Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, has made several comments regarding the company’s recent move to ban “overtly sexual” content from the App Store. In an interview with the New York Times, Schiller said the company was simply responding to complaints from App Store users. According to Schiller, the company had received “an increasing number of apps containing very objectionable content” from a small number of developers. “It came to the point where we were getting customer complaints from women who found the content getting too degrading and objectionable, as well as parents who were upset with what their kids were able to see,” Schiller said. He added, “[w]e obviously care about developers, but in the end have to put the needs of the kids and parents first.”
Some developers, such as Fred Clarke of the company On the Go Girls, had their entire catalogs removed from the store. “I’m shocked,” said Clarke, who said the company had not had a problem with its applications since the first one went on sale last June. “We’re showing stuff that’s racier than the Disney Channel, but not by much.” Clark also said the company had been making thousands of dollars per day from App Store sales. “It’s very hard to go from making a good living to zero,” he added. “This goes farther than sexy content. For developers, how do you know you aren’t going to invest thousands into a business only to find out one day you’ve been cut off?” When asked about apps such as the Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue app, which remains in the store despite offering content similar to that found in many of the banned apps, Schiller said Apple takes the source and intent of the apps into consideration. He said, “[t]he difference is this is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format.”
Following a report from last week suggesting that Apple was banning “overtly sexual” content from the App Store, Apple offered a brief statement on the matter in response to an inquiry from iLounge. “Whenever we receive customer complaints about objectionable content we review them,” said Apple representative Trudy Miller. “If we find these apps contain inappropriate material we remove them and request the developer make any necessary changes in order to be distributed by Apple.” The statement references an application removal notice from Apple previously posted online, stating that the company had received “numerous complaints” about sexual content on the App Store, and that it had changed its guidelines appropriately. After publication of the notice, application tracking site AppShopper.com released a graph showing over 5,000 application removals from February 17-20.
Bell Mobility has released a Mobile TV app for iPhone owners on the Bell 3G network in Canada. The Bell Mobile TV application allows Bell iPhone users to subscribe to and view streaming live TV over a 3G data connection. Three subscription packages are available: Live NHL Games coverage is included in several Bell Mobility package bundles while seven channels of standard live TV are available for $8 per month and coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games is available for a one-time fee of $10. The Bell Mobile TV service is available only on the Bell 3G network and data usage is charged in addition to the subscription packages, with data usage estimated at 9MB per one minute of streamed video. The Bell Mobile TV application is available on the Canadian App Store as a free download.
Konami Digital Entertainment has released Draw Parking, a new puzzle game that challenges players to park virtual cars using the touchscreen. Players must draw a path to a parking spot while avoiding obstacles like pedestrians and other vehicles, racing against the clock to advance to the next level and gain points based on accuracy and neatness. The game includes 20 distinct vehicle styles and 30 different levels spanning the US., Europe and Asia. Draw Parking is available on the App Store for $1.
Dynamo Games has released The Crystal Maze for iPhone and iPod touch, a video game adaption of the cult UK game show of the same name. Featuring appearances by the show’s host, Richard O’Brien, The Crystal Maze recreates the experience of the TV game show, providing the same theme music and sounds and four challenging games from the original zones: Medieval, Futuristic, Aztec and Industrial. Players can choose to play in either a full TV Show Campaign mode or try individual games in Challenge mode and post their best times to a global OpenFeint leaderboard. A soundboard mode provides 16 classic quotes and sounds from the TV show that can be played on demand for fans of the original TV show. The Crystal Maze is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch devices running OS 3.0 or later and is available on the App Store for $3.
Google has released an update to its Google Mobile App, adding support for Search by Voice for second- and third-generation iPod touch models. Originally released in late 2008, the Google Mobile app is supported on all iPhone OS devices, however the ability to search by voice was originally limited to the iPhone only. This latest update allows iPod touch users with an external microphone to access Voice Search and provides other related stability improvements. Google Mobile App is available on the App Store as a free download and is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch devices running OS 2.0 or later. The Search by Voice feature requires an iPhone or a second- or third-generation iPod touch.
Apple has modified its iPhone SDK agreement to allow for both sweepstakes and contests within applications. The new rule, found in section 3.3.17, states, “Your Application may include promotional sweepstake or contest functionality provided that You are the sole sponsor of the promotion and that You and Your Application comply with any applicable laws,” adding that developers must “clearly state in binding official rules for each promotion that Apple is not a sponsor of, or responsible for conducting, the promotion.” The first application to take advantage of the new rules is available in the App Store for $1, and is tied to a sweepstakes running through March 16 in which one winner a day will receive “up to $1,000.” Notably, the app’s description says that the actual amount is dependent on sponsor discretion, and as the app otherwise offers little to no utility, we would advise readers to exercise extreme caution before purchasing or participating in promotions of this kind. [via TUAW]
Open Door Networks has released Art Authority, a new application that allows users to view a comprehensive collection of artwork directly on the iPhone or iPod touch. Art Authority provides access to works from over 1000 major artists, organized by period from ancient times to contemporary, with a database of over 40,000 paintings and sculptures. Device-optimized images are stored on Open Door’s servers and downloaded on demand, conserving space on the iPhone and providing a catalog that can be updated as needed. The application also provides detailed captions for each image and in-depth information on the periods and artists. Users can zoom and rotate images, save images, or display a full-screen slideshow with their own background music. Art Authority is compatible with the iPhone and iPod touch using OS 3.0 and available on the App Store for $10. An iPad version is also being developed.
WaKi Apps has released a new Travel Health guide for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed in collaboration with renowned Australian Travel Medicine Specialist Dr. Deborah Mills, Travel Health provides a comprehensive reference guide specifically designed to help users look after their health when travelling overseas. The application provides information on common medical conditions encountered by travellers, a drug reference table with generic and brand names for various medications around the world and guidance on when professional medical advice should be sought. Users can also quickly search for common symptoms, perform advanced searches and bookmark pages for quick reference. Travel Health will sell for $10 and is available on the App Store as a free download for a limited time.
VeriCorder Technology has released VC Audio Pro, a multi-track sound editing application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Designed for broadcast and podcast applications, VC Audio Pro allows users to record and edit high-quality audio and transmit it over a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. The application provides full multitrack editing capabilities with advanced tools for sound mixing and volume normalization. Developed by Gary Symons, a former mobile journalist for CBC News, VC Audio Pro aims to fill what he felt was a growing need in the broadcast industry for a powerful and simple sound editor that can be used anywhere. The application is designed to be compatible with most major newsroom systems for instant integration and playout but can also be easily used for radio networks, universities and podcast hosting sites. VC Audio Pro is available from the App Store for $6.
An application removal notice sent by Apple to a developer suggests the company is cracking down on sexual content in the App Store. In the e-mail, published online by TechCrunch, Apple explains that the app “contains content that we had originally believed to be suitable for distribution. However, we have recently received numerous complaints from our customers about this type of content, and have changed our guidelines appropriately.” Apple goes on to say that it has “decided to remove any overtly sexual content from the App Store.” The report notes that attempts to purchase other sexually charged applications, such as “Exotic Positions” and “Sexy Women,” were met with errors indicating the apps were no longer available, while other applications, such as “Beautiful Boobs” and “Sex Strip” were still available for download, suggesting that Apple’s removal process of such applications may still be ongoing.
In an update to its iPhone Developer Program news and announcements page, Apple has revealed that it has added several new countries to the App Store. New countries receiving App Store support include Armenia, Botswana, Bulgaria, Jordan, Kenya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, Tunisia, and Uganda. The update states that developers can “log in to iTunes Connect to view and update the countries where your applications are available,” however, Mac Rumors notes that paid applications require the developer to sign contracts for new countries before the applications can appear.
Zirak Mobile has released a new application for photographing and sending out documents directly from the iPhone. Scanner&Fax; allows users to take pictures of documents with the iPhone camera, enhance them and organize them into multi-page PDF files. The resulting PDF documents can be transferred to a computer over Wi-Fi, saved to Google Docs, iDisk or WebDAV, or sent via e-mail or fax. Faxes are sent via the InterFax online fax service and users can include a cover page with their document or send a cover-only fax. The app can automatically enhance photographed documents or the user can manually adjust settings such as brightness, contrast and color intensity and correct perspective deformations. Scanner&Fax requires an iPhone 3GS with OS 3.1 or later and is available on the App Store for $6. Faxing capabilities require the user to set up an account with the InterFax service.
Developer Ngmoco, known for popular games such as Rolando and Star Defense, is reportedly planning to shift to a “Freemium” pricing model for its game lineup, doing away with charging up front for titles. Already found in games such as Eliminate and Touch Pets Dogs, the free-to-play approach gives away the games for free and relies on in-app purchases to generate revenue by selling additional content and power-ups within each game. In an interview with Gamasutra, Ngmoco VP Alan Yu cited high piracy rates and the difficulty in selling iPhone games at higher price points as partial reasons for this change.
Unfortunately, the highly-anticipated Rolando 3 does not fit into this new free-to-play pricing model. Speaking with IGN, Ngmoco founder and CEO Neil Young indicated that Rolando 2 had not quite met the company’s sales expectations and confirmed that Rolando 3 has been put on hold until such time as ngmoco could decide the best way in which to deliver the Rolando franchise effectively as free-to-play games. [via Touch Arcade]
AllAboutApps has released an update to AppBox Pro, its popular multipurpose iPhone application. AppBox Pro is a collection of small utility apps that provide features such as battery life information, unit conversions, date calculations, tip calculators, translations and much more. The new version adds support for themes and background images, a secure wallet app, a calculator on numeric entry keypads, and a strobe feature in the flashlight tool. The update also adds nine new languages to the translation tool and twelve new countries in the Holidays tool. AppBox Pro is available on the App Store for $1 and is a free update for existing users.
Google has purchased reMail, a mail account searching service, and has pulled the company’s app from the iTunes Store. In an update on his personal blog, reMail founder and former Gmail engineering intern Gabor Cselle writes that “Google and reMail have decided to discontinue reMail’s iPhone application, and we have removed it from the App Store… If you already have reMail, it will continue to work. We’ll even provide support for you until the end of March, and we’ve enabled all paid reMail features for you: You can activate these by clicking ‘Restore Purchases’ inside the app. reMail downloads email directly from your email provider to your phone, and your personal information, passwords, and email are never sent to or stored on our servers.” It is unclear whether Google has plans to re-launch the app under its own brand, or integrate the feature into its current Gmail service.
Bongiovi Acoustics, developers of the Digital Power Station (DPS) audio enhancement technology used in the iHome iP1 speakers, has announced a new DPS Plug-in for iTunes. The plug-in, released initially for Mac OS X users, promises to enhance the sound of any Mac’s connected speakers or headphones. A version for iTunes for Windows is planned for later this year.
According to the company, the plug-in is designed to improve the brightness and clarity of compressed audio files while providing richer and deeper bass response, analyzing the audio signal in real-time and optimizing it for play back through the user’s audio system. The plug-in uses profiles with calibration settings that have been custom-turned by the company for the intended playback device. Additional profiles for specific devices can also be downloaded by the plug-in. The DPS Plug-in is available for $30; a trial version is available.
Apple has quietly increased the limit for over-the-air downloads from the App Store and iTunes Store on the iPhone. Until recently only content under 10MB in size could be downloaded over an EDGE or 3G connection—downloading of larger apps and media content had to be done over Wi-Fi. This limit now appears to have been increased to 20MB in both the App Store and iTunes Store on the device, allowing users to download larger applications and video content. The exact reason for this change is not clear, although it could be related to the impending release of the iPad, improvements in carrier bandwidth, or simply a desire to allow users to have anywhere access to larger applications on the App Store.
Vimov has added support for Apple’s iPad Simulator to its iSimulate developer utility. iSimulate is an iPhone app and Xcode library bundle that lets iPhone developers wirelessly control their applications and games from an actual iPhone or iPod touch unit. The new version of iSimulate allows developers to utilize the multitouch screen, accelerometer, GPS, and compass of the iPhone or iPod touch units to control iPad applications running within the iPad simulator, features that are not available via Mac-based controls. The updated version of iSimulate is available now from the App Store for $10, down from its normal price of $16; a free Lite version is also available.
ALK Technologies has announced that it plans to include local Internet search as a standard feature in its CoPilot Live GPS navigation application for the iPhone. Local search was previously available only as a Premium feature via an in-app purchase. The integrated local search feature enables users to search for services and products directly within the CoPIlot application and be directed to the appropriate destination. Live Local Search will be available in CoPilot Live for North America, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. ALK plans to add the free Live Local Search in a forthcoming App Store update to the iPhone app.