The Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games has released its official Mobile Spectator Guide for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Available as a free download from the App Store, the 2010 Guide app provides a location-aware schedule detailing the more than 2,000 sport and cultural events taking place during the Olympic Winter Games. The schedule will be updated throughout the Games and can be accessed offline and adjusted for the user’s current time zone. Users can mark their favourite events and see real-time results for every sport, and those attending the Games can easily find events close to their location and access maps and turn-by-turn directions to the venues.
In a lengthy blog post discussing the lack of Flash support on Apple’s portable devices, particularly the iPad, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch made several comments supporting the argument for Flash on Apple’s devices while giving examples of content iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users will be unable to access without Flash support. “Some have been surprised at the lack of inclusion of Flash Player on a recent magical device,” Lynch writes. “Flash has been incredibly successful in its adoption, with over 85% of the top web sites containing Flash content and Flash running on over 98% of computers on the Web… It is used for the majority of casual games, video, and animation on the Web and familiar brands like Nike, Hulu, BBC, Major League Baseball, and more rely on Flash to deliver the most compelling experiences to over a billion people.”
Discussing Flash on mobile devices, he continues, saying, “[t]he Flash engineering team has taken this on with a major overhaul of the mainstream Flash Player for a variety of devices. We are now on the verge of delivering Flash Player 10.1 for smartphones with all but one of the top manufacturers. This includes Google’s Android, RIM’s Blackberry, Nokia, Palm Pre and many others across form factors including not only smartphones but also tablets, netbooks, and internet-connected TVs.” Finally, Lynch claims that Adobe is “ready to enable Flash in the browser on [Apple’s] devices if and when Apple chooses to allow that for its users, but to date we have not had the required cooperation from Apple to make this happen.” The post has drawn a large number of comments from readers, many of which are critical of Flash and Adobe as a company. Lynch’s post follows comments reportedly made by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at a corporate town hall event last week, at which Jobs is said to have called Adobe lazy, claiming that Flash is buggy, and adding that no one will be using it going forward as online development shifts to HTML5.
Following last week’s iPad announcement, venture capital firms have launched initiatives to fund projects destined for Apple’s latest device. AppFund, a new joint initiative by CNET and E! Online co-founder Kevin Wendle and MusicNation and Original Signal co-founder Daniel Klaus, has announced that it is creating a multi-million dollar fund to provide seed capital and expertise for launching iPad and mobile tablet applications. AppFund will evaluate developers around the world, with investments expected to range from $5,000 to $500,000 depending upon the complexity of a given application and its potential. Written proposals are welcomed at [email protected]
On a more regional scale, British Firm Northern Film & Media has also announced a £40,000 application development fund targeted at potential iPad application developers in northeastern England. The company’s goal is to encourage local developers to be among the first to enter the iPad marketplace. Northern Film & Media is accepting applications until February 24th and specifically looking for submissions that (a) have the potential to generate revenue, (b) take specific advantage of the new features and potential of the iPad, (c) provide a design distinct to the iPad relative to an iPhone or a desktop computer, (d) are original ideas, and (e) are ready to launch this summer. Developers must also have the majority of their talent and spending based in the local region.
According to new research released by IDC, the iPhone outpaced overall smartphone market growth in both the fourth quarter and on a yearly basis in 2009. The report states that Apple’s market share grew from 11.2% in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 16% in Q4 2009, placing the company behind rivals Research in Motion and Nokia, which held market shares of 19.6% and 38.2%, respectively. Fourth quarter iPhone shipments grew 97.7% year-over-year, a much greater increase than overall market shipments, which were up 39% from the prior year. For the whole of 2009, Apple’s iPhone shipments grew 81.9%, again outpacing overall industry unit growth of 15.1%. Apple’s market share for the year grew from 9.1% in 2008 to 14.4% in 2009, again placing the company in third behind RIM and Nokia. [via Mac Rumors]
Good.iWare has announced a major update to its popular GoodReader document viewing application. GoodReader v2.5 adds file search capabilities, password protection for individual files and folders, and support for “PDF Portfolios” which allow users to collect multiple files in different formats into a single integrated PDF unit. The developer notes that the latest version also removes USB file transfer capabilities “due to Apple’s demand, to avoid a violation of Apple’s rules.” The GoodReader update also provides support for additional features that can be added via In-App Purchases, allowing users to select only the features that they specifically need. There are currently three add-ons available: A plug-in for generic e-mail attachment support via POP3/IMAP4, a Google Docs plug-in and an FTP plug-in. The full version of GoodReader is available on the App Store for $1, with additional plug-ins selling for $1 each as In-App Purchases. A free GoodReader Lite version is also available which includes all of the plug-ins and is fully functional except for a storage limit of 5 files.
Speaking with reporters, O2 U.K. CEO Ronan Dunne revealed that the company has sold two million iPhones since the carrier began offering the device in November 2007. Reuters reports that Dunne also said O2 still enjoys a boost from being the first carrier in the region to offer the iPhone, despite the fact that it is now available on rival carriers Orange and Vodafone. “It will take a long time before that goes away,” Dunne said. O2 announced its one-millionth iPhone sale in February 2009, although it did not specify when the sale actually occurred; Orange announced sales of 30,000 units on its launch day in November 2009, while Vodafone claims it shipped 50,000 iPhones on its launch day earlier this year.
AT&T has announced that it will now allow the SlingPlayer app for iPhone to stream live TV over its 3G network. According to the New York Times, AT&T has worked with Sling to optimize the app in order to minimize network congestion. “Since mid-December 2009, AT&T has been testing the app and has recently notified Sling Media — as well as Apple — that the optimized app can run on its 3G network,” AT&T said in a press release. Sling Media’s SlingPlayer Mobile app for iPhone and iPod touch was originally launched in May 2009 without the ability to stream over 3G, a limitation AT&T admitted to putting in place due to fears that the app “would use large amounts of wireless network capacity” and “could create congestion and potentially prevent other customers from using the network.”
Update: Despite AT&T’s claims that it worked with Sling on the app, Sling Media’s John Santoro has said in an interview that the two companies in fact didn’t work together, and that no code changes were required from the original app. “We didn’t change anything,” Santoro told Ars Technica. “AT&T never discussed any specific requirements with us. Whatever the reason, we’re just glad AT&T has approved it. We’re just waiting for Apple’s OK, now.” The 3G-enabled app has been submitted to the App Store and is awaiting Apple’s approval.
Apple has extended its iTunes Preview online service to the App Store. Originally launched in November 2009 and updated with web-based iTunes song previews in January, iTunes Preview’s new App store listings allow users on a computer with iTunes installed to click on an external App Store link and see the app’s details, including a picture, description, price, rating, reviews, and screenshots, all within a PC or Mac browser window, removing the need to launch iTunes simply to look at an app. Entering the app’s URL within an iPod touch or iPhone’s Safari browser will still launch iTunes or the App Store on these devices, rather than displaying the web-based iTunes Preview content.
Apple has added a promotional section to the App Store featuring over 30 Valentine’s Day themed applications in areas such as eBooks, greeting cards, recipes, music, dating and novelty and games. All of the applications have clearly been designed specifically for Valentine’s Day and most are selling for $1 or $2. The App Store Valentine’s Day page can be accessed here.
Apple has hired two well-known figures in the mobile advertising world for European positions with its recently-acquired Quattro Wireless mobile advertising firm. Theo Theodorou, former mobile advertising sales manager for Microsoft in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) market, has been hired as head of EMEA sales at Quattro Wireless. New Media Age reports that Theodorou is coming from publisher Hachette Filipacchi, where he was appointed commercial director of digital sales in October 2009. Apple has also hired Todd Tran, formerly managing director of Group M-owned mobile marketing agency Joule, as general manager of the Apple mobile ad network in Europe. Apple purchased Quattro Wireless for $275 million earlier this year, with former Quattro head Andy Miller joining Apple as Vice President, Mobile Advertising; when asked about the acquisition during its First Quarter 2010 Financial Results Conference Call, Apple executives said that the company wanted to acquire Quattro to offer developers a way to easily monetize apps, especially free offerings, adding, “we’re going to work hard to provide developers a great opportunity and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Stalin Kay Software has released Font Wizard, an application that allows iPhone and iPod touch users to browse, view and download fonts directly onto their portable device. Using a built-in web browser, users can download fonts from virtually any Internet source, view them on the device and store them for future access. Downloaded fonts can then later be transferred from the device to a Mac or PC simply by accessing the iPhone or iPod touch using a web browser over Wi-Fi. Font Wizard comes bundled with a redistributable font family and is available on the App Store for $5.
Samson Technologies has introduced its new XP40iw and XP510i portable sound systems. While both systems offer built-in iPod docks, the XP40iw features a wireless microphone system, a rechargeable battery, two channel inputs, an integrated carrying handle, stand mount, and a six-inch woofer with 40 watts of total power. The XP510i instead offers 500 watts of total power, dual two-way speakers with 10-inch woofers, a detachable 10-channel mixer, one-inch high-frequency drivers, and an interlocking design that allows both speakers to be carried as a single unit. Samson’s new XP40iw and XP510i portable sound systems will be available in April and will sell for approximately $300 and $700, respectively.
The Consumer Electronics Association and iLounge announced today that the iLounge Pavilion at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show has doubled in size from its 2010 predecessor, accommodating incredible demand from leading vendors of Apple iPod, iPhone, and Mac accessories. Spurred by the success of the inaugural iLounge Pavilion at the 2010 International CES, exhibit space for the 2011 CES iLounge Pavilion has grown from 25,000 net square feet to 50,000 net square feet, with leading accessory makers including Incipio, Mophie, and Scosche already slated to exhibit. A new section for Mac exhibitors and an expansion to include products for Apple’s new iPad will further increase the appeal of the growing area.
“The inaugural iLounge Pavilion was a tremendous success and a major destination on the show floor for the more than 120,000 individuals who attended the 2010 International CES,” said Karen Chupka, senior vice president, events and conferences, CEA. “We received such positive response from exhibitors that we have already doubled the footprint of the iLounge Pavilion at the 2011 CES, making it the largest display of its kind in CES show history.”
“Due to the iLounge Pavilion at the 2010 CES,” said Wayne Ludlum, Vestalife Founder & CEO, “Vestalife was able to exceed our expectations and secure distribution for our award winning products in every country in the world.”
“The 2010 CES was a phenomenal show for Incipio,” said Andy Fathollahi, CEO, Incipio. “The response to the product line was overwhelming. We are looking forward to being part of the iLounge Pavilion again for the 2011 CES and excited to be tripling our booth space.”
Companies interested in exhibiting in the iLounge Pavilion at the 2011 International CES should contact Tira Gordon, senior account executive for CES, at [email protected]
Chillingo has released Cogs, a unique new puzzle game where players are challenged to build complex machines in two- and three-dimensional environments by sliding tiles. The game includes multiple game play modes including an exploratory free-play inventor mode and time- and move-limited challenge modes. New puzzles are unlocked as players complete challenges. Cogs provides a visually attractive design and an online leaderboard for users to share their high scores. A basic version of Cogs with 10 puzzles and three game play modes is available on the App Store for $1. Four additional add-on puzzle packs are available for $1 each via In-App Purchases with each puzzle pack containing 10 additional puzzles.
A newly-published Apple patent suggests the company is working on touch-sensitive bezel, which would allow it to expand its touch-based interfaces beyond the perimeter of the screen. The patent describes a number of different implementations, including a force-sensitive touch surface, a multi-touch input surface, and other input methods, and each is described as applicable to the iPod, computers, and other portable devices. According to the patent, the bezel would be used to manipulate or control what is being displayed on the screen, based on which part of the bezel was being touched; in addition, these menu-like selections could be made to rotate around the bezel as the device’s orientation is changed. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via Patently Apple]
iPhone Developer Lisa Coumont has released aptodo, a simple, location-aware task manager for the iPhone and iPod touch. Unlike most other simple to-do list applications, aptodo organizes tasks by location and uses the iPhone and iPod touch location services to help identify which tasks can be performed in relation to the user’s current location. Tasks are organized into lists which are in turn assigned to one or more places. Users can then quickly determine which tasks are available to them based on their current location, or can choose to display a map of their places and tasks by turning their device into a landscape orientation. Aptodo is available on the App Store for $2.
Spinapse has released a new trivia game for fans of the hit movie Avatar. Avatrivia provides hundreds of trivia questions from the movie ranging from the plot itself to background information and production details. Designed with visually appealing graphics set in a jungle environment, Avatrivia challenges players to spin to determine how many points are scored for each question with point values and multipliers that increase as the game progresses. Scores can be shared with friends on a local scoreboard or compete against other players around the world with a global online scoreboard. Avatrivia also supports up to five profiles on the same device to allow players to share the game among a group of friends. Avatrivia is available on the App Store for $1.
Scosche has introduced its new solBat II solar-powered backup battery for the iPod, iPhone, and other USB devices. The solBat II features an integrated lithium-ion 1500mA battery with an output of 5V, an integrated solar panel to allow the battery to charge via the sun as well as through USB, a USB port for connecting device charging cables, an included windshield mount and universal carabiner, and dual indicator lights to show whether it’s charging the internal battery or passing power to a connected device. Scosche’s solBat II is available now and sells for $30.
i.TV has released version 2.2 of its popular movie and TV listings application, adding significant improvements to its search capabilities, the ability to categorize video streams and to customize tweets and Facebook posts. i.TV has partnered with search provider Perfect Search Corporation to improve both performance and accuracy of results when searching for TV shows, movies and celebrities within the application as well as improved categorization of search results. i.TV provides local TV, movie and theatre listings for the US and Canada as well as integration with iTunes, Netflix and TiVo for purchasing, renting and scheduling content as well as access to online media and entertainments news. i.TV 2.2 is available on the App Store as a free download.
Zagg has introduced its upcoming InvisibleShield film for the Apple iPad tablet. InvisibleShield is patented, removable scratch-proof film that adds little to no bulk to the device while offering basic protection from scratches and dings, and offers a lifetime guarantee. InvisibleShield for iPad will be available in two bundles with either Zaggsmartbuds ($100) or Zaggbuds ($80) earphones, on its own as a full body coverage set for $35, or as a screen shield only for $25, and is available for pre-order now.