Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to Pivotal, makers of the iPhone and iPod touch stand Podium, claiming it infringes on the company’s “Pod” trademark. A portion of the letter, published by TUAW, states “[t]he term POD has also been adopted and used extensively in the marketplace by consumers as an abbreviation to refer to Apple’s IPOD player. The IPOD and POD marks indicate to consumers that a broad range of products, including portable electronic devices, computer software, and related goods and services bearing those marks and marks similar thereto originate from or are sponsored or endorsed by Apple.”
While Apple has in the past gone after companies who lacked a logical defense against such a claim, as Pivotal’s president Scott Baumann points out, “If you look at our product and then look up the word Podium in the dictionary, I think it becomes pretty clear where our branding inspiration came from.” The letter goes on to allege that the Podium’s design mimics the stands of recent iMac models, that Pivotal’s website apes Apple’s brand stylization, and also covers Pivotal’s upcoming FlyPod product. Pivotal is currently seeking legal advice on the matter.
Apple has posted a streaming Quicktime video of its iPhone OS 3.0 event, held yesterday on Apple’s campus in Cupertino, CA. The video is roughly one hour and thirty minutes long, and contains several demonstrations of iPhone OS 3.0-enabled applications, as well as new features. Apple is expected to release iPhone OS 3.0 this summer.
SwitchEasy has introduced its new ThumbTacks Micro-Microphone for the iPod nano 4G, iPod touch 2G, and iPod classic (120GB). Designed to look like a slightly-oversized push pin, the ThumbTacks features an integrated microphone, and a 3.5mm jack that plugs directly into the iPod, allowing users to make audio recordings with the built-in application. Available now in black, white, or red, ThumbTacks sell for $13.
This week’s featured photo is from our iPods Around the World gallery, and shows a fourth-generation iPod nano at sunset in Campagnola, Italy. To share your photos and to be considered for our Photo of the Week, you simply need to submit your own photo to one of our galleries. So get out there, take some pictures with your iPod or iPhone, and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!
The following screenshots show off a Bluetooth-unlocked iPod touch 2G running the new iPhone OS 3.0 software. You can view the entire collection by clicking on the title of this article. Additional images, including one showing a new Encrypted iPod Backup feature in iTunes 8.1, have also been added.
Updated! We’ve added a collection of iPhone 3G screenshots of iPhone OS 3.0. Thanks to our source, “Mr. F,” for both sets of images!
Despite the large number of user requests that were answered in Apple’s preview of iPhone OS 3.0, there remain several unresolved issues.
Adobe Flash support: When asked what Apple was doing in regards to Adobe Flash support on the iPhone, the company’s trio of executives danced around the question, stating that they had nothing to announce today, and going on to talk about the expanded video and audio support in iPhone OS 3.0. Apple’s true intentions regarding Flash support remain unclear, although if today’s event and subsequent Q&A session are any indication, it’s not a high priority at this time.
App Store acceptance policies: While Apple touted the large number of applications available on the App Store, the strong developer response, and the expanded range of APIs developers will have access to, it said little to shed light on the semi-mysterious App Store acceptance policies. In response to the lone question asked on the topic, Apple Senior VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said, “96% [of submitted apps] are approved, but there are things we have to watch out for. There have been issues, issues about content that’s available to children for instance. But at the end of the day, we have a great solution that’s working, and we’re constantly making it better.”
iPhone/iPod touch hardware limitations: In announcing iPhone OS 3.0’s summer launch date, Greg Joswiak indicated that some of the new features would be limited to certain hardware, saying, “For instance, A2DP and MMS won’t be available on the iPhone 1st gen.” However, he did not elaborate on exactly which features would be available for which devices, leaving users to wonder as to what features their device will support.
Display Technology changes: Also absent from today’s announcement was any talk of display technology changes. As mentioned prior to the event , the iPhone OS’ user interface is currently optimized for devices with 480x320 resolution displays. Any change in this resolution, whether to go larger or smaller, would require a lot of work for developers, and as this was not brought up during the event, it appears unlikely that Apple plans to release a higher-resolution iPhone or iPhone OS-based device anytime soon.
Dock Connector and Wireless Keyboard and Controller Support: Even in response to a direct question regarding keyboard support in iPhone OS 3.0, Apple was unwilling to commit to certain specific Dock Connector and wireless devices that would be able to interface with the iPhone and iPod touch using iPhone OS 3.0. Examples of devices that could work included diabetes glucose testers, FM transmitters, and speakers, however, the company declined to say that a human interface device (HID) driver would be available for use by iPhone applications and games.
Shortly following Apple’s release of the second-generation iPod touch, which unexpectedly added Nike + iPod receiver functionality to the touchscreen device, a hardware teardown by iFixit revealed the presence of a Broadcom BCM4325 chip with integrated Bluetooth support. The chip was determined at the time to be used for communication with the optional Nike + iPod Sensor accessory, but had no other known purpose.
During the iPhone OS 3.0 Event today, Apple announced that it would be unlocking the Bluetooth functionality of this chip upon the release of the new software, enabling features such as AD2P Stereo Bluetooth streaming, wireless gaming, and other application-to-application communications to be used by developers. It is unclear whether Apple will make all of the Bluetooth features of iPhone OS 3.0, including monaural headset support for phone calling, available to second-generation iPod touch users.
The following is a list of third-party developers and applications that were selected by Apple for live demonstration during the iPhone OS 3.0 event today.
Meebo: Having created a popular web app for iPhone and iPod touch instant messaging before the release of the App Store, this developer demonstrated a multi-service instant messaging client that was capable of handling background notifications, a feature that enables users to receive messages even when the program is not open and active on the screen.
Electronic Arts The Sims 3: Another version of the company’s “monitor and guide peoples’ lives” game, demonstrating how characters can use real-world cash through iTunes to buy items in the game, somewhat disgustingly including a $1 stereo that lets you hear your own iPod’s music during the game. Let’s hope that one doesn’t make it into the actual title.
Oracle: Known for its database and enterprise software, Oracle demonstrated how information passed from Oracle’s servers to an iPhone client app can be used to provide background indicators and alerts even when the app is not running.
ESPN: Showed new application functionality enabling users to receive sports scores as background notifications, as well as seeing streaming sports videos that have been optimized to the bandwidth you actually have. The iPhone OS has gained support for HD-quality video and audio streaming, explained Apple, though no indication was given as to why users might need that on a 480x320 screen.
LifeScan Diabetes Monitor: A demonstration of how medical monitoring applications could interact with Dock Connector or wireless accessories such as a diabetes glucose meter, which could communicate to the iPhone a user’s current sugar level, track them over time, and make recommendations on proper meal planning.
Ngmoco TouchPets: Inspired by Nintendo’s Nintendogs, this app showed how users could invite one another to interact with their in-game pet dogs, and make purchases of in-game dog clothing as transactions through the App Store.
Ngmoco LiveFire: A newly announced first-person shooter, LiveFire somewhat resembles Nintendo’s and Rare’s classic Perfect Dark, and enables users to play against each other in an online multiplayer mode, complete with in-game voice chat. Again, microtransactions were shown off, with Ngmoco suggesting that it would sell individual weapons for $1 each.
Smule Leaf Trombone: World Stage: A demonstration of a sequel to the popular Ocarina application that enabled players to perform music and share it with others around the world. Leaf Trombone lets two people play together in a room using Bluetooth wireless, or multiple people play together over a global multiplayer system.
In addition to announcing a number of new consumer features and developer features like accessory compatibility and in-app purchases, Apple today revealed a number of other new technologies that will be available to developers in iPhone OS 3.0.
Push Notifications: First unveiled at last year’s WWDC conference and planned for release last fall, Apple will finally offer third-party developers a way to send small notifications to users about incoming messages and new content without the need to leave programs running in the background. As described last year, the developers’ servers will stay in contact with an Apple-run notification server, which will push the messages directly to the user when necessary. This feature is expected to consume roughly 20% additional battery life when turned on.
Peer to Peer: Peer to Peer is a new device connectivity feature that uses Apple’s Bonjour technology to let applications automatically discover one another and communicate over a Bluetooth connection. No pairing will be necessary, and although Apple pointed out the feature’s usefulness for close-quarters wireless gaming, Peer to Peer will also be available for traditional applications.
Google Maps and Turn-by-Turn Navigation: Third-party developers will, in iPhone OS 3.0, be able to add Google Maps directly into their applications using a new Maps API, instead of having to provide their own implementation. Additionally, developers will be able to use the OS’ Core Location features to provide turn-by-turn directions, but will need to supply their own maps when using turn-by-turn functionality due to licensing agreements.
iPod Library Access, Proximity Sensor, and More: Mentioned in a large graphic alongside other common APIs were new calls for iPod library access, letting third-party applications play music directly from the device’s library and potentially opening the door to an iPhone-based DJ application, and for the Proximity Sensor, which Google notably accessed via an unpublished API in its Google Search application. In addition, developers will gain APIs for accessing the battery, a standard audio recorder, and a pre-configured shake implementation.
At the start of its iPhone OS 3.0 event today, Apple announced a collection of statistics regarding the growth of the iPhone OS X platform, including:
Over 30M Devices. Apple disclosed that 17 million iPhones and over 13 million iPod touches have been sold so far, for a total of over 30 million iPhone OS devices.
App Store Countries. Fifteen additional countries are being added as App Store countries, bringing the total to 77.
App Store Downloads. As of now, there are over 25,000 applications in the App Store, downloaded collectively over 800 million times.
App Store Approvals. The 25,000 applications represent a 96% approval rate for the total pool of submissions. Of those, 98% of approved apps received approvals in seven days or less.
Fielding questions at the end of the event, Apple executives noted that while the App Store’s submission process wasn’t perfect, the turnaround time has improved, and some of the persistent issues arise from things Apple’s team is spending a lot of time looking out for: essentially, stability issues and content that isn’t suitable for children, pornography, and profanity in titles. The company made no promise to change or improve the process further, relying instead on its commitments to enabling new functionality in the iPhone OS 3.0 software unveiled during the event.
In keeping with past releases of the iPhone OS software for the iPhone and iPod touch, Apple today announced that the iPhone and iPhone 3G versions of iPhone OS 3.0 will be free for current iPhone users, and that the iPod touch version will be available for $10. Slides at the event, interestingly, depicted the iPhone as receiving a new Voice Memos application previously announced in the presentation, while the iPod touch was shown without the application; it is unclear whether Apple will attempt to charge iPod touch users separately for the voice recording functionality. iPod nano and iPod classic users have a free integrated application for this purpose.
Apple has announced that iPhone OS 3.0 will offer developers the option of selling subscriptions, extra levels, e-books, or other content from within their applications using a new service called In-App Purchase. The service will utilize the iTunes Store for transactions, including payment and authentication, and Apple will take 30% of the proceeds as an operations fee, as it does for normal paid applications sold through the App Store. Free applications will not be allowed to use the In-App Purchase feature.
Notably, several third-party game demonstrations depicted the In-App Purchase feature being used for increasingly questionable purposes: one added new levels for an additional fee, while others allowed you to buy new dog clothing and in-game weapons, and the worst, in EA’s The Sims 3, sold you $1 access to your own device’s built-in music library—a way for developers to charge you for new OS 3.0 features.
In previewing the upcoming release of iPhone OS 3.0, now scheduled for public availability in Summer 2009, Apple has unveiled the following new features users of the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPod touch can expect to see added.
Cut, Copy + Paste. A much-requested feature, users will be able to cut, copy, and paste text in virtually any text-based iPhone application—from Apple or third-parties. Double-tapping on text automatically selects it, with grab points on either end and a cut/copy/paste bubble above. When sliding a grab point, a new magnifying glass appears. Long holds in Safari automatically select large blocks of text; it will also copy HTML. Users can undo the last cut, copy, or paste by shaking the device; a select, select all, and paste dialog is also available. The same process will work in third-party apps as long as they use Apple’s new API.
Share Multiple Photos. Users will be able to select multiple pictures in the Photo app to insert into multi-picture emails.
Voice Memos. Apple has created its own application that will quickly and easily record audio messages using either the device’s integrated microphone (iPhone) or an external microphone (iPhone, iPod touch 2G). Editing will also be possible inside this app; it will apparently become a part of the OS 3.0 list of included apps.
MMS. Support for Multimedia Messaging transforms the current SMS application into a new app called Messages. Users will be able to transfer contact information, Google Map location information, certain audio files, and images using MMS.
Spotlight Search. Search features have been added to a number of the “key” apps, including iPod, Contacts, Calendar, and Mail, enabling you to search within the apps or within a new Spotlight global application to find people, e-mails, appointments, and media files. Spotlight is accessible by swiping from the first iPhone OS home screen over to the left, and now appears as a miniature magnifying glass icon off to the left of the dots on the bottom of the screen.
Widescreen Keyboard. Previously found in Safari, this keyboard is now being added to a number of “key” iPhone apps, including Mail, Messaging, and Notes, enabling users to more easily type on the iPhone’s screen. Apple is not yet adding support for external keyboards to the device.
Other Apps. Stocks now includes more detailed stock performance information, including widescreen charts and stock headlines. Notes can now synchronize with your computer. Calendar gains support for additional calendar-sync standards, including CalDAV and .ICS.
Among the announcements made by Apple today at the iPhone OS 3.0 preview event was newly-touted accessory compatibility for the updated OS. Using new APIs made available in the iPhone OS 3.0 SDK, accessory makers will be able to write custom applications that communicate directly with their hardware via the 30-pin Dock Connector or wirelessly over Bluetooth. While Apple used both an on-screen speaker equalizer and an open-station finder for an FM transmitter as examples of this technology in use, it is possible for this new ability to open the door for third-party gaming accessories, however, Apple did not cite either this or support for keyboards as currently announced features of iPhone OS 3.0.
Apple has also added support for stereo Bluetooth using the A2DP protocol; this feature will work on the iPhone 3G for certain, but not on the original iPhone; it is likely to work on the iPod touch 2G as well, but not on the original iPod touch.
Apple today is holding a special event to offer a preview of iPhone OS 3.0, along with an updated Software Development Kit (SDK). We will be updating this story with new announcements as they happen.
11:39 - More Q&A. Next question: Will peer to peer work with other devices? The feature is limited to Bonjour, Peer to Peer devices. Another question: Where do you stand on tethering? Forstall explains that they are building tethering support into iPhone OS 3.0, and are working with carriers to get it implemented. Will Apple make uptime promises on the push notification feature? No. Neither will users be able to move files over Bluetooth.
11:34 - Q&A session with Joswiak, Forstall, and Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior VP of worldwide product marketing. First question: Why did copy & paste take so long. Forstall claims there were security issues. Second question: Flash, and what Apple is doing about it. Execs reply that there are no announcements on that topic today, but note there are a lot of video streams the iPhone can handle, such as h.264. They also reveal that Apple’s adding HDTV streaming for audio and video.
11:28 - Release info. iPhone OS 3.0 will be available this Summer. A free update for all iPhone customers. Due to hardware differences, features such as A2DP and MMS won’t be available on the original iPhone. It will also be available for the iPod touch for $9.95.
11:25 - The developer beta of iPhone OS 3.0 is available as of today. Apple is also adding 15 more countries to the App Store list, bringing the total to 77.
11:22 - More features. Another large graphic shows a number of other new features, including Stereo Bluetooth, shake to shuffle, Notes sync, encrypted profiles, YouTube subscriptions, VPN on demand, Auto Fill, Wi-Fi auto login, and more.
11:18 - Search. Search will be available in all Apple applications in iPhone OS 3.0, including Mail, iPod, Notes and Calendar. In addition, a new home page called Spotlight will allow users to search all of these at once; it will have its own page alongside the normal app pages, to the far left, indicated by a small magnifying glass icon.
11:17 - Calendar. iPhone OS 3.0 will support CalDAV and .ics calendars, including subscriptions.
11:16 - Voice Memos. A new app to quickly and easily record short audio messages.
11:13 - MMS support. iPhone OS 3.0 will support MMS messaging, along with forwarding/deleting multiple messages.
11:12 - Landscape keyboard. Will be available in all “key apps” in iPhone OS 3.0, including Mail.
11:04 - Cut & Paste confirmed. Double-tapping on text automatically selects it, with grab points on either end and a cut/copy/paste bubble above. When sliding a grab point, a new magnifying glass appears. Long holds in Safari automatically select large blocks of text; it will also copy HTML. Users can undo by shaking the device. The same process will work in third-party apps as long as they use the API. Users will also be able to select multiple pictures in the photo app to copy and paste, allowing for multi-picture emails.
10:30 - New APIs. In iPhone OS 3.0, Apple is offering a new API for streaming video and audio, and adding an API for in-game voice. Other APIs shown in a graphic include the battery, proximity sensor, an audio recorder, iPod library access(!), a Shake API, and text selection, which suggests that cut & paste is indeed coming in iPhone OS 3.0.
10:27 - Push notifications. Forstall said they expected to have the feature working last year, but didn’t get it done, in part because developers approached Apple wanting to use the feature in ways they hadn’t thought of, leading them to re-architect the server structure.
10:23 - Google Maps. All developers will now be able to add Google Maps capability to their application using a standard API. In addition, developers will be able to use core location to provide turn-by-turn directions, but they will need to supply their own maps when using turn-by-turn functionality due to licensing agreements.
10:21 - Accessory compatibility. With iPhone OS 3.0, accessory developers will be able to write custom applications that communicate directly with their hardware through the 30-pin Dock Connector or wirelessly over Bluetooth.
10:17 - Forstall introduces a new Peer to Peer connectivity feature, which uses Apple’s Bonjour technology to automatically find other iPod touches or iPhones running the same app and connect wirelessly over Bluetooth with no pairing necessary. The feature will be available to both games and other applications through a standard API.
10:11 - Apple’s Senior Vice President of iPhone Software Scott Forstall is now on stage for a preview of iPhone OS 3.0. Forstall claims it is a “major update” to the OS, with over 1,000 new APIs for developers. Developers have been asking for the ability to sell subscriptions, new levels, and other content from within their apps, which will be provided by a new In-App Purchase feature, which ties into the iTunes Store for authentication and purchasing. Apple will take 30% of these purchases for operating fees, as they do with standalone applications, and the feature will only be available within paid applications.
10:03 - Apple VP of Product Marketing for the iPod + iPhone Greg Joswiak is leading off the presentation. Says iPhone is now in 80 countries, with over 17 million iPhones sold, and over 30 million iPhone OS devices (iPhone + iPod touch). The company has seen over 800,000 downloads of the free iPhone SDK, with over 50,000 companies and individuals joining the dev program. Over 60%, have never developed for any Apple platform before. Gameloft has seen more than 2 million paid downloads from the App Store, with over 25,000 apps now available, over 800 million app downloads thus far. Joswiak said that 96% of apps that have been submitted were approved.
If you’d like to chat live with other readers to discuss the developments during today’s iPhone OS 3.0 event, scheduled to start in 30 minutes, iLounge has opened our Chat Room for your enjoyment. For live updates from the event, we recommend Engadget; keep the chat room open in a separate window for debate and discussion. Note that the chat room has updating issues with Safari 4.0 Beta, but works on Firefox, prior Safari releases, and IE.
In less than two hours, Apple will hold an event to pre-announce details of its iPhone OS 3.0. We will be linking to Engadget’s live coverage of this event, found here. As the event takes place, users should pay especially close attention to Apple’s answers to the following five major issues regarding the upcoming software release, as well as important surrounding changes to iPhone and iPod touch hardware and accessory support.
5. Pricing: Will original iPhone owners need to pay for iPhone OS 3.0? How much will iPod touch users pay?
Though Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo don’t charge for their game consoles’ software or firmware updates, Apple has claimed that it is legally required to charge for software updates to its iPod touch, and implicitly would have to do the same for its iPhone after a two-year revenue deferral period. It charged iPod touch owners $20 for the January ‘08 Application Pack, and $10 for iPhone OS 2.0. As June 29 marks the two-year anniversary of the original iPhone’s launch, will launch day and other early-adopter customers be expected to pay for upgrades once the two years of revenue deferment are over? Will iPhone users who purchased later be entitled to a free 3.0 upgrade, as they’d expect from their two-year service contracts?
4. App Store: Are there any changes planned for the App Store, such as more consistent approval standards, price increases for developers, an Adult section, or a Premium section?
Since the App Store’s launch last year, developers have roundly criticized Apple for opaque and inconsistent approval standards, as well as permitting influxes of cheap or borderline offensive applications to flood the Store. Will Apple address any of these concerns with improved approval transparency and new sections of the Store, letting apps such as South Park be offered to their intended audience, or will it continue to remain silent or ambiguous regarding approvals?
3. Display Technology: Will Apple reveal a plan to scale the iPhone’s UI to different-sized displays, smaller and/or larger than the current 480x320 screens on iPhones and iPod touches, or create an output mode for external displays?
With competitors releasing higher resolution smartphones, and the possibility of smaller iPhone and iPod touch models, Apple may finally have to expand past the iPhone OS’s sole supported resolution—but as we discuss in detail in this article, that’s not as easy as it sounds. Apple can get a jump-start on expanding the iPhone OS’ supported resolutions by including a solution in the iPhone OS 3.0 SDK, and could also address those who have been waiting for years for an Apple-developed menu interface for use on external displays.
2. External Keyboard + Game Controls: Will Apple finally enable the iPhone to support external keyboards and game controllers, or announce upcoming models with superior integrated keyboard or game controls?
More than two years after it was originally demonstrated, Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch keyboard has proved to be better than its harshest critics expected, but still less reliable than many business users had hoped. Similarly, though thousands of games have been released for these devices, many popular game genres have proved difficult to replicate due to Apple’s lack of integrated joypads and buttons. Will Apple finally add support for superior keyboards or game controls to iPhone OS 3.0?
1. How many other long-standing iPhone user criticisms will be addressed in iPhone OS 3.0?
Before the original iPhone even hit the market, potential buyers were already compiling lists of features they wanted or needed from the device. While iPhone OS 2.0 addressed some of these concerns, adding the ability to load third-party apps, as well as Microsoft Exchange support, a wide variety of features—such as copy & paste, background notifications, MMS messaging, widespread access to the landscape keyboard, video recording, and more—remain missing. Now, with the growth of the App Store, users also need a more effective interface for managing the growing number of programs stored on their iPhones and iPod touches. How many actual user requests will be addressed in the software?
Online movie ticketing service Fandango has launched its new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The new app allows users to read synopses and watch trailers for both currently showing and upcoming releases, find nearby theaters using the Location feature, add theaters to a Favorites list, and order up to 10 tickets at a time from 16,000 different theaters, securely storing credit card information for faster purchasing. Fandango is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Namco has released Inspector Gadget, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the 1980’s animated TV series of the same name, the platform-style game allows users to play as Inspector Gadget, Penny, and Brain as they travel across multiple locations, utilizing vehicles including the Gadgetmobile and Gadget ‘Copter to recover the royal jewels and defeat Dr. Claw. Inspector Gadget is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.
The New York Times Crosswords Daily 2009 has been released on the App Store. Developed by Magmic, the game allows users to play the daily puzzle from the New York Times print newspaper, as well as over 4,000 classic puzzles from the Times’ archive. Other features include the ability to send messages and compare solve times with friends online, an option to listen to the in-game soundtrack or music from the iPod app, the choice to write in “pen” or “pencil,” and more. The New York Times Crosswords Daily 2009 is available now and sells for $10.