News for October 2010

Download iOS VLC Now. Or Never.

VLC Developer Rémi Denis-Courmont confirmed that Videolan sent a copyright infringement notice to Apple about the iOS version of its popular video playing app, VLC. The notice targets the DRM-based distribution method of the App Store and its restrictive terms and conditions. VLC is distributed under a GNU General Public License (GPL), an open source and free software license program that does not allow the restrictive policies of the iTunes App Store. By tightly controlling how VLC is distributed, Apple’s App Store violates this GPL and Videolan was compelled to notify Apple.

Apple will not comply with this request. So their only option is to remove it.

If you want VLC on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch then I suggest you go get it now.

Posted: October 31st, 2010
Categories: App Store, Legal, VLC, iOS, iPod, ipad, iphone
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Apple Drops Multi-Touch Lawsuit on Motorola

Late yesterday, Apple filed a pair of patent infringement lawsuits against Motorola Inc. and Motorola Mobility Inc. in the Wisconsin Western District Court. The combined lawsuits cover six patents.

The main focus of these lawsuits centers in on the most important technology of all pertaining to the next generation smartphones: Multi-Touch. In 2009, Apple’s COO Tim Cook warned the competition during a financial conference, as follows: “we like competition as long as they don’t rip off our IP. And if they do, we will go after anyone who does.” Obviously Apple now thinks that Motorola has crossed that line.

This lawsuit is in response to earlier failed negotiations between the two companies, and a resulting pre-emptive lawsuit that Motorola filed against Apple…

Last week Motorola Mobility, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Motorola, launched three separate patent infringement lawsuits against Apple Inc. which are available for review in our archives. If that wasn’t enough, Motorola Mobility Inc. has now launched an offensive Declaratory Judgment against Apple and NeXT. Motorola was fully aware of Apple’s patent infringement lawsuit against HTC and it appears that they were even in confidential negotiations with Apple to license their technology so as to avoid litigation. Evidently the negations went sour and they are now preemptively trying to stop Apple from launching a similar patent infringement against them.

Also from Patently Apple.

That strategy didn’t work out so well then.

Motorola has just barely returned to profitability after a long period of losses.

Posted: October 30th, 2010
Categories: Apple, Legal
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AnandTech : 11″ & 13″ MacBook Air Review

AnandTech quite simply do the best hardware reviews these days.

I really like the form factor of the 11-inch MacBook Air. It’s great to carry around. It’s like an iPad for people who have to get real work done. I just wish it was faster. If Intel made a 32nm Core 2 Duo, clocked high enough the 11 would be perfect. I guess that’s what Atom is eventually supposed to be, but right now the performance is just too low. Intel appears to have been too conservative with Atom. Perhaps Bobcat and ARM’s Cortex A15 will light a fire under Intel’s Atom team.

I think Intel may be too late. I am still of the opinion that next generation ARM based SoCs are heading to the MacBook Air in the not too distant future.

Posted: October 30th, 2010
Categories: Apple, Mac, review
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Microsoft Office iPad Edition?

If you recall, back in September of this year we reported that a Microsoft employee revealed that Microsoft was in fact working on some applications for the iPad. Because of this, we believe this “iPad group” has no anti-iPad incinations but is instead the group working on Microsoft’s iPad App Store applications.

As hinted at by the picture 9TO5Mac use for that piece, it is almost certain that Microsoft have a Microsoft Office companion app in the works for the iPad.

And for Android.

Whether either, or both of them see the light of day is another matter altogether.

Posted: October 30th, 2010
Categories: App Store, Apps, Microsoft, ipad
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Programming Fonts…

Programmers have very particular font needs. A font for programming must be monospaced, extremely readable, and must sharply distinguish between similar characters, such as capital O and zero and the number 1, capital I, and lowercase L. In addition, good programming fonts allow you to view more lines of code on screen at once.

From Keith Devens.

Handy little resource.

Posted: October 30th, 2010
Categories: Programming
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Two Cameras On The Next iPad…

OmniVision (OVTI) will supply CMOS image sensors for a second-generationApple (AAPL) iPad that will launch in the calendar first quarter of 2011, according to a brief research note yesterday from investment firm Detweiler Fenton.

The research firm contends the new iPad will ship with two cameras, a 5 MP camera and a VGA camera, and likely will support Apple’s FaceTime video chat software.

From Barron’s.

Facetime on the next iPad was always a no-brainer. Apple have always very clearly been aiming to have Facetime on as many of their devices as possible, as well as hoping to spread it outside of their product ecosystem.

However, a second higher quality stills camera as part of next years iPad feature bump was never guaranteed. But with them facing competition from Samsung’s Galaxy Tab (which sports two cameras already) Apple would be crazy not to eliminate that feature disparity.

It remains to be seen if Apple will go with the same innards as the current iPad in any revision. But bearing in mind that the existing iPad circuit board is basically a 256MB version of the iPhone 4, it seems likely that they’ll simply bolt the same cameras on it, and bump the RAM to 512MB for the expected update early next year.

Posted: October 29th, 2010
Categories: Apple, ipad
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Best Banned iPhone Advert Yet…

If you’ve waited for the White iPhone you’re an idiot! You’re a stupid human being who’s waited five months for a phone that’s a different colour. You’re just going to put a cover on it anyway.

Awesome stuff. Have a great weekend.

Posted: October 29th, 2010
Categories: Apple, Humour, iphone
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10 App Marketing Mistakes to Avoid…

Nice little checklist of things to do / avoid when marketing your app. Read it before you finish your app. Not after it is approved. And implement the advice as best you can.

#10 Not Becoming or Hiring a Marketer

You can’t just be a developer. You need to become a marketer. Either start learning on your own or hire someone who can help you.

I have a caveat for number 10 though.

At the end of the day it is much better to learn how to market your own product. It’s not that hard, and you are the only person who really knows your app well enough to do it justice. Hopefully you are enthusiastic about your product and will pass that on to your target audience far better than any paid suit.

If you are going to pay someone to promote your app only get someone who has come through a personal recommendation, either from a friend, or via people in a community you trust. There are a lot of con men out there. Be warned!

Since writing this article for Touch Reviews I have been contacted by any number of people complaining about an individual called “Ed”, who I used as a template to describe the bogus app marketeer.

Posted: October 29th, 2010
Categories: App Store, Apps, Marketing
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What is Sony’s Plan For The PSP2?

So here’s the real question mark in my mind regarding the PSP Phone leak – does it really make sense for Sony, probably less than a year away from getting PSP 2 out into the public eye, to start building tech from the (pretty unsuccessful) PSPgo into phone handsets? One might argue that it could help to head off Apple’s assault on the gaming sector – and certainly, a phone that can play Monster Hunter Portable would be pretty attractive in Japan – but the potential for a PSX style high profile failure which would pollute a future, PSP2-focused effort cannot be discounted.

What is Sony’s plan?

We have heard that PSP2 hardware is with developers right now. And yet this week we are seeing leaked images and specs of a “Playstation Phone”. Which is apparently an ARM based smartphone with slide out controls.

Japanese console hardware, be it handheld or full size, is typically very focussed, low cost, high performance hardware (as long as you can do the programming equivalent of patting your head and rubbing your tummy).

As good as the current crop of 1Ghz ARM processors and their GPU sidekicks are, they are not really suited to emulating PS2, or even PSP games.

Even Nintendo’s underpowered 3DS has some fairly unique specialisations to its silicon. 2 CPUs (roughy equivalent to one original iPhone CPU) and a really ancient GPU. But a GPU that boasts some fairly specialised pipeline mods to an OpenGL ES 1.x base. All in all enough to provide a focussed and specialised gaming experience.

If the PSP2 and the “Playstation Phone” both come to market it is extremely unlikely that they will be compatible in any way. The former is likely based on specialised silicon and relies on proprietary languages and APIs. The latter is just a branded Android smartphone.

This is fragmentation of a brand and a hardware base of the very worst kind.

Colour me confused.

My fear is that Sony Ericsson just want in on the smartphone explosion. And we are going to see yet another Android handset. Which will achieve nothing more than killing the PSP2 outside Japan.

Perhaps it is just time to kill the PSP line altogether? If I was actually using my PSP developer credentials, and was half way through a project for that platform I would be very concerned right now.

Posted: October 29th, 2010
Categories: ARM, PSP, Sony
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Nintendo Suffers ¥2 Billion Loss…

Nintendo has made a loss of ¥2.01 billion ($24.5m / £15.5m) for the first six months to September 30, 2010, compared to a profit of ¥69 billion ($848.3m / £537.4m) for the same period last year.

It’s a drop in the ocean for them really. But that is how quickly things can turn around in this business. Part of the reason is the strength of the Yen affecting exports, but another facet is the shifting landscape in the tech entertainment sector, and the changing tastes of consumers.

People often ask why Apple hangs onto such a huge war chest. Part of the reason behind that I am sure is because they have a deeply ingrained fear of almost going under again. And they know from personal experience just how quickly you can hit the skids if you are too complacent. They want to protect themselves against that, and a big hoard of cash is certainly comforting. Nintendo has one too.

You only have to look at Sony’s slow return to profitability with the PS3, and how much cash they haemorrhaged getting to where they are now. And the puny amount of money Microsoft still make from their gaming division, despite having the “most successful” high end console business on the market…

  • Windows and Windows Live: $3.32 billion income.
  • Business: $3.39 billion income.
  • Entertainment and Devices: $382 million income.

Lucky for Microsoft that they still have their core businesses to rely on. And a massive hoard of cash that they will be burning through as they try to capture a share of the smartphone market.

Expect horrific figures from Microsoft in coming quarters.

And if the 3DS fails to capture people’s imagination, expect Nintendo to start hurting too.

Posted: October 29th, 2010
Categories: Apple, Microsoft, Nintendo, Opinion
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