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Dr. Touch #16 – "i of the Volcano"

Dr. Touch is waiting to see if he can fly to the US, there’s a volcano in the way. At the same time Apple unleashes hell in their developer agreement, delay of the international iPad release and lightning-fast new laptops. Today Mike Vallez is my special guest, we’ll talk about iPhone app marketing and his new eBook Secrets to Effective iPhone App Marketing.

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Show notes (aka my script) after the break.

iPhone hacker George Hotz has hinted that he found an exploit in the latest 3.2 firmware that will allow a so called “untethered jailbreak” on all iPhones. He claims that this might also allow a jailbreak for iPad on day one. Bad news for developers who sell apps for a living. Good news for hackers who probably will try to mod their iPads into full unix devices.

For a while it was generally thought that Fujutsu was still owning the iPad Trademark. They where using it for a Windows-CE-based point-of-sales device. When they did not respond for 6 months in 2008 the US Patent and Trademark office declared it as abandoned. Fujutsu refiled and went into pending. Apple contested their claim beginning last September, with two extensions in October and December while the two companies deliberated the rights. The final resolution now granted Apple all the rights a few weeks before the iPad is scheduled to go on sale. It will forever remain unknown if Apple paid off Fujitsu or if they simply had the stronger claim.

After the recent purge of explicit content it appears that Apple still plans to make this available but with appropriate parental controls in place. The “Explicit” category had surfaced shortly and disappeared right away after having been spotted. Now iTunes hackers have found several pages like top free explicit and top free paid showing up in internal links. It could be another resurfacing of the earlier experiment. Or it could really be an indication that adult content will return. But you will have to ask your guardian to enable explicit stuff on your iTunes to see it.

Apple seems to have procured all 30,000 public domain books from the Gutenberg project to fill the iBook store on launch. A big portion of eBooks sold as apps on the app store where such books that are really available for free but enterprising developers made some money on selling apps with these free books inside. With the iBookstore you will be able to read the classics for free and with the nice interface that the iBooks app provides.

The iBooks app will also become available on the iPhone, when version 4.0 of the OS will be released this summer.

Digitimes reports that Apple has switched manufacturer for the iPad touch panels from TPK to Wintek because TPK was not able to provide the capacity that Apple requires to fill the wordwide lust for iPads. This shortage is the most probable reason why it’s only being sold in the US as of April 3rd, only 2 per customer and no volume orders for businesses. Hopefully this will allow sales everywhere.

Surveys of Apple Stores still show that the iPad is high in demand. Especially the lower priced models with less memory are flying off the shelves.

The release of new MacBook models appears to be imminent. An employee at Microcenter has found 4 new SKU numbers hinting at one “Good”, one “Better” and two “Best” models, the price point of which appears to be in line with current MacBook Pros.

With OS 4.0 you can link contacts and will all the contacts details in one pane.

Apparently 4.0 will no longer support the first iPhone, and iPhone 3G will not get multi-tasking.

With 4.0, if you remove an app, you no longer get asked for a rating. This is also good news because normally people who remove an app do so because they don’t like something about it. I assume that we will now see less apps that have lots of 5 stars and lots of 1 star ratings, but nothing in between. Now if somebody wants to rate he has to make a conscious effort to do so. Though I still think that Apple should link some sort of social benefit or identity with the reviews. This way the developers could talk back to the often false accusations and people would think more before writing something that can come back to them.

Evidence mounts that iChat will come to the iPhone. Already there is an iChat daemon running on the 4.0 BETA and now iphonehacks.it has discovered iChat sounds amongst the system files inside a folder aptly named conference.framework.

Apple has changed section 3.3.1 of the developer agreement to basically prohibit usage of all meta-platforms. They want iPhone apps to be only written in Objective-C. While being a problem for many people who where hoping for tools like Flash to be providing a way around learning this language it’s actually wonderful news for those of us who specialize on Cocoa Touch. Companies who want to play on our platform in the future will have to go through us. John Gruber of Daring Fireball shows that it is actually in Apple’s best interest not to permit the establishment of a meta-platform on top of Cocoa Touch.

Much to the positive surprise of developers worldwide Apple’s review team let through Opera Mini. This browser uses Opera’s servers to compress websites and thus speed up web traffic over cellular connections. Opera Mini is now available on the app store. Apple Insider has the first review, it’s fast, but rendering is not as nice as on Safari and has some display problems. For us developers it’s interesting to see that if you try to make your app sufficiently different than built-in functionality then Apple will approve it.

Appsfire has announced the winners of the 2nd unreleased-apps competition at 360 iDev conference.

A game called The Jim and Frank Mysteries: Blood River Files was the runner-up in the Games category. The game looked very much like the popular Professor Layton titles on the DS, with adventure-style story screens in between touch-controlled math and logic puzzles.

The winner of the Games category is a title named IsoCards for the iPad, which seems similar in functionality to Game Table, with a touchable deck of cards that can be manipulated into whatever game you want. A few nice touches on that one include an iPhone connection that allows for “secret” card hands, and even an on-iPad feature where you can cup your hand on the touch surface, and the iPad will flip up cards that only you can see.

In the Utility category, the runner-up was iMockups, an iPad app that allows you to quickly and easily create mockups for iPad and iPhone apps, web pages, or any number of other different UIs and interfaces. The category’s winner was LifeCycle, which uses a wireless module hooked up to the iPhone and attached to a bicycle to track “files” of speed, distance, and so on during bike rides.

And in the Entertainment and Fun category, AppsFire showed off Pocket Zoo, an educational app that lets children and others learn about and observe (via live webcams) zoo animals from all over the world. The winner of the Entertainment and Fun category was Mixr, a good-looking DJ app for iPad with touch-based turntables, lots of different audio controls, and a nice techno aesthetic.

Apple sparked a new controversy with the contents of section 3.3.9 of the developer agreement which in short bans third party analytics software from iPhone apps. More precisely it prohibits the use of software in your iPhone apps that collects information on iPhones like device ID, model and OS version. Several companies like AdMob and Flurry would be using this data to analyze adoption rates of certain OS versions and models. Flurry is seeking direct clarification from Apple. AdMob, which is now owned by Google, has yet to react.

Apple really does sell more iPads than they can produce. This prompted them to make the unpopular decision to delay the international launch by 1 month. Apparently they plan to make the WiFi and 3G models available at the same time by the end of May. Although it’s still unclear whether “international” really means “worldwide” or if they will stick with the few non-US countries they previously announced it for.

Long overdue Apple has finally released updates to the MacBooks. You can now get up to four cores at the higher end and graphics that switch dynamically between built-in intel and discrete nVidia for performance. Especially noteworthy is the extremely long battery duration of over 8 hours.


Categories: Podcast

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