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The App Store: An incredibly successful market for developers to sell their wares, undermined by the shop owner’s inconsistent and unpredictable rules about what can be sold.
Once again, Apple has done the customer a dis-service. You may have heard about the removal of GV Mobile and VoiceCentral apps from the App Store, and the blocking of the official Google Voice application. These are apps that allow you to interact with a Google Voice account (currently US-only), which gives you one number for multiple phones, and is really providing new innovations in voice telephony. The reasons Apple gave (duplication of features, user confusion) are not credible, especially as the apps have been selling for months. It seems that AT&T have exerted some presuure to have these apps removed, fearing that their cash cows of long-distance calling and SMS would be hit.
I have a particular interest in painting apps and, as I mentioned in a previous review, I think the iPhone is a great platform for this type of application. Portable and lacking the mess of real media, a good painting app offers Artists of all levels the chance to create wherever they find themselves without the need to carry around all the equipment and materials they’d normally use.
Discounting the dozens of simplistic finger painting applications out there, you’re left with three main contenders for the title of the best painting app: Brushes, PhotoForge and now Layers. I’ve not tried Brushes as yet but have already reviewed and been impressed by PhotoForge. New kid on the block, ‘Layers’ really needs to add something different and impressive to the mix in order to have a chance of standing out.
You may have seen my previous Proporta charger reviews over on AAS, of the Micro and the original Travel Charger. Both solid products, and both of which were replaced by a slightly tacky alternative last year because of supply problems with the original devices. Thankfully, as I write this mid-2009, things seem to have reverted to the original supplier and there are two new models available. Featured here is the diminutive USB TurboCharger 1200 and there’s also a big brother, the TurboCharger 3400, which we’ll review in due course.
The general idea’s still the same though. You charge the USB TurboCharger 1200 up from any convenient USB source – either a computer’s USB port or one of Proporta’s own 12V or mains-to-USB adapters (incidentally these latter two come with the recommended ‘World Pack’ version of the product, along with a range of international mains pin converters), and then you can dispense this to just about any portable device, be it a Nokia, Sony Ericsson or Apple phone, be it a Nintendo DS Lite or even just something that charges over microUSB or miniUSB. (more…)
It’s a dream of many of us to be able to play a musical instrument. Unfortunately, most lack the level of commitment needed to actually get beyond the basics. In the past, the best we could hope for is to pick out a hesitant ‘chopsticks’ on the piano or strum a few ropey chords with a guitar.
Now, though, technology has transformed the music business turning some unlikely individuals into top selling recording artists. But what can it do for the likes of you and me who fancy ourselves the writers of smash hits? If only we could lose the pesky need for musical ability. Might SoundGrid be the answer?
Back in June just prior to the 3GS announcement I wrote,
“But what if Phil Schiller and company take to the stage tonight and announce the much rumoured iPhone Video? What if it has autofocus? What if it has VGA resolution? What if it has a rock solid 30 frames per second frame rate? What if it has an effective video editing solution? What if it captures stereo sound? What if it has digital zoom that actually works? What if…”
As we now know the iPhone 3GS brought many of these features to the table. Autofocus, VGA, rock solid 30 frames per second and even a basic but powerful editing and distribution solution.
Phase 1 in the iPhone App Store was the initial ramp up and the very first applications – this didn’t take long to work through, only a matter of weeks. Applications were sensibly priced. Serious app? Call it $15 or so, commensurate with the work taken to create it.
Then we had 6 months of utter craziness. With applications appearing in their thousands (literally – though 900 of each thousand was complete rubbish), the prevailing wisdom seemed to be that developers had to price their apps at a dollar or so to stand any chance at all of success – anything more expensive and sales wouldn’t be high enough to make it into the top 25/50 table – which, as we all know, is where the real stars live. (more…)