Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Apple cracking down on ‘cookie cutter’ iPhone apps

It seems Apple is on a real tear to clean up the iPhone App Store as of late, and now it wants to make sure that apps at least add some form of value to the user.

Not too long ago, we brought you the news that over 5,000 apps got banned for being too sexually suggestive. Then came the even odder news that Wi-Fi detection apps had been locked out of the store. And now it seems that all apps are being looked at for quality.

TechCrunch is reporting that developers that it has spoken with are being warned by Apple to spruce up their apps. After speaking to multiple developers, there seemed to be a general consensus as to what Apple was doing:

Apple doesn’t appear to be opposed to ‘app generators’ and templates per se, but in the last month or so it has started cracking down on basic applications that are little more than RSS feeds or glorified business cards. In short, Apple doesn’t want people using native applications for things that a basic web app could accomplish.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this is all happening in the days leading up to the launch of the long awaited iPad. While some of these applications looked fine on the smaller screens of the iPhone and iPod Touch, when you blow them up a screen the size of the iPad, they will just come off as looking potentially silly. When you add in the fact the new tablet is focused heavily on Web browsing to begin with, Apple is of course going to want the apps to differentiate themselves from what the user can find in the built-in copy of Safari.

While Apple has often touted how many apps are in the App Store, it looks like the company is finally getting more interested in quality over quantity.

Apple App Store passes 10K iPad apps

App developers are wasting no time on rolling out applications for the iPad, surpassing 10,000 barely two months after its release.

The rate with which the number of iPad apps is growing is staggering. Just last Monday Steve Jobs announced at the iPhone 4 launch that the number was over 8,500, and a mere five days later the total has flown past the 10,000 mark. At the end of April the number stood at just over 5,000 meaning that the number of apps just about doubled in six weeks.

With more than two million iPads already sold, it isn’t all that surprising that developers are flocking to the device, but the same problem that has plagued iPhone developers is sure to hit the iPad now: getting lost in the shuffle. As the number of iPhone apps has grown, it has become harder and harder for an iPhone app to become a break out hit as consumers don’t want to browse through pages and pages of apps.

While Apple is always eager to crow about the number of apps, something is going to have to be done about making them easier to explore or else developers may just get burned out on being lost in the shuffle.

Apple Mac App Store opens with problems

The newest of Apple’s online ventures, the App Store for Mac has opened, perhaps fated to be the ultimate purveyor of software for Macs, once some of the teething problems of the new service are solved.

The doors opened with not all the merchandise that will eventually be there and you had to upgrade OS X in order to access it, but there it is, in all its radiant glory. It is almost certainly a good idea, a way to spread the iOS4 App Store warm and fuzzies to the developers of Mac applications. That model has certainly been successful with the iPhone and iPad crowds, so it could be seen as simply a way to spread the wealth with the developers that write for Apple’s OS X platforms. That does not mean that the format and formula will be perfect right out of the gate.

For one thing, you need to upgrade to OS X version 10.6.6 to even get to the new store. For another users and developers alike are worried that the Mac App Store could increase the likelihood of piracy. A commonly used Digital Rights Management (DRM) system is being put into use by the new store, and copies of a hack were bing passed around the internet yesterday, allowing users to circumvent the copy protection scheme. According to a CNET story, this is more of a problem with the way developers are using the system to check ownership than it is with the app store or DRM algorithms themselves.

There is also some concern about synching applications purchased from a company’s web site and/or from the Apple store. This problem may be a little thornier than the DRM issues, at least for a while, while Apple and developers work out the kinks. It seemingly is not a problem for Apple, who is using its new Mac app store to sell many of its own applications, including iPhone, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and Aperture 3. Although not perfect yet, the Mac App Store sounds promising.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Start using your Apple TV on Mac!

Apple operates an online business called the iTunes store. The iTunes store sells not only music, but also other digital media, including movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and games via download. In addition, you can also rent movies there.

To pair the iTunes store, you need software called iTunes, which can be free download on Apple website.Through iTunes, you can buy your favorite movies, songs, or other digital media from iTunes store, or rent movies from the store to sync to your iPod, iPhone or Apple TV.

Although iPod and iPhones are much more popular than Apple TV, on the contrary, I'd like to say more about Apple TV here.

Apple TV is a device that allows consumers to stream iTunes data from computers to their HD TVs. The device is known as a set-top box, because it connects to the TV, and it is considered to be part of the iPod family products because it requires the use of iTunes, and can use contents purchased at the iTunes Store.

To start using your Apple TV on Mac, you need the following items:
Widescreen TV: A widescreen, enhanced-definition or HDTV capable of at least one of the below mentioned resolutions: 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 480p
Cables: An HDMI cable, or component video cables, with analog audio cables or an optical audio cable
Network: A wired or wireless network, a broadband Internet connection (DSL, cable, LAN), your wireless network password (if you use one)
Computer and Software: To play content from a Mac on Apple TV, your computer must meet a Mac with Mac OS X v10.3.9, or v10.4.7 or later, iTunes 7.6 or later, an iTunes store account

Furthermore, digital media formats supported:
Video formats supported:
-H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps) in.m4v,.mp4, and.mov file formats
-iTunes Store purchased video: 320 by 240 pixels, 640 by 480 pixels, 720 by 480 pixels (anamorphic), or high-definition 720p
-MPEG-4: Up to 3 Mbps, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 720 by 432 pixels at 30 fps) in.m4v,.mp4, and.mov file formats
Audio formats supported
-AAC (16 to 320 Kbps); protected AAC (from iTunes Store); MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps); MP3 VBR; Apple Lossless; AIFF; WAV; Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound pass-through
Photo formats supported
As all the above things are paid close attention and well prepared, you can launch applications to do your purchasing or renting work at iTunes store via iTunes, and then sync your favorite contents to your widescreen TV. Apple TV has its own menu system through which you can choose movies and download them directly to the set-top box. TIP: movies rented on an Apple TV are not transferable to any other device.
What's more, if you want to copy your own DVD collections to Apple TV, and share them with your family or friends on your widescreen HDTV, it would be easy, just use 3rd party software (such as Pavtube DVD to Apple TV converter for Mac) to turn them into mp4 format or some other Apple TV supported formats, after that your expectation would come true, it has been a breeze.