In an atypically lengthy email exchange with Valleywag editor Ryan Tate, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made several comments explaining and defending his company’s stance relating to third-party iPhone OS development. Tate, incensed by Apple’s latest iPad commercial, wrote Jobs asking whether a 20-year-old Bob Dylan—often cited as an inspiration for Jobs—would think the iPad had anything to do with a “revolution,” stating that “[r]evolutions are about freedom.” Jobs responded positively, saying it represents freedom from “programs that steal your private data” and “trash your battery” and “[f]reedom from porn.” Quoting Dylan, Jobs added, “The times they are a changin’, and some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away. It is.”
When Tate commented that he’d “rather have a Wired magazine app that offers interactivity [referencing the mag’s demo app built on Adobe Air] than one that is a glorified PDF,” Jobs responded that “Wired is doing a native Cocoa app,” as is “almost every publisher.” Tate then argued that they were only making native Cocoa apps because they have to, to which Jobs replied that “they don’t have to. They don’t need to publish on the iPad if they don’t want to. No one is forcing them. But it appears they DO want to.” He continued, “The magazine apps will be far better in the end because they are written native. We’ve seen this movie before.” After another round of replies from Tate, Jobs summed up in his final email, “we’re just doing what we can to try and make (and preserve) the user experience we envision. You can disagree with us, but our motives are pure.”
The Iconfactory has released an update to its popular iPad Twitter client. Twitterrific for iPad 1.1 adds support for picture and video uploading via yFrog, TwitPic, Posterous, Twitgoo, img.ly or a custom image upload service. The new version also now displays images from img.ly and Tweetphoto services in a popover window, uses OAuth for Twitter authentication and supports replying to all users. The update further provides a number of other minor improvements and bug fixes, including an increased number of API calls per hour, better parsing of URLs and links containing special characters, correct reporting of new tweets and better handling of multiple popover windows. Twitterrific for iPad is available from the App Store as a free, ad-supported application; a $5 in-app “Premium” upgrade is available to remove the ads and provide multiple account support.
Apple has released updates to its iWork suite of applications for the iPad. The updates generally improve performance and reliability across all three applications and improve compatibility with importing and exporting Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents in their respective applications. The updates also add support for French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Simplified Chinese and Spanish. Pages 1.1 now displays the toolbar and ruler and automatically fits documents to the page width when working in landscape orientation. Numbers 1.1 improves reliability when importing Numbers ‘09 spreadsheets and improves compatibility with pasting information in from Keynote and Pages. Keynote 1.1 now provides an option to show additional alignment guides at smaller intervals when moving items and improves reliability with Keynote ‘09 and Microsoft Powerpoint presentations. All three iWork applications remain available on the U.S. App Store only at this time, are priced at $10 each and are a free update for existing users.
Firemint has released an update to its popular Flight Control game for the iPod and iPod touch. Flight Control 1.7 adds several new enhancements originally introduced in Flight Control HD for the iPad, including a windy airfield for additional challenges in landing planes, updated high quality graphics and added map detail, and a new “safe” fast forward option that slows the game down during collision warnings. The update also improves performance, offers better configuration of music and sound settings, and includes a longer version of the classic Flight Control theme song. Flight Control is available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for existing users.
Tapbots has released an update to its Pastebot clipboard management app for the iPhone. Pastebot 1.2 adds support for synchronizing clipboard content with multiple iPhone OS devices from a single Mac desktop. Prior to this update, Pastebot could be installed on multiple devices, and a single instance of Pastebot could be associated with more than one Mac, however each Mac could only be linked to a single device. As of version 1.2, items copied to the Mac clipboard are automatically synced to all connected devices and clipboard items can also now be shared directly between devices running Pastebot on the same local network. The application icon has also been updated in version 1.2 due to trademark issues noted by the developer in a post on the company’s blog. Pastebot is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for existing users. The free Pastebot Sync application has also been updated to v1.2 and is required for syncing clipboard content with a Mac.
Apple will be rolling out its iBooks app and iBookstore internationally alongside the iPad’s launch on Friday, May 28. Press releases from the UK, Australia, Canada, and Japan indicate that the iBooks app for iPad, including the iBookstore, will be available as a free download from the App Store on May 28; as with pricing, Apple has yet to update the press websites of many of the other countries slated to launch the iPad on that day. We will be updating this story with further details as they become available.
Update: Apple has confirmed that both Italy and Spain will also be getting iBooks and the iBookstore on May 28.
Update x2: France has also been confirmed to receive iBooks and the iBookstore on May 28.
Update x3 Germany is now confirmed for the May 28 iBooks launch as well.
Apple’s 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference has sold out in only eight days, according to an update on the event’s dedicated website. Dates for the conference, to be held June 7-11 in its traditional venue of Moscone West in San Francisco, CA, were announced on April 28; John Gruber of Daring Fireball notes that last year’s event took a month to sell out, despite the fact that it included a number of Mac OS X and IT sessions that are not being offered at this year’s WWDC. In addition to providing developer sessions, Apple has for the past three years used the event’s keynote address as a venue for iPhone-related announcements, revealing the launch date for the original iPhone in 2007, introducing the iPhone 3G at the 2008 event, and unveiling the iPhone 3GS in 2009.
New Zealand-based iPhone developer David Frampton has posted an image to his Flickr account depicting a new way for iPhone app icons to be displayed on the iPad. Instead of the current model, under which the iPhone applications’ 57x57 icons are upscaled to the higher 72x72 resolution of iPad app icons and displayed alongside, Frampton suggests Apple use black borders around the 57x57 icon to denote the application as a lower-resolution iPhone app, which also serves to remind the user that the app itself will run either in the center of the screen with black surrounds or in 2x scaled mode. Notably, Frampton is the developer behind Majic Jungle Software, the same company that recently posted a proof-of-concept video showing the upcoming game Chopper 2 being run on and output from an iPad to an HDTV while a separate iPhone is used as a controller.
Gameloft has released a new preview of its upcoming game Hero Sparta II for the iPhone and iPod touch. The preview, which can be viewed on YouTube includes the full opening cinematic trailer from the game as well as the first in-game images to be released. First announced last month, Hero of Sparta II will be a sequel to Gameloft’s highly-acclaimed Hero of Sparta. Few additional details have yet been announced beyond the preview, and no mention has yet been made of an iPad version; the initial release is expected to be for the iPhone and iPod touch only. Hero of Sparta II will be demonstrated tonight at Gameloft’s 10th Anniversary Party in Paris and is expected to be released later this year.
iPhone Developer Ricky Bloomfield has released G-Whizz, a new universal application that provides users with a single, convenient point of access to Google’s mobile web applications. Essentially a multi-tabbed browser with each tab pre-defined for a different Google service, G-Whizz allows users to log in once to their Google Account and then easily switch between screens to access their favorite Google applications. The application also provides an unread count badge for Gmail, automatic detection of e-mail links and links to other Google services, and pop-up browser windows for opening external links. Google Apps accounts are also supported for Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs while still using a normal Google Account for other services such as Google Reader. Eighteen different Google services are supported, including Gmail, Reader, Calendar, Search, Docs, Voice, Talk, Buzz, Picasa, News, YouTube and more and users can customize the button arrangement for their most commonly-used services. G-Whizz is available from the App Store for $3.
DDH Software has released a native iPad version of its popular HanDBase database application. Specifically redesigned to take advantage of native iPad features, HanDBase for iPad provides split screen views, popovers and enhanced editing capabilities. Users of the iPad version can also open and sync database files from other applications such as the iPad Mail app and backup and install databases via iTunes File Sharing. The iPad version also provides a “Desktop Connect” feature that allows users to access their databases on the iPad through any browser via Wi-Fi in order to load or save database files and import and export CSV files. As with other versions of HanDBase, iPad users can also create and edit fully relational databaes, browse the HanDBase Gallery of database designs, email records and databases to other users and take advantage of advanced features such as custom views, filters, sorting, reports with graphs and charting and advanced searches. HanDBase for iPad is available from the App Store for $10.
Apple has released the third version of iPhone OS 4 and its accompanying Software Development Kit (SDK) for the iPhone and iPod touch. As with prior beta releases, a main Xcode and SDK beta is available for download, as are pre-release builds of the iPhone OS 4 software for the iPhone 3G and 3GS, and the second- and third-generation iPod touch. Changes made in the latest beta have yet to be revealed. Both the new SDK and pre-release builds are available now for download by registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center.
ABC’s announced update to its ABC Player app for the iPad is now available. In addition to allowing video content to be streamed over a 3G data connection, the update also supports landscape orientation in all views and proper handling of the iPad’s orientation lock. Other improvements include more responsive player controls, better display of parental ratings and other bug fixes and stability enhancements. iLounge editors who have tested the update report impressive video quality over the 3G network with smooth playback and almost no pre-buffering time. The ABC Player service remains available to U.S. users only and is a free download from the U.S. App Store.
Pandora Media has released an update to its popular Pandora Radio streaming music application, adding native iPad support, album artwork and performance improvements. Now a Universal application, Pandora Radio 3.0.2 introduces an enhanced user interface for the iPad, displaying higher resolution album artwork and providing detailed background information on artists. The update also provides album artwork for iPhone and iPod touch users and improves audio streaming performance and support for older iPhone OS versions. Pandora Radio is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
Silicon Alley Insider reports that ABC is planning to release an update to its ABC Player app for the iPad that will allow video content to be streamed over a 3G data connection. Following the release of the iPad WiFi + 3G model last week iLounge discovered that the ABC Player app refused to deliver any video content when used over a 3G connection, responding with a pop-up notification advising users to “Please connect to a Wi-Fi network to use this application.” and that “Cellular networks are not supported at this time.” An ABC representative had previously told Silicon Alley Insider that the app had been designed to use Wi-Fi only “based on a variety of business and technical considerations” and it was theorized that licensing rights may have been the cause of any business issues, while the technical issues may have been due to the unavailability of lower-quality live video streams suitable for slower 3G networks. Regardless, these issues seem to now be resolved and ABC has already submitted its updated ABC Player application to the App Store, which will be available for download pending Apple’s review and approval. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple may be facing an antitrust inquiry over the company’s recent decision to ban apps made with cross-platform development tools from the App Store. Citing a person familiar with the matter, the New York Post reports that the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are in negotiations over which body will oversee the inquiry into Apple’s policy, with the decision only “days away.” According to the report, the inquiry will focus on whether or not the policy stifles competition by forcing developers to choose between building apps that only run on iPhone OS devices or apps that are able to run on a variety of competing operating systems, including those from Google, Microsoft, and Research In Motion. The report also points out that the launch of an inquiry does not mean action will be taken against Apple, instead serving to determine whether a full-scale investigation will be needed; Apple could be subpoenaed for further information should an investigation be necessary.
Distimo has released its latest monthly report on the U.S. App Store, revealing that there are now 4,870 iPad applications in the App Store. Of these, 3,437 are iPad-only apps while the remaining 1,433 are Universal applications that run on both the iPad and iPhone. The report goes on to note that the number of iPad applications on the App Store has grown by 32.7% over the past two weeks and that the largest category for iPad applications is Games, with 1,577 titles, followed by Entertainment and Books with 455 and 396 titles, respectively. The report points out that paid iPad applications make up a larger percentage of that category than paid iPhone applications and are slightly more expensive on average: The average price of an iPad app is $4.67 compared to $3.82 for an iPhone app. The report also lists the top 20 paid and free iPad and iPhone apps, revealing a number of more expensive $10 apps among the iPad top 20, with a higher average price of $5.69, as compared to a larger number of $0.99 apps in the iPhone top 20, with an average price of $2.04. The full report is available from Distimo’s site (free registration required).
Alamofire has released a native iPad version of its popular Gowalla location-based social networking application. Gowalla for the iPad allows users to share and discover locations they visit such as restaurants, coffee shops, landmarks and more. As in the iPhone version, users can check in at various locations, share their experiences on Facebook and Twitter, see places that their friends have visited and unlock bonus rewards by completing trips. Gowalla for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen has responded to statements made about his company and its Flash technology by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in his “Thoughts on Flash” open letter. Calling the technology problems mentioned by Jobs a “smokescreen,” Narayen pointed out that more than 100 applications built using Adobe’s Flash technology were accepted into the App Store. “When you resort to licensing language” to restrict this kind of cross-platform development, he said, it has “nothing to do with technology.” Narayen also said Apple’s refusal to allow cross-platform apps onto its devices makes it “cumbersome” for developers who will have to have “two workflows,” and called Jobs’ claims that Flash causes undue battery drain “patently false.” To conclude the interview, Narayen said that he is for “letting customers decide,” but that he believes the multi-platform strategy will “eventually prevail.”
HootSuite has released an update to its popular iPhone Twitter client, adding support for posting updates to Facebook and including geolocation information to Twitter posts. HootSuite 1.1.1 includes an updated interface with a pull-down-to-refresh option and also introduces translation of tweets between multiple languages, landscape mode for composing messages and a reply all feature. The update also adds Bump technology to allow iPhone users to follow other HootSuite users by bumping their iPhones together. HootSuite 1.1.1 is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for existing users.