The App Store celebrated its second birthday last Saturday, and what an amazing run it's had: 250,000 apps and over 5 billion downloads. CNET has a great article on this success and how it's influenced the industry. AND it talks about what Apple can do to maintain and build on its success. Meanwhile, how do you find what you want in this sea of 250,000 apps? PCMag has a very helpful article on their favorite apps. They group them into topical themes, such as Top 40 Free Apps and 6 Great Travel Apps.
Macworld has an article about a new offering from Metaio that excites me: image-basd augmented reality. The whole idea of augmented reality is so cool: point your phone's camera at something, and when you view the live image on your iPhone you'll see related information or content superimposed on that image. Think of how useful this would be to tourists: you point your phone at the Eiffel Tower, and your phone superimposes information about it. Augmented reality has already been available, but it was GPS-based.
This video is fun. A street magician bases his act around an iPad. The magician is speaking Japanese, but there are subtitles. And you don't really need to know what he's saying to appreciate the tricks.
I haven't yet tried this app, but Video Zoom Plus ($0.99) would have come in handy a couple days ago when I came across a deer on campus. The deer was fairly close, maybe 20 yards, but it got a bit lost in the video that I took. I wish I had been able to zoom in. And that's what this new app promises -- 5x digital zoom. But if you have a 3GS you'll need to upgrade it to iOS4.
Okay, it's official. iPhone 4 has reception problems. Now that I've been using the phone for a number of days I can tell you that at home, where I have very weak reception, the signal drops every single time I touch the lower left corner of the phone. You learn quickly the best way to hold it. Ivyskin has just released their new iPhone 4 Reception Case made of polycarbonate that they say is the world's thinnest iPhone 4 case.
In recent days the iPhone blogs have been buzzing after noticing suspicious activity in the App Store. Over the weekend apps by developer Thuat Nguyen quickly rose to occupy 42 of 50 slots in the list of top apps in the Book category. Either he's a heck of a marketer or -- as bloggers suspected -- some shenanigans were at work. Then some people began reporting app purchases that they hadn't made, and the blog buzz grew. Now Apple has announced that indeed 400 iTunes accounts have been affected. But it's important to note that they said their servers had not been compromised. You can read more on Macworld and the New York Times.
A great article in TidBITs gives all the details on the new HuluPlus service that will soon be available on the iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices. It's currently by invitation only, but will be rolled out in the near future. The service will cost $9.95 per month for a subscription. The service will still be free via desktop computer. The subscription version will have more offerings. The TidBITs article explains why, despite the $9.95 cost, this is a good option compared to buying TV programs via iTunes or subscribing to cable TV.
Amidst class-action lawsuits over a faulty antenna, Apple said today that iPhone 4 users aren't really seeing a dramatic drop in signal strength when their hand covers the lower left corner of their phone. Instead, Apple now says that they made a mistake in their formula to calculate signal strength and the bars are overstating the strength — thereby leading to what appears to be a sharp drop.
As you likely know, all iPhone apps must be tweaked in order to take advantage of some of the new features of iOS4, such as multitasking and the high-resolution display of iPhone 4. Now Apple has gathered some of the best apps for iOS4 in a special area of the site titled Awesome iOS4 Apps. At present there's not an obvious way to navigate to this selection of nearly 60 apps other than its appearance in the scrolling marquee at the top of the page.