Archive for February, 2011

‘Telenav GPS’ for Verizon iPhone 4 Announced

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Telenav, the California-based company that provides location based apps and services for mobile devices, announced the upcoming release of a turn-by-turn GPS app for the Verizon iPhone 4. Telenav GPS for the Verizon iPhone 4 will be available shortly after the release of the device on February 10 and will be free to download.

GPS guidance through the app will be free for the first 30 days and will then cost $2.99 per month or $21.99 per year, which will be billed directly by Verizon and included on customers’ monthly bill.

The app will still work partially without a monthly or annual subscription, offering GPS maps and local search capabilities only. The premium features, which are free for the first 30 days, include the following:

  • 2D and 3D Moving Maps – Users can see their current location and nearby streets with accurate, moving maps viewable in 2D or 3D with zoom in and out options.
  • Automatic Reroute – TeleNav GPS users don’t have to worry about missing a turn while navigating. The application will quickly update the route and redirect them to their destination.
  • Automatic Map Updates – TeleNav GPS features regular map updates to ensure that users are being routed using the most up-to-date maps available. Updates are automatic, so users aren’t required to perform a manual installation or buy updated content.
  • Nighttime Optimized Navigation – TeleNav GPS adjusts brightness levels to make viewing easier during nighttime driving.
  • iOS Multitasking Support – Users can access and use other iPhone applications with TeleNav GPS navigating in the background.

Telenav has posted a video previewing the app’s features:

Telenav already provides a similar version of the app for AT&T iPhone users, dubbed AT&T Navigator, though AT&T charges substantially more for its version at $9.99 per month or $69.99 per year.

AppShopper Update: App Change Information Returns

Monday, February 7th, 2011

A few months ago, we had to make some changes to the iOS app information shown on AppShopper to comply with Apple’s policy on pulling information from the App Store. A side effect of that effort was the loss of the “What’s New” data indicating the changes in the last update in each app listing. We expected that this information would return to AppShopper and we’re happy to announce today that it has!

When you view an individual app listing on AppShopper, you’ll see information provided by the developer under What’s New beneath the general description. This information already appears for many of the apps updated within the past few days but is still propagating across the site for the more than 300,000 apps in the App Store shown on AppShopper and will take a day or so to complete.

The What’s New information will also be visible in the official AppShopper app.

If you need support or have any suggestions for AppShopper, please email us at

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Verizon Releases Contact Transfer App for iPhone 4

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Verizon customers who pre-ordered the CDMA carrier’s iPhone 4 have already started to receive the smartphone, starting with a man in Indiana who received his over the weekend. To help its new iPhone 4 customers, Verizon is fully prepared with its free VZ Transfer app that’s now available in the App Store.

VZ Transfer first appeared in the App Store a little over a week ago, indicating that Verizon is working to ensure that its customers have tools to use right out of the gate. The app also received an update over the weekend with some bug fixes.

VZ Transfer relies on Verizon’s free Backup Assistant service, which creates an online back-up of all contacts on an existing Verizon phone. If you’re not familiar with the service, Verizon has posted a rather long-winded demo video describing how it works:

Once you’ve set up the service with your existing phone, you simply install the iOS app on your new Verizon iPhone 4 and initiate the transfer. After this, these contacts will also transfer to your computer once you sync your iPhone 4 with it.

Note that this app only works for Verizon iPhone customers in conjunction with the carrier’s Backup Assistant service.

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Thinking of Getting the Verizon iPhone? ‘Coverage?’ Lets You See If It’s a Good Idea

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

As promised last month, Verizon opened up pre-orders for the CDMA iPhone 4 to its existing customers early this morning. Early reviews of the Verizon iPhone 4 began appearing last night as well, with most indicating that call connectivity and quality to be much better on America’s largest CDMA network though data speeds are still faster on AT&T’s GSM network.

Have you been thinking about getting a Verizon iPhone 4? If so but you’re not yet fully convinced, you may want to check how good Verizon’s coverage is in the areas where you’ll spend the most time. Developer Two Steps Beyond makes this easy with its Coverage? app that will show network coverage information for the four largest cellular carriers in the U.S. overlaid on a map.

Coverage? uses your iPhone’s or iPad’s GPS receiver to locate where you are and you can then select the overlays of your choice to show you the areas covered by AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Of course, you can also pan around the map to look at other areas to check coverage. Toggles at the bottom change the coverage maps to show the 2G, 3G, and 4G networks of each respective carrier as well as where you’re roaming off-network.

While you can zoom in to see more detailed coverage information for an area, seeing street-level coverage detail isn’t possible. The app’s description notes that including this level of detail would negatively affect the app’s footprint:

We can only include so much map detail in an app small enough to be downloaded wirelessly! The goal of Coverage is to give you a high level coverage overview – not neighborhood level detail or local maps around your home/office. Coverage will tell you what cities, towns, highways and counties have the best chance of a solid signal as you travel, and it works even when you are offline.

Despite the lack of street-level detail, Coverage? can still give you a good idea if Verizon or any of the other carriers included cover the areas where you live, work, and travel to most often. Of course, you could also just go to the web site of each respective carrier to view their online coverage maps but having an on-device app that provides these maps in one place that you can carry with you is easier if you need to reference them often.

Two Steps Beyond created a video describing what prompted the creation of the app and demonstrating how it can be used:

Coverage? is a universal app that works on both the iPad and iPhone though it does require iOS 4.2 and thus won’t work on the first-generation iPhone. Two Steps Beyond plans to add higher resolution coverage maps and the ability for users to collect and report their own coverage data in future updates.

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‘The Daily’ for iPad Launches

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The Daily, the iPad-specific news publication created in partnership between News Corporation and Apple, was announced at a media event in New York City today. Eddy Cue, Apple’s VP of Internet Services and News Corporation’s founder and CEO, Rupert Murdoch, were both on hand to talk about the new digital publication as indicated on the invitations sent to the media last week.

Rupert Murdoch took the stage first, thanking Steve Jobs and Apple for their support and describing the necessary evolution media must undergo to survive in this “digital Renaissance.” Talking about Apple’s tablet, Murdoch noted that, “The iPad demands that we completely re-imagine our craft.”

A demo of the app highlighted 360° photos, video, social network sharing, and the app’s primary navigation elements. The Daily will offer 100 new pages of content every day, depending on the news. It includes special sections featuring iOS app reviews and detailed sports team information and schedules.

As expected, The Daily offers a subscription method new to the App Store, billing customers automatically on a weekly or annual basis. The Daily will cost $.99 per week or $39.99 annually. Verizon is sponsoring The Daily initially, making access free for the first two weeks for all users.

During the Q&A session at the end of the event, Murdoch indicated that The Daily will eventually become available on other tablets beyond the iPad.

The Daily was released at the tail end of the press event and is available now in the App Store.

[applink url=”411516732″]

Lonely Planet Offers Apps for Free to Those Stuck in North American Snow

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Lonely Planet, the travel guide publisher, is offering several of its iPhone guide apps covering cities in the U.S. and Canada for free to those affected by the heavy snowfall across much of North America. The company’s blog states that this sale starts today and will end at 9:00 p.m. ET on Friday, February 4.

Lonely Planet last made several of its apps free in April 2010 in order to help travelers affected by the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption in Iceland. Kudos to Lonely Planet for its willingness to assist stranded travelers!

The 13 guides now free (down from $5.99 each) are linked below and include popular tourist destinations like New York City, San Francisco, and Vancouver among many others.

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Xfinity Brings In-App Movie and TV Show Viewing to iPad

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Xfinity has updated its app to allow Xfinity customers to watch movies and TV shows directly within the app on demand. The free Xfinity TV app first debuted in the App Store in November and offers Xfinity/Comcast cable service subscribers the ability to browse the program guide and control compatible Comcast Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) and set-top boxes.

The full list of what’s new in this version is as follows:

Now you can play movies and TV shows anywhere and anytime on your iPad using a Wi-Fi Internet connection! Watch all your favorites from select networks, including premium channels like HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, and more.

More enhancements:

– Improved accuracy of channel line up selection

– Greater reliability of DVR activation

You must be an Xfinity/Comcast cable subscriber to use the app. The update adds a Play Now tab on the iPad where movies from premium channels like HBO, Starz, Cinemax and others are available, though most of these require a subscription to watch. TV Shows from BBC America, TNT, the Cartoon Network and TBS are also available and free to watch.

You’ll need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network in order to watch videos within the app. Unfortunately, the ability to watch movies and TV shows is not possible on the iPhone.

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Apple Addresses Sony Reader App Rejection

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Earlier today, we reported that the Sony Reader app, which had been announced by the consumer electronics giant in November, had been rejected by Apple. Sony’s response to this rejection stated that Apple had “changed the way it enforces its rules” and the New York Times indicated (log-in required) that Apple may now be restricting users from accessing content purchased outside of apps. An Apple spokesperson refuted any such changes in a statement to All Things Digital:

“We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines,” company spokesperson Trudy Miller told me. “We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.”

While this is certainly more flexible for users since it will require apps to offer the ability to make purchases of content within an app that can be already be purchased through other methods, it is a marked change that has the potential to push some companies out of the App Store.

With every purchase in the App Store, Apple takes 30% of the revenue – this applies to in-app purchases as well. If, for example, Amazon were to sell its Kindle ebooks as an in-app purchase, it would need to yield 30% of that revenue to Apple. Currently, Amazon does not need to share ebook revenue with Apple since all purchases are handled directly through Amazon’s web site. If Apple were to force this issue, would Amazon and other retailers accept this 30% revenue sharing model or simply cease to allow their ebooks and other content to be accessed within their iOS apps? Or would they add a 30% surcharge for in-app purchases to make up for Apple’s cut?

Technically Apple’s Developer Guidelines, which were made public in September, already restrict items purchased both within and outside of apps:

11.2 Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected

11.3 Apps using IAP to purchase physical goods or goods and services used outside of the application will be rejected

However, nothing in the Purchasing and Currencies section of those guidelines stipulate the requirement described to All Things Digital by Apple.

Apple Rejects Sony Reader App

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The New York Times reported (log-in required) early this morning that Apple rejected has Sony’s ebook reader app. Sony had announced its plans for an iOS reader app in late November, promising that it would arrive in December. On its Reader Store mobile app page, Sony describes Apple’s rejection:

We would like to update everyone on the status of our Reader™ for iPhone® mobile application. We created an app that we’re very excited about, which includes all the features you’ve come to expect from a mobile reading application – including access to your existing collection, synching with your Reader Daily Edition™ and purchasing new content as is possible on other mobile platforms.

Unfortunately, with little notice, Apple changed the way it enforces its rules and this will prevent the current version of the Reader™ for iPhone® from being available in the app store. We opened a dialog with Apple to see if we can come up with an equitable resolution but reached an impasse at this time. We’re exploring other avenues to bring the Reader experience to Apple mobile devices. We know that many of you are eagerly awaiting the application and we appreciate your continued patience.

The inability to purchase ebooks from other ebook retailers within an app is not new and is not possible within the existing Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Borders apps – users are kicked to a web interface to make ebook purchases from these retailers. In our view, this is not a change in Apple’s policy if the Sony reader app offered a way to purchase Sony’s ebooks within the app, giving it different functionality compared to other ereader apps (except Apple’s own iBooks app, of course).

The New York Times did note a possible change in Apple’s policy that could be alarming if true – Apple might disallow users the ability to access content purchased outside of the App Store:

The company has told some applications developers, including Sony, that they can no longer sell content, like e-books, within their apps, or let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App Store.

This would mean, for example, that those who purchase ebooks from Amazon (which we often do ourselves) would no longer be able to access these books through the Kindle app. This would represent a drastic–and unwelcome–change in Apple’s policy in our eyes and we hope that it is not true. Apple has not made any official statement in response to what was reported by the New York Times.