Facebook to Remove Messaging From Mobile Apps, Force Download of ‘Messenger’

Facebook Messenger

Facebook is taking its standalone app strategy to an extreme new level on Wednesday. It’s starting to notify users they’ll no longer be able to send and receive messages in Facebook for iOS and Android, and will instead have to download Facebook Messenger to chat on mobile. In an on stage talk I did with Mark Zuckerberg in November, the EO revealed an explanation for today’s change that Facebook’s PR team referred me to: “the other thing that we’re doing with Messenger is making it so once you have the standalone Messenger app, we are actually taking messaging out of the main Facebook app. And the reason why we’re doing that is we found that having it as a second-class thing inside the Facebook app makes it so there’s more friction to replying to messages, so we would rather have people be using a more focused experience for that.”

Read the full story at TechCrunch.

Google’s iOS Search App Gets Hands-Free Search, Improved Google Now Notifications And Reminders

notifications-blog


Google today launched the latest version of its Search App for iOS, which now includes improved support for Google Now reminders and notifications, as well as hands-free search using the “OK Google” command.

The company first announced that iOS users would get Google Now push notifications support during an odd press event in the Google garage in September, and the company has been improving on this ever since.

Most of the new features are already well known to Android users, but iOS users will now get notifications when they are about to run late for an appointment because there is a traffic jam on the way. They will also be able to set reminders for themselves using Google’s now ubiquitous “OK Google” command. With this, iOS users can now say something like “OK Google, remind me to mail the checks when I get home” and Google will notify them when they get home. In the same way, Google’s updated app now allows you to set reminders for when a movie or a new album is about to be released.

In this new version, Google also shows you your boarding passes or theatre tickets right on the app’s homescreen and it always listens to you while it’s open, so you can use the “OK Google” command at any time without having to press the microphone button first. This feature, however, only works on new devices (iPhone 4s and iPad 2 and up). Right now, this feature, as well as setting reminders by voice, only work in English.

Report: iOS 7 May Hit iPhones and iPods Before it Comes to iPads

iOS 7

Apple is supposedly having an event on September 10, and one of the rumored announcements for this hypothetical event is the final version of iOS 7. While support is planned for the iPhones 4, 4S, and 5; the fifth-generation iPod touch; and the iPad 2, iPad mini, and both Retina iPads, a report from 9to5Mac says that the tablet builds are running behind the phone builds and may be delayed slightly. Citing “chatter within Apple” and a feeling among developers that the iPad builds are relatively “unstable and unreliable,” the report says that Apple may opt to upgrade its tablets in a 7.0.1 release that trails the iPhone’s upgrade by a few weeks. The beta builds of iOS 7 also came to the iPhones first-the public beta introduced after WWDC supported iPhones and iPods, but it wasn’t until Beta 2 was issued two weeks later that the software could be installed on iPads.

Read the full story at Ars Technica.

Twitter Has 100 Million Monthly Active Users; 50% Log In Every Day

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo revealed some interesting stats about Twitter’s growth, including that it has more than 100 million active users and that signups via iOS device have tripled since the launch of iOS 5.

Twitter has been on a roll in recent months. The company surpassed 200 million tweets per day in June, but has since jumped to nearly 250 million daily tweets. The growth has been tremendous: Twitter had around 100 million tweets per day in January 2011.

Costolo revealed these stats during an interview at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Of those 100 million global active users, half of them log in daily. “We had 30% of our monthly active users loggin in every day at the beginning of the year. Now it’s over 50%,” Costolo revealed.

The company’s growth amounts to about 40% quarter on quarter. But perhaps the most interesting stat is the impact of iOS 5 on Twitter. Apple’s mobile OS directly integrates Twitter, and that has resulted in a boost for the company. Costolo revealed that Twitter signups via iOS 5 devices have tripled since the launch of that iOS update.

Samsung Says Apple Is Trying to Patent Pretty Phones and Shouldn’t Get More Than Another $52 Million

Samsung said that Apple’s lawyers are conflating a few patents with the entirety of the iPhone and argued the Korean electronics giant shouldn’t have to pay more than $52 million for a series of phones and tablets found to infringe on Apple patents.

courtroom_scene

Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

“Apple has tried to mischaracterize these patents so they are the iPhone,” Samsung lawyer Bill Price said in closing arguments of a partial retrial of last year’s patent infringement case. Price argues that Apple essentially wants its patents to cover any phones that look pretty or work well.

This case is far more narrow than the one heard by a jury in the same courtroom last year. The bulk of last year’s $1 billion verdict, as well as the findings of patent, were upheld; however, Judge Lucy Koh ruled that the jury erred in part of its damage calculation, necessitating the current proceedings.

Jurors in this hearing have only to figure out what the right damage amount is for that portion of the case.

Price argues that Apple produced iPhone product reviews showing how pretty and revolutionary the phone was, but said that the issue is not the iPhone itself, but the handful of patents at issue. “These patents are very narrow,” Price said. “They don’t own everything they think they own and the scope of those patents are not as broad as they come in here [saying].”

He also disputed Apple’s contention that Samsung’s internal documents show it was looking to copy the iPhone.

“Competitors are always looking at rival products to see ‘Where are we lagging?’” Price said. “Apple does the same thing.”

Samsung’s arguments followed Apple’s closing, in which it made the case for why it is due a further $379 million.

Price wrapped up shortly before noon, saying: “Really what they are saying is in the market justice is ‘just us.’ “

Apple lawyer Harold McElhinny now has a few minutes of time to make a rebuttal argument and then the jury will start its deliberations.


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Microsoft Releases Outlook Web App for iOS

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft is releasing another Office app for iOS, kind of. The new Office Web App for iPhone and iPad is designed for businesses who use Office 365 to access the full functionality of Outlook Web App. Although Microsoft has been supporting a web version of this previously, the software maker has packaged it up into a “native” app for iOS. If your work place subscribes to Office 365 then the benefits are clear, but if it’s not then it’s useless for those thousands of Exchange servers that run in enterprises today. The app does package together Mail, Calendar, and people into one neat package though. There’s also a navigation screen that includes Live Tiles of information. Microsoft has built in voice input too, allowing users to executive commands like “open Calendar for tomorrow.” Most of the UI is very similar to the existing Outlook Web App for Office 365, and apps for Outlook will work here too.

Read the full story at The Verge.

Google Maps 2.0 Rolls out to iOS, Offers iPad Support and More

Google Maps

Poor Apple Maps. While we see very minor improvement from Apple’s year-old Maps application, Google continues to improve its world-class offering pretty rapidly. Why, Wednesday, in fact, Google launched an update to the Google Maps for iOS app, adding support for the iPad, indoor maps, and a slew of other features that were released with the recent Android Google Maps update. Google Maps 2.0 now fully supports the larger screen sizes of the iPad and iPad mini, as well as offering indoor maps with walking directions for transit stations, airports, malls and other large buildings. Past that, you’ll also notice that the Google Maps iOS app now offers better navigation with live traffic updates and incident reports. Meanwhile, Apple Maps still hasn’t figured out transit directions.

Read the full story at TechCrunch.

WhatsApp Switches iOS Version Over to Yearly Subscription Model

WhatsApp

WhatsApp, the popular mobile messaging app that eschews advertising in favor of a paid model, is getting ready to bring its iOS app in line with the apps it makes for other platforms by turning it into an annual subscription service. Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s CEO, says that the company is planning this year to shift its iOS app to one where new users would pay annually to keep using, taking it away from a one-off download fee and bringing it in line with how it is distributed on the Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Phone platforms. The comments were made to Dutch journalist Alexander Klopping, and reproduced in part in two Dutch blogs, Tweakers and Techtastic. Klopping also provided us with recording of the interview, in English. The new subscription model would apply to new users, Koum said, and would likely follow the same pricing structure as its other apps.

Read the full story at TechCrunch.

Over 90% of iOS Apps are Free, Average Cost is 19 Cents

App Store

There’s an emerging view among iOS developers that both the amount of work involved and value created by app development merit higher prices for apps. But a new study shows that developers test pricing tend to lower the price of their apps – or even charge nothing at all. New research published Thursday from mobile analytics firm Flurry, which looked at app pricing over the past four years for 350,000 apps using Flurry’s mobile analytics service, found that developers are charging less for their apps over time, and many times, end up going completely free. (The results are weighted to account for number of users for each app.) The result is more ad-laden apps. But Flurry says purchase habits show that user demand is higher for apps that will cost them nothing, even if there are ads as a result.

Read the full story at Giga OM.

Apple® 16GB iPad with Retina display Wi-Fi + 4G LTE Cellular (Factory Unlocked) – Black

Apple 16GB iPad with Retina display Wi-Fi + 4G LTE Cellular (Factory Unlocked) – Black

  • 9.7 Retina Display; 2048 x 1536 Resolution
  • Apple iOS 6; Dual-Core A6X Chip with Quad-Core Graphics
  • 5 MP iSight Camera; 1080p HD Video Recording
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) + 4G LTE; 16 GB Capacity
  • Up to 10 Hours of Battery Life; 1.46 lbs

Apple iPad MC705LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi + 4G LTE, Black) NEWEST MODEL.What’s in the box: Apple 16GB new iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G LTE (Black), Dock Connector to USB Cable, 10W USB Power Adapter, Documentation.