On Monday, a Touchstone Arcade thread from a disgruntled developer claimed numerous apps in Apple’s App Store were promoted into the top 25 using illegal services. The poster accused a number of big-name developers such as Crowdstar of using such services. Crowdstar’s co-founder Suren Markosian immediately denied the accusation, assuring customers it promotes its apps “using legitimate advertising channels such as flurry, chartboost, iAds, etc.” The thread gained a good deal of buzz, however, prompting Apple to post a warning to remind developers to adhere to guidelines when promoting their apps. “Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it,” reads Apple’s warning. “However, when you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts. Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership.” More →
Apple has hired a former marketing executive from Microsoft to help promote the App Store and iTunes in Europe, MCV reports. Robin Burrowes, former head of Xbox LIVE marketing in the EMEA region for Microsoft, joined Apple in January according to his LinkedIn profile. His formal duties at Apple remain unclear — Burrowes’s profile only states that his role involves “App Store Marketing” — but the executive’s background suggests gaming will be a strong focus. Apple has hired a number of executives with experience in the gaming market recently, including Nintendo’s former head of public relations Robert Saunders and former Activision, EA and Xbox PR head Nick Grange. The video game industry finds itself among a number of businesses that have been disrupted by Apple’s iOS lineup, and the company’s recent hires suggest that Apple intends to continue pushing the gaming capabilities of its mobile device lineup. More →
Valve on Thursday released mobile versions of Steam, the company’s digital game distribution platform. The mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Games cannot be played through the app for obvious reasons, however users will be able to access to the store and connect with friends. “With the free Steam app, you can participate in the Steam community wherever you go,” read the app’s description. “Chat with your Steam friends, browse community groups and user profiles, read the latest gaming news and stay up to date on unbeatable Steam sales.” Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve. The software was first released in 2003 and as of January 2012 and it now features 1504 games and 40 million active user accounts. It is estimated that Steam has roughly a 70% share of the digital distribution market for video games. More →
Last summer, Cablevision was one of the first cable providers to release an app for watching live TV on mobile devices. The Optimum App for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch allows Optimum subscribers to watch live television when connected to their home networks. Cablevision is now testing the Optimum App for Laptops, which transforms a user’s laptop into an additional TV when connected to a home network. A beta version of the application is currently available to select customers for a limited time and we managed to put it through the paces on Thursday. Check out our hand-on photo gallery below and hit the break for some quick impressions.More →
Kodak is going through a financial nightmare, with reports claiming the camera company is preparing to file for bankruptcy. In what seems like a last effort to license the company’s patents, Kodak has filed patent lawsuits against HTC and Apple. Kodak claims that both smartphone manufacturers are infringing upon some of the company’s digital imaging patents. The complaint targets the iPad 2, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and the iPod touch (4th generation), claiming Apple’s devices infringe upon four patents. Obviously, the patents all relate to digital images, ranging from capturing them, to transferring photos over email, cellular networks, or wireless LAN networks.
HTC is being sued for the same four patents as Apple, with the addition of a patent that covers capturing still images while previewing motion images — the same patent is being asserted against Apple and RIM in a concurrent ITC investigation. Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents speculates that the lawsuit is part of a last effort sales and marketing strategy to sell the company’s patent portfolio. Lastly, Mueller believes that even though Apple and HTC are suing each other, they will most likely team up to fight off Kodak. At the very least, the two companies could conduct a joint prior art search, or look to narrow the scope of patent claims to avoid liability for infringement. More →
The United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published an Apple patent application related to face and presence detection that could be used to help keep iOS devices secure. Patently Apple said the company’s application describes a technology that could allow a user to unlock his or her device by simply looking at it. Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) already features face detection, but it can easily be tricked according to reports, and doesn’t always work. Apple’s solution details a way to analyze a user’s mouth, the tip of a nose and eyes, and the distances between each of those facial features to determine whether or not a person is is the owner of the iOS device. The reliance on 2D facial feature locations might mean Apple’s solution will be vulnerable to the same flaw that allows anyone to access a locked Android 4.0 device using a photo of a face, instead of a real face, but we won’t know if that’s a real issue until the technology is implemented. The patent also describes support for multiple users, though it is unclear when, if ever, Apple will implement this technology in its iOS platform. More →
News of a new untethered jailbreak solution for all iOS 5.0.1 devices other than Apple’s iPhone 4S and iPad 2 emerged this morning, and iOS users now have another reason to take advantage of the hack. IOS developer chpwn announced on his blog on Tuesday that a free Siri port dubbed “Spire” that does not violate any copyright laws is now available for jailbroken iOS 5 devices. This is not the first Siri port available for the iPhone 4 and other devices, but it is the first legal option and it also allows users to input their own proxy server since Apple’s servers cannot be used by devices other than the iPhone 4S. Spire is now available for the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad and third and fourth-generation iPod touch devices, and it can be downloaded from Cydia. More →
Hackers on Tuesday released an untethered iOS 5.0.1 jailbreak solution for all iOS devices but the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2. In a post on his blog, iOS hacker pod2g announced that the Chronic Dev Team and the iPhone Dev Team have jointly released a tool that will allow iOS device owners to jailbreak their devices running iOS 5.0.1 without having to boot while tethered to a computer. The new version of “redsn0w” is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad and third and fourth-generation iPod touch devices, and users currently running a tethered jailbreak can update to untethered using a utility called “Corona” now available in Cydia. An untethered jailbreak for Apple’s iPhone 4S and iPad 2 is not yet available. The new version of redsn0w is available for download immediately for both Windows and Mac computers. More →
Apple on Monday released the 2012 edition of its “12 Days of Christmas” application for iOS devices. From December 26th through January 6th, Apple is giving away free iTunes content including songs, music videos, apps and books to iOS device owners. New content is accessible through the app each day and free downloads will expire after 24 hours. Monday kicks things off with several Coldplay songs and videos, which can be downloaded for free until new downloads are made available on Tuesday. Apple’s 12 Days of Christmas app is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2 and iPad as well as the third and fourth-generation iPod touch devices, so users of older iOS device models are out of luck this holiday season. The app is currently available in the U.K. with U.S. availability expected at a later point in time. More →
We were huge Mega Man fans back when the game made its debut on the NES — and later on the Game Boy — and now we can finally relive some of those amazing gaming days by playing Mega Man X on the iPhone and iPod touch. Capcom released the title in the iTunes App Store recently and, while it’s a bit expensive at $4.99, it should be worth the purchase. Mega Man X features Game Center support and 60 different levels following a 20-level opening “Story Mode” campaign. It currently has a 4.5 rating in the iTunes App Store, with just a few complaints from users who aren’t fans of the controls. Unfortunately, the game does not currently support the iPad. More →
Amazon updated its Kindle application for iOS devices on Wednesday with support for PDF files as well as newspaper and magazine subscriptions. A Kindle user can now email a file to his or her Send-to-Kindle address and then access it from within the application, and the app will open Adobe PDF files sent to a computer through iTunes, from Safari or directly from an email account. Amazon also added support for viewing more than 400 newspaper and magazine subscriptions inside the application. The UI for reading periodicals was completely redesigned for the iPad, and it allows users to read newspapers, magazines and print replica text books the way they were meant to be read. The iPhone and iPod touch app also features a redesigned library for quick access to the Newsstand, Kindle Books and Docs. Ars Technica noticed however, that The New York Times currently limits its subscriptions to hardware Kindle devices only, which means anyone who pays for a subscription to that newspaper may have trouble loading it on an iOS device. The update is live now and is available for free from the iTunes App Store. More →
Apple and other consumer electronics companies typically look to the Far East for components, but a new report suggests that the production of Apple’s current mobile processors has now moved to the United States. Reuters on Friday reported that the chip powering Apple’s current iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models is now manufactured in a new 1.6 million square foot Samsung factory located in Austin, Texas. The report cites unnamed people familiar with Samsung’s operations. Samsung’s new Austin facility — which is the size of nine football fields — reportedly reached full production earlier this month, and it was built to manufacture non-memory chips. The South Korea-based company confirmed that its Texas plant was recently expanded to manufacture logic chips, though it would not comment specifically on Apple or its A5 processor. Reuters reported earlier this year that Samsung lost the contract to build Apple’s next-generation A6 processor, which will instead be manufactured by Taiwan-based chip maker TSMC. More →
The hit game Grand Theft Auto III is now available for Android and iOS devices. Gamers will take to the streets of Liberty City to complete a variety of missions with a large cast of seedy characters, just like in the original version released 10 years ago on PlayStation 2. Rockstar Games promises hours of gameplay, updated graphics, HD quality and gameplay that has been optimized for touchscreen devices. Grand Theft Auto III is available in the Android Market and in the iTunes App Store now for $4.99.