Robinhood launches on App Store, brings zero-commission stock trading to the masses

Robinhood App

For several years, my grandmother has encouraged me to get involved with the stock market. While she was successful at persuading my older brother into investing in penny stocks, I have never taken the initiative to learn how the stock market truly works. For that reason, I was excited when I heard about a brand new app called Robinhood, which provides zero-commission stock trading at your fingertips.

While online brokers are nothing new, with existing firms such as Interactive Brokers and E-Trade, Robinhood is a mobile-first service that doesn’t require a desktop. Whether you are a twenty-something college student that doesn’t fully understand how the stock market functions, an experienced Wall Street stock trader, or fall somewhere in between, the app makes stock trading easier for the masses. Read more

iTunes Connect shutting down for holidays between December 22-29

iTunes Connect December 2014

Apple has sent an email to registered developers on Wednesday to inform them that iTunes Connect will be shutting down for the holidays from December 22 to December 29. During this time, developers will be unable to submit new apps, app updates or in-app purchases to appear on the App Store. Access to iTunes Connect, Application Loader, iTunes Connect for iOS and making changes to TestFlight Beta Testing will also be unavailable as a whole. Read more

Nintendo patent hints at official Game Boy emulator for mobile phones

Gameboy-emulator-01

TechCrunch points to a newly published patent filed by Nintendo that shows the company is interested in bringing Game Boy titles to mobile devices through emulation technology. Many emulators exist online to mimic old consoles and allow gamers to play back catalogs of games converted to ROM files on Macs and PCs, and Nintendo could possibly do the same to officially bring titles to mobile devices without much heavy lifting in terms of rewriting the games: Read more

App Store changes ‘Free’ button to ‘Get’, likely due to in-app purchase controversies

App Store Free Get

Apple has introduced a small but interesting tweak to the way it markets apps on the App Store. As you can see in the screenshot above, non-paid apps are now presented with the word ‘GET’ rather than ‘FREE’. While the reason for the change in how Apple is presenting non-paid apps isn’t clear, it’s likely due to the popularity of ‘freemium’ apps and in-app purchases, something that has been the source of controversy for Apple in the past… Read more

Paper by FiftyThree updated with Adobe Creative Cloud integration, push notifications and other improvements

Mix Paper FiftyThree

The popular iPad drawing and sketching app Paper by FiftyThree has been updated with Adobe Creative Cloud integration, push notifications and sharing directly from Mix, a camera view during account creation, smoother shadows and general improvements for iOS 8. The updated version of Paper by FiftyThree is available now on the App Store. Read more

Nest Mobile iOS app pulled from App Store following crashing issue

Nest Mobile

Update: Looks resolved…

The official Nest Mobile app for iPhone and iPad appears to have been removed from the App Store for the time being following complaints from users that the latest version of the app crashes at launch. The Nest Mobile app is used to remotely interface with the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector from the iPhone and iPad.

Nest has acknowledged the issue via Twitter with a message regarding the software bug: “We’re currently investigating an issue causing the Nest iOS app version 4.4.0 to quit unexpectedly. We’ll provide a status update shortly.” Nest founder and CEO (and former Apple exec) Tony Fadell also acknowledged the issue on Twitter offering an apology to a user.

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Apple seeks Evangelist to promote third-party Apple Watch app development

Screenshot 2014-11-03 07.34.35

Apple wants the third-party app marketplace for the upcoming Apple Watch to be a hit just like on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple has begun seeking an “Apple Watch Evangelist,” according to a posting on its official jobs website. This evangelist position is specifically designed to work with third-party application developers and promote development for the upcoming Apple Watch platform:

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Apple making iOS 8 Notification Center a bit less useful by banning calculator widgets

Pcalc-today-widgetDeveloper James Thomson of popular calculator app PCalc announced today via his Twitter account that Apple is forcing him to remove the app’s Today Widget due to a restriction that iOS widgets “cannot perform any calculations.”

Apple’s new Today Widgets feature in iOS 8, which allows developers to build functions into the system-wide Notification Center, does have some limitations that Apple outlines in developer documentation. For example, Apple encourages developers not to use Today Widgets for multistep tasks: If you want to create an app extension that enables a multistep task or helps users perform a lengthy task, such as uploading or downloading content, the Today extension point is not the right choice.” There doesn’t, however, appear to be specific references to apps that perform calculations in Apple’s developer guidelines. Read more

Phone 2 Go app brings Time Warner Cable home phone service to mobile devices for no additional cost

Time Warner Cable today announced a new smartphone app that will let its customers use their home phone service on mobile devices for no additional fees. That means that users with a Time Warner Cable home phone service, which starts at $10/month, can now text and call through the new Phone 2 Go app on smartphones and tablets. The service requires a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection and will also work for international calling and texting: Read more

Apple shortens iBooks review times, allows more promo codes for authors

Screenshot 2014-10-24 15.31.50

Apple today emailed out registered authors for iBooks to announce some interesting changes and enhancements to the program. Some notable enhancements, via Apple’s email:

  • To help you get your book to readers quickly, we review 95 percent of all book submissions within one business day. Note that you do not need an ISBN to deliver a book to iBooks.
  • You can now request up to 250 promo codes per book. Promo codes allow you to provide free copies of your book to reviewers, bloggers, or others to build momentum for your book.
  • Screenshots can now be delivered or updated after a book is available for sale on iBooks.

The email to authors also tells developers about recent updates to both the iTunes Connect app on iOS and the iBooks Author application on the Mac. Like it usually does for App Store app developers, Apple tells authors how to prepare for the upcoming break for book reviewers. “To account for an anticipated increase in book deliveries during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday week, books scheduled to go live between November 24, 2014 and December 1, 2014, should be delivered by Friday, November 14, 2014,” the notice reads.

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Developer says Apple sent them pornographic image when rejecting app

guidelines

Apple’s developer guidelines on explicit content

An iOS developer said Apple demonstrated that their app could be used to surf for porn by sending them a screenshot containing a pornographic image. Carl Smith shared the story of the rejection of Wave, an app for browsing Instagram and public images, in a blog post.

It turns out Apple thought the best way to tell us our app could be used to surf porn was to surf for porn using our app. Then send us some pictures and say take a look at these! Except they said, “Please see the attached screenshot for more information.” So with no warning […]

They sent us a picture of a guy masturbating.

The explicit image was attached to an email rejecting the app on the basis that the process for flagging inappropriate content was inadequate …  Read more

Apple to require iOS apps and updates to use iOS 8 SDK and include 64-bit support from February 2015

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 20.13.46

Apple has today notified developers about some upcoming rules regarding App Store submission, via its developer news portal. From 1st February 2015, newly-submitted apps and updates must be built against Apple’s iOS 8 SDK. This is not particularly surprising: Apple required similar adoption of the iOS 7 SDK last year.

In addition however, Apple will also require that all apps and updates include 64-bit support from that date too. Currently, developers can choose whether to submit only 32-bit apps or universal binaries. This will no longer be an option from February. Moving all apps to 64-bit will bring big performance and memory gains for newer devices (which include A7 or A8 SoC’s) as running the 32-bit apps necessitates loading a lot of additional resources into system memory.

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