Iphone Apps

1Password on Safari 5 extensions, designing for iPad, and iPhone 4 - TiPb at WWDC 2010

During WWDC 2010 I had a chance to sit down with the team from Agile Web Solutions -- Roustem, Dave, Jamie, Dan, and Chad -- to talk not only about their newly launched 1Password for iPad, but about the big news of the show including official browser extension support from Apple in Safari 5, and of course iPhone 4 and iOS 4.

Apple called Agile about their new Safari 5 extensions before they debuted in hopes of having a demo ready for the show. Dave found the preview was polished and well documented and it took them only a few days to put something together. That sounds like good news not only for developers but for Safari users as well.

Agile also said making the iPad version was a chance to start from scratch and figure out how users were going to interact with the larger, wider display, and with the ability to do things like scrolling independently with each thumb.

While I used 1Password on Mac long before the iPhone debuted, Roustem pointed out they now have a whole new user base introduced to their product via the iPhone and iPad and with no Mac-based preconceptions. While the iPhone and iPad versions [iTunes link] are great for Mac or Windows users as an extension, Agile is also working to help iPhone and iPad-only users get more out of it as well.

As for iPhone 4 -- they want it. (Even if Dan has to re-render his artwork at higher resolution to support it). Chad's also looking forward to iOS 4 multitasking and like the way it runs select API rather than full apps in the background.

(Though I suspect they were just humoring me when I asked for Game Center integration so I could see where my 63 character pseudo-random passwords place on the leaderboard compared to Leanna's!)

You can find out more about 1Password for Mac, PC, iPhone, and iPad, and the newly acquired Knox, via Agile's web site, below. Video after the break.

[Agile Web Solutions]

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Apple's magic developer numbers: 100, 100 million, and 1 billion

We've all heard huge numbers thrown around as measures of iPhone and iPad App Store success -- over 200,000 apps and 5 billion downloads being some of the most recent and most impressive. There's a couple of other numbers that are even more interesting when it comes to iPhone and iPad development: 100, 100 million, and 1 billion.

Roughly 100 million iOS devices have been sold to data and they are all broadly software compatible. There's some fragmentation to be sure -- older devices are slower, there's no cameras (yet) on the iPod touch and iPad, no GPS in iPod touch, iPad Wi-Fi, and the iPhone 2G. Apple mitigates this somewhat by offering services such as CoreLocation where, if no GPS is found, it gracefully degrades down to cell tower triangulation or Wi-Fi router mapping. Even the iPad with its odd-device-out 1024x768 display will frame iPhone apps or pixel double them, which is awkward but still workable, still compatible. When iPhone 4 ships, it will be precisely double the vertical and horizontal pixel count of previous generations, meaning older apps will simply look the same as they did before (using 4 pixels in the space they used to use 1).

Likewise, most iOS devices tend to get updated to the latest version of the OS, or at least fairly recent versions. While iOS 4 will drop compatibility for iPhone 2G and iPod touch G1, it will also be free for all other devices for the first time, ensuring iPod touch G2 and G3 owners are more likely to update.

Everything isn't perfect, but for a vast majority of apps it doesn't need to be. They just work.

The sheer size of that install base is stunning. Code an app once and deploy it to a theoretical 100 million devices -- and growing -- all with a drop-dead-easy to use icon on the home screen to help them get your apps?

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Guitar Hero for iPhone - app review

During the WWDC 2010 keynote, Activision announced and released Guitar Hero on the iPhone. This game is well made and provides a lot of enjoyment for players as they strum, tap, slide and whammy to the beat of popular rock songs.

The gameplay of Guitar Hero is fun, unique and includes much more than tapping notes. An arrow pointing left or right indicates that you need to tap the note where the arrow begins and slide your finger to where the arrow ends. This action needs to happen fairly quickly. If two or more notes are connected by lines, then you must tap the first note and slide your finger to the next notes. Your finger needs to reach each note connected in the line at the appropriate time that corresponds to the beat of the song. A vertical line means that you must hold down the note until the line ends. Sometimes these appear at the end of an arrow which mean you must slide and hold. The last thing that comes up is an orange bar that is the length of all four notes. This bar simply needs to be tapped at any location.

Some notes have stars on them. Successfully hitting all these notes in a sequence adds to your star power. There is blue bar on the right of the screen which indicates how much star power you have. Once it reaches half-way, a blue bar will appear above the note catchers. Tapping this activates your star power and doubles your score multiplier. The more star power you have, the longer it lasts.

Guitar Hero also offers character customization, leaderboards, Faecbook sharing, and in-app purchases. If you want more than the 6 songs included with Guitar Hero, then you must purchase songs in bundles of three. Each song pack costs $1.99. There are no free songs available for download.

Guitar Hero includes the following 6 tracks:

  • Queen – “We Are The Champions”
  • Rise Against – “Savior”
  • The Rolling Stones – “Paint It Black”
  • Vampire Weekend – “Cousins”
  • Weezer – “Say It Ain’t So”
  • The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army”

The downloadable song packs via in-app purchase are grouped by the following artists:

  • The Faint, Minus the Bear and Silversun Pickups
  • Band of Skulls, Obits and The White Stripes
  • Darkest Hour, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Protest the Hero
  • A Day to Remember, AFI and Breaking Benjamin
  • Vampire Weekend
  • Queen

I have thoroughly enjoyed the short time I've spent playing Guitar Hero and don't plan to stop playing anytime soon. The game runs great, looks great, and is very well designed. It's only a matter of time before I become a famous rock star!

Videos and screenshots after the break!

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Give away: Slacker Personal Radio Plus streaming music with local iPhone cache

Slacker Personal Radio 2.0 is now in the iTunes app store, along with its great new local caching feature (hello new AT&T capped data plans!), and to celebrate Slacker wants to give away five (5) one-year subscriptions to their premium Slacker Radio Plus service (and they're throwing in five (5) 3-month subscriptions for runners-up as well).

It'll be the perfect thing to run on a new iPhone -- and oh, yeah: TiPb's giving away an iPhone 4 as well.

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Line2 brings iPhone, iPad calls into 21st century - TiPb at WWDC 2010

Peter Sisson, founder and CEO of Toktumi talks Line2, their premium, business-optimized calling solution for the iPhone and iPad (with optimized iPad UI coming soon). While many forms of communications have leapt forward in the digital age, our telcos have been content to keep telephony in the relative dark ages. Line2 is one of several services hoping to pull them kicking and screaming forward, with both cell and VoIP based solutions.

Currently you can conference call over VoIP -- which is really nice on an iPad -- with full call waiting and real SMS functionality. With iOS 4 VoIP will work in the background meaning apps like Line2 could just be first-class telephone solutions (and strangely carriers don't seem to be as afraid of this as they used to be).

Line2 competes with free-as-in-Google voice by offering a more user-centric app, with lots of features and a focus on customer care. They're US/Canada only at the moment but will be expanding into the top 7 international iPhone markets soon and especially for business users, they think their offer will be compelling. (Enough that Peter suggests a MiFi rather than device data plan might just be the way to go forward...)

Check out the video interview after the break!

[Line2 on iTunes]

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TomTom talks iPhone, iOS 4 multitasking - TiPb at WWDC 2010

Tom Murray, SVP of Marketing, TomTom sat down with me to discuss their turn-by-turn navigation app for the iPhone. Announced at WWDC 2009, over the last year TomTom has managed to get the app to where all its core functionality is in place and they can give iPhone users a really first-class tool to get them from point A to point B. Now, with iOS 4 and its multitasking API for location, they can start getting them in style.

Since TomTom does everything from owning their own maps to selling their own devices, they're uniquely positioned do things like crowd-source changes in roads or analyze patterns in routes and get that fed back into their system so their 40 million users can share local wisdom whether they're improving their daily commute or driving in a new city for the first time.

With the iPhone, Apple is providing the device (and the GPS) but TomTom still offers a car kit to supplement and extend the built-in hardware. (I asked if the existing car kit would be compatible with the just-introduced iPhone 4, but they hadn't had a chance to get their hands on it yet so they're waiting to whether it fits, whether it requires an adapter, or whether some reengineering will be in order).

No word on an iPad version yet, unfortunately, but turn-by-turn navigation on smartphones is still growing. With free-as-in-Google and open source map apps now on the scene, TomTom is investing in the quality of their service and the trust in their data.

Check out our video interview, after the break!

[TomTom on iTunes]

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Chaos Rings for iPhone- app review

Chaos Rings is the ultimate RPG thus far on the iPhone. Square Enix has done a fabulous job bringing the console RPG experience we have come to love on to our beloved Apple devices.

Our story begins with several pairings of unlikely partners thrust into a battle they do not wish to fight in a tower competing for rings. Starting the game you are given two choices for characters. Both teams include two people and you are always a party of two. When beginning, you are given a choice of two pairs and both have a similar story but different dialog. Each team has a stronger "fighter" type of character and the other is more of a support/magic character.

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Guitar Hero now available in App Store

As announced during the WWDC 2010 keynote, the widely popular guitar game Guitar Hero is now available for iPhone and iPod touch.

With Guitar Hero, you will be able to "play" songs from multiple rock artists by tapping, strumming and sliding to the music. It also features robust avatar customization and social integration so you can share to Facebook and view leaderboards.

Guitar Hero will include the following tracks:

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Apple announces iMovie for iPhone

As part of the iPhone 4 introduction during WWDC 2010, Steve Jobs announced iMovie for iPhone, with one-click sharing. This is basically iMovie from the iLife suite for Mac brought to the iPhone. Up to 720p editing and most of the functionality you'd expect, including transitions and Ken Burns effects.

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New iPhone apps: Netflix, Farmville, Guitar Hero

Steve Jobs made millions of iPhone app lovers happy today during the WWDC 2010 keynote by bringing development houses up to introduce Netflix, Farmville,

  • Netflix, already on the iPad, brings the same great search and adaptive video streaming technology to the iPhone, which means 3G (and AT&T data caps make sense now, right?). Available this summer.
  • Farmville goes Flash-free and today invents farming- - with push -- for the iPhone. Available end of June.
  • Guitar Hero, with Queen, Rolling Stones, Vampire Weekend. Available now!

[Images via Engadget]

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