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Dr. Touch #013 – "Long Stretch"

It’s just a couple more weeks until the first iPads hit the store. Still there are a couple of interesting news items that we shall explore. In this episode my guest is Barbara Gavin who organizes the Voices that Matter iPhone Developer’s Conference.

This episode is brought to you by:

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My Show Notes (aka Script) below the break…

News

Wired Magazin showed off how the digital interactive iPad-Version of their magazine could look like. Though it might be something of a shock to use hard core Cocoa coders. Adobe built the prototype for Wired in AIR. They use a component that’s called “Packager” to recompile the Adobe AIR output into an binary for iPad. The demonstration is really gorgeous, the are aiming for a release in Summer. You know I might start reading magazines again which I had quit because I did not want the waste of glossy paper on my environmental consciousness. A digital subscription might be similar to the current print subscription of Wired which is $40 domestic US or $70 international.

Erwan Macé has fallen into the pool. That in itself is not such a remarkable feat, but he had his iPhone in his pocket which got soaked as well and would no longer start. Still nothing unusual. But Erwan, instead of throwing the iPhone away, took it apart and documented it all on his blog. And when he put it back together it worked again. Let this be a lesson to us all: if you happen to fall in the pool, just dry your iPhone after you have stopped laughing.

Apple likes to remind you that if you want to offer video streams to iphone apps which are in duration longer than 10 minutes then you have to use the HTTP Live Video streaming protocol. There has to be a fallback stream wit no more than 64kbit which will be automatically used if network conditions are not able to support more.

This essentiassly means: NO to RTSP. On the frequently asked questions there is this interesting question and answer:

What advantages does this approach have over RTP/RTSP?

HTTP is less likely to be disallowed by routers, NAT, or firewall settings. No ports need to be opened that are commonly closed by default. Content is therefore more likely to get through to the client in more locations and without special settings. HTTP is also supported by more content-distribution networks, which can affect cost in large distribution models. In general, more available hardware and software works unmodified and as intended with HTTP than with RTP/RTSP. Expertise in customizing HTTP content delivery using tools such as PHP is also more widespread.

Also, HTTP Live Streaming is supported in Safari and the media player framework on iPhone. RTSP streaming is not supported.

I know from my contacts in the media industry that RTSP is still widely used, especialy for radio over the internet. But if you want to play with Apple then you have to switch to the HTTP Live Streaming standard.

Apple has added 9 new countries to the long list of where you can sell your apps. Those are: Armenia, Botswana, Bulgaria, Jordan, Kenya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, Tunisia, and Uganda. Those might not be very big markets, but they sound like there might be a niche for some special apps catering to the specific cultural needs of these countries. Now the iPhone is available in 94 countries, with two more coming soon: Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea.

This made me wonder how many countries there really are. I had always estimated around 70, but I was way off as a quick search on Wolfram Alpha proves. There are actually 203 sovereign states on our planet right now.

According to Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention of 1933, in which a state must have

  1. a permanent population
  2. a defined territory
  3. a government, and
  4. a capacity to enter into relations with the other states

Now you know, Apple will soon have 96 out of 203, so just about half. So world domination is still a bit off. But we’re getting there.

Apple has silently increased the WiFi download limit first to 15 Megabytes, now to 20. It is generally believed that this is because hybrid iPad apps require double the amount of artwork to support both resolutions. It is anticipated that the first non-3G iPads will be in stores in about a month. However it is strange because to my knowledge there still is no method in the 3.2 SDK to actually create hybrid apps. Also there is yet no final version of the 3.2 SDK which Apple would permit submitting iPad apps with. I get the feeling that there won’t be any iPad-optimized apps on the app store at launch time, except for the iWork apps by Apple themselves.

Last week the Mobile World Congress happened in Barcelona, Spain. Even though Apple itself was not involved in it in the least, the iPhone stole the show. Most vendors, when asked, said that their solutions worked on iPhone, ah and yes, with little effort also on symbian or Android. So it’s kind of interesting to see the result of Apple’s active non-involvement in trade shows. You know, this year also was the first where Apple did not attend the MacWorld. It appears that their strategy really works, by not attending they permit all the other small fish who swim in Apple’s water to flourish. Which in turn underlines their vision of being a platform rather than a vendor.

Roughly Drafted Magazine unearthed the best theory so far as to the real reason there will never be Flash on iPhone OS devices. It’s the “mouse-over problem”. Most current websites using flash require a visible mouse pointer for interaction and actions will happen if you move the pointer or hover over certain objects. Like video players would show the controls if you move the mouse. Multi-Touch has no hovering. That would cause a lot of Flash boxes to not work properly. Which would in all likelyhood annoy people way more than not being able to see a banner ad trying to get us to punch the monkey.

Apple has dramatically changed their stance towards apps which are “overtly sexual” in nature. For about a year it was possible to sell such apps provided that your iTunes description and screenshots are 4+ rateable. There is an organization by the name of Parents Television Council, which describes themselves as “The nation’s most influential advocacy organization protecting children against sex, violence, and profanity in entertainment with more than one million members and growing”. This organization has recently started a campaign (or should we call it crusade?) against Apple to “stop Apple providing porn to kids”. They explain, quote:

Apple is allowing the sale of pornographic applications for the iPhone in its iTunes store, with the content then being downloaded onto the iPhone.  Some of these applications are free to children and adults; and links to web sites that lead to even more explicit pornography are also given on iTunes. And even if teens do not purchase or download these “apps,” Apple provides samples of the pornography on iTunes for all to see.

Typical content has included items with names like “Shawna Lee Private Dance,” which shows a porn starlet with her hand down the front of her bikini bottom fondling herself; “Love Positions Free,” with a drawing titled “doggystyle” showing a couple having sex; “1001 Boobs Lite;” and “Tasty Pasties 18+ Amateurs” (at one point, the 11th most popular “app” out of thousands on iTunes). All of these applications are free – and available to children.

Please help us hold Apple responsible for providing pornography to children. Call, e-mail, or send a letter to Apple, and tell them to remove pornographic content from their phone apps and iTunes store.

What obviously happened is that lots of members of the PTC contacted Apple to complain about this. Apple trying to a family-friendly company sent out app pull noticies with this wording:

The App Store continues to evolve, and as such, we are constantly refining our guidelines. Your application *beep* contains content that we had originally believed to be suitable for distribution. However, we have recently received numerous complaints from our customers about this type of content, and have changed our guidelines appropriately.
We have decided to remove any overtly sexual content from the App Store, which includes your application.
Thank you for your understanding in this matter. If you believe you can make the necessary changes so that *beep* complies with our recent changes, we encourage you to do so and resubmit for review.
Sincerely,
iPhone App Review

In total about 5000 apps where pulled from the store, the general theory is that this is also meant as spring cleaning before the extra-family-friendly iPad becomes available. Apps of the usual adult publications like Playboy continue to be in the store. When asked why this is the case, Phil Schiller responded that their sexy content had been available previously in widely accepted form.

So to summarize, if you want naked flesh, go to Android, because that’s where pissed off adult-app-providers are now going.

Somebody who apparently has early access to a pre-BETA version of iPhone SDK 4.0 has unearthed evidence of future video-chat functionality. There are some buttons with telling names as well as symbol names containing the terms VideoChat and iChat. So it is very likely that iPhone OS 4.0, which will very likely be presented at WWDC 2010, will include videoconferencing features.

Earlier reports as to what graphics hardware is included in Apple’s A4 chip where false. It was reported that the iPad would use a ARM based graphics circuits. However it has been confirmed by Apple now that indeed the iPad also has PowerVR SGX on board.

Using OpenGL ES on iPad is identical to using OpenGL ES on other iPhone OS devices. An iPad is a PowerVR SGX device and supports the same basic capabilities as other SGX devices. However, because the processor, memory architecture, and screen dimensions are different for iPad, you should always test your code on an iPad device before shipping to ensure performance meets your requirements.

Fun

Have you ever wondered how many oranges it would take to power an iPhone? the answer is 2360 according to UK-based marketing company Imperial Leisure. You know that lemons or oranges produce a bit of electricity if poked with different metals. They did it for publicity but it still is an interesting experiment. Obviously this is without practical application. If you cannot charge your iphone you’d probably be cheaper of if you simply bought a new one instead of all those oranges. You know, Lithium-Ion batteries come pre-charged you’d still be able to make some phone calls with it.

Interview

My guest is Barbara Gavin from Pearson who is organizing the upcoming Voices that Matter iPhone Developer conference.

SPECIAL SAVINGS! You can save $100 off the conference fee by providing priority code PHBLOGS when registering. Register before March 12th and save a total of $300 as this $100 discount is combined with the early bird pricing!


Categories: Podcast

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