Read a little. Learn a lot. • Tightly-written news, views and stuff • Follow us on TwitterBe a Facebook FanTumble us!

15 Feb 2012 15:23


Tech: Apple affirms that Path violated their terms, issues iOS update fix

  • Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines. We’re working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.
  • Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr • In a statement about Apple’s privacy policies, as pertaining to the iPhone. This statement came hot on the heels of the revelation that two Democratic congressman (G.K. Butterfield and Henry A. Waxman) had sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, requesting information about privacy permissions. The inciting incident here was the iPhone app Path, which was revealed to be uploading users’ address books to their company servers without asking permission, or offering any notification. Path tried to curb the controversy by apologizing and offering an opt-out, but  the damage to their credibility (and, by association, Apple’s) had already hit. And amidst word that a number of widely-used apps — most notably Twitterdid the same thing, Apple has affirmed that what Path did was a violation of their privacy practices, and has released an update for iOS that allows users to delete the database by switching off location services. source

03 Dec 2011 20:23


Tech: Electronic Arts attempts to nickel-and-dime die-hard Tetris fans

  • $30 per year to subscribe to a special Tetris club (?!?) source
  • » Wait, what?!? If you’re like us, you’re a huge fan of Tetris, one of the simplest, best video games ever created. However, Electronic Arts couldn’t leave well enough alone with its iOS edition, and rebooted it as a version of Farmville, essentially. Now, just to play the game (which you have to pay 99 cents for, by the way), you have to register for a special social network run by EA. And for the biggest fans, they’ve created a “T-Club” component, in which you pay $2.99 per month — or $30 per year for the die-hards — just for the right to get some extra power-ups. And the final kicker: The original iOS game, which was perfectly fine as-is, no longer exists on the App Store. For shame.

01 Dec 2011 20:04


Tech: Apple admits they used Carrier IQ too, but only if it was enabled

  • We stopped supporting CarrierIQ with iOS 5 in most of our products and will remove it completely in a future software update. With any diagnostic data sent to Apple, customers must actively opt-in to share this information, and if they do, the data is sent in an anonymous and encrypted form and does not include any personal information. We never recorded keystrokes, messages or any other personal information for diagnostic data and have no plans to ever do so.
  • A statement from Apple • Discussing the quickly-becoming-a-big-deal Carrier IQ situation, in which an obscure diagnostic company allegedly had its data-tracking app on a millions of phones — without consumers knowing. At first, was unclear if the software was on Apple’s tightly-locked phones, but last night, it became clear that it was — although, unlike in the case of many Android phones, it wasn’t enabled by default and otherwise difficult to enable. And with the next iOS update, it’ll be gone entirely. Still, though. source

12 Oct 2011 20:34


Tech: iPhone owners minorly annoyed; BlackBerry owners pissed off

  • bad iPhone and iPad owners had some issues installing iOS version 5, released today, on their new devices, probably due to mass-install glut. (We had an issue with the install briefly — we threw it on our non-jailbroken iPad — but we got it to work on the second try.)
  • worse However, compared to the issues that BlackBerry owners have had over the past couple of days, that was cake. RIM says that the rolling blackouts were caused by a “core switch failure,” whatever that means. Oh no, what are all the policy wonks going to do!? source

04 Oct 2011 11:20


Tech: What to expect at today’s post-Steve-Jobs Apple event

  • Apple’s big speech is a real turning point for the company. It’s the first major one since Steve Jobs gave up his role as CEO earlier this year amidst significant health problems, passing the role off to Tim Cook. Since then, new competition has started to heat up — most notably from Amazon, whose CEO Jeff Bezos has shown some of that old Jobsian sparkle of late. But without getting too far ahead of ourselves, let’s do a check of what to expect today:
  • one Don’t expect Steve Jobs, unless there’s a late-in-the-game surprise. Instead, Tim Cook will be the man of the hour, and it’ll be interesting to see how he pulls this off.
  • two There will be at least one new iPhone, most likely, possibly two. The long-gestating iOS 5 will also likely launch soon, complete with a better notifications system.
  • three The original iPod, which is officially a decade old, could disappear once and for all today. We could use that spinny thing for hours and not get bored! source

09 Jun 2011 11:21


Tech: Apple backs down on controversial in-app subscription policy

  • Apparently they heard that they lost The Financial Times to this mess. While Apple didn’t back down from the 70/30 split that gave publishers pause, they did change a rule that won’t force companies to offer app subscriptions at the same price as an outside subscription — or if they don’t want to, offer an Apple-sanctioned subscription at all. Apparently, developers’ loud grumbling about the policy (which led the Financial Times to create a HTML5 version of their iPad app, shown above) appears to have gotten through to the company, which updated their App Store Review Guidelines earlier this week ahead of a June 30 deadline. The differences:
  • How it read before “Apps can read or play approved content (magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video) that is sold outside of the app, for which Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues, provided that the same content is also offered in the app using IAP at the same price or less than it is offered outside the app. This applies to both purchased content and subscriptions. “
  • How it reads now“Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app.” source

16 May 2011 10:36


Tech: Lodsys: If it smells like a patent troll, it probably is one …

  • No, Lodsys is methodically selling its product (patent rights) in the most efficient means it can. … Ideally, we can sell as much as possible through direct sales, rather than having to use litigation. It’s less expensive and more efficient for both parties.
  • A message from the Lodsys blog • Discussing their reasoning for pressuring iOS developers to pay the company to pay its licensing fee to allow in-app sales on their app. Here’s the total crap part of the whole thing: Lodsys already got Apple, Google and Microsoft to pay money for the license. But instead of just leaving it at that, the company is going after small developers, saying that the license isn’t transferrable. Which means that they’ve already lost the PR war and will have a hard time winning anyone over. And also, if they’ve dared go after News Corp. (which uses in-app purchasing for The Daily and the Wall Street Journal), they should expect to get their asses handed to them by Rupert Murdoch’s auditorium full of attorneys. source

10 Mar 2011 20:45


Tech: iOS 4.3: Now unsuspecting Smurfs can’t drain your bank account

  • If you’ve ever prowled the iPad App Store, you may have noticed a game called “Smurfs’ Village.” It’s one of the top-grossing apps in the entire iPad ecosystem, but there’s a reason behind that – it’s very expensive to play. The app, which is free, encourages you to buy random Smurf crap while playing – something you can do without a password for fifteen minutes after you download. The combination of popular brand, cute format and expensive in-app purchases is straight up deadly for kids unknowingly draining their parents’ credit cards. It even led to congressmen complaining and sending letters to Apple. Which is where iOS version 4.3 comes in. Now you need a password to buy in-app. Why wasn’t this a feature before, Apple? source

13 Jan 2011 10:15


Tech: Here’s a round-up of the latest Apple iOS 4.3-related rumors

  • goodApple plans to allow iPad users to decide how they use the toggle on the side. In iOS 4.2, they changed its functionality, annoying lots of people.
  • betterThe new device will allow for more multi-touch hand gestures, and should allow users to turn their device into a personal hotspot.
  • weirdThe strangest rumor? Apple may ditch the home button and replace it with multi-touch gestures. Steve Jobs hates buttons! source

20 Dec 2010 20:46


Tech: Apple lowers barrier of entry for advertisers, but not developers

  • Question of the day: Why is there a slick iAd creation program (the brand-new iAd Producer, above), but not a slick iPhone app creation program? Seems like Apple’s new development environment for advertising should exist in a similar form for iPhone app creators, lowering the barrier of entry for many app designers and getting more people in on the game. This seems like a direct competitor to Flash, by the way. source