"Apple has reversed their policy". If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times. Actually, I google'd those words and found 994,000 results, so that's not an exaggeration! Apple has had enough of the 'bikini' apps and has begun removing such apps from the App Store.
I must admit, I am a bit conflicted here. As a father, it can be frustrating seeing 17+ apps when doing searches or browsing the App Store. Those apps obviously sell, but that pushes other apps down in the rankings, making it harder to sell. As a developer of family-friendly apps, this is also frustrating because it means less "exposure" (pun intended) for my apps!
The new Awards Hero: Oscars Edition app ($0.99) lets you pick the winners and share your picks on Twitter. The app also offers trailers and information about the 2010 nominees, as well as a database of information about all the nominees and winners dating back to the beginning in 1927.
The KaChing Button iPhone Application Gives Away up to $1000 each day in Sweepstakes
Folks, just received this from Social Media guru, fellow app developer and Digital Future CEO Joel Comm that Apple has now made it possible for developers to include in app contests and sweepstakes.
Comm remarked "Up until now, Apple has not allowed contests and sweepstakes in apps. However, they have made a change that the majority of devs don’t know about. And it is going to have an explosive affect on the app store. Contests and sweepstakes are now allowed. That means we will soon seen an entirely new genre of apps... And there will be MANY of them. Mark my words. However, no one has really broken this story yet. And we’ve got the app that ties in with it... It’s the first of it’s kind."
The Red Carpet ($2.99) is the app you need if you're interested in the upcoming Academy Awards. It offers up-to-the-minute awards news, film synopses, Netflix link, and film previews. PLUS, it offers you the opportunity to select your Oscar favorites, and if you correctly pick all 24 televised Oscar winners, you can win $1 million. According to the developer, this is the first ever contest of this type to be approved for Apple's App Store.
Jumping into the middle of the iPhone video camera fray is Qik Video Camera ($1.99) by Qik Inc.which is amazing, and has edged my other favorites iVideoCamera and ShowTime out of the lead.
There is little doubt that Twitter, Facebook, and other Web 2.0 technologies have changed the face of marketing and advertising as we know it. The power of the tweet has been realized by just about anyone with a cell phone, but most especially by those involved in the entertainment industry.
Tribute Movies is a new app (free) that pinpoints your location to find the nearest movie theaters. You can search for movies by title, read summaries, view movie posters and photos, browse show times, and view the trailers. Other let you search for movies by popularity and user rating, and search for theaters by name, postal code, or GPS location. You can also rate movies and post your comments and reviews.
I recently had the chance to chat with Zvika Ashkenazi, the CEO of MobileAppLoader.com and I was able to learn some very interesting things about his company, the services it provides and I also learned how to track App Store sales.
Zvika sent me a graphic detailing January 2010 metrics for DIY iPhone apps. According to the graphic, MobileAppLoader was responsible for creating 436 apps for their customers which include realtors, auto dealers, restaurants, and hotels to name just a few categories.
As you know from my previous posts here, a number of companies have launched in the last year or so to help people and businesses create their own applications, not just for iPhones, but also for other platforms like Android and Windows Mobile. Previously, this sort of service was unheard of. If one wanted software developed, it could get pretty pricey. For large corporations, this was considered 'the cost of business', but for individuals and smaller companies, personalized or customized software was often out of reach.
Now, some people themselves are talented programmers themselves and can make their own apps. Some companies have developers on staff, while some companies can afford to hire an outside developer for a specific project - at a cost of $5,000 to $25,000 - to develop an application from scratch, that kind of budget is out of the reach for many people. Of course, one can get it for less, but even so, a ball-park bargain-basement sort of figure is still around $2,500. And most aren't looking to create super-sophisticated software, and don't really need to consider spending that sort of money anyway.
At the present time, MobileAppLoader claims that they are the #1 Do-It-Yourself iPhone App company. These stats do not include companies which build apps from RSS feeds or companies with less than 30 apps. Zvika explained that he generated this information by typing the name of the developer into iTunes. Now that I know how to do this, I anticipate hours of fun
Since MobileAppLoader doesn't build their apps via RSS feeds, I was curious as to their process. It's done by what Zvika described as a unique "App in a Snap" Wizard. A user signs up for an account on their site, and selects their business category. Then they chose a design from Iron, Bronze, Silver and Gold offerings and upload four images and type in certain details (contact info, URLs, feeds, text, etc...) and finally hits 'submit'. Behind the scenes, the content is then converted to a native iPhone app using objective-C using the Apple X-code development tool, and that process is then followed by a a quick quality assurance to make sure everything is working properly before the app is sent to Apple for review.
Apps built from RSS feeds can be very handy, but MobileAppLoader is very proud of the real-time interactivity of the apps they build using this method. For example, they've built a number of apps for towing companies and the apps include the ability to tell the towing company where you've broken down, show them a picture of your car and ask them to come and get you. So the app makes use of notifications, GPS and the camera. And that's just one example. Auto dealer apps include the ability of the dealer to notify a customer of their next service appointment. Prices start at $59.99 for setup and $4.99 a month.
New today in the App Store is Nature Images, a free collection of 108 closeup nature photos for use as wallpapers for your iPhone or iPod touch. The press release says that these images have long been available on other platforms and are among the most popular wallpapers in the world. Once you select an image is selected, you tap a button to save it to your photo album. Then, as you likely know, you can use the Photos application to set it as a wallpaper (the app includes simple instructions).