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A Developer's View on In-App Purchases for Free Apps

 Apple recently announced a major shift in how they treat free apps and I have been mulling over what it means to developers, in addition to end users.

In the past, "In-App Purchases", or the ability to add features to an app, were only available for paid apps.  Free apps could not be upgraded, short of purchasing the paid version separately.  Now, users of these free apps can purchase upgrades.

On one hand, more choices are a good thing.  But I have some concerns.



Where To? — temporary price reduction on this handy location finder

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Where To? is offering an introductory price of .99 until August 23, so this is a good opportunity for you to try this app. It uses the iPhone GPS to give you local information, such as the nearest steakhouse, bank, or movie theater. Version 2.0 was recently released and uses several of the new features available in iPhone 3.0, such as having a built-in map to display results right within the application. It has an appealing interface, as you can see from the image, that lets you quickly drill down to what you want without your having to do any typing.



Google Earth

Google EarthGoogle Earth is the second title on the list of all-time top 20 free apps. Like the desktop version, this app uses satellite and aerial imagery to let you explore the Earth. It also offers information about particular locations, including panoramic pictures and Wikipedia articles, giving you an idea of what those locations look like and offering more info about them.

Google Earth uses satellite and aerial imagery to let you explore the Earth.

iPhone 3GS Compass Calibration

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A number of people have reported difficulty in calibrating their 3G S Compass.

The documentation is rather vague in the procedure.  It states:

"The compass needs to be calibrated the first time you use it, and may need to be calibrated occasionally after that. iPhone alerts you whenever calibration is needed.



iPhone as a bike touring essential

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I've been meaning to write for a while now about Scott Mullin's blog, PowerCycle, as he bicycles solo from Florida to Alaska, and specifically about how much gear his iPhone has replaced.  Last night my wife and I hosted four bike tourists on their way to DC, also with an iPhone, so I'll take that as a sign that it's time to write!



iPhone App Developers Profiled

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In the Chicago Tribune giveaway daily, Redeye, Chicago-based iPhone App developers speak about their successes. Lars Bergstrom, for instance, is a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago, but came away with $100,000 or so for coming up with the WiFi Finder app.



eWeek's 10 iPhone IT Admin Applications

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Recently, eWeek posted a handy round-up of 10 iPhone IT administration utilities. As it happens, I have to do a fair amount of sys admin work and was looking for just such a list. Only 2 of these apps are gratis (an SSH terminal app and flashlight), but most of them are under 10 bucks.



Google Earth for iPhone adds "Places"

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The free Google Earth for iPhone app already had information specific to particular locations, including Panoramio pictures and Wikipedia articles, giving you an idea what those locations look like and offering more info about them. Now Google Earth for iPhone includes the "Places" layer, which is similar to the desktop version but specifically tailored to the iPhone's screen.



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