Apple Releases iTunes 8.2 Update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009, 07:24
Category: Software

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Late Monday, Apple released iTunes 8.2, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 77.3 megabyte download, offers support for the iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update. The update also includes many accessibility improvements and bug fixes.
iTunes 8.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and can be located and downloaded via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

E3 Next Week: Now Taking Requests

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 28th, 2009, 23:45
Category: Announcement

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Guys, I’ll be in Los Angeles covering the Electronic Entertainment Expo and following up on games coming to the Mac, iPhone, iPod touch, where developers think OnLive might be going, what’s in the works with iPhone OS 3.0, etc.
But mainly I’ll be in Los Angeles. Which is part of California. Which, according to my D.C.-accustomed brain, is due to fall into the ocean, catch fire, explode or be attacked by giant monsters.
All of these things may in fact occur simultaneously while I’m there.
So, before I start packing, I’m taking requests as to what you want me to look into, what questions you want me to ask and who you’d like me to hit up with your questions.
So, just shoot me a line here and I’ll do everything I can while I’m out there to make sure I cover your topic to the fullest extent possible.
In the meantime, I proudly present what can only be described as the most ill-conceived computer/privacy protection accessory ever created:


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

Posted by:
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.

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.

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.

iPhone OS 3.0 to Provide Much-Desired MMS Capabilities

Posted by:
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.

Intuit Releases Quicken Online Mobile App for iPhone, iPod Touch

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 1st, 2009, 08:30
Category: iPhone, iPod Touch

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Recently, software developer Intuit released Quicken Online Mobile, the company’s iPhone and iPod touch companion to the Quicken personal finance web service.
According to Macworld, the application focuses on a forward-looking view of your money, showing you how much you have left until your next paycheck. It lets you set budgets and keep track of them while you’re out and about, and you can enter cash purchases on the go to track spending, among other features.
Upon setting up a free account with Quicken’s online service (which reportedly works with more than 5,000 financial institutions for checking, savings, investments, loans, and credit cards), Quicken Online and the Quicken Online Mobile app lets you see and tracks all of those accounts, downloading your financial data once a day (Wells Fargo accounts, however, don’t currently support auto updating.)
Intuit has stated that the application doesn’t store any of your financial passwords and the Quicken Online Mobile app uses a four-digit passcode for added protection on your iPhone.
The app also includes an integrated ATM finder that uses the iPhone 3G’s GPS capabilities to help you find nearby places to get cash at ATMs that won’t add a surcharge. You can also enter a zip code to search for ATMs, which lets users of the iPod touch and older iPhones use the feature as well.
Quicken Online Mobile requires iPhone OS 2.2 or later to install and run.

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.

Amazon Acquires iPhone eBook Reader Stanza

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 22:16
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apparently the Kindle app for iPhone wasn’t enough for Amazon. Monday it was announced on Lexcycle, Inc.’s blog that the online retailer purchased the company which includes the popular iPhone eBook reader Stanza.

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According to the Lexcycle blog, there will be no changes to the Stanza application or it’s function as the result of the acquisition. They imply that they hope they will be able to offer more books and services through the Amazon connection. No mention of the company’s purchase on Amazon’s web site or PR releases.

Lexcycle is encouraging discussion of the move on their forums or by contacting them directly at info@lexcycle.com. You can discuss it on OUR forums and tell us whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing. Is this the first step in an Amazon eBook monopoly? Personally, I think Stanza is a great program so I hope Amazon leaves it alone and just makes good deals on books available to it.