Yelp iPhone app Updated with Augmented Reality

 

Popular Yelp has updated it’s iPhone app to include a pretty cool easter egg.  Shake your iPhone (3GS only) three times and, viola!, a hidden monocle feature appears. Click the top left tab and boom the iPhone camera activates within the app and it will show the nearest restaurants, bars, and anything with a Yelp rating. To date, this is one of the first iPhone apps to use this feature, which reportedly was not supposed to come out until iPhone 3.1. What could be better? How about a similar augmented reality feature for social networks such as Twitter or Facebook or where my cat likes to hide! 

 

Facebook 3.0 joins Spotify on the App Store

Oh, what a day – hot on the heels of the approval of Spotify in Europe today, Apple has at last approved Facebook 3.0.

Approval took two weeks, but following this wait the app is now available on the App Store, claims developer, Joe Hewitt. Hewitt is the developer who lambasted Apple recently and called for the removal of the approval process.

TechCrunch reckons if you click the download button on the currently displayer v. 2.5 App on the store, you’ll still download the new version, by the way.

You get a ton of new features, much better navigation of sundry elements of the Facebook on iPhone experience, including a new Events listing, a new first. You also get to post video direct to Facebook, if using an iPhone 3GS (or future iPod touch, some may speculate).

Landscape mode and a more familiar news feed are also included and  Push Notifications are expected in a future point upgrade.

Spotify streaming music app-roved by Apple

We would have lost money on this bet.  Spotify, the European (and soon global) streaming, "all you can eat" music application has been approved by Apple for the iPhone App Store.  This is significant because Spotify caches streams as well and allows people to download and play paid-for music.  Many had speculated that the application would be deemed competition to the iTunes app store.  

Spotify counts the music labels as its investors (18% ownership).

An Apple spokesperson told Paid Content today:

“The current status [of Spotify] as of right now is it’s been approved and we hope to add the app to the more than 65,000 apps on the app store very soon. We’ve been in constant communication working with the developer and have already notified Spotify that the app will be in the app store very soon.”

Real also has its Rhapsody streaming app in the approval queue.

Apple has been under scrutiny by the US Government and the press lately for its App Store approval process.  Also, Microsoft’s ZuneHD which will be released within the month has a streaming, all you can eat, music service.

Update: Note, Spotify will be available as a premium service only in countries it is licensed to operate in. A US launch is anticipated this year.

Free day pass to Spotify here.

Apple WebKit boffin takes Web Standards development hot seat

Apple’s WebKit has taken a higher profile in Web Standards terms, following the appointment of the company’s WebKit manager, Maciej Stachowiak, to the World Wide Web Consortium’s HTML Working Group.

Stachowiak has become a co-chairman of the group standardizing HTML, giving Apple a higher-profile role at a crucial time for development of the language used to build Web pages.

Until now the HTML Working Group had been led by IBM’s Sam Ruby and Microsoft’s Chris Wilson, who has stepped down to be replaced by Apple’s Stachowiak and also Paul Cotton, who manages the Microsoft Web services standards team.

The news was announced by email today by W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee. He wrote: “Stachowiak is Manager of the WebKit WebApps Team at Apple, and a longtime developer on the WebKit open source browser engine. He was one of the earliest engineers on the Safari project. Maciej has been contributing to Web standards for some time, most notably HTML5, and the various specifications of the Web Apps Working Group. He is also a member of the WHATWG steering committee.”

(What’s also pretty interesting here is that these words confirm Apple’s high degree of interest in the multimedia-friendly HTML 5 standard, which we think we’ll be hearing a whole lot more about in future. Interestingly, Microsoft only began HTML 5 discussion in earnest earlier this month.)

Berners-Lee continues: “Why three co-Chairs? Clearly, there is a lot of work to do. Sam, Paul, and Maciej bring particular skills to the job (whether it is Maciej’s experience with WebKit or Paul’s with Working Group processes). I am confident that these three will work out a chairing protocol where progress is consistent with this group’s culture.

“The work of this group is tremendously important to the Web. I am pleased that all three co-Chairs have taken on the responsibility for working closely with the editor and group to make HTML 5 a success.”

Some may recall future versions of the BlackBerry browser are intended to support HTML 5.

We said we wouldn't…but here's some more tablet leakage?

TechCrunch has some purported Apple tablet interface photos.  Blurrycam?  Check.  Sketchy source?  Check.  Fake? Ch—well?  More below:

From Techcrunch:

…our source tells us these are very early screens of something that “Steve wants,” suggesting that the iPad is more movie watching device than anything else.I looked up some of the trailers and found that the language on the All About Steve one is true to the language used by the studios. As we see there is an AppleTV-esque drilldown interface along with a full on-screen keyboard – helpfully marked “keyboard” – and a Cover Flow interface for browsing video.Again, unless we get an Apple cease and desist I’m going to ask you to take this with a bucket of salt and a fresh batch of rumor cookies served up with some GTFO juice.

 

 

more screenshots at Techcrunch

Apple retail is number one shop for UK computer buyers…

It’s all about mind-share, and Apple’s mojo’s rising with UK computer buyers flocking to the company’s retail outlets when they want to buy a new PC, or should we say, Mac.

Don’t believe us? Then mosey over to independent consumer’s association title, Which? Computing, which has declared Apple Retail Stores to be the favourite choice for British consumers looking to buy a new computer.

And shoppers like what they find in-store. Apple retail in the UK has an overall approval rating of 88 per cent, with the company at number one on the customer satisfaction table, based on a survey of 7,683 online panel members.

As we reported some time back, the survey also rated the best laptop and desktop brands, with Apple again leading the pack in the desktop category with a customer score of 94%.

“Although there are only a small number of Apple shops across the UK, they were praised for providing customers with all the information required, and for the availability of sales staff,” the report notes.

This is probably why Apple’s currently hiring some of the brightest and best retail executives to spear-head future European expansion of its highly-successful retail initiatives.

Compare consumer sentiment concerning Apple with that surrounding the big name UK PC sellers. Computer high street PC giant PC World was ranked in bottom place in a recent survey of technology retailers achieving a disappointing customer score of just 42%. Currys was also languishing near the bottom with 45%.

Does anybody out there think Microsoft will do a better job than that done by its long-term ‘partners’ in PC retail when it launches its own chain of corner computer shops?

Apple's App Store is a big, big, big $2.4 billion business

While Microsoft attempts to woo Apple iPhone App developers, it’s pretty clear the subject of Redmond’s paid-for passions are on an Apple gravy train, despite continued inconsistencies in App Store approvals.

The latest stats from AdMob claim the App Store economy is already worth $2.4 billion – bigger than Android or any other contender.

AdMob serves up ads within iPhone/iPod touch and Android apps. Based on a survey of 1,000 users the company released data for July today which suggests $200 million (value) in apps are downloaded every month. This means the App Store business worth around $2.4 billion a year – and the business is growing. (Expect a further shot in its arm when the fabled Apple tablet ships).

Android grabs a paltry $60 million in app sales each year at this point in its development….Why the difference? Put simply, it is because the iPhone represents 60 per cent of US smartphone usage. Not bad for a product family that’s only existed for a single digit sum of years.

The forgotten element in Apple’s App Store story is the iPod touch, owners of which download on average 18 apps each and every month (iPhone/Android users grab just ten, AdMob claims).

AdMob is also advising App developers to create free versions of their apps, as these stimulate sales of full versions. Additionally, iPod touch owners download twice as many free apps as Android/iPhone owners.

More stats:

- App Store customers are extremely likely to purchase at least one app each month.

– Fifty per cent of iPhone users and 40% of iPod touch users buy at least one app per month. Just 19% of Android users do the same.

- Over 90% of users browse through Apps on their mobile device.

- Over 50 per cent of Android and iPhone users spend over 30 minutes a day using applications.

- Users who regularly purchase paid apps spend an average of $9 on about 5 paid apps per month.

- The most-cited ways of discovering apps are browsing the Store Rankings and searching for a specific type of app.

Check out the full report here.

Via: GigaOm.

iPod touch, nano and classic will gain 3.2MP cameras – report

Apple’s next-generation iPods – including the iPod touch, nano and classic – will carry 3.2 megapixel cameras supplied by Taiwan’s, OmniVision.

As 9to5Mac reported last week, the new generation iPods are expected to be introduced at an Apple special event on September 9

Reports this morning claim OmniVision has secured CMOS image sensor (CIS) orders for the upcoming products.

Though we’ve heard, over and over again, that the new Touch and Nanos would have cameras, this is the first we’ve heard that the iPod classics would also be with-camera (let alone still exist next month).

It will supply “3.2-megapixel CIS products for the new iPod nano, iPod classic and iPod touch models which will be launched in September,”  sources claim.

The company is one of the 3.2-megapixel CIS suppliers for the iPhone 3GS and is expected to ship 18 million CIS products to Apple per quarter.

Apple is also expected to introduce a new version of iTunes, equipped with social networking features including the capacity to depatch songs played to Facebook, iLike and Last.fm. The new software is also expected to support direct import of Digital Copy movies from Blu-ray discs. Some speculate on updates to the Apple TV at the event.

Mossberg claims Snow Leopard upgrade can upgrade Tiger systems sans Leopard…

Wall Street Journal technology correspondent, Walt Mossberg, is claiming that Snow Leopard will install on Macs running the previous Tiger OS without requiring installation of Leopard, contrary to Apple’s previous claims.

“For owners of Intel-based Macs who are still using the older Tiger version of the Mac OS, Apple is officially making Mac OS X Snow Leopard available only in a “boxed set” that includes other software and costs $169,” Mossberg explains.

“The reasoning is that these folks never paid the $129 back in 2007 to upgrade to Leopard. But here’s a tip: Apple concedes that the $29 Mac OS X Snow Leopard upgrade will work properly on these Tiger-equipped Macs, so you can save the extra $140.”

If this is true – and we’re interested to test the claim – then Apple will likely attract a deluge of sales from Mac users who have until now been laid back in moving to the latest upgrade.

Snow Leopard ships tomorrow and the first batch of delighted reviews are coming in, reviews which pit the new OS firmly ahead of Microsoft’s latest attempt at an OS, Windows 7 .

The software sits at the top of the Amazon sales charts at this time, with pre-orders through all retailers at an all time high. Analysts now expect Apple to sell five million copies of the new OS within the year. We think sales are going to be far higher.

Mossberg notes a few hidden gems inside the upgrade:

- “Substitutions,” which is like the auto-correct feature in Microsoft Word, but extends the concept to Apple’s email and other programs;
– the ability for Snow Leopard to automatically reset the time zone on the Mac’s clock based on your location while traveling;
– and a new built-in function in QuickTime that allows you to record videos of actions you take on the Mac’s screen.”

Microsoft’s attempt to regain control of the OS market seems on shaky ground, with the company’s channel partners recently confessing just how impressed they are with Apple’s incremental – yet powerful – new OS.

Order yourself a copy of Mac OS X Snow Leopard hereand support 9to5Mac. Or take a look at thishand-picked selection of guides to the new OS, boost your knowledge.

Reuters claims China Unicom iPhone deal to be confirmed Friday

Apple’s Chinese deal may – or may not, given the stop/start nature of negotiations so far – be reaching closure, with some reports suggesting an official announcement confirming China Unicom as carrier, perhaps as soon as this Friday.

Following months of rumour, Reuters cites an unnamed analyst who claims the deal between Apple and China Unicom for provision of the iPhone in China will be revealed this Friday. That’s a huge deal, opening up the world’s largest mobile market.

China Unicom didn’t deny the claim, but would only say the device would “undoubtedly” be discussed this Friday when the carrier announces its financial results.

The device is being manufactured by Hon Hai, and while it doesn’t offer WiFI it is capable of operating on the carrier’s WCDMA 3G network.

Previous reports have claimed China Unicom to have purchased five million iPhones for sale in China at a cost of c.$1.5 billion.

The first batch of iPhones will appear in China Unicom 3G stalls at Carrefour and some large retail outlets run by China Unicom in September, said Zhou Youmeng, vice general manager of China Unicom, speaking earlier this month.

Snow Leopard reviews start coming in…

With two days left until Snow Leopard hits the streets, major publications are starting to release their Snow Leopard reviews. 

For what it is worth, I’ve been running Snow Leoaprd through the last few builds.  It just feels SNAPPIER™.

The net effect for most people will be the same as a point update coupled with a faster machine.  A real deal for $25.

I don’t think we are going to see the true benefit of Apple’s two years of work for another few months when new hardware is released.

Here are other slightly longer and more thought out reviews:

ComputerworldEngadget | Gizmodo | Macworld | CNET | MossbergNYTimes | SunTimes

Videos below 

 

http://www.cnet.com/av/video/flv/universalPlayer/universalSmall.swf