Mac App Store Limitations to Include No In App Purchases or Promo Codes

The Mac App Store slated to open in January 2011 will exclude in app purchases and promo codes.  The store will also disallow development for the Game Center.  As with the current App Store, developers will also not have the ability to post freemium apps.

Apple demands that apps be complete retail versions with demos and trailers to be provided on developers’ websites.  The lack of the in app purchase option means games cannot be offered free with add-ons or upgrades to be purchased separately.  Furthermore, the exclusion of Game Center development excludes the use of the Apple social networking game experience. 

The combination of limitations will hit independent developers the hardest.  Devs with scarce resources will have to have a fully realized game before release and a website to promote it.  Without promo codes and social networking, it will be harder to promote games and generate buzz.  Developers will likely release versions for both the Mac App store and the iDevice App Store, with the latter used to promote the app for the Mac.  Hopefully future developments like app sharing will come to fruition giving devs other avenues for promotion.


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iPad 2 to Make Tourists Look Even More Ridiculous

Reuters is reporting that the next generation iPad will have a front and rear camera, as well as a higher resolution display. Both the iPhone and iPod Touch have two cameras (and retina displays), so it seems that Apple is trying to maintain consistency across their product line, but I can’t imagine a scenario where one wouldn’t look like a total nut-job taking pictures with the rear camera on a 10″ tablet.

One of those said the revamped model would feature cameras on the front and rear, while the other said the new model would be slimmer, lighter and have a better resolution display.

Camera module makers Genius Electronic Optical Co Ltd and Largan Precision Co Ltd were also starting new supply deals with Apple, two sources said, but neither could confirm for which product the modules were intended.

On a side note, if the iPad 2 had a pixel count proportional to the iPhone 4, its resolution would be around 2880 by 1440, which is insanely high for a 9.7″ screen. It’s far more likely that Apple will simply bump up the PPI to a point where the human eye can’t detect individual pixels (which is the essence of a “retina” display). Currently, the iPhone 4′s PPI is 326 (double that of the previous generation), and the iPad’s is 132.


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$100 Worth of iTunes Cards for $80 at Sam’s Club

Apple may have ended its relationship with Costco, but its partnership with Sam’s Club is still going strong.

Shoppers who may have multiple iOS fanatics on their lists are in for a deal as Sam’s Club is currently advertising 20% off iTunes gift card multipacks.  The discount big box store is offering a pack of 4 $25 gift cards for $79.88.

The special price is valid until December 14th.  The deal is an in-store purchase only, not available online, and may not be available at all locations.  Check your local listings.

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Apple Patents Peer-to-Peer App Sharing (The Legal Kind)

Apple has patented a new method for sharing apps with friends, and it actually is pretty ‘magical’.

The technical details are a bit confusing, so here it is in a nutshell: Your friend wants to try out the sweet new app you’re using, so you link your two devices together and select the app from a list to share. It is then sent to the recipient’s device directly from your own. Depending on your personal preference, the recipient can access the full app with all your current settings, a limited version, or something in between. The sender can also specify a time limit for how long the app can be used, be it for a few minutes, hours, days, or even months.


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Desktop Version of Google Docs Now Supports the iPad

The simplified mobile version of Google Docs is great for making quick edits and composing rough drafts, but it doesn’t allow users to change advanced formatting settings like font or paragraph alignment. Google has acknowledged this limitation, and has updated the desktop version of Docs to support the iPad. It works with both word documents and spreadsheets, and has full support for entering formulas. As you would expect, the site is slightly more cumbersome than the optimized mobile version, but it’s nice to have the option if you ever need it.


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Apple and Costco Sever Ties

It’s been confirmed that Costco, previously one of the absolute best places to purchase basically any expensive electronics due to an outstanding warranty, will not be carrying Apple merchandise in the future.

The Seattle Times is reporting that severing of ties between Costco and Apple has been confirmed, culminating with both parties signing a ‘mutual agreement’ that will put an end to Costco carrying any Apple merchandise.

The chain is phasing out Apple products, per a mutual agreement between the companies, Galanti told The Seattle Times. Costco had sold iPods and pre-loaded iTunes cards for years, although never at huge discounts; and Apple never allowed Costco to sell its products online like other retailers, he said. “In the past couple months, we agreed to wind down.”

Apple spokeswoman Amy Bessette said the company has no comment.

Apparently, this has been in the works since at least October, starting with various stores such as Target and Costco’s chief competitor Sam’s Club selling the iPad. Astute observers witnessed Apple products disappearing from Costco shelves soon after.

So, Costco, I know I’ll miss your outstanding warranty and service.


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ABC/Disney Caught in the Middle of Fight Between Comcast and Netflix

Netflix has reached an agreement to stream content from the Disney and the ABC family of networks.  Previous airings of hits like Lost, Ugly Betty, and Scrubs will be available at launch, with a 15-day delay for new episodes of current shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Desparate Housewives.  The Disney Channel and ABC Family network will make available episodes of kid-friendly fare including Phineas and FerbWizards of Waverly Place and movie series Camp Rock and High School Musical.

Comcast subscribers who use the conglomerate’s Internet services may be out of luck.  As pointed out in our forums, Comcast is fighting Level 3 Communications, the Netflix content delivery firm, from streaming to Comcast subscribers.  In preparation of a potential merge with NBC, Comcast is perceived to be trying to shut out Netflix, iTunes and other content providers.

In anticipation of the move, Comcast will release a new iPad app, PlayNow, that will allow xfinity subscribers to not only control their home DVRs as they can now using the xfinity TV app, but stream over 150,00 video items from their TV Online portal.  Play Now will first work with premium networks such as HBO, Starz, and Showtime with other network rights being negotiated. 

Comcast president Neil Smit was quoted as saying that he doesn’t believe subscribers are moving to cutting the cord and that only a “small trace” of customers have left Comcast in favor of free-over-the air TV.  He admitted there has been some loss to other competitors.

Netflix can’t have exclusive streaming rights to the Disney/ABC content, so Comcast should be able to stream the channels.  Slingbox owners can already time shift and stream content from any cable box, including DVR recordings and VOD to iDevices.  It will be interesting to see how cable companies evolve to catch up and how Slingbox improves to provide additonal value.

[Engadget] [Light Reading Cable] [Electronista]

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iTunes 2010 Review Demonstrates How iOS Games are Gaining Market Share

The iTunes Store offered today a chance for users to review their best offerings for 2010 in music, podcasts, TV shows, apps, music and audiobooks.

As pointed out by Macstories, games are taking over the App Store.  They noted:

  • Overall Top 10 PAID iPhone Apps: 9 out of 10 are games
  • Overall Top 10 FREE iPhone Apps: 5 out of 10 are games
  • Overall Top 10 GROSSING iPhone Apps: 7 out of 10 are games
  • Overall Top 10 PAID iPad Apps: 2 out of 10 are games
  • Overall Top 10 FREE iPad Apps: 1 game
  • Overall Top 10 GROSSING iPad Apps:  4 out of 10 are games

This confirms the report by the research firm Interpret that Apple has made serious headway in the mobile handheld game market.  Overall, mobile handsets make up 44 percent of the handheld gaming market, up 53 percent from last year.  The DS and PSP share of the market has declined 13 percent.  An informal poll at ArsTechnica revealed that nearly one-third of respondents have an iOS device and it is the only thing they use for gaming.  An additional 22.25% of respondents stopped using their DS, PSP or other device in favor of their iOS device.

Read on to see the other top sellers in the various categories at iTunes.

[Macstories] [ArsTechnica]


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Mac App Store Not Coming Soon Enough for Steve Jobs

Excited Mac App developers eager to have the Mac App store open Dec. 13th will have to wait until January 2011 after all. 

Steve Jobs originally stated at the Oct. 20th press event that the App store would open “within 90 days” putting the grand opening at the end of January 2011.  Rumors have been circulating that Jobs had been pushing for the opening before Dec. 6th.  As that date came and passed, sources suggested it would open as early as Dec. 13th.  “Word has come down” that troublesome issues continue, resulting in the fall back to the original January 2011 estimate.

The grand opening will have to come after the Christmas rush.  Hopefully it will be before Valentine’s Day.

[Computerworld] [Appletell]

Thanks DrewGzy!

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