Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

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)

Palm Pre aiming to be THE Facebook phone – social networking still mobile's killer app


(Credit: Jamie Gonzalez via twitpic)

I’ve written many times before that social networking, and Facebook in particular, is the killer application for mobile phones. It’s what’s driving take up of mobile data and the adoption of higher end so-called smartphones. The mobile networks have taken notice and jumped on the social networking bandwagon, heavily promoting access to Facebook as a key feature, and handset makers are doing the same.

RIM has been targeting consumers with an ad campaign that features the Blackberry’s Facebook application.

Ditto Apple with the iPhone.

And there’s INQ, a new entrant whose first device, the INQ1, has been dubbed ‘the Facebook phone‘ based on its deep integration with the social networking site.

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PR wars: Palm Pre could go on sale 24 hours before next gen iPhone unveiled

The latest rumored release date for Palm’s comeback device, the Palm Pre, is June 7th, one day before Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). If true, this would be an audacious move from the handset maker, and one that, at first glance, carries a lot of risk. WWDC is thought to be the venue at which Apple will announce the next generation iPhone – and possibly a new category of mobile device – therefore completely overshadowing the Palm Pre’s one day old availability.

Or would it?

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Amazon MP3, Wal-Mart and Rhapsody just made buying music more confusing following iTunes' lead

With the major labels cajoling Apple into upping the cost of the most popular tracks on iTunes, I wondered how long it would take other music download stores to follow suit. Not long it seems – less than a day in fact – with paidContent and Ars Technica reporting that Amazon, Wal-Mart, Lala and Rhapsody have followed Apple’s lead and introduced ‘variable pricing’.

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iTunes variable pricing has nothing to do with "supply and demand", just record label greed and stupidity

itunes-variableHoping to turn ‘supply and demand’ economics on its head, at the request of the major record labels Apple has introduced ‘variable pricing’ to the iTunes Store.

Under the new pricing structure, announced back in January at Macworld, tracks cost either 69 cents, 99 cents or $1.29, depending on their popularity. Or as the LA Times recently reported:

True to supply-and-demand economics, the price of music downloads will be geared to the artist’s popularity. Releases from new artists would receive the lower pricing, while tracks from popular acts would get slapped with the higher rate. Even classics, such as Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA,” could retail for the higher price. Most of the 10 million songs in the iTunes catalog are expected to remain at 99 cents.

Except, the new pricing model has nothing to do with “supply and demand” economics, which states:

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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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Will Apple's 'Netbook' be open or closed?

Rumors of an Apple Netbook or Internet tablet have resurfaced once again. Predictably, tech pundits are debating the likely specs, not least if the device will feature the traditional clam shell form factor of current Netbooks on the market, all of which feature a physical QWERTY keyboard, or be an all touch screen device – think iPod touch only much bigger. However, perhaps the most important design decision for Apple will be whether to build the company’s future Netbook on an open or closed platform.

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What Kindle on iPhone says about Amazon's eBook strategy

The news today that Amazon has released a Kindle client for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch says a lot about the company’s eBook strategy. Amazon’s Kindle device has often been described as wanting to become the iPod of books, but unlike Apple it’s clear that the e-tailer sees itself in the business of selling content and not just to drive sales of hardware.

In terms of music and video sales, Apple’s iTunes Store exists purely to add value to and increase uptake of the company’s iPod and AppleTV devices, with the major record labels and Hollywood studios receiving the majority of revenue from any content sold. Until fairly recently, content from iTunes could only play back on Apple’s hardware – for movies and TV shows this is still the case – helping to lock customers into the iTunes/iPod ecosystem. In contrast, eBooks bought from the Kindle store are now able to be read on at least one non-Kindle device, Apple’s iPhone, with more to come. This suggests to me that Amazon is taking a large enough cut from each eBook sold to justify potentially diluting sales of the Kindle device itself.

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Why you may never see Spotify on iPhone

The video demo of the upcoming version of Spotify for iPhone (and iPod touch) that was yanked from YouTube has reappeared via Tech Digest. The mobile version of the streaming music service looks as polished as Mike Butcher over at TechCrunch UK first reported, although now that I’ve had a few hours to ponder its existence, I can see a number of reasons why Apple may never allow Spotfy into the iPhone App Store. Spotify isn’t the only music streaming app for iPhone (and therefore iTunes competitor) but it differs in two crucial ways:

  • Unlike or Pandora, specific tracks and whole albums can be streamed on-demand, as apposed to having to be content with the choices or recommendations of the app itself – with no limits aside from the size of Spotify’s music catalog.
  • According to reports, Spotify on iPhone is able to cache tracks referenced in the playlists it creates so that the service can still be used outside wireless coverage. This solves one of the major drawbacks of streaming-only offerings and makes Spotify a much more direct iTunes competitor. Interestingly, Slacker offers similar functionality in its Blackberry mobile app but stripped off-line plackback from the company’s iPhone version.