As reported by TechCrunch, Amazon has released a new Kindle Cloud Reader service. The service allows users of both Macs and PCs running either Safari or Google Chrome to read their Kindle books online. Better yet, the service works on iPad’s Mobile Safari. A feature that owners of WiFi-only iPads will enjoy is page caching for offline reading.
Notably, this is a great solution for Amazon to work around Apple’s in-app-purchase requirements for applications that offer purchases. In fact, what better way to spur Web innovation than to force people out of the store? Good job Apple!
Although Chrome controls one-fifth of the global web browsing market and has overtaken Firefox as the second most-used browser in the UK, Google’s browser has been growing slower in absolute terms than Apple’s Safari in the month of July. In July, Chrome added .34 percentage points of market share for a 13.45 percent web usage share. In the same period, Safari grew .57 percentage points for a 8.05 percent web usage share in July, per latest Net Applications metrics. Apple’s and Google’s browser were the only ones growing (with the exception of the Other category), while Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox ceded market share and had 52.81 and 21.48 percent web usage share.
A big factor: Apple just revamped its consumer MacBook Airs and Mac Minis as well as refreshing the Mac OS with Lion.
Of course, the numbers are not representative of the whole market because Net Applications derives stats from some 40,000 participating web sites, but they’re a good and fairly accurate indication of market trends.
Apple released iOS 4.3.4 (build 8K2) fixing a PDF exploit which makes possible wireless jailbreaking by visiting the JailbreakMe.com web-tool in mobile Safari. The exploit could also be used to inject and execute any code on iOS devices. The iOS 4.3.4 download is now available through iTunes for the iPhone 4, 3GS, iPad 1 and 2 and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. Verizon iPhone users will get the same fix via the iOS 4.2.9 update (build 8E501). Contents of the Verizon iPhone firmware update is outlined in this support document (here for iOS 4.3.4 for all other devices).
Apple has already announced that they will be building a new mapping service based on crowd-sourcing, and in iOS 5 Apple is more clear about this. Apple is also more clear about their use location in iOS 5 beta 3, putting in a clear and descriptive boot screen (on first setup) that discusses the device’s location services. This screenshot is shown above. (Thanks, Devin and PiratX!)
In addition, we are noticing speed improvements and bug improvements throughout the operating system. Notably, the camera application is much faster to boot with the iPhone 4. More snappiness is present in Safari. Also, a slight user interface tweak in the iTunes WiFi sync menu is present. That is shown after the break. Let us know if you find anything else… firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: Reminders.app got a new icon! Shown after the break.
Update 2: New location services preferences! After the break..
Update 3: You can now disable/enable voice roaming. Neat.
One of our readers took it upon himself to jailbreak one of the Apple Store iPad 2 Smart Signs (video above). If you aren’t familiar, the Smart Sign is the iPad in front of each Apple product. As we revealed earlier this year, this sign explains and provides specifications for the product it sits beside.
Customers are not able to actually use this iPad for anything but the Smart Sign application, but with the right top-secret gesture anything is possible. That’s where reader Adrian came in. He figured out the secret gesture, went to the home screen, launched up Safari, and jailbroke the Smart Sign with the new JailbreakMe 3.0 tool.
Now that it has been done, no one else needs to do this, mmk?
Facebook is having an event tomorrow which many believe is a Skype tie in, which could lead to a Skype iPad app or a Facebook iPad app, or both! in one?! That’s well and good, but TechCrunchtakes a look at some of the upcoming features of a bigger project that might also receive a mention tomorrow: Project Spartan.
It seems a bit sensationalized, but it comes off like this: Sometime in late July (soon!), Facebook will reveal a HTML5 platform with automatic Facebook logins using a new set of APIs which make a great iOS/Android social gaming platform. Facebook has a few developers signed up already, Zynga is probably one of them.
Notes one developer:
Facebook wants a cut of the Apple’s mobile app market, that’s been clear this entire time. Perhaps it’s not war against Apple — maybe Apple is just going to ‘gift’ Facebook the share of their market (the HTML5 share) in exchange an alliance being formed whereby Apple get’s some exclusive access to Facebook’s 600 million-plus users and thereby cutting out Google (exclusive to some degree, Facebook is too open for it to be fully exclusive). In this theory, it’s not Facebook Spartans vs. Apple, it’s Facebook/Apple Spartans Vs Google.
The Spartans have been told to code specifically for the iOS flavors of Safari — both iPhone and iPad.
So, it sounds like Facebook is going to build a nice HTML5 platform (like Chrome) for social gaming. Hopefully one of the games is 300.