Posts Tagged ‘iPod touch’

Hello iPad, surfing the web while watching telly up 35%

This one is from the bleeding obvious department but it’s noteworthy nonetheless.

The Nielsen Company’s latest Three Screen Report, which tracks consumption across TV, Internet and mobile phones, says that in the last quarter of 2009, Americans’ simultaneous use of the Internet while watching TV reached three and a half hours a month, up 35% from the previous quarter.

“Nearly 60% of TV viewers now use the Internet once a month while also watching TV”, notes the report.

Now I won’t regurgitate the other stats (see the table below) but I will point a finger at the likely culprits: Laptops, or more specifically Netbooks, and handheld devices such as the iPhone and other smartphones, and let’s not forget the iPod touch. Along with social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter etc.) giving rise to the virtual watercooler viewing experience.

The same ‘couch computing’ craze likely behind Apple’s decision to release a tablet computer, the iPad, now and in its particular form-factor.

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The Guardian newspaper's iPhone app offers off-line mode – mobile Internet's killer feature?

guardian-iphoneThe Guardian has released a paid-for iPhone (and iPod touch) app that makes reading the UK newspaper on Apple’s device a truly smartphone experience.

Along with features such as the ability to customize the newspaper’s ‘front page’, support for audio, finger-friendly navigation, including ‘swiping’ through photo galleries, the feature that really stands out is off-line browsing.

As I write over at TechCrunch Europe, the functionality…

… works in a similar way to music streaming service Spotify’s own iPhone app. Sections of the newspaper can be ‘cached’ in advance to enable access when outside of a WiFi network or mobile signal. As with listening to music, this is particularly appropriate for reading a newspaper on-the-go, such as when commuting on London’s Underground or any other subway for that matter. The app also offers access to the various Guardian podcasts, which can be downloaded in advance or streamed.

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BBC iPlayer downloads coming to iPhone?

iPlayer-iPhoneIt looks like a proper iPlayer app for the iPhone (and iPod touch) is on its way. A recent press pack issued by the BBC includes images of a dedicated iPhone app for the TV catchup service.

Of most interest is that unlike the current browser-based offering for Apple’s iconic smartphone it appears that the new app will support both streaming and downloads. This was thought to be near-impossible given the iPhone’s lack of support for any ‘standard’ form of copy-protection, a necessary evil given the way the Beeb licenses third-party content, and will bring it in-line with existing versions of iPlayer for Symbian and Windows Mobile.

As it stands, when asked to recommend a smartphone I usually try to ascertain if iPlayer support is a priority. If it is, and downloads are in particular (better battery life, off-line playback), I’ll more often than not point them towards a Nokia.

Soon that may no longer be the case.

Spotify hits the iPhone and Android app stores

The stars were already aligned: a preemptive PR strike, a premium business model, and regulators questioning anti-competitive practices with relation to the iPhone’s app store — making it less and less surprising that Apple should give Spotify the green light.

See also: How Spotify can beat Microsoft [music streaming]

As of today, the iPhone version of the music streaming service is available for download from Apple’s official App Store — UK, Sweden, Spain, France, Norway and Finland only (with the U.S. debut planned for sometime next year) — while a mobile client for the Google-led Android has also launched. The app is free for either platform but you’ll need to be a Spotify premium subscriber — £10 per month in the UK — to access the service.

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Real's Rhapsody enters App Store submission hell, could bode well for Spotify?

Adopting a similar PR strategy to Spotify, U.S.-only music subscription service Rhapsody ($14.99-a-month) has published details of its iPhone app, mid submission process to Apple’s App Store. While submitting an app alone far from guarantees that it will ever see the light of day through Cupertino’s official channel, by showing off the app now, including a video demo (below), it does ensure that any dirty linen on Apple’s part is aired in public. It also helps to build consumer demand from existing Rhapsody subscribers who also own an iPhone in preparation for a backlash should the app be rejected.

And rejection is certainly a possibility.

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Microsoft takes on iPod touch with Zune HD


New Zune HD

Microsoft today announced its latest Zune portable media player designed to go head to head with Apple’s iPod touch. Dubbed the Zune HD, the device features a 3.3″ 16:9 widescreen capacitive OLED with multitouch, WiFi, and a built-in web browser, along with existing Zune media playback features. Talking of which, the “HD” moniker refers to both HD Radio (offering higher quality audio and additional track and station data), along with support for 720p HD video playback. Interestingly, the device itself only offers a screen resolution of 480 x 272, meaning that High Def videos played back on the device are downscaled, which shouldn’t matter all that much on such a small screen. To view content in its full HD glory, the Zune HD features a HDMI-compatible docking station for plugging into a high definition television.

Of course to really take on the iPod touch, not only will the Zune HD’s web browsing experience need to up its game compared to existing Windows Mobile devices, but it would need to foster its own third-party software eco-system. Something that Microsoft hasn’t yet announced and it’s unclear if the company plans to do so, although I’m not ruling it out. Remember Apple doesn’t call the iPod touch a media player, instead referring to the device as the “first mainstream Wi-Fi mobile platform, running all kinds of mobile applications.”

(via Gizmodo)

Apple bans iPhone apps related to BitTorrent


Drivetrain for iPhone

It’s not a fully fledged BitTorrent client, but Apple has rejected Drivetrain from the iPhone App Store nonetheless. The software, developed by Maza Digital, turns the iPhone/iPod touch into a remote control for the popular PC BitTorrent client Transmission (Mac and Windows). After a slightly longer review process than other iPhone apps, Apple turned down Drivetrain on the grounds that anything BitTorrent related “is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights.” Of course, while the P2P protocol can be used for downloading pirated content, such as the latest DVD releases, it’s also a legitimate way for copyright holders to distribute large files, while sharing the bandwidth ‘costs’ with users.

In terms of functionality, Drivetrain enables the monitoring of BitTorrent downloads, including being able to pause, resume or cancel them altogether, as well as providing a web browser so that new torrents can be searched for and remotely downloaded. It’s the latter feature that probably set off the red light at the iTunes Store HQ.

(via iLounge)

iPhone's 'In App' purchases will be a boon to micro-payments

If it wasn’t already clear who owns the customer – Apple or its mobile carrier partners – yesterday’s announcement that ‘In App’ purchases will be a prominent feature of the next version of the iPhone’s OS suggests, once again, that power resides very much with Steve Jobs and co. in Cupertino.

When iPhone OS 3.0 is rolled out this summer, developers will be able to charge for additional content within their applications – so that, for example, an iPhone game could at anytime prompt a player to purchase additional levels or other in-game content, such as maps, without the user having to leave the app and billed through their existing iTunes account. For the privilege, Apple takes its standard 30% cut, once again bypassing the carriers. That in itself is disruptive enough. However, there’s another force at play.

Micro-payments. Or more broadly, in an era of free and ad-supported, getting consumers used to the idea once again of actually paying for content, albeit online.

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iPhone 3.0's dichotomy: playing catch-up while pushing the envelope

At a special press event in Cupertino today, Apple previewed the next version — 3.0 — of the iPhone’s OS. And in doing so, the company showed once again how on one level it’s playing catch-up by delivering features that all other existing smartphones (and some feature phones) already have, while at the same time pushing the envelope further than its competitors.

In the catch-up camp is copy and paste, support for MMS and stereo Bluetooth (A2DP), media library access for third-party apps, and the previously announced ‘push notification’ system, Apple’s alternative solution to true multitasking and background apps.

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Boxee releases remote control iPhone app

Another ‘remote control’ app has landed on iPhone, this time for media center software Boxee. The Boxee Remote app works over WiFi and operates in two modes: ‘Gesture’ and ‘Buttons’. In Gesture mode users drag the Boxee logo around the screen to trigger up, down, left and right and clicking on the logo activates play/pause. Alternatively, Button mode offers up a virtual version of Apple’s own hardware-based remote control, which although less imaginative is probably more practical. Either way, the free app is very bare bones, making it all the more baffling that, according to Boxee, Apple took such a long time to approve it.

See also: iPhone remote control app for VLC Media Player AND Sonos delivers touchscreen controller via iPhone