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iPhone Gems: Launch day App Store software worth seeing

A number of notable applications for the iPhone and iPod touch, some free, and some commercial, have debuted with this morning’s launch of the App Store. Listed below are a small selection of these titles.

Free Applications

Facebook has released its free Facebook application. It allows users to talk to friends using Facebook Chat, browse profiles and pictures, update their profiles, and allows for uploading of photos to Facebook from the phone.

Connected Flow has released Exposure, a new application for mobile browsing and use of popular photo sharing service Flickr. It allows users to browse photos, create favorites and comment on photos, and provides automatic searching of photos taken nearby through the use of location services. It is available in a free, ad-supported version, as well as in an ad-free, $9.99 commercial version called Exposure Premium. has released MySpace Mobile, a free mobile client for the popular social networking site. It allows users to send and receive messages, browse their friends’ profiles and photos, post comments, update and share photos, and more.

AOL has released its previously announced AIM client and AOL Radio applications as free downloads. Using the AIM application, one can send and receive messages over Wi-Fi, EDGE, or 3G networks to anyone on the AIM network, including AOL, AIM, ICQ, .mac, and MobileMe users, manage his/her Buddy List, take pictures with the iPhone’s camera to use as a buddy icon, and more. AOL Radio offers users access to over 200 stations covering more than 25 genres of music, as well as 150+ CBS Radio stations from across the U.S.

Familiar games, developers appear in iPhone App Store

The first collection of iPhone Games appeared in the App Store today, and for now, both the games and major developers will be extremely familiar to past iTunes Store customers. In addition to Apple, which has re-released its Texas Hold’em game for the third time at $5, the following titles have reappeared in updated form:

Gameloft has re-released Bubble Bash ($8), upping the resolution of the ball-shooting game for iPods and increasing the price from its original $5.

Hudson Soft has released Bomberman Touch ($8), a version of the previously released iPod Bomberman redesigned with new content for the iPhone touchscreen interface.

Namco has released Ms. Pac-Man ($10), doubling the prior iPod Game price of its classic arcade dots-and-ghosts maze game while adding a touchscreen joypad.

PopCap Games has released Bejeweled 2 ($10), updating the graphics and adding touchscreen controls while doubling the price of the original Bejeweled iPod game. Widescreen and tall orientations are now supported. Notably, a web version of Bejeweled was released for PopCap for free.

New games from previously known Apple developers such as Sega (Super Monkey Ball for $10, and Columns Deluxe for $5), Freeverse (Moto Racer, $10), Pangea Software (Cro-Mag Rally and Enigmo, $10 each), and Ambrosia (Aki Mahjong, $10) are joined by numerous releases from little-known developers and a few surprise entrants. RealNetworks is surprisingly offering South Park Imaginationland ($10), a platform game based on the popular TV show, while a company called Jirbo has flooded the store with simple and free Flash-like applications. A company called Freeze Tag has released a color version of Etch A Sketch ($5), based on the classic toy, and XBOX Live developer ZEN Studios has released ZEN Pinball: Rollercoaster ($5), an attractive pinball game. Scores of free titles, mostly simple or demo-quality releases, are also in the Store.

All of these games are available now through the iTunes Store’s Applications section, and shortly through the iPhone’s App Store interface.

Apple’s Remote application offers Wi-Fi control of iTunes, Apple TV [Updated]

Alongside iTunes 7.7, Apple has released its new Remote application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Remote allows an iPhone or iPod touch to control the music on a computer or Apple TV using a Wi-Fi connection. Users can play, skip, pause, shuffle, and search, with access to all songs and playlists, complete with album art. Remote is available now as a free download from the App Store and requires iTunes 7.7, Apple TV software version 2.1, and an iPhone or iPod touch running Software version 2.0.

Update: We’ve added a few screenshots of the new application in action below.

App Store opens, 500+ applications, 25% free [updated]

Apple has officially opened the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch applications. In an interview with the New York Times, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed that 25% of the first 500 applications available on the store are free, and of the commercial applications, 90% are selling for $9.99 or less. In addition, a third of all the initial applications are games. “The reaction we have gotten so far has been really strong,” Jobs said. “The quality and the sophistication of the applications you can write for the iPhone is in a different class.” He added that Apple is not trying to make large sums of money selling iPhone applications, instead using the store as a way to “sell more iPhones.” The App Store can currently be accessed through a link at the bottom of iTunes 7.7’s “Application” section.

Update: Apple has added a direct App Store link to the iTunes Store’s side menu, along with a promo image at the top of the main iTunes Store page.

Apple sets deadline for App Store launch submissions

Apple has sent out an email to paid iPhone developers encouraging them to get their applications submitted by July 7 for inclusion on the App Store on launch day. The email, received by World of Apple, states: “To ensure your application can be considered for the exciting launch of the App Store, submit your application by 12 PM PDT, on July 7, 2008. We will continue to accept applications after this time, however your application may not be available until after the launch of the App Store.” The App Store is expected to open for business alongside the release of iPhone Software 2.0 and the iPhone 3G on July 11.

PurpleTalk launches advertising service for iPhone devs

PurpleTalk, a new iPhone developer tools and services company, has announced the launch of AdShare, a new free advertising service for iPhone developers. AdShare will use a brief splash-screen promotion embedded into a iPhone application to cross-promote different apps and raise awareness for those applications. Each time a developer displays an ad for a separate developer, they receive credit for one advertisement of their App, which will be promoted by another developer. The service will also provide analytic services which will allow developers to track the usage statistics of their applications.

Sridhar Muppidi, PurpleTalk’s Founder and CEO, said, “This service offers non-intrusive ads which do not affect the user’s application experience, since our AdShare banners use only 30 % of the splash screen, while the rest promotes the application owner’s brand.” Vince Mundy, CEO for iPhone gaming application development company commented, “PurpleTalk’s AdShare service will allow us to promote our games directly to end users.  We expect that it might help us to acquire as many as two or three times more customers. The value is in differentiation and increased exposure.”

Former EA head starts iPhone gaming studio

Neil Young, former head of Electronic Arts’ Blueprint studio, has left the firm to form Ngmoco, a new iPhone-focused gaming studio. In an interview with Gamasutra, Young described his departure as amicable, saying, “[t]his is just a different type of opportunity, and honestly, if it wasn’t for the advent of the iPhone and the advent of the App Store and the SDK, I would probably still be at Electronic Arts focusing on making Blueprint as successful as it could possibly be.” Young goes on to explain that he was attracted by the iPhone’s usage patterns, in that more than half the time the average iPhone is in use it isn’t being used for telephony, calling the pattern “a fundamental shift.”

He also lauded the iPhone’s capabilities, saying, “The iPhone, from a performance standpoint, is pretty close to a PSP, but unlike the PSP, it’s got a touchscreen, accelerometers, a camera, it’s location-aware, it’s got all of your media on it, it’s awake with you, it’s always on, and it’s always connected to the network. So if you think about the types of games and entertainment experiences that you can build on a platform like that, it’s got to get pretty exciting pretty quickly.” Young also said that while his company will be involved in first-party development of games, it also plans to work with other developers, supplying funding, technological expertise, and marketing opportunities.

iTunes remote control app revealed in iTunes 7.7

Alongside Beta 8 of the iPhone SDK, Apple posted a pre-release of iTunes 7.7 to registered, paid iPhone developers. In addition to featuring support for the MobileMe service and a new “Applications” tab in the iTunes sync screen to manage apps being loaded onto iPhones and iPod touches, the software’s Read Me file confirmed an earlier report that Apple has developed an iTunes remote control application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Read Me file states, “Use iTunes 7.7 to sync music, video, and more with iPhone 3G, and download applications from the iTunes Store exclusively designed for iPhone and iPod touch with software version 2.0 or later. Also use the new Remote application for iPhone or iPod touch to control iTunes playback from anywhere in your home—a free download from the App Store.” Further details about the Remote application have yet to be revealed.

Apple opens App Store to developers

According to a new report, Apple has opened the App Store to allow registered developers that have been accepted into the paid iPhone developer program to ready their apps for distribution. TUAW reports that developers are using iTunes Connect to track the financial performance of their applications, and that Apple is said to withhold any payments until the developer has earned at least $250 for themselves through sales of their app. It remains unclear how Apple will schedule payments once the $250 threshold has been reached. In addition, and in keeping with an earlier report, developers can choose their own pricing for applications, and all prices will end in 99 cents, as is common with iTunes purchases. More information about the application submission process is available from the “Program Portal” on Apple’s secure developer website.

Adobe: Flash Player running on iPhone Emulator

Speaking during its fiscal second quarter conference call, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen revealed that the company has a version of its Flash Player running inside the iPhone Emulator. In response to a question about possible Flash support on the iPhone 3G, Narayen said, “With respect to the iPhone, we are working on it. We have a version that’s working on the emulation. This is still on the computer and you know, we have to continue to move it from a test environment onto the device and continue to make it work. So we are pleased with the internal progress that we’ve made to date.” Following the release of the iPhone Software Development Kit, Adobe stated its intent to bring the Flash Player to the iPhone, noting that integrating the software with the Safari browser would require “work with Apple beyond and above what is available through the SDK and the current license around it.” [via Boing Boing Gadgets]

iPhone developers, frustrated, still waiting on Apple

A large number of potential iPhone developers are still awaiting acceptance into Apple’s paid iPhone developer plan, according to new reports. Paul Kafasis of Rogue Amoeba writes that after three full months, the company’s application has still not been accepted, despite the fact that an individual employee was able to gain access to the program in under 24 hours after applying. Using numbers revealed during Apple’s keynote address earlier this week, TUAW noted that the paid iPhone developer program has an acceptance rate of just 16 percent, or 4,000 admitted out of 25,000 applications. Most frustrating, says Kafasis, is the lack of communication from Apple on the subject. He writes, “Confusing emails and a lack of useful correspondence have left us waiting to hear the status of our application for a full three months and counting. Will we eventually be accepted to the program, or will we ultimately be rejected, and barred from providing software for the platform at all? At the moment, we simply have no way of knowing.”

TomTom clarifies iPhone GPS application plans

Following a Reuters report claiming that GPS manufacturer TomTom plans to sell a navigation application for the iPhone, and the subsequent discovery of a line in the iPhone SDK agreement disallowing “real time route guidance,” a spokesperson from TomTom has come forward to clarify the company’s plans for the device. In an interview with MacGeneration (Translated link), Yann Lafargue of TomTom France revealed that while the company does have a navigation application running on the iPhone, it is unsure of whether or not it will release the software. Lafargue said the company wants to be sure that Apple will allow them to sell the software on the App Store, while stating that the restrictive clause in the SDK agreement is most likely Apple trying to protect itself from a liability standpoint, rather than an outright restriction. Finally, Lafargue added that while the company does work with other cellular manufacturers such as HTC, it is primarily focused on car navigation solutions.

Details of App Store submission process emerge

Details of the application submission process for Apple’s upcoming iPhone and iPod touch App Store have been published online. AppleInsider reports that applications have been restricted to a file size limit of 2GB, and apps that are not distributed for free will be priced using a tiered system which scales from $0.99 to $999.99. Screenshots from a web-based application submission portal show a screen to help developers rate their games, and a screen that allows selection of which countries the application will be sold in, and the appropriate pricing in each region based on that application’s pricing tier. Apple is expected to launch the App Store in early July, possibly on the 11th, coinciding with the launch of the iPhone 3G.

Apple announces Apple Design Awards winners

Apple has announced the winners of its 2008 Apple Design Awards at a ceremony held during the Worldwide Developers Conference. The awards recognize technical excellence, innovation, and outstanding achievement in software development, and this year included several new categories for iPhone developers. The Associated Press’ AP Mobile News Network was Runner Up in the category of Best iPhone Web App, bested by Remember the Milk, an online to do list and task manager and winner of this year’s award.

New to the awards this year were categories for native iPhone software application development. The title of Best iPhone Game went to Enigmo from Pangea Software, which was demoed during Apple’s keynote address on Monday. Best iPhone Entertainment Application went to AOL’s upcoming AOL Radio, which gives users access to over 350 online radio stations, including 150 local CBS Radio stations. Twitterrific from The Iconfactory was named the Best iPhone Social Networking Application, while the award for Best iPhone Productivity Application went to The Omni Group’s OmniFocus. Finally, the award for Best iPhone Healthcare & Fitness Application went to another keynote demo application, MIMVista’s MIM medical imaging app.

Apple posts iPhone SDK beta 7

Apple has released the seventh beta version of its iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK). The new beta release is labeled build 9M2199, beta 7, and weighs in at 1.19GB. It is available now as a free download for registered developers from the iPhone Dev Center. Release notes have not yet been posted.

iPhone applications get limited persistent connections

Apple today announced that native iPhone applications will be able to receive updates and notifications on a limited basis even after the user as quit the application. The lack of persistent connections for third-party iPhone applications led to some complaining among developers when it was announced in March. With the new system, there will be a persistent connection between the iPhone and Apple that will allow services to push three types of notifications to users: badges (how many messages), custom alert sounds, and custom textual alerts. Developers can provide buttons to reload the app in notification messages, and the service will work over both Wi-Fi and cellular networks. Available in September, developers will get access to the feature next month.

250K iPhone SDK downloads, App Store launching in 62 countries

Apple has announced that the iPhone Software Development Kit, launched 95 days ago, has now been downloaded by 250,000 developers, 25,000 of which have applied to Apple’s paid developer programs. Over 35% of the Fortune 500 is now participating in Apple’s Enterprise Beta program, including the top five commercial banks, 5 securities firms, 6 of 7 top airlines, 8 of top 10 pharmaceutical companies, and 8 of the top 10 entertainment companies.

Apple also revealed further details of its App Store, through which it will distribute native applications to the iPhone and iPod touch. The Store, originally planned for 22 countries, will now be launched in 62 countries. Applications taking up 10MB or less will be available to download via cellular or Wi-Fi networks, or through iTunes. If an application is over 10MB, it will only be available via Wi-Fi or through iTunes. As Apple announced in March, developers will set the price for their own applications.

“Developer reaction to the features, power and simplicity of the iPhone SDK has been incredible,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “We are seeing some truly amazing native apps from our developers and think users are going to love the breadth and depth of the applications available from the App Store.”

“The SDK allowed us to build a groundbreaking new AIM client in record time,” said Kevin Conroy, executive vice president, AOL. “The platform’s elegance and ease of use has inspired our developers to create innovative new web and SDK based experiences for iPhone and iPod touch.”

“The iPhone SDK has given us an excellent set of tools and APIs to create mobile extensions for FIM’s entire portfolio of web brands including MySpace, IGN and Photobucket in the near term, and other properties such as down the road,” said John Smelzer, senior vice president of Mobile for Fox Interactive Media. “The popularity of the iPhone, along with the high demand for applications, gives us an amazing opportunity to create groundbreaking mobile experiences.”

“Cocoa-touch is a compact and robust application framework that handles all the heavy lifting for developers so they can concentrate on building their applications in record time with the legendary Apple finesse we’ve come to expect,” said David Krantz, president of YELLOWPAGES.COM.“ iPhone has been a game changer since it launched, and the availability of our YELLOWPAGES.COM application on the App Store is going to make a great device even better.”

“As mobile developers with primarily J2ME and BREW experience, we were up and running with the iPhone within two weeks,” said Jonathan Backer, manager of Mobile Engineering, The Walt Disney Company. “The hardware is stable and full-featured, while the software development tools are intuitive and represent a level of polish rarely seen in the mobile arena.”

“Since the launch of the iPhone we have seen a steady rise in traffic to the mobile site so it made perfect sense to develop a rich client application for the App Store,” said Adam Ritter, vice president, Wireless Major League Baseball, Advanced Media. “Our development staff was excited to work on an iPhone application and reported that the SDK was robust and straight forward and contained helpful development tools. All combined we were able to expedite our development and deliver an application we know baseball fans will enjoy.”

iPhone Software 2.0: new features, coming early July

Apple today revealed several new features of the previously announced iPhone Software version 2.0. New features in the update will include Contact Search, full iWork document support, and completed support of MS Office documents, including PowerPoint. Users will be able to delete and move of email messages in bulk, and save images directly to your library from email. The Calculator application will be improved to include a scientific mode. Other new features will include Parental Controls, expanded language support, including two forms of entry for Japanese and Chinese as well with a drawing character feature. iPhone software version 2.0 will be available in early July as a free update for all iPhone owners. The update will cost $9.95 for the iPod touch.

Sling Media shows SlingPlayer iPhone concept

Sling Media has announced that it will be showing a proof of concept version of its SlingPlayer Mobile application for the iPhone at WWDC. The current version runs on jailbroken iPhones only, and will not be made available to consumers until the app can be reworked using Apple’s official SDK. According to the company, the proof of concept version was developed “to characterize the performance of the platform” and to ensure delivery of “a high quality customer experience on the iPhone & iPod Touch platforms.” Sling Media hopes to release SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone through the new App Store later this year.

Apple releases sixth update to iPhone SDK

Apple has released the sixth beta version of its iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK). The new beta, labeled build 9M2192 beta 6, requires Mac OS X 10.5.3, the latest update to the Mac operating system which was released earlier today. The updated SDK, which is available as a free download for registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center, is a 1.19GB download. Complete release notes are available here.

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