According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T has a new idea: Force app developers to cover the bill.
As smartphones become more and more popular, data usage and the expenses that can go with it are increasingly becoming hot-button topics for wireless customers and carriers alike. Too often we hear stories about smartphone users being charged extra, or having their connection speeds slashed, for heavy data usage.
According to the publishing house, AT&T is said to be tinkering with a service that would put a new tab on app developers. That is, the devs would pay the wireless carrier for some of the data used by app consumers for things like streaming movies and smartphone applications.
John Donovan, AT&T’s head of network and technology, says that the country’s second-largest wireless provider is considering a “toll-free calling” plan for mobile apps. The system would work in a similar way to 1-800 numbers in that the company providing the service (in this case, the app maker), would cover the connection costs.
“A feature that we’re hoping to have out sometime next year is the equivalent of 800 numbers that would say, if you take this app, this app will come without any network usage.” – said Donovan.
Carriers have been considering different pricing models for years as they look for ways to make more money from skyrocketing mobile-data use. But AT&T’s approach would be novel, an attempt to push some of the cost of data traffic back onto the Internet companies and other service providers that profit from it.
Donovan sees such as service as a way to create new revenue streams that presently don’t exist and then find a way to split them. As the would-be service and its associated benefits were described, “a customer nearing his data limit for the month could be more likely to download a movie if the content provider covered the price of the data transmission.”
if AT&T’s new plan goes into place, developers would be able to offer certain apps where the data usage comes at no cost to the user. Obviously, this will have significant repercussions for the developer community, as big companies that can afford to cover customer data costs gain an edge over independent developers. It could also result in apps costing more up front, with the promise of no data fees.
Unfortunately, few details about the plan have yet been released, so we don’t know if this toll-free app scheme will be put in place; or, if so, when. Despite that, it seems to us likely that AT&T will move forward, as it would give the company the ability to get paid for data while not having to raise subscribers’ bills.
Apple seeded OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion for the developers today, the public release of the new OS is scheduled for this summer. The new version does not have as many massive changes under it’s hood like we saw in OS X 10.7 Lion. But that’s not to say OS X 10.8 isn’t a big deal.
Average users who already own other Apple products like iPhone, and iPad will appreciate the improvements Apple has introduced with OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion to bring OS X more closely in line with iOS.
One of the most common reasons why people jailbreak their iOS devices is to customize it with jailbreak tweaks that can perform amazing things when it comes to improving the functionality of your device and also increasing the overall user experience. A number of Cydia tweaks have been provided in the Cydia marketplace by Devs, both paid and free that help do this.
But there is however no better pleasure then creating a good idea for a jailbreak tweak and even making it yourself so as to have a very personalized customization experience on the jailbroken iOS device.
A free tool called iOSOpenDev was recently released for developers. Those with basic programming knowledge can use Xcode templates for creating jailbreak-style apps and tweaks that can be easily published to Cydia, the jailbreak version of the App Store.
What Does iOSOpenDev Do?
iOSOpenDev sets up a developing environment with Xcode and the iOS SDK for devs to make tweaks and plugins for prominent Cydia apps. Not only can those with programming skills make their own tweaks from scratch, but Xcode templates are provided for creating tweaks that work with popular apps like SBSettings and Activator. Once a dev has tested a creation, the package can be submitted to Cydia and made available to the public.
Filippo Bigarella, the developer of this great tool is a student from Italy. He’s been actively writing apps and tweaks for several years now, and he’s behind some of the most prominent tweaks and apps in Cydia, including the newly-released Springtomize 2 for iOS 5.
The idea behind iOSOpenDev is that this will either lead to more useful Cydia tweaks being created and released as a result of attracted new talent, or even will lead to a big wave of badly designed Cydia tweaks released by first time programmers.
This is totally free and you can go to this link and download it right now.
- Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) or Lion (10.7)
- Xcode 4
- dpkg — provides dpkg-deb for building Debian packages, install using MacPorts (http://www.macports.org)
Apple’s A5 chip serving iPhone 4s and iPad 2 received its first public jailbreak not too long ago and we’ve already seen several tweaks that expand Siri’s capabilities. SiriToggles allows you to open apps and change system settings, while AssistantExtensions offers a plug-in architecture allowing developers to extend Siri functionality (command and GUI snippets). This week we were given yet another fun Siri tweak in Cydia, and it just may be the best one yet.
MyAssistant is a 99 cent app in the BigBoss repo that adds a ton of customization to the virtual assistant. The biggest feature here may be the integration with Activator, the app that lets you pick an activation method for just about any task. When combined with Activator, Siri can be configured to use nearly any system function on your iPhone 4S that can be controlled by voice.
In addition to the Activator functions, My Assistant also adds plenty of core abilities of its own. Want to snap a photo with one voice command? Check. Feel like getting the lyrics of the song you’re listening to? Check. Decide that you want to free up some memory, and you don’t feel like picking up your phone? Check (as long as you also have an app called MemoryTap installed).
My Assistant also adds some functions that aren’t particularly practical, but that could add fun and aesthetic. It lets you customize Siri’s background image, and lets you create custom question/answer combinations for Siri.
Though it’s understandable why Apple doesn’t let Siri change system settings, jailbreakers can enjoy the greater customization that some of these early jailbreak enhancements provide. Even more impressive Siri-related Cydia apps will probably come later, but in the meantime, MyAssistant is a great start.
A trio of iOS developers: Grant Paul (Chpwn), Ryan Petrich, and Steven Troughton-Smith have recently released a new Siri port called Spire. This port mirrors all the iPhone 4S Siri functionality and works on the following iDevices: iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch 3G, iPod Touch 4G, and iPad (first generation).
According to a blog post from Chpwn, Spire comes in at around 100mb and the developers recommend connecting to a Wi-Fi network for downloading, not a standard cellular network because of its large file size. As of right now, there have been a few Siri ports which have gone public through Cydia but they were all deemed to be unsafe and illegal by the development community. This was a result of these ports distributing Apple copyrighted materials. According to Chpwn, “Spire uses a new method to obtain the files necessary for Siri, so it doesn’t have the copyright issues encountered by previous attempts.”
There still is a big caveat though – you still have to gain authorization through your own server and an iPhone 4S. Chpwn took the time to explain the caveat with a bit more detail:
However, Spire is not a complete solution. Apple still requires authorization to use Siri, so information from an iPhone 4S is still required. To insert this information, Spire allows you to enter your own proxy server address. By using this (ancient) SiriProxy fork, you can setup a proxy using your own iPhone 4S to insert the needed information reasonably easily. Other solutions for proxying Siri will be listed here as they are developed — perhaps that sort of proxy might be included in the main SiriProxy repository.
As of right now, Spire has been deemed to be the best Siri port to use until the iPhone 4S jailbreak is publicly released. According to Steven Troughton-Smith, “when the iPhone 4S is jailbroken, then we can avoid the proxy server issues. For those of you who are still interested in downloading Spire for your jailbroken iOS 5 devices, you can do so by hitting the link below:
Since Apple introduced an API in iOS that detects jailbroken iOS devices, developers have been using it to prevent users who have jailbroken their iOS devices, developers have been using it to prevent users who have jailbroken their iOS devices from using their apps. Typically these users are greeted with the following error message: “Jailbreak detected. App cannot run on a jailbroken device” when they launch such apps.
The jailbreak detection has been found in apps such as Bloomberg Anywhere, Cablevision, Cisco M-Learning, DirecTV for iPad, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Time Warner Cable, Verizon On Demand /FlexView etc. Cable companies such as Cablevision and Time Warner that allow their apps to be used only over home Wi-Fi network are paranoid that users who have jailbroken their iOS device could use their jailbreak tweaks such as My3G that enable 3G for “Wi-Fi Only” apps and use their apps while on the go. This is what has lead them to have taken the extreme step of preventing jailbroken iOS device users from using their apps.
This is going to be harder though since the iOS hacker, n00neimp0rtant recently created a jailbreak tweak called xCon which bypasses jailbreak detection in apps. It allows you to use the apps that currently prevent jailbroken iOS device users from using. The tweak apparently works by sandboxing the apps into its own memory space allowing you to use them without a jailbreak being detected.
If you want any other app to be supported then send an email to the developer at the following email address: email@example.com. The jailbreak tweak is available in Cydia for free.
There were several rumors regarding the possibility of Apple’s next smartphone featuring NFC technology in the months leading up to Apple’s iPhone announcement in the fall. Many competitors in the market have had the wireless payment technology for some years but it really only started to gain some traction recently. As you can all tell, the rumors were ended up being false, since there isn’t any kind of NFC chipset in the iPhone 4S.
This doesn’t mean that Apple is completely looking over the technology though. The company was recently awarded a patent regarding Near Field Communications in mobile devices. According to the folks over at Patently Apple, Apple recently won its first NFC patent related to retail transactions. Their patent document explains a method of establishing a master/slave relationship amongst two smartphones, both of which use NFC. The whole procedure described in the patent sounds very similar to many of the rumors that were flying previously.
The patent seems to specifically narrow in on the technology being used in retail situations. What this means is that Apple may be amidst an NFC-based mobile payment system. It is quite possible but nothing is certain as of yet. Patent details can be found below (courtesy of Patently Apple):
Apple also recently updated its retail experience by opening up the option of utilizing Apple’s EasyPay application. The updated version of this application allows users to scan products that they plan to buy at Apple stores allowing you to read reviews and check prices, than ultimately give you the option to pay via credit card (allowing you to skip the long lines). The EasyPay application might be the foundation of something much bigger that Apple plans to venture in.
Would you like to see Apple using NFC technology in the next iteration of the iPhone? Share your thoughts below!
Source: Patently Apple