Archive for June, 2011

Apple Backpedals on In-App Subscription Pricing

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

As reported by our sister site MacRumors early this morning, Apple has changed the pricing guidelines for in-app purchases that it first rolled out in February, removing a requirement that made selling content within apps much less appealing to publishers.

Previously, Apple required that publishers offer content via in-app purchase at the same or a lower price than available outside of the app. The updated App Store Review Guidelines now make no mention of such a requirement, a change that is certain to be welcomed by publishers looking to maintain profit margins on content sold through the App Store after Apple’s 30% cut.

The old language in the App Store Review Guidelines was as follows:

11.13 Apps can read or play approved content (magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video) that is sold outside of the app, for which Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues, provided that the same content is also offered in the app using IAP at the same price or less than it is offered outside the app. This applies to both purchased content and subscriptions.

This section now reads as follows, with section 11.14 providing additional clarification on content purchased outside of an app:

11.13 Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, such as a “buy” button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected

11.14 Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app

Apple made this change quietly – no press release or other official announcement has been made about it. I’m not quite sure what prompted Apple to make this change but it’s definitely a good one for users of iOS devices who are sure to benefit from it as publishers move to make more content available within apps without pricing restrictions from Apple.

‘Evernote Peek’ Turns Your iPad 2 with Smart Cover into Study Tool

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Evernote, the California-based company that provides services and tools to save and archive notes, has released Evernote Peek for the iPad 2. Peek is a study aid meant to work with Apple’s magnetic Smart Cover as a self-quiz question and answer tool.

Evernote Peek is the first app designed for the iPad 2 Smart Cover! Studying with an iPad has never been more natural. Simply peek under the cover to prepare for a quiz, practice a language or strengthen your memory.

Here’s how it works:

  • Choose a notebook to study
  • Close the Smart Cover
  • Peek under the cover to see a clue, lift the cover more to see the answer
  • Repeat

Closing the Smart Cover advances the app to the next clue. If you get one wrong, tap the box marked incorrect–you’ll be able to re-test the incorrect ones.

Evernote has created a video to demonstrate how Peek works:

You can create your own content to use with Evernote Peek – this requires an Evernote account which is free for basic service or $5.00 per month for a premium account.

Evernote Peek is available for free in the App Store and will only work on the iPad 2 with a Smart Cover (or any similar cover that utilizes the iPad 2’s magnetically-activated sleep/wake function). This is the first app we’ve seen explicitly made to work with an accessory in this manner and it looks like a legitimately handy tool if you like to pop quiz yourself to prepare for tests.

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Apple Announces 2011 Design Award Winners

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Apple announced the winners of its 2011 Design Awards yesterday at WWDC to recognize iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps that demonstrated excellence in design, innovation and technical excellence. To be eligible, apps had to be available in the iOS and Mac App stores by May 23. The selected winners receive an Apple Design Award trophy as well as other prizes.

The 2011 Apple Design Award winners are as follows:


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Congratulations to all the winners! We haven’t spent time with all of the apps chosen but the ones we are familiar with, including Infinity Blade, Cut the Rope, djay for iPad, and Osmos for iPad, are definitely stand-outs in the App Store whose selection did not surprise us.

Apple Releases iTunes 10.3

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Following yesterday’s slew of announcements about iOS 5, iCloud and Lion at the WWDC keynote event, Apple has released iTunes 10.3 that includes iTunes in the Cloud for automatic downloading of purchased music, including previously-purchased songs, to multiple devices and other features.

What’s new in iTunes 10.3

Introducing iTunes in the Cloud beta. The music you purchase in iTunes appears automatically on all your devices. You can also download your past iTunes purchases. Where you want, when you want.

Automatic Downloads. Purchase music from any device or computer and automatically download a copy to your Mac and iOS devices.

• Download Previous Purchases. Download your past music purchases again at no additional cost. Your purchases are available in the iTunes Store on your Mac or in the iTunes app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Previous purchases may be unavailable if they are no longer on the iTunes Store.

• iTunes 10.3 also adds Books to the iTunes Store, where you can discover and buy your favorite books on your computer and automatically download them to iBooks on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. This version also allows you to use Automatic Downloads with apps and books or download previously purchased apps and books from your computer or iOS device.

With iTunes 10.3 you can now browse the offerings of the iBookstore on a computer, a task that was previously only possible on an iOS device through the free iBooks app. iBooks purchases still cannot be read on a computer, however, and are only accessible through iBooks on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

On a Mac, iTunes 10.3 requires OS 10.5 or later. On a PC, iTunes 10.3 requires Windows XP Service Pack 2 or 32- or 64-bit versions of Vista or Windows 7 (64-bit versions require a different iTunes installer). iTunes 10.3 can be downloaded from Apple’s site here.

Apple Announces iCloud Storage, Syncing, and Back-up Service

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Also announced at today’s WWDC keynote was Apple’s new iCloud service, a more robust replacement for MobileMe that offers over-the-air storage and synchronization features for email, contacts, calendar, photos, documents, app data and music. iCloud will be available with 5GB of storage for free in the fall when iOS 5 is released.

iTunes in the Cloud, a subset of iCloud that is available starting today (it requires iOS 4.3.3 and iTunes 10.3), will offer automatic downloads of purchased music from iTunes to all iOS devices. A complementary iTunes Match service, which won’t be available until the fall, will identify songs in your iTunes library not obtained from but available in the iTunes Store and provide access to high-quality versions of them immediately for $24.99 per year.

Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it’s integrated into our apps you don’t even need to think about it—it all just works.

iCloud will automatically back up purchased music, apps, ebooks, and app data, and device settings during charging and will restore new devices with existing data wirelessly as well. iCloud will also offer document storage with automatic sharing to all iOS devices. Third-party apps will also be able to access documents stored there.

iCloud will also offer a new Photo Stream service to automatically upload and store pictures captured with an iOS device and push them to your other iOS devices and computers. Photo Stream pictures will not count toward the 5GB storage limit included with a free account.

Additional storage beyond the 5GB included for free will be available for purchase though pricing has not yet been announced.

Apple Previews iOS 5 with Notification Center, OTA Updates, Wi-Fi iTunes Syncing, More

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Wow. That was a crazy WWDC keynote with a ton of announcements and new features in iOS 5. What will be new in iOS 5, you ask? Here’s the hit list (you can read Apple’s complete press release here and see a video about iOS 5 here):

Notification Center

Notifications will be consolidated and accessible in a single area that can be accessed by swiping down from the status bar. They won’t be obtrusive anymore and will slide down from the status bar as they arrive without interrupting what you’re currently doing. Hurrah!

“PC Free”

New iOS devices will no longer need a computer to be activated or get firmware updates, which will all be possible via Wi-Fi or 3G in iOS 5.

Sync with iTunes via Wi-Fi

iOS device owners can go truly wireless with this one. iOS devices will automatically sync with your iTunes library over Wi-Fi automatically.


This is a new messaging app for all iOS devices that looks a lot like the current Messages app for the iPhone. It will let iOS device owners send text, picture and video messages to each other over Wi-Fi and 3G. Messages will be pushed to all iOS devices a user owns and will offer delivery and read receipts as well as real-time typing indication.

Twitter integration

As rumored, Twitter will be integrated into iOS and easily accessible for sharing within Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube, and Maps. Contacts can also be updated with Twitter handles automatically.

Camera enhancements

The Camera app will not escape unscathed, getting a lock screen shortcut for quicker access and the ability to use the volume up button to activate the shutter (I wonder how developer tap tap tap feels now about Apple’s decision to remove Camera+ from the App Store last year over this feature). Also, photos editing will be possible with cropping, rotating, and red eye reduction.

New apps: Reminders and Newsstand

Reminders will be a to do list app with geolocation capabilities to trigger reminders based on your location. Newsstand is an iBooks equivalent for magazines and newspapers.

Other new features are as follows:

  • Game Center, now with the ability to add photos to your profile, purchase new games from within the Game Center app and easier ways to find friends and new games;
  • Mail enhancements which include the ability to compose messages using draggable addresses, and a new formatting bar with bold, italics, underline and indention controls;
  • AirPlay® Mirroring to wirelessly display everything you do on your iPad 2 right on your HDTV through Apple TV®; and
  • a system-wide split keyboard to make it even easier to type on your iPad.

Apple did not announce a specific availability date, stating that iOS 5 will be released for all compatible devices in the fall. A seed will be available for iOS developers today. Compatible devices include the iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 5, 3rd- and 4th-generation iPod touch, iPad, and iPad 2.

If you want to watch the keynote yourself, Apple is now streaming it here.

Mac OS X Lion to Be Available via Mac App Store in July for $29.99

Monday, June 6th, 2011

At today’s WWDC keynote, Apple executives previewed the next version of the Macintosh operating system dubbed Lion and announced that it will be available for purchase only via the Mac App Store as a compact 4GB upgrade from Snow Leopard priced at $29.99.

The Mac has outpaced the PC industry every quarter for five years running and with OS X Lion we plan to keep extending our lead,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “The best version of OS X yet, Lion is packed with innovative features such as new Multi-Touch gestures, system-wide support for full screen apps, and Mission Control for instantly accessing everything running on your Mac.

With over 250 new features in Lion only a handful were highlighted today, several of which had already been previewed by Apple at other events and on Apple’s site. Retail sales head Phil Schiller demonstrated multi-touch gestures, applications in full-screen mode, the new Mission Control application and window management system, and more.

Photo Booth will get facial recognition features while the Mac App Store will be built into Lion and in-app purchases, which are already common in iOS apps, will be possible for Mac apps. The new Resume feature will re-open applications to the way they were when last used and Lion will automatically save documents to prevent data loss and actively manage versions to preserve disk space.

Another new feature is AirDrop which is a way to share files wirelessly between computers. Macs on the same Wi-Fi network running AirDrop will be visible to each other and files can be dragged and dropped onto the icon for each user to be shared.

Mail will receive a major overhaul in Lion, getting an interface much like the Mail app on the iPad with a split view showing a message list on the left and individual message content on the right. The display of email conversations also gets an upgrade as does searching capability.

Lion will be available some time in July.

‘Expo Bingo’ Turns WWDC Announcements into a Game

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Apple’s WWDC keynote will be taking place today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific / 1:00 p.m. Eastern and the rumors are flying about what will be revealed. Apple already announced last week that the event will focus on iOS 5, its new iCloud service, and Mac OS X Lion though surprisingly few leaks so far provide any specific details to date.

If you’ll be keeping an eye on what happens at WWDC and want to make things a little more fun, Handelabra Studio has released Expo Bingo to help you keep track of the announcements with a customized bingo game. Squares on the WWDC card include possibilities like “iPhone 5″ and “Something Totally New” among several plausible and not-so-plausible announcements. Bingo cards are also available for keynotes at E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo which also starts today, and other events upon user request.

While there are no real prizes to be won, you can play along with the virtual audience and tweet your results. Expo Bingo is available for free and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

When it comes to what’s expected at WWDC, we’re most excited about iOS 5 and a revamped notification system. Last night TechCrunch posted a purported screenshot of iOS 5 showing a new notification system and they’re hearing that what’s shown in the image is the “right idea” about what’s coming in the next version iOS.

Image courtesy of TechCrunch

Our sister site MacRumors will be covering the WWDC keynote live at and via Twitter through the @MacRumorsLive account. We’ll also summarize the announcements here in case you can’t catch any live coverage.

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Apple Releases Official WWDC iOS App

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

If you’re one of the lucky developers who managed to get pass to attend Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference before they sold out in under 12 hours in late March, Apple has released an official WWDC app to help you navigate the conference.

WWDC 2011 is a free universal app that will allow attendees to make reservations at the various labs, view daily schedules of all events, create a customized schedule, see event-related announcements, and navigate Moscone West using the included maps.

WWDC kicks off on Monday, June 6 with a keynote speech hosted by CEO Steve Jobs and other Apple executives. Apple announced earlier this week that the topics of the keynote will include iOS 5, Apple’s new iCloud service, and Mac OS X Lion.

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iMovie and GarageBand for iOS Get New Features, Enhancements

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Apple updated its iMovie and GarageBand iOS apps yesterday adding new features, bug fixes, and more. Most notably, GarageBand now supports audio out via AirPlay and Bluetooth accessories while both GarageBand and iMovie can now play audio through through Apple’s own Digital AV Adapter accessory.

iMovie was first released for the iPhone 4 last June. iMovie gained universal status for compatibility with the iPad in March when GarageBand for iOS was first released.

The full list of what’s new in version 1.2.1 of iMovie is as follows:

  • Audio plays from your HDTV when using the Apple Digital AV Adapter.
  • Video plays full screen from Marquee to your HDTV when using the Apple Digital AV Adapter.
  • Resolves some cases of missing media in projects.
  • Provides more accurate clip grouping by date in Video browser.
  • Fixes an issue where a project’s background music would not fade in or out.
  • Additional performance and reliability improvements.

The list of changes for GarageBand version 1.0.1 includes the following:

  • Support for audio output over AirPlay, Bluetooth devices and HDMI with the Apple Digital AV Adapter.
  • Import of AIFF, WAV, CAF audio files and Apple Loops (16 bit, 44.1 kHz).
  • Allows copy and paste of audio from supported apps into GarageBand.
  • Addresses occurrences of GarageBand freezing while playing Smart Instruments.
  • Improves overall stability and addresses a number of minor issues

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