The first beta version of iOS 5 has only been out for about a week, but it's already clear that no other pre-release version of iOS has ever seen a wider release than this one. It's hard to pinpoint why this is the case, but there are clearly enough users who either paid $99 per year to become part of Apple's developer program or who paid a rogue activation service a few dollars to get access to the beta that way. As iOS developer Malcom Barclay notes, this wide release has some interesting consequences for developers: some users are now leaving negative iTunes reviews for apps that don't work on iOS 5 yet.
Theoretically, only developers currently have access to the latest version of Apple's iOS 5 software for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In reality, however, getting access to beta versions of iOS has never been easier for non-developers. Getting the software (which is easily available if you know how to use Google), is just one part of the process, though. Your phone's UDID also has to be registered with Apple. The easiest way to do that is to get a $99 developer account, but for most people, that's a lot of money just to try out some beta software. Because of this, a large market for rogue iOS activations that allows virtually anyone who is wiling to risk $5 to $10 is currently flourishing. Some of these services have been around for a while, though most started around the time of the lengthy iOS 4 beta test.
Opera today released the latest version of it’s Opera Mini mobile browser for iOS. This is Opera’s debut on the iPad. On the iPhone, this new version marks a huge step up from Opera 5, which was virtually unusable due to they way it displayed the rendered text. This new version has none of these issues and feels incredibly fast and smooth. On the iPad, however, it’s generally unusable, though this is not necessarily Opera’s fault: most websites automatically switch to a stripped-down mobile view when they see a request from Opera Mini, no matter the size of the screen the site is rendered on. This means lots of screen estate simply goes wasted.
When it comes to tablets, the iPad is still synonymous with the whole tablet category for most users. This doesn't come as a surprise, though, given that it took Google's partners quite a while to launch competitive hardware and Google's first efforts to launch a tablet version of Android were not up to par with Apple's iOS. For the most part, though, the forthcoming Android 3.1 and 4.0 releases will take care of most of these software issues, however, and with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Android tablet hardware is now also getting to the point where it's competitive with Apple's iPad line.What is missing, however, is the wide variety of apps that makes Apple's ecosystem so vibrant.
The iPhone location scandal dominated the tech news today. While early reports seemed to indicate that all iPhone 4s and 3G-enabled iPads were keeping precise logs of everybody’s location over time, the reality that emerged over the course of the day is a bit more complicated. Atlanta-based tech blogger Will Clarke took a closer look at the data tonight and argues that Apple is decidedly not keeping a log of the phone’s location in this secret file, but is only storing the location of cell towers.
All the way back in 2009, I reviewed the Notifications app for ReadWriteWeb and wondered if it was going to be the best push notifications service for the iPhone yet. At that time, it had more features than Boxcar, which was still in its infancy. It was also one of the first apps of its kind to use PubSubHubbub to speed up notifications of updated news feeds. over time, Boxcar ended up trumping Notifications in terms of features and the difference in speed became negligible. Now, however, Notifications is is back as Push 4.0 for both the iPhone and iPad ($0.99 - iTunes link) and while its feature set hasn't changed much from the early days (Twitter, email, RSS), the developer Fabien Penso has worked hard on making it the fastest push app out there - and, I'm happy to say, he succeeded.
Zite is a personalized magazine app for Apple's iPad that gives you far better reading recommendations than any of its competitors like Flipboard or Sobees' NewsMix. Instead of having to rely on your friends on Twitter and Facebook to recommend interesting stories to you, Zite's algorithms are only seeded by looking at your Twitter and Google Reader feed. After this, Zite will learn which articles you are most interested in by looking at your reading behavior as you use the app.
The Daily, News Coprp.'s much hyped and buggy iPad-only newspaper just got a much-needed update. Even though the launch of The Daily was delayed by months, the first version of the app quickly turned out to be extremely buggy (I couldn't even start it for the last few days) and quite a disaster when it came to usability. Today's update does little to fix any of the usability problems, but at least the app loads again.
During the last half of 2010, according to AdAge, which got a sneak peak at the Audit Bureau of Circulations' semiannual circulation report, Wired was one of the few magazines that actually saw single-copy sales increase. The magazine's sales were up 28.2% in the second half of 2010. In total, Wired sold an average of 105,614 copies, which includes an average of 27,000 iPad editions.
The Yandex team launched an alpha version of its new browser today and there are plenty of interesting design ideas here. Overall, it feels like a bit of a hybrid between Safari and Opera Coast. I rather like the tabs at the bottom of the screen, but I'm not sure I could use a browser without a bookmark bar as...