Following a recent update to its MobileMe service, Apple has released Find My iPhone for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. A native app for the web-based service, Find My iPhone can be installed on any device running iOS 3.1.3 or later and assists users in locating another lost or missing iPhone, iPod touch or iPad that is using the MobileMe service. Users simply sign in with the MobileMe member name associated with the missing device and the Find My iPhone app provides an integrated map to show where the lost device last reported its location. Users can then display a message and/or play a sound on the remote device, remotely lock the device with a passcode or wipe the device completely in the same way as through the MobileMe web-based Find My iPhone service. Note that the Find My iPhone service must already have been enabled on the missing device in order for the app to locate it. Find My iPhone is a universal app that runs natively on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices and is a free download from the App Store, although a $99/year MobileMe subscription is required to use the Find My iPhone service.
Apple has released iTunes 9.2, the latest update to its media management software. According to Apple’s release notes, iTunes 9.2 includes support for iPhone 4 and iOS 4, as well as the ability to organize and sync books to iPhones and iPod touch units with iBooks 1.1, support for iBooks PDF management, the ability to create and manage iOS 4 home screen folders from within iTunes, album art speed improvements, and faster backups when syncing a device running iOS 4. iTunes 9.2 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility or as a direct download from apple.com/itunes.
Only hours after Apple sold through its initial allotment of iPhone 4 units, pushing the ship date on new pre-orders back from the device’s June 24 launch date to July 2, the company has been forced to push new pre-orders back even further. According to the company’s online store, new iPhone 4 pre-orders will now ship by July 14, nearly two weeks later than orders placed just earlier today. Apple announced earlier that it and its carrier partners took more than 600,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4 units yesterday, saying it was “the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day,” while apologizing for “order and approval system malfunctions” that left many potential customers unable to order their chosen device. [via Mac Rumors]
With more than eight elapsed hours since Apple began accepting iPhone 4 pre-orders, both the company and AT&T continue to experience serious server issues that are leaving a large number of angry customers unable to pre-order devices online. Additionally, call times on Apple’s telephone lines are so long that the company’s phone systems are in some cases turning away callers; one iLounge editor spent three hours on hold before being told that the phone-based customer service agents are using the same system as online customers, and thus have no way to resolve the problems. iLounge has been told that both companies are working to fix the issues, and the representative we spoke with was hopeful the issues would be resolved within a few hours. The problems, for which Apple and AT&T have not apologized, began with the unexpected last-minute unavailability of white iPhone 4 devices, an issue that now seems trivial in light of the massive system failures that have blocked orders of other models as well.
A brief Apple-produced video that highlights Apple’s iOS development tools—while taking veiled shots at Google’s Android OS—has been posted online. The video, presumably made for use at the company’s WWDC conference, features a number of notable developers talking about their experience developing for iOS, as well as other platforms. “We’ve actually spent some time working with other platforms,” said Calvin Carter of Bottle Rocket. “It’s a night and day difference. They’re more difficult for the user. They don’t have the power or the tools available. They don’t have the distribution network. They don’t have the standards, both in hardware or in software.” Later, Tom Conrad of Pandora added, “It’s really evident in Apple’s APIs, in the developer tools, that you’re working with something really mature, not something that was invented two years ago.” The full video is available for viewing on YouTube or can be seen in embedded form below. [via Fortune]
Coinciding with the problematic launch of pre-orders for the iPhone 4, Apple has launched an official, free Apple Store application formatted for the iPhone and iPod touch, but also compatible with the iPad. The application is designed to let customers “buy Apple products and accessories, read customer reviews, find an Apple Retail Store, stay up to date with in-store events, and make Personal Shopping, Genius Bar, or On to One appointments,” and is billed as “the easiest way to buy or reserve your new iPhone—right from your current iPhone.” It also uses push notifications to provide updates for as yet unknown purposes.
Like the Apple Store web site, the application’s main screen currently displays a “We’ll be back soon” post it note graphic, seemingly related to the iPhone 4 ordering outage currently affecting the Store. Screenshots show the application offering five bottom-of-screen buttons to toggle between Featured, Products, Stores, Search, and Cart screens that are not yet available. This is Apple’s fourth separate selling app for iOS devices, following iTunes, App Store, and iBookstore within the iBooks application.
Update: The Apple Store app became functional shortly after 9:30AM. It notably offers iPhone 4 pre-ordering only for existing iPhone customers who wish to replace current iPhones with iPhone 4 models, and only reservations for customers who intend to create new accounts or add lines.
Apple has officially opened pre-orders for the $199 16GB and $299 32GB versions of iPhone 4, formally announced last week at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, CA, as well as the new 8GB version of iPhone 3GS priced at $99. As of 4:00AM ET/1:00AM PT, customers may pre-order the new iPhone models for at-home delivery on June 24, 2010, or reserve the phone for in-store pick-up on that day at a local Apple retail store. Existing customers merely need to go through a quick process to determine upgrade eligibility for pricing, and may preserve their prior unlimited data plans or choose new $15/$25/$45 (tethering) options; new customers have to wait for the results of an online credit check, and may only choose between AT&T’s new, limited data plans. The early morning U.S. pre-order opening time appears to coincide with the start of the day in the United Kingdom, one of five initial countries where the new iPhones are becoming available.
Surprisingly, Apple’s web site does not offer pre-orders or reservations for the white iPhone 4 model, describing this color as “currently unavailable.” Late-breaking reports from third-party retailers suggested that merchants other than Apple would not have white iPhone 4 hardware available at launch; the fact that Apple itself is not yet offering the white version is unusual given its track record of immediately selling whatever colors it has pre-announced.
Update: Additional international pricing has been announced for U.K. and French iPhone 4 users: Apple is selling iPhone 4 units at unlocked prices of £499 (16GB) and £599 (32GB) in the United Kingdom, with French prices at €629 (16GB) and €739 (32GB). Quick checks of Apple’s foreign pages show additional restrictions on model availability outside of the United States, with German stores having no 32GB models at all, regardless of color, and only black 16GB units to pre-order.
Apple has updated its iPhone Developer Program License Agreement to allow for a more relaxed stance on interpreted code inside apps. Section 3.3.2 of the agreement previously stated that “[n]o interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s).” The new revised version notes that with Apple’s prior written consent, “[a]n Application may use embedded interpreted code in a limited way if such use is solely for providing minor features or functionality that are consistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the Application.” The new terms should open the door for a number of possibilites for developers, including for games to use third-party rendering engines and libraries.
- June 14, 2010
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is set to launch an investigation to determine if Apple’s business practices in the mobile space are unjustly limiting competition, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that the investigation is the result of “weeks” of negotiations with the Justice Department over which body would look into allegations that companies are being shut-out of Apple’s newest computing platforms. It cites as examples Apple’s ongoing feud with Adobe over Flash on the iOS, Google’s complaints relating to Apple’s decision to effectively bar AdMob from its iOS devices, and it position on cross-platform development solutions. According to the report, this new investigation may be handled independently of other probes of Apple’s business, including the Justice Department’s probe into Apple’s digital music and media business.
Apple has released iTunes Connect Mobile, a new iPhone and iPod touch app designed to allow developers to access their sales and trend data from the iTunes Store directly on their devices. iTunes Connect Mobile allows users to view daily and weekly sales data related to application updates, paid apps, free apps, and In-App purchases. Although iTunes Connect Mobile provides sales numbers in terms of actual downloads, this version does not provide any reporting on more detailed information available from iTunes Connect such as actual dollar revenue, sales history, chart positions or customer reviews. iTunes Connect Mobile is available from the App Store as a free download.
iLounge has posted a set of two new high-definition hands-on videos of Apple’s iPhone 4 today, one focused on the externals of the new phone by comparison with the original iPhone and iPhone 3GS, and the other on its new software and interface.
The first video is a comparison of the iPhone 4, original iPhone, and iPhone 3GS (YouTube HD link), showing the final, working phone from all angles. It’s also available from Vimeo.
The second video is a full interface video for the iPhone 4 (YouTube HD link), showing off everything from FaceTime to iBooks, iMovie, iOS4 multitasking with the new Pandora application, and the iPhone 4’s other built-in applications. It’s also available from Vimeo.
Both videos are in 720p format.
U.S. antitrust regulators are preparing to launch an investigation into Apple’s decision to effectively bar AdMob from its iOS devices. The Financial Times, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that it’s currently unclear whether the Federal Trade Commission or the Justice Department will handle the investigation. Apple recently changed its iOS developer terms to forbid the sharing of user information with “an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple,” effectively barring AdMob from all iOS applications. Notably, the company also added language that bars third-party analytics services. Apple is already facing antitrust scrutiny from the Justice Department in relation to its digital music business and its blocking of Flash software from its iOS devices.
Apple has updated its iOS developer agreement to allow for some sharing of user and device data with third-party advertisers, while effectively banning Google-owned AdMob in the process. AllThingsD reports that in April, Apple changed its developer agreement to ban the sharing of user and device data with third party ad networks and analytics tools, a move that Apple CEO Steve Jobs later said was made in the interest of protecting user privacy, adding that the company might revisit the terms in the future. The new terms allow for the sharing of “UDID, user location data, and other data specifically designated by Apple as available for advertising purposes,” but only when prior user consent has been given, and then in only two circumstances: when the collection, use or disclosure is necessary “in order to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the user of the Application,” or “is for the purpose of serving advertising” to the application.
Notably, the new terms specify that developers “may not use third party analytics software” to “collect and send device data to a third party for aggregation, processing, or analysis.” They also stipulate that third party advertising is only allowed when the advertising service is “an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads (for example, an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple would not qualify as independent).” The new terms appear to ban both AdMob and analytics services such as Flurry, which was singled out in Jobs’ response explaining the initial change.
AdMob founder Omar Hamoui has responded to Apple’s move in a post on AdMob’s blog, saying the changes threaten to “decrease – or even eliminate – revenue that helps to support tens of thousands of developers. The terms hurt both large and small developers by severely limiting their choice of how best to make money. And because advertising funds a huge number of free and low cost apps, these terms are bad for consumers as well.” He added that the change in terms “is not in the best interests of users or developers,” and said the company would be “speaking to Apple to express our concerns about the impact of these terms.”
Apple has hired Rich Dellinger, a User Interface Design Architect at Palm, as a Senior User Interface Designer. According to Dellinger’s LinkedIn page, he was responsible for creating the “non-intrusive banner notification system used in webOS,” and also “co-developed the Application Framework used by webOS,” including the “CSS structure and defined HTML layout.” This will not be the first time Dellinger has worked at Apple, however, as he originally joined the company in December 1999 as a Senior Technical Support Engineer, before moving his way up to a User Interface Designer position in which he “designed applications for Apple products, including Mac OS X, iPod, and iPhone,” before leaving for Palm in April 2006. [via PreCentral]
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]
Cisco has reached an agreement to license its iOS trademark to Apple. During its WWDC 2010 keynote address, Apple announced that it would be changing the name of iPhone OS to “iOS,” which was covered under a Cisco trademark relating to its “IOS” network infrastructure software. “Cisco has agreed to license the iOS trademark to Apple for use as the name of Apple’s operating system for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad,” Cisco said in a statement reprinted on a company blog. “The license is for use of the trademark only and not for any technology.” Notably, Cisco was also the owner of the iPhone trademark when Apple first introduced the phone in January of 2007; the dispute over the name led to a lawsuit which was eventually dropped when the two companies came to an agreement to share the iPhone name.
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.
Apple has posted an on-demand Quicktime streaming video of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote address from WWDC 2010. During the address, Jobs unveiled the iPhone 4, discussed some of the new features of iOS—formerly iPhone OS—4, and gave several updates regarding the iPad and App Store. For more coverage of yesterday’s event, see our full transcript, our Flickr photostream, and our News section.
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.
Alongside the iPhone 4, Apple today announced a pair of accessories for its latest handset. Bumpers are case-like rubber and molded plastic accessories that appear to wrap around the edge of the iPhone, with metal covers for the volume and power buttons. Available in six two-tone color combinations—white, black, blue, green, orange, or pink—they will sell for $29. In addition, Apple will offer a redesigned iPhone Dock for the iPhone 4, roughly matching the width of the device and leaving the sides of the iPhone exposed; it too will sell for $29. Apple will launch the iPhone on June 24; it is unclear whether the new accessories will be released at the same time, or at a later date.