As part of its ongoing WWDC 2010 event, Apple has given out its annual Apple Design Awards to notable iPhone and iPad apps. According to the company’s website, the Awards recognize apps that “demonstrate technical excellence, innovation, technology adoption, and quality.” This year’s iPhone winners included Lima Sky’s Doodle Jump, Firemint’s Real Racing, Sophiestication Software’s Articles, Steve Sprang’s Brushes, and Zolo’s 20 Minute Meals for Jamie Oliver. Among the iPad applications honored were The Financial Times’ Financial Times iPad Edition, Agile Partners’ TabToolkit, Vito Technology’s Star Walk for iPad, Firemint’s Flight Control HD, and OOO Gameprom’s Pinball HD. In an unusual move likely due to the iOS focus of this year’s conference, Apple did not include a Mac application category in its Design Awards event. [via Ars Technica]
Apple has released the Golden Master Candidate version of iOS 4, as well as iTunes 9.2 Beta, to registered iPhone developers. The iOS 4 GM Candidate is a near-final version of the next-generation iPhone and iPod touch operating system, offering a number of new features including multitasking folders, the unified Mail inbox, rotation lock, and more. iTunes 9.2 will include a number of new features, including support for iPhone 4, the ability to sync and organize books on the iPhone and iPod touch and PDFs on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, the ability to create iOS Folders from within iTunes, faster back-ups when syncing an iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4 installed, and performance improvements. Both iOS 4 GM and iTunes 9.2 Beta are available for download now from the iPhone Dev Center. Apple will launch iOS 4 on June 21 as a free upgrade for all applicable products, including the second- and third-generation iPod touch, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS; iTunes 9.2 will likely appear around this time, as well.
Update: Apple has announced that developers can start submitting iOS 4 applications for approval on June 10, 2010.
During its WWDC keynote address, Apple and several third-party developers announced notable new and upcoming app releases for the iPhone and iPod touch. Most notably, Apple announced a new version of iMovie for iPhone 4. Described by Apple as a “feature-rich video editing app,” iMovie will offer a Multi-Touch interface for selecting and editing video, with the ability to add photos customized with a Ken Burns panning effect, and soundtrack audio chosen from a built-in, custom-scored music library or from the device’s own iPod library. The app can detect audio such as conversations or narration and automatically reduce the soundtrack volume, and can export in one of three sizes—medium (640x360), large (960x540), or HD (1280x720)—with sharing options including email, MMS, MobileMe, and YouTube. Edited movies can be further enhanced by applying one of five built-in themes, with custom titles, transitions, and maps based on the geotag information of the video clips being used. iMovie will soon be available from the App Store and will sell for $5.
Activision got on stage to announce the release of Guitar Hero for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the popular music videogame for traditional consoles, Guitar Hero offers new gameplay mechanics including slide, strum, and whammy gestures, built-in social network feeds, the ability for users to personalize their in-game personas and share them with friends. Six songs, including selections from The Rolling Stones, Queen, Vampire Weekend, and The White Stripes are included, with other tracks available via in-app purchase. Guitar Hero for the iPhone and iPod touch is available now and sells for $3.
Announced for a release this summer was Netflix for the iPhone and iPod touch. Similar to the company’s well-received app for the iPad, Netflix for the iPhone and iPod touch will allow users to instantly stream movies and TV shows to their devices, with features including the ability to resume content in progress that was started on another device, queue access, and optimization for playback over 3G or Wi-Fi. Finally, Zygna announced that it will be bringing its Farmville virtual farming game to the iPhone and iPod touch, with touch screen-based controls, the ability to visit Facebook friends’ farms, and an in-app store. It will be released by the end of this month.
During his keynote address today at the company’s WWDC event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave several updates regarding the App Store. As of today, there are 225,00 apps available in the store, with 8,500 available for iPad users. iPad users have downloaded over 35 million apps thus far, for an average of 17 apps per iPad, while the App Store overall has seen over 5 billion downloads, with more than $1 billion in revenue paid out to developers. Jobs said that Apple is seeing over 15,000 new app submissions each week, with apps coming in up to 30 different languages, and despite the constant influx, 95% of all submissions are approved within seven days.
During today’s WWDC keynote address, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed several enhancements to the iBooks app for the iPad. The new version will offer highlighting and note taking, with an option to bookmark a page and have the bookmark appear in the table of contents. In addition, the new version of iBooks will offer support for reading PDF files. Jobs noted that the iBookstore has seen five million downloads in the first 65 days, for an average of 2.5 books per iPad, and offers books from five out of the six largest publishers in the U.S., taking a 22% share of eBook sales in just eight weeks. The updated version of iBooks will be released later this month.
Appremix has released an update to its Boxcar Push Notification application for the iPhone platform. Boxcar 3.0 is now a universal app, adding iPad support and a revamped inbox with a pull-down-to-refresh feature, the ability to delete individual notifications and five new notification sounds. Notably, all push notification services offered by Boxcar are now free—previous versions provided one service at no charge and required users to purchase additional notification services via in-app purchase for $1-$2 each. Instead, the new version appears to be ad-supported, with a $5 in-app purchase option for users who would like to upgrade to the ad-free version. Ads are not yet appearing in the application and it is unclear whether or not existing users who have previously purchased additional services will be required to purchase the ad-free upgrade separately. Boxcar 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free download; existing users should receive the new version automatically.
Lexcycle has released a Universal update to Stanza, its acclaimed e-book reader application. Stanza 3.0 adds native iPad support as well as support for PDF, DjVu and Comic Book Archive formats. iPad users can now transfer e-books directly onto their device using the iTunes File Sharing section as well as opening support book formats directly from web pages and e-mail attachments. Additional language support for Turkish and Bulgarian users has also been added. Stanza continues to provide support for a wide variety of e-book formats, including ePub, eReader and Mobipocket as well as direct integration with a number of e-book services from directly within the application. Stanza 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free download; existing users should receive the universal update automatically.
Google has announced that it has added iPhone and Android app results to its mobile search service. On the Google Mobile Blog, they use a search for “bank of america app” as an example, with a direct App Store link to the app appearing above the traditional search results. In addition to the link, the app result also includes the price, rating, publishers, and icon. According to the blog post, the app results will appear when the search “pertains to a mobile application and relevant, well-rated apps are found.” Google’s mobile app search results are available today in the U.S., with “other countries and devices planned for the future.”
Earlier this evening, Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave an on-stage interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher to open this year’s D: All Things Digital Conference. Jobs touched on a number of subjects, ranging from the App Store approval process to the purchase and subsequent publication of details relating to the fourth-generation iPhone. Perhaps most notably, Jobs revealed that the basis for the iPhone OS originally started as a software project for a tablet, and was only re-focused on a phone once Jobs saw the initial user interface coming together. He later made an analogy between traditional PCs and trucks and tablet computers and cars, saying that he thinks PCs will be more like trucks, and over time, less people will need them.
Asked about his own open letter regarding Apple’s stance on Flash support for the iPhone OS platform, Jobs depicted the company as having fewer resources than some competitors, and explained that it tries to look for technology that is up and coming, instead of on its way out. He noted Apple’s history of both abandoning outgoing technology earlier than competitors, such as with the 3.5-inch floppy disc in the iMac and optical drives in the MacBook Air, and adopting new, upcoming technologies earlier than others, pointing to USB support in the first iMac. He described Flash as waning, and said he only wrote the letter after Adobe publicly complained about the lack of Flash support on the iPad.
Skype Software has launched a major update to its popular Skype application for the iPhone and iPod touch, introducing the ability for users to place VoIP calls over the cellular 3G network. Although Skype-to-Skype calls over Wi-Fi will remain free, Skype has indicated plans to charge a “small monthly fee” for placing Skype-to-Skype calls over the 3G network, suggesting that 3G calling will be based on a subscription service, rather than the per-minute system currently in place for Skype-to-phone calls. These fees would be in addition to data charges already levied by the user’s carrier. Skype plans to introduce this new fee structure in 2011, and will be providing free 3G Skype-to-Skype calling until that time. The new version also implements a new codec providing “near CD-quality sound” for Skype-to-Skype calls on iPhone 3GS, iPad and second- and third-generation iPod touch devices. Other improvements include an enhanced call quality indicator, improved start-up time, and faster access to the dial pad from the iPhone home screen. Skype is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has posted an online application for authors looking to publish and sell their own works on the iBookstore. A new page on Apple’s iTunes Connect developer/media portal reveals the technical requirements for distributing content on the iBookstore, including an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.5 or later, at least 1GB of RAM, QuickTime 7.0.3 or later, at least 10GB of available hard drive space, and a broadband Internet connection. Book content needs to have an ISBN number for each title intended for distribution, and be submitted in the EPUB format, capable of passing Epubcheck 1.0.5. Finally, publishers will need a U.S. Tax ID and a valid iTunes Store account. The page also notes that Apple does not pay partners until they have reached certain payment requirements and earnings thresholds in each territory, and suggests that certain authors may receive payments faster by working with an Apple-approved aggregator. [via Mac|Life]
Apple is now allowing Canadian iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users to purchase apps using iTunes Gift Cards. Citing reader reports, iPhone in Canada notes that prior to this week, Canadian iTunes Gift Cards could only be used to purchase movies, videos, and music from the iTunes Store; the cards are sold in $15, $25, $50, and $100 dominations. The report states that Apple has yet to update its support pages relating to the topic.
Apple has started bringing its iPad-based App Store online in the nine countries in which the device will launch next week. iPad users in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK should now be able to access their local App Stores through their device by logging in with their home-country iTunes accounts. Notably, this early rollout has not yet extended to iTunes on the desktop, so only those who imported an iPad early will be able to visit the new stores. Engadget notes that the stores seem “a bit unstable” as things are being brought online; Apple will launch the iPad in all nine countries listed above on May 28.
Beejive has released an iPad version of its BeejiveIM instant messaging application. A popular IM option for iPhone users, the iPad version includes all of the same features and a redesigned interface for the iPad. BeejiveIM is a multi-platform instant messaging client, supporting connections to AIM/MobileMe, MSN/Windows Live, Yahoo, Google Talk, Facebook, MySpae, ICQ and Jabber. The application provides offline messaging via Push Notifications, persistent conversations, support for direct file transfers, SMS support for AIM and Yahoo users, and emoticon support. The iPad version also fully supports both landscape and portrait orientation and use with external keyboards. BeeJiveIM for iPad is currently available from the App Store for $6 as a special introductory price.
Netflix has released a new update to its popular movie streaming application for the iPad. Netflix 1.0.2 now allows users to output their Netflix movies from the iPad to a TV or monitor via VGA, component or composite output cables. The Netflix app provides iPad users with access to instantly rent and watch TV shows and movies from Netflix, access existing rented content from their library and manage their Netflix Queue. The Netflix app is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download and requires a Netflix membership to use.
Twitter has released the official Twitter client for the iPhone and iPod touch. Early last month Twitter announced that it had acquired the popular Tweetie app in order to develop it into an official Twitter client for the iPhone platform, with developer Lorne Brichter joining Twitter to continue developing the application under the official company banner. Twitter for the iPhone is essentially a direct update of Tweetie and retains most of the same interface design and functionality while adding a few new features to bring the user experience more in line with Twitter.com features. New features include a reorganized search that combines tweets and users, display of Top Tweets and Suggested users, the ability to sign up for Twitter from within the application and add additional accounts and more actions such as Retweet on the main actions bar. Twitter is available from the App Store for new users as a free download; existing Tweetie users will receive the new app as an update to Tweetie. An iPad version is also under development.
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.