Apple made some major changes this week in an effort to better meet the needs of developers — and get the FTC off its back. For the first time, Apple made public the guidelines — all 113 of them — that it follows in deciding which apps get approved. Until now, the developers had little idea what Apple would consider unacceptable, and were often frustrated when their apps were turned down. Apple's revised set of rules will also now allow some apps that weren't perviously allowed, possibly opening the way for Google Voice.
TextNow is currently available for free, and if you'd like to do free texting on your iPad or iPod touch, this app certainly deserves consideration. They actually give you a free phone number that others can use to send text messages to your iPad or iPod touch. It also can be used to send picture messages. It does have ads, but you can use in-app purchasing to upgrade to a version without apps ($5.99 per year). Here's a video demo.
Apparently the Apple Peel 520 is on its way to market in the US, with an announcement imminent. This is a case that turns an iPod touch into an iPhone. You can read a review and see a video on M.I.C. Gadget. The price will be around $57. It requires jailbreaking the iPod touch. The review looks at a prototype unit.
Here's more info from a press release:
Just released today, ZumoCast (free) sounds like a great app. It lets you stream your videos and music that are on your computer to your iPhone or iPad wirelessly via 3G or Wi-Fi. No syncing necessary. It automatically converts the streaming content on-the-fly to a format appropriate for your device. One advantage of this is that because your files stay on your computer, you can avoid filling up the memory of your device. The app also lets you save music and video for offline viewing or listening.
At last week's event Steve Jobs gave previews of iOS 4.1 and iOS 4.2. The former updates the software for the iPhone and iPod touch, and the latter, to be available in November, will upgrade the iPad, and the three devices (iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad) will use the same software. TidBITs has a helpful short article on the new update, and describes new features such as high dynamic range photos (HDR) and Game Center. HDR sounds pretty amazing.
When the iPad was launched, one of the cool apps initially available was one from Netflix that let you stream movies to your iPad. Late last month the Netflix app was also released for the iPhone and iPod touch. Netflix's streaming movie service has been skyrocketing in popularity, so it's great to see these apps becoming available.
If there's any doubt that the iPad is a hit, that can be assuaged by looking at the number of iPad-like competitors hitting the market. Technologizer has posted a list, with images, of 32 "iPadversaries." The most astonishing is the Toshiba Libretto W100. It actually has two screens joined by a hinge. You can perch it like a laptop, and one of the screens becomes a keyboard. Just think, a year ago this market didn't exist, and now it's exploding with creativity.
The value of social media is that you learn about music that you might like. The new social media feature in iTunes 10, called Ping, lets you know what music your friends are listening to and purchasing. But in using Ping, you have to decide how much you want others to know about your own listening and purchasing. A very helpful article on Macworld explains the privacy features in Ping. It's worth checking out if you're intending to enable Ping, which is turned off by default.
At yesterday's event from Apple, perhaps the most unanticipated announcement was Ping, the main new feature of iTunes 10, which is now available for download via iTunes or the Apple website. Steve Jobs described Ping as a cross between Twitter, Facebook, and iTunes. You can read more about in on the Ping website or in the New York Times. Ping lets you connect with your friends and see what music they're listening to or buying.
Some of the biggest news today at the Apple event today was the new iPod touch. It was hardly a surprise, since everyone had pretty much guessed the new features. Still, it's fun to see Apple always moving ahead. As expected, it has a camera (including HD video), a front-facing camera for videoconferencing, the FaceTime software first offered in iPhone 4, and the new and very impressive 960 x 640 retina display. The new iPod touch starts at $229 for the 8GB model. It's amazing how far this device has come.