Multimedia (AC-3), iPhone 3G / iPod touch 2G support drop in all AppStore apps and mouse support news

As was easy to predict, the trend of (obligatory, see THIS) AC-3 (a.k.a. Dolby Digital) dropping from AppStore apps continued. It started with the (at least in one area) excellent titles Oplayer, GoodPlayer, PowerPlayer and BUZZ Player (last, dedicated article on the issue HERE) and now, the updated version of “8player” also dropped the support of this very important audio format.

While I don't consider this player great (there certainly are much better ones), should you still want to use it, make sure you follow my earlier tutorials on either backing up the IPA file before updating the app (and manually restoring it after the update) – or just converting the original video file to (also) have a downmixed, two-channel AAC audio track.

The AppStore update screen, also showing the recent updates of other multimedia players:

(as usual, click for a larger version!)

(Note that I plan to discuss the updates of yaplayer (original article) in a separate article. There are quite a few updates – HERE's a screenshot of them all (the above screenshot only shows the collapsed update list.))

WARNING: Not any new AppStore app will have iPhone 3G / iPod touch 2G compatibility!

By the way, speaking of backing up before updating existing apps, if you do have an iPhone 3G or an iPod touch 2G (iPt2G) and do want to run some third-party apps on it, make absolutely sure you do back up these apps if there is an updated version. The reason for this is that it's no longer possible to make new (or updated) AppStore apps compatible with these models. The minimum supported iOS version is 4.3, which is higher than the 4.2.1 maximum of these models. This means not a single previously-compatible app will run on your device when it's updated.

(Of course, this also means the first-generation models aren't compatible with the new / updated apps, as the maximal iOS version they run on is 3.1.3.)

This in no way applies to Cydia tweaks and apps – when not developing for the AppStore, even the first-gen devices can be targeted. For example, the just-released version of “BTC Mouse & Trackpad” (see below) happily runs on the iPt2G.

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That is, this restriction is another example of Apple's artificially making “obsolete” (but still perfectly usable – the iPt2G, unlike the snail-like iPhone 3G, works just great and snappily under 4.2.1) hardware not being able to run anything released in the future. Let me also point out that the iPt2G was a current, actively sold device alongside with the truly third-generation iPt models up until Sep-Oct/2010, the release of the iPt4G line. (Of the third generation, it was only the 32 and 64GB models that contained essentially the same CPU and RAM as the then-current iPhone 3GS; the "budget" 8GB model remained that of the previous generation.) I'm not sure it's a really consumer-friendly decision to render a device, which many users purchased from Apple only a little (2-3 weeks) more than two years ago, absolutely obsolete and not even via third-party apps supported (supportable).

New BTC Mouse & Trackpad version!

At MacRumors, one of my favorite Cydia apps, BTC Mouse & Trackpad (previous article), has been declared essential in several threads (links in the 11/Oct/2012 update of my previous, dedicated article). No wonder: after all, it adds seamless Bluetooth mouse support to the existing(!) Bluetooth stack, meaning the ability to co-work with all the other (supported) Bluetooth devices simultaneously, unlike back in the custom BTstack Mouse times.

A new, major update has just been released with even broader compatibility. The Cydia update screen is as follows:

I've tested all the new features. Waking up / unlocking the device works as stated. If the iDevice is sleeping (switched off) and you start moving the mouse (or clicking), the iDevice wakes up and also unlocks the lock screen.

Broader compatibility also works. With the initial version, my Apple Wireless Mouse just wouldn't pair. With the new one, it does. (Nevertheless, it disconnects after 2...7 minutes, even if you actively use it. After that, you can only make it connect again by switching it off and,  then, back on.) As with the initial version, I haven't encountered any problems with the MoGo PCMCIA / ExpressCard mice.

There is only one bug I'm aware of: in at least one app (the great chess-like (also-)multiplayer game “Spectromancer”), if you try to open the on-screen keyboard while the mouse connection is active, you'll only see a white area instead of the keyboard as can be seen in the following screenshot:


With mice like the HP Presenter Expresscard mouse, which also work closed (that is, you can't easily disconnect), the only way to get the on-screen keyboard shown was suspending the game and disabling Bluetooth in Settings. (Or via SBSettings / the removed-from-AppStore (story) Bluetooth OnOff if you have it.)

UPDATE (some hours later): 8player only runs on iOS 6. I really hope it's just an oversight on the developers' part (as the program itself doesn't depend on some API features exclusive to iOS6) and, by making their app deliberately incompatible with previous iOS versions, don't want to force users to upgrade to iOS6, unlike Apple with their iOS6-only iLife apps (GarageBand, iMovie etc.). Geeks and power users that do require jailbreaking to be able to use their iOS devices as optimally as possible (f.lux to make the screen's white balance much better and warmer, Quasar, Safari Full Screen, mouse support, Skype / screen recorders, Springtomize, WebOffline, Infinidock, Airblue Sharing, being able to use external storage cards as true storage memory from AppStore apps (article) etc.) currently won't want to upgrade to iOS 6.

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<p>Werner Ruotsalainen is an iOS and Java programming lecturer who is well-versed in programming, hacking, operating systems, and programming languages. Werner tries to generate unique articles on subjects not widely discussed. Some of his articles are highly technical and are intended for other programmers and coders.</p>
<p>Werner also is interested in photography and videography. He is a frequent contributor to not only mobile and computing publications, but also photo and video forums. He loves swimming, skiing, going to the gym, and using his iPads. English is one of several languages he speaks.</p>