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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 FOXSports.com 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 MLB.com 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

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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

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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.

Ecamm releases PhoneView 2.0 for iPhone

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Ecamm Network has released PhoneView 2.0 for iPhone, a Mac-only companion application for the iPhone. Formerly called MegaPhone (and iPhoneDrive before that), the application gives iPhone and iPod touch users access to iTunes media, photos, notes, contacts, SMS messages, and call history data stored on their device. It also opens the devices for data storage and file transfer purposes, and allows users to add notes to the devices’ Notes application by dragging text files in most popular formats into the PhoneView browser. New to version 2.0 is the ability to search, access to the contact list, and automatic backup of SMS and call history data. “With PhoneView’s Notes features, the iPhone Notepad gets a whole lot more useful,” says Ken Aspeslagh, Ecamm Network’s iPhone specialist. “Not only can you retrieve iPhone Notes by simply dragging them out of PhoneView, you can actually drag in text files for reading and editing on the go.” PhoneView requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later and sells for $19.95; a free 7-day demo version is also available.

Apple posts iPhone SDK Beta release 5

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Apple has posted the fifth beta version of its iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK). According to Apple’s notes, the new release “fixes bugs and adds support for the latest iPhone OS.” The updated SDK, which is available as a free download for registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center, is a 1.08GB download, and is listed as build 9M2173a, beta 5. Complete release notes are available here.

Apple releases fourth iPhone SDK beta, adds OpenGL ES support

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Apple has released its fourth update to the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) beta, which adds OpenGL ES support to the iPhone Simulator application, amongst other improvements. The new release, which is available as a free download for registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center, is a 1.15GB download, and is listed as build 9M2165, beta 4. Apple has posted complete release notes here. We will update this story with any new information we discover.

Update: Following installation of the updated SDK, we have found it includes an updated build (55) of the iPhone Simulator application, which is running an updated version of the iPhone OS, version 2.0 (5A258f). In addition, the Contacts application in the iPhone Simulator now features a search bar at the top, which was previously revealed in the iPhone 2.0 Enterprise beta.

New software enables potential iPhone/Blu-ray interaction

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NetBlender has introduced BD Touch technology, a software toolkit that could enable iPhones and iPod touches to interact with content on a Blu-ray Disc. The technology will require a BD Touch-compatible Blu-ray Disc—as yet unreleased—and an iPhone OS application that interacts with the company’s BD Touch SDK. It leverages the network connection built into Blu-ray players and the Wi-Fi connectivity of the iPhone and iPod touch to create two-way communication between the devices, allowing for transfer of video, audio, text, and player commands. Possible applications of the technology include pushing digital copies of a movie to an iPhone from the Blu-ray Disc menu, cataloguing a viewer’s Blu-ray Disc collection and providing movie suggestions, and more. “By releasing the BD Touch SDK to the iPhone developer community we’re excited to see creative possibilities for Blu-ray interactivity flourish,” said Denny Breitenfeld, NetBlender CTO. “The BD Touch framework is built into our Blu-ray disc authoring solution, DoStudio, so Blu-ray authors at every level of the industry will be able to take advantage of these exciting new applications on their discs with point and click ease.”

Apple releases third beta version of iPhone SDK [updated]

Apple has released a new version of the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK), the third beta version of the software package. The new release, which is available as a free download for registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center, is a 1.37GB download, and is listed as build 9M2158a, beta 3. Earlier today, developers accepted into Apple’s paid iPhone Developer Program began reporting lock-ups following the expiration of the current beta firmware; it is unclear whether this new release includes an updated version of the beta firmware or other changes. We will update this story with any new information we discover.

Update: Following installation of the updated SDK, we have found it includes an updated build (48) of the iPhone Simulator application, which is running an updated version of the iPhone OS, version 2.0 (5A240d). Mac Rumors reports that this same build was seeded to paid developers as updated beta firmware, and contains a number of bug fixes and new features centered on Exchange support.

Apple releases updated iPhone SDK with Interface Builder [updated]

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Apple has released an updated version of its iPhone Software Development Kit that now includes Interface Builder, the company’s tool for designing the interface of iPhone applications. The new release, which is available as a free download for registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center, is a 1.36GB download, and is listed as build 9A2151. It remains unclear what other changes may be present in the new release; we will update this story with any new information we discover.

Update: Following installation of the updated SDK, two folders, formerly listed as Aspen.platform and AspenSimulator.platform, have been changed to iPhoneOS.platform and iPhoneSimulator.platform, respectively. As the folder title would suggest, the iPhone OS simulator formerly known as Aspen Simulator is now called iPhone Simulator, and is a later build (40) than the previous version. In addition, the version of the iPhone OS listed in the simulator has been changed, from v1.2 (5A147p) to 2.0 (5A225c), most likely to reduce confusion. A new version of Xcode is also included in the new version of the SDK, with updated component versions, and a new start screen which lets the user choose between iPhone resources and Mac OS X resources. As expected, the new version of Interface Builder lets the user choose to build Cocoa Touch interfaces (pictured).

Sling pursuing SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone

Sling Media is currently examining its options for development of a version of its SlingPlayer Mobile application for the iPhone and iPod touch, according to statements made to iLounge. Dave Zatz of Sling Media told iLounge in an email, “We were definitely one of those 100,000 who downloaded the iPhone SDK, which we’re currently evaluating. We know it’s a hot platform and we’ll see what our options are.” Sling Media CEO Blake Krikorian has previously said that he had spoken with Apple about the possibility of streaming to the iPhone, stating the company “would love to support” the platform. The company has also previously confirmed that it is working on making its streaming products compatible with the Apple TV.

Microsoft eyeing iPhone development

Microsoft is currently examining the possibility of developing applications for the iPhone, including versions of its Office apps, according to a new report. Speaking with Fortune, Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Specialized Devices and Applications Group, said, “It’s really important for us to understand what we can bring to the iPhone. To the extent that Mac Office customers have functionality that they need in that environment, we’re actually in the process of trying to understand that now.” Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit, which is responsible for the development of Office for Mac, has long been one of the largest groups of Mac developers outside of Apple, giving it experience it can leverage when developing for the iPhone. “We do have experience with that environment, and that gives us confidence to be able to do something,” Gibbons said. “The key question is, what is the value that we need to bring? We’re still getting comfortable with the SDK, right? It’s just come out. So we had a guess as to what feasibility would be like, now we’ll really get our head wrapped around that.”

The article also points out that voice recognition unit TellMe, which was purchased by Microsoft last year, may be interested in building an iPhone application as well, so long as the SDK allows it access to voice recording and location-based information. “If the SDK supports these things,” said general manager Mike McCue, “we’re absolutely going to get a version out there as soon as we can, get TellMe out there on the iPhone.” Thus far, Apple has suggested that location-based information would be accessible to iPhone SDK developers, but has not offered any hope for voice recording functionality.

Google offers new APIs to third-party developers

Google has added support for new APIs for accessing Contacts data and for YouTube browsing and uploading, as well as compatibility for the iPhone SDK, in version 1.4 of the GData Objective-C Client Library. Google’s Greg Robbins explains, “Perhaps you want your iPhone software to send photos to a Picasa Web Albums account, or keep a journal of phone calls automatically in Blogger. Maybe your iPhone application accesses a database of information from a Google Spreadsheet or from Google Base. With the Google Data APIs Objective-C Client Library, creating software for these tasks is straightforward.” Once installed, developers can use the GData APIs in iPhone applications just like they would when writing a Mac application. The library offers access to Google services such as Blogger, Calendar, Contacts, Notebook, Picasa Web Albums, YouTube, and more, and is available as a free download from Google. [via IntoMobile]

Adobe CEO announces Flash for iPhone [updated]

The iPhone will soon receive its own version of Adobe’s Flash Player, a popular web plug-in capable of performing audio, video, and animated art content, according to Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. “We believe Flash is synonymous with the Internet experience,” Narayen told investors during a conference call, explaining that the company has been evaluating Apple’s iPhone software development kit, “and we are committed to bringing Flash to the iPhone.”

Adobe’s announcement follows Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ comments that both Flash Lite, a mobile-optimized Flash player, and the full-fledged Flash player for PCs and Macs were not viable iPhone-ready applications. Shortly thereafter, Microsoft licensed Flash Lite for use on Windows Mobile devices. It is presently unclear how the iPhone version of Flash Player will integrate with the iPhone’s Safari web browser.

Updated: Adobe has issued a statement noting that any Flash Player integration with the Safari web browser will require “work with Apple beyond and above what is available through the SDK and the current license around it,” rendering the company’s earlier commitment to the iPhone merely a statement of intent rather than a formal guarantee. “[W]e want to work with Apple,” Adobe said, “to bring these capabilities to the device.”

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