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Dr. Touch #007 – "Shaken not Stirred"

More and more video streaming apps arrive on the app store. More tablet rumors and a new iPhone coming next year.

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My script (aka “Show Notes”) after the fold below.

News

Second video streaming app available. As previously reported Knocking was the first app to allow beaming video from one iPhone to another. Now the USTream app has been updated with similar capability. Previous versions of the UStream apps only allowed recording of video for later upload to the internet. With the new free UStream Live Broadcaster app you can stream video from your device to the web to cater for your “inner reporter”.

More details emerged on the “Molinker Case” where a developer based in China, got his contract with Apple terminated over faking reviews for his own apps. Somebody going by the acronym SCW wrote a letter directly to Phil Schiller documenting the fraud. To which the head honcho responded: “Yes, this developer’s apps have been removed from the App Store and their ratings no longer appear either.” Molinker, when contacted for comment, responded that they had not heard from Apple but only found their contract going to status “pending”. Their website still appears on Google search result but apparently has been taken offline due to the category 8 crapstorm the media coverage of this case has probably caused. It might be hypocritical to raise a warning finger, when we all are probably guilty of leaving single reviews for our own apps. But now we know what happens if you’re overdoing it.

Tablet rumors. Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner wants to make Apple stock look even more promising and therefore predicts production of the fabled Apple Tablet to begin in February next year. It’s supposed to be sporting a 10.1 inch LCD display, same technology as in the iPhone, no OLED in sight. Launch could be in March or April. What’s interesting though is that apparently Apple has been approaching book publishers and offered them the same 70/30 revenue split that we iPhone developers are getting today. This is an really good deal for publishers who normally only get around 50% of the cover price.

So if you have ideas today that are too big for the iPhone screen, don’t throw them away for lack of feasibility. It is very likely that on the WWDC 2010 we will be getting the big screen multitouch SDK extensions. So you will most likely be able to reuse assets and code for this new platform. I foresee that you won’t be able to run iPhone apps directly on the iTablet, but instead will be able to build separate apps with the SDK. And if development does not work out for you, maybe becoming a book author might be in your future.

There’s another side affect of the iTablet: Due to the disparity of the Euro and the Dollar I could save a couple of hundred dollars on a MacBook if I purchased it in the states. Though it costs 100 Euros or more to get the keyboard changed to German layout. Now the iTablet might be the first device that actually makes sense to purchase while you are visiting the US, say for example attending WWDC because there IS no keyboard to change! I just hope the customs officers believe me when I tell them: “I could not have bought it in the USA, see the on-screen keyboard, it’s German!”

New iPhone is coming next year! Well, that’s not really a rumor. We can assume that Apple will stick to the previous pattern and continue to release a new iPhone every year until the whole earth has iPhones. A journalist had tweeted that manufacturer Foxconn has supposedly received the contract to build the next iPhone. Though, will it really be the a phone? I’ve been saying all along that the S in iPhone 3GS stands for small, and that the medium and large iPhones will be in fact medium and large sized tablets. Or so I goes my letter to Santa Clause. But in any case we have previously heard that the device string of the iPhone 4G has already been seen roaming around in the San Francisco area. Seems that Apple liked the prototype so that Foxconn will be manufacturing it. Let the dreaming begin, what kind of better technology and additional gadgetry it will contain? Maybe a Near-Field-Communication chip?

Since the start of sales in October China Unicom sold 100,000 iPhones. That’s not much compared to 144 million subscribers, but still it’s an indication that it might start to make sense to start making apps specific to this market. Speaking of Chinese, Apple has announced that iTunes metadata can now be localized in 6 more languages: Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese and Swedish.

After the Knocking and uStream video streaming apps have been approved, now Qik has submitted their previously rejected streaming app. Chances are good that they will also finally land on the app store. So all the big developers know how to grab video from the camera and regular developers don’t. If you search for strings in the UStream Broadcaster app you see that there is a mention of UIGetScreenImage inside. So most likely there IS no API to get the video but they simply make screenshots continuously. Yuck! But it works ok, I tried it out and found the video quality coming from my 3GS satisfactory for ad-hoc broadcasting. So we can assume that Qik uses the very same screen grabbing method as the two others.

Coming to think of it … It’s been very long since the last update to the SDK. So what’s going on? Apple packaging something big into the next SDK version? Or are there no bugs left and everything honkeydorey until the next hardware update in Summer 2010?

Apple release new layout for the iTunes App Store. “A picture says more than a thousand words” you know. So the new design shows an even larger app icon and only the first paragraph of the description. You get the rest of the text via a “more” link. If there is an update then you see right below the first paragraph of the description what’s contained in the latest updated. Below you see the big and beautiful screenshots in a horizontal gallery similar to what we have become acquainted with on the mobile app store. App-releavant stats like the ratings are now in a small box on the lower left.

I must say it’s beautiful and will probably impact conversion rates a bit. It’s old knowledge that attractive pictures sell more goods. And having them so high up means that the user does not have to scroll down. This is what they call “above the fold” on web pages and newspapers. So thank you Apple for making this an even nicer experience for the users who look for our apps on desktop iTunes.

Programming

I posted an article on my blog detailing how to make a PullToReload-Tableview like Tweetie 2.


Categories: Podcast

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