the e-mail stated that “We have selected a pre-release version of the Associated Press app for iPhone OS 3.0 to create a high-volume test environment for our servers.”
The test application, which requires iPhone OS 3.0 beta 5, will activate over the next week and then expire. During this week, “AP will be sending a high-volume of real news alerts” to give Apple an opportunity to monitor how well the system works and what optimizations can be made.
The Push Notification system, which was originally slated to arrive in the fall, was delayed after Apple had apparently underestimated the demands third parties would make of the system. Given these new conditions, Apple pulled the plug and began designing a system that could simultaneously address an audience of tens of millions of iPhone and iPod touch users.
The planned iPhone OS 3.0 Push Notification system for sending alerts from third party application developers to mobile users is believed to use the same technology as its push notification system for MobileMe and the push notification system planned for Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server.
In all cases, the alert being “pushed” is minimal, essentially a tweet that indicates more information is ready. The notification alerts act like an instant message because that’s exactly what they are; an analysis of MobileMe push messages indicates Apple is using the open source XMPP (eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol), used in Jabber.
The XMPP feature can allow a variety of applications to alert the user as to changes and updates and the technology could find its way into e-mail, calendar and contact changes via Apple’s MobileMe cloud services.

Apple Warns iPhone App Developers to be Compatible with iPhone OS 3.0

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Date: Friday, May 15th, 2009, 07:40
Category: iPhone

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Earlier this week, Apple officially warned its iPhone/iPod touch application developer base that all applications submitted for iTunes App Store approval must be iPhone OS 3.0-compliant. Per Computerworld, Apple sent an e-mail to registered iPhone developers stating that all new apps will be tested for approval on the latest beta version of 3.0. It said it may also remove any apps currently in the App Store if they do not work on the iPhone’s new operating system.
Current speculation about the demand is pointing towards Apple wanting to ensure that the new parental controls feature for iPhone applications uncovered in the latest beta of iPhone OS 3.0 are functional. The parental controls feature would allow Apple to offer a wider variety of content and restrict more explicit material based on an iPhone user’s age.
On Wednesday, Apple released its fifth beta version of the latest iPhone OS — a final version of 3.0 is expected to be ready in time for Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco next month.

Phil Schiller to Deliver Keynote Speech for WWDC Conference

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Date: Wednesday, May 13th, 2009, 10:41
Category: News

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WWDC is relatively soon and, unfortunately, for those hoping for Steve Jobs to grace the stage in order to deliver the keynote, you’ll have to wait a bit longer.
Apple has stated that while its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco will start on Monday, June 8th with the keynote address being given at 10 AM PST, Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller will be manning the speech and offer developers an “in-depth” look at iPhone OS 3.0 as well as the company’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) upgrade.
From there, Schiller is expected to hand the keynote off to assorted speakers, as usual.
Attendees can also expect a “final Developer Preview release” of the forthcoming OS, though additional details are rare on the ground.

SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone Due Soon, Will Ship Without 3G Support

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Date: Tuesday, May 12th, 2009, 13:29
Category: Software

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Per iPodNN, Apple will publish the long-awaited SlingPlayer application for the iPhone and iPod touch handsets within the next 24 hours. Unfortunately, developer Sling Media is said to have confirmed that the application will lack any form of 3G support.
Sling Player is designed as extension of the company’s Slingbox hardware, which broadcasts TV from a person’s home to a remote Internet destination. Using SlingPlayer, people should be able to view streams, change channels and control DVR units.
The final application will be able to connect exclusively over Wi-Fi in what is believed to be a concession to iPhone carrier AT&T. Through its terms of service the company has effectively banned redirecting TV over 3G, a strategy deemed necessary to prevent constraining bandwidth. As a consequence however, the range and usefulness of the iPhone app has been substantially diminished.
SlingPlayer Mobile will sell for US$30 at the App Store, and officially support the Slingbox PRO, SOLO and PRO-HD devices. Older hardware is also said to be compatible, but not officially supported.

TomTom Looking for Developers to Help Create iPhone Application

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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.

Elgato Releases Elgato Video Capture for Mac, iPhone and iPod

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Date: Friday, May 8th, 2009, 14:26
Category: Accessory, Software

Accessory provider Elgato Systems announced the release of Elgato Video Capture, a hardware/software combination device for transferring analog video, including footage on VHS video tape, to a Mac, iPhone and iPod.
According to Macworld UK, the device connects VCRs, set top boxes, camcorders, DVD players, and other analog video sources, anything that uses composite RCA or S-Video outputs, to the Mac via a USB 2.0 interface.
The unit also ships with a SCART video adapter to allow RCA or S-Video devices to be connected.


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Elgato’s included software offers a simple tool to trim the beginning and end of the captured video as well as export tools to send the video to iTunes, QuickTime, YouTube or iMovie for final editing.
Generated files can then be synced with video capable iPods, iPhones and Apple TV and can be edited in iMovie ’09 without re-encoding.
The Video Capture unit automatically detects NTSC, SECAM, PAL, and PAL/60 video formats for universal compatibility.
Elgato Video Capture requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later, QuickTime 7.6 or later and iTunes 8.1 or later. The unit retails for £89.95 (US$136.45) and will be available from Apple retail stores and other Mac resellers.

Opinion: iPhone Applications Not Worth Your US$0.99

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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

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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.

iPhone OS 3.0 to Provide Much-Desired MMS Capabilities

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Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009, 10:03
Category: Opinion

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By Rachel Hoyer
So, you’ve just taken the world’s most adorable picture of your dog on your iPhone.
If you want to text it to your friends, you’re out of luck.
You’ll have to email it to them.
iPhone enthusiasts everywhere have bemoaned the lack of MMS support on the handset. MMS is the protocol which allows transmission of images in text messages. The current iPhone OS 2.2.1 software supports SMS, but not its MMS extension. SMS, or Short Messaging Service, is a communication protocol that enables text messaging between mobile devices. MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service, is an extension of SMS that allows transmission of multimedia objects such as images, audio, video and rich text files within a text message. Both SMS and MMS are supported on a wide variety of mobile networks, including the 3G network used by iPhone. SMS and MMS technology are rapidly becoming obsolete due to widespread availability of the Internet on mobile devices via Wi-Fi, 3G and Apple Wireless technology. This may be the reason that Apple did not include MMS on previous iPhone software versions.
This begs the question: Why include SMS support, but not MMS support on iPhone OS 2.0? One possibility is that AT&T, the sole cell phone service provider for iPhone, pressured Apple into maintaining SMS text messaging support. Despite the advanced age of its technology, text messaging remains hugely popular among cell phone users. In addition, cell phone service providers such as AT&T rake in a ridiculously high profit margin on SMS text messaging services. But they make equal, if not more money, from selling ringtones and sending images delivered via MMS. Following the cell phone provider profits theory, it would be illogical to include SMS but not MMS. Another hypothesis: Apple did not want to deprive iPhone users of the highly convenient and popular SMS service, but assumed that MMS would not be missed given the ease of web access.
At present, when you try to send a picture on your iPhone, it is posted on a website. Then, a text message linking the page is sent to your selected recipients inviting them to visit the site to view the picture. While web browsing is a simple task on the iPhone, it is a problematic endeavor for many other types of cell phones. Although nearly all cell phones have MMS capability, typically their web browsers are both dodgy and expensive. Not to worry, iPhone users: Apple plans to release iPhone OS 3.0 in June which (along with a host of other improvements) will provide MMS support. The upgrade will be free for iPhone 3G owners and $9.99 for iPod Touch owners. Sadly, due to a hardware compatibility issue, older iPhone models are not upgradeable.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go email my friends pictures of my dog in a football jersey.

Apple Posts Job Listing for 3G Engineer for Mac Hardware Group, May Bring Additional Functionality to MacBook Line

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Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009, 09:45
Category: MacBook, Rumor

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Over the past couple years, 3G has become a common buzzword within the technology industry. The iPhone 3G has it right there in the name, some PC laptops have the functionality built in and Mac notebooks have access to it via third-party add-ons.
Computerworld has reported that Apple is now advertising a new “Communications QA Engineer” position in the Mac Hardware Group at the Cupertino campus.
The posting specifies the job’s description as : “Testing and reporting hardware, software, and device driver bugs for Communications technologies including AirPort (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth v2.0, gigabit Ethernet, and/or 3G Wireless WAN in a detailed, timely manner [emphasis added].”
While it’s not chiseled out in stone, there is the possibility that Apple could be adding 3G functionality to its MacBook notebook line. This could also be in reference to testing that encompasses third-party 3G modems to check for interference with the MacBooks’ other built-in wireless systems.
Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, but this could be interesting.