platform Stories March 30, 2016

Skype launches ‘Bots’ feature & developer platform for iPhone and iPad app

As part of announcements at Microsoft’s Build 2016 conference today, Skype announced a new ‘Bots’ platform that it’s launching today in preview mode for developers and users in the iPhone and iPad apps (as well as Android and Windows, but not on Mac).

platform Stories June 5, 2015

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comScore today has released its latest data regarding smartphone market share. The analytics firm says that 188.6 million people owned a smartphone during a three-month period ending in April. That equates to 76.9 percent of the mobile market being made up of smartphones at this point. Apple, according to the data, further strengthened its lead. The company saw a 1.8 percent increase in market share this time around, going from 41.3 percent in January to 43.1 percent in April.

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platform Stories August 6, 2014

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Since launching its new ABC News channel on Apple TV a month ago, ABC today reached out with some stats on how people have been using the app and also announced the addition of new local stations. expand full story

platform Stories June 2, 2014

Following our reports earlier this year that exclusively revealed details and screenshots of Apple’s Healthbook app, Apple today just officially announced the app confirming the details of our reports. Apple’s new platform, codenamed Healthbook, will be officially known as ‘HealthKit’ on the developer side of things, and will come with an accompanying app for iOS 8 called ‘Health’. expand full story

platform Stories May 28, 2014

HockeyApp app testing platform gets big 3.0 update w/ Team Management & more

HockeyApp, one of the last big independent, cross-platform app testing platforms after Apple acquired TestFlight (and pulled Android support) earlier this year, gets a big update today with version 3.0. The full change log includes a long list of new features, enhancements, and fixes, but the company ran through a few of the most notable new features in a blog post. One of the most requested new features is Team Management:

You asked for it, you (finally!) got it. You can now create and manage users in teams with HockeyApp. Once a user has accepted your team invite, you can add this team to apps without sending further invites. Our new User Control Center shows you which teams and users have been added to the app, which device are not provisioned, and which users have applied to become a tester.

The release also includes a new feature for adding Organizations that are owned by multiple people, a new notification system, feedback attachments, and a much improved user interface and overall user experience. In addition, you’ll find updated pricing plans and more details on the company’s website here.

platform Stories April 11, 2014

I’ve covered App.io a few times in the past. The service, which allows app devs to deploy fully useable HTML5 demo versions of their native iOS apps on the web, first launched under the name “Kickfolio” back in 2012. The goal for the company was originally to let devs bring demos of their apps to promotional webpages and it eventually expanded the platform to include Facebook and other channels. Today, and around 2 million interactive app demos later, the company is announcing that it’s bringing those same app demos directly to mobile devices as interactive ads.

The ads go a step beyond the interactive app-like experience that Apple promised, but never quite delivered, with iAd, and allows users to play a demo of the app before deciding to purchase/download or even visit the App Store at all. The ad starts off as a banner or like any other ad but turns into a demo version of a native iOS app that is fully playable for a set period of time before prompting the user to visit the App Store. The company tells me in its initial tests it saw “3-5x higher conversion rates than normal mobile ads.” expand full story

platform Stories May 14, 2013

EA confirms ‘Frostbite Go’ engine for mobile games will come to iOS & Android

As noted over at NeoGAF, EA has recently updated its website for the popular Frostbite engine to list details regarding a new version of the development platform for mobile devices dubbed “Frostbite Go”. While there aren’t many details, the page confirms that EA has plans to bring the engine to both iOS and Android, something that was previously rumored based off job listings for Frostbite.

One of our most exciting current projects is called Frostbite Go, a mobile division empowering EA game developers with Frostbite’s proven excellent workflows and features to bring true Frostbite experiences to all major mobile platforms.

Runtime in Frostbite supports a highly scalable model in order to appeal to the diverse array of platforms available on today’s market. Efficiency in both our runtime memory and runtime performance are both key factors to enabling code and data systems to deploy content to diverse targets from XBOX360 and PlayStation 4 to iOS and Android.

The Frostbite engine is best known for powering EA’s Battlefield and Need for Speed series, and back in January a job listing hinted that EA has plans to bring the engine to Mac OS X as well.

EA is currently developing Frostbite 3, which is expected to ship first with the much anticipated Battlefield 4.

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Although BlackBerry has been rumored to bring its BBM messaging platform to iOS and other devices before, today the company has made things official announcing at its event that support for both iOS and Android will be arriving in the coming months. The service, which BlackBerry says currently has about  60 million monthly active users, will come to devices running iOS 6 and Android 4.0 or above when it’s launched as a free app sometime this summer in the App Store and Google Play.

The company said that it would be bringing messaging and groups functionality to new platforms first but also has plans to introduce voice features, screen sharing, and its just announced “social engagement platform” dubbed ‘Channels’ in future releases. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said the company is “committed to making the BBM experience on other platforms as fully featured” as possible. expand full story

platform Stories May 8, 2013

App.net launches ‘Passport’ app for iPhone to manage accounts, find browsing clients, sign up for free

New Twitter-like social network App.net has launched an iPhone and iPod touch app called “Passport.” The application serves as a simple way to manage App.net accounts, edit your profile, and find and follow other App.net users. Importantly, the “Passport” app does not serve as a browsing client for an App.net feed, but rather as an app primarily focused on finding third-party App.net clients.

Notably, the app allows you to create a free account. Previously, to get a free account, users needed to have been invited by an existing user.

The app is available for free on the App Store. We previously posted a guide to our favorite App.net clients. You can follow us and our staff on App.net.

platform Stories May 7, 2013

Amazon Cloud Player app gets support for Ford’s voice-controlled SYNC AppLink platform

Following Spotify’s update early last month, Amazon has updated its Cloud Player iOS app today with support for Ford’s voice-controlled SYNC AppLink platform that allows users to control supported apps on their smartphones through voice commands and buttons on the steering wheel. The update brings Ford SYNC compatibility to the iPhone and iPod touch, as well as improved VoiceOver support and other enhancements.

The updated app will allow users with access to Ford’s SYNC platform in their vehicles to stream songs, albums, and playlists straight from the cloud or stored on the user’s device.

What’s New in Version 2.1.0

– Now supports Ford Sync on iPhone and iPod touch – Improved experience when adding songs to a playlist – Improved VoiceOver support

platform Stories April 8, 2013

Notification abuse, too, led to AppGratis’s push out of the App Store

This past weekend, popular application discover app AppGratis was removed from Apple’s App Store. Many had correctly assumed that the application was pulled from the store because of Apple’s Developer Guidelines 2.25 clause:

2.25 Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected.

Any app that functions too similar to Apple’s own App Store, even if it routes users to complete the download via the App Store, will be rejected. If they already exist on the store, they will be removed. This Apple policy became stringent following the release of iOS 6 last fall.

While the app was removed for breaking this policy, AllThingsD reports that Apple has confirmed that the app was also removed for abusing Apple’s push notification system.

5.6 Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.

Discovery apps that utilize a different, non-promotional business model seem to be safe.

platform Stories April 4, 2013

comScore-Feb-2013-Apple-OEMs

Research firm comScore is out with its usual monthly report that ranks the top smartphone OEMs and platforms for the three-month period ending in February. Apple continues to grow its lead this month as top OEM in the U.S., jumping 3.9-percent from November to 38.9-percent of the market and increasing its lead on the second biggest OEM by subscribers, Samsung:

Samsung ranked second with 21.3 percent market share (up 1 percentage point), followed by HTC with 9.3 percent share, Motorola with 8.4 percent and LG with 6.8 percent.

Feb-Comscore-Apple-PlatformsIt’s important to point out that the shipped vs. sold argument doesn’t apply to comScore’s results, as its data comes from surveys tracking smartphone subscribers and usage and not sales or units shipped. Google grabs the spot as top smartphone platform at the end of February, but Apple continues to close the gap capturing 38.9-percent of the market (up from 35 percent) compared to Google’s 51.7-percent (down from 53.7-percent): expand full story

platform Stories May 30, 2012

Gruber: TBA sessions on WWDC schedule could point to apps for Apple TV

In a post where he admittedly overanalyzed the recently released schedule for WWDC 2012, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber speculated that the high amount of “To Be Announced” sessions could indicate the launch of a new developer platform. His bet? Apps for Apple TV:

To me, this is what a preliminary WWDC conference schedule would look like if Apple were set to announce a new developer platform, like, say, apps for Apple TV. Apps for Apple TV is just a guess — I’ve heard not a single whisper about such a thing from any Cupertino area little birdies. (Cf. the aforementioned Tim Cook quote about Apple doubling down on secrecy.) But it’s one of the few things I can imagine would that would be big, new, and different enough to warrant that much attention at WWDC.

This tidbit follows reports from this morning that claimed Apple is set to introduce a new Apple TV OS and APIs, which could work with the unconfirmed Apple HDTV. We noted this morning that a new Apple TV OS raised questions, especially because Apple introduced a revamped Apple TV UI in March. We will have to wait a couple weeks to find out for sure, but we are expecting to see at least thinner, redesigned MacBook Pros, iOS 6, and Mountain Lion. Some of the TBA sessions could be for Retina Mac apps.

Apple will kick off WWDC with its keynote presentation at 10 a.m. PST on June 11.

platform Stories January 9, 2012

Nuance, the speech recognition company currently powering Apple’s Siri in the iPhone 4S, announced (via TechCrunch) it would be dropping a new voice-controlled TV platform known as “Dragon TV.” Apple is —of course— expected to include Siri-like voice capabilities in the rumored Apple branded HDTV, but Dragon TV has beat them to it with a platform that will enable users to find “content by speaking channel numbers, station names, show and movie names.”

Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) today unveiled Dragon TV, a unique voice and natural language understanding platform for TV, device and set-top box OEMs and service operators. Dragon TV makes finding and accessing shows, movies and content in today’s digital living room easy and fun for consumers.

Nuance provided a few examples of what type of voice-control commands might work on the platform, such as “Go to PBS” or “Find comedies with Vince Vaughn,” but a user’s commands could include “virtually anything.” The company also announced the platform will include social and messaging features, such as email, Twitter, messaging, Skype, and Facebook. Those features will also be voice-controlled allowing a user to use voice-commands, such as “Send message to Julie: ‘Old School is on TBS again this weekend – super excited’”.

According to the press release, the Dragon TV platform is already available to television and device OEMs with support for “all major TV, set-top box, remote control and application platforms.” As for specific platforms, the press release mentions Linux, Android, and iOS. There is —of course— a possibility that the technology used in the Dragon TV platform will land in a version of Siri for an Apple TV device.

Senior Vice President and General Manager at Nuance Mobile Mike Thompson said this regarding the announcement:

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platform Stories December 8, 2011

Last year StyleTap launched their Palm OS emulator platform for iPhone, but for obvious reasons it wasn’t made available through the App Store and instead limited to jailbroken devices. To circumvent Apple’s App Store guidelines, over the past year StyleTap has developed and now launched the ‘StyleTap iOS Wrapper SDK‘, allowing Palm OS devs to wrap their apps in an iPhone app that’s ready to submit to Apple. Here’s how it works:

StyleTap Platform for iPhone® cannot currently be purchased through the Apple App Store because it provides capabilities (e.g.the ability to download other Palm applications) that are restricted by Apple. The StyleTap iOS Wrapper SDK allows you as a Palm application developer to create an iPhone (iOS) application that “wraps” a Palm application inside StyleTap Platform for iPhone in a way that removes all of the restricted capabilities. You can then submit the resulting iPhone application to be included in the Apple App Store.

StyleTap will provide devs with the StyleTap Platform designed for non-jailbroken iPhones through a template Xcode project that also includes instructions on configuring apps for submission to Apple. After devs throw their .prc and .pdb Palm application and license info into the StyleTap Platform setup, they will then have to build an iOS app. Of course devs will still have to be part of Apple’s Developer Program and StyleTap isn’t guaranteeing Apple will accept submitted apps. Also noteworthy is the fact that this enables organizations to deploy Palm apps to non-jailbroken iOS devices, and those apps don’t require submission to Apple. expand full story

platform Stories August 22, 2011

Apple may be planning on unveiling an all new Mac that is “absolutely different from current products”, according to a rough translation from the sometimes reliable macotakara.jp. The site’s track record is less than perfect, however they did accurately predict the iPad 2’s march release.

The report seems to claim the product will be so different from current product lines that it will indeed be given a new name. Other than that, there aren’t many details offered up in terms of specs on the potential next-gen Mac (iOS/OS X hybrid?), but it may be one of the new products Apple is already rumoured to be working on.

It’s a possibility these are the ultra-thin air-like MacBooks we’ve been hearing are in the final stages of testing, or perhaps Apple is designing an all new product that will see a platform switch from Intel to ARM processors. And don’t forget the rackable, stackable Mac Pro and that iMac touch patent,below. expand full story

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