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Two Billion iPhone Apps Downloaded

A mere four months after the company announced that a billion apps had been downloaded in the store, Apple on September 28, said that the number of downloads had surpassed the two billion mark. That’s an incredible acceleration of growth–8 months to a billion, 6 months to another billion. These figures translate to a 6.6 million app-a-day download rate for the last two and a half months.

Apple said there are more than 85,000 apps available to the more than 50 million iPhone and iPod touch owners worldwide and over 125,000 developers in Apple’s iPhone Developer Program. As for downloads, it took nine months for Apple to hit the first billion. On April 24, 2009, there were 35,000 applications in the iTunes app store, showing that despite new competition from folks like Google’s Android, the company is not losing traction with developers.

According to Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, “The rate of App Store downloads continues to accelerate with users downloading a staggering two billion apps in just over a year, including more than half a billion apps this quarter alone.” The App Store has reinvented what you can do with a mobile handheld device, and our users are clearly loving it.”


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‘Giant iPhone’ May Be Next From Apple

Apple has rehired a former executive who once played a key role in the company’s development of the Newton handheld PC, a revolutionary device that drew praise for its unique form factor and barbs for its wonky handwriting recognition technology.Given his background, Apple’s recruitment of Michael Tchao as a marketing VP rekindled rumors that the company plans to offer a tablet-style PC that would resemble an oversized iPod or iPhone. One popular tech blog speculated that Apple could release such as device early next year.

Tchao spent the past fifteen years as general manager of sportswear maker Nike’s Techlab. His return to Cupertino was first reported by The New York Times and confirmed by Apple. Apple, however, declined to elaborate on Tchao’s role.

Apple isn’t the only tech giant said to be working on tablet computing, the history of which is at best checkered. Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is reportedly prototyping a booklet-style computing device that appears to combine the functions of an e-reader, netbook, and PDA.

Courier, as it’s called, features twin, seven-inch touch screens that are connected by a hinge and can fold out to provide the user with two work surfaces, according to pictures that have surfaced on the Internet in recent days. One screen offers a Web browser while the other can present locally stored information like calendar entries, contact information and personal documents.

Courier’s existence was first reported by the tech blog Gizmodo but it has not been confirmed by Microsoft. Gizmodo posted a video that appears to show an animated mock up of the device in action.

The video shows a user writing notes through a stylus input device and turning pages with simple hand gestures, a la Apple’s iPhone touch interface. There’s no word on when, or if, Microsoft plans to bring the device to market.

Microsoft launched a tablet-style PC in 2002 but the device failed to catch on with the general public. If Courier is to succeed in the market, it would need to improve on its forerunner’s handwriting recognition capabilities and lofty price tag. The same holds for any similar device that Apple might develop.

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Postage ~ Postcards

In this day, real postcards might seem pointless and wasteful. You have to pay money, and it can take along time for them to arrive at the recipient’s house. There are online services for E-Cards, but what if you don’t have easy access to a computer (which usually is what happens on some vacations). Well, if you have your iPhone or iPod Touch, you can send an E-Postcard with postage.

The first thing to be said about Postage is how good it looks. It has an amazing UI, and it is no wonder that in won an Apple Design Award this year. But it’s not just the UI that’s nice-looking, it’s the postcards you create as well that look great. And they’re easy to make—It just takes a couple of steps.

The first step is to choose the style for the postcard. As of now, there are over 55 styles in 10 different categories, which is more than enough. In the preview of each style, it shows you exactly where the picture will go, and where the text will go too. After you have chosen a style, you can choose a picture from your iPhone’s photo library. It would be great if you could see a preview with the picture as you were browsing photos, but I think that is an issue of Apple not allowing direct access to photos, you must use the list. After you have selected a picture, you can add one of 7 effects, or keep it as-is. More effects would be nice, and maybe even sliders for exposure, and saturation. But, this is supposed to be a simple app that allows you to make a postcard in just a minute, so it is not a necessity.

The next step is text. With Postage, not only can you choose what it says, but you can also choose a font, text style and text color. There are 9 different fonts to choose from, all of which are very different. If they added more, some would look alike, and you might end up spending minutes trying to figure out which one looks best. So, maybe you should be happy there aren’t more. The styles are normal text styles: left, center or right-alligned and normal or bold. I’m surprised that italics are not in there though, but for a simple message, I’m not sure you’d usually need them.

The final step, but most important one, is the addresses. You can choose someone from your contacts, or just enter someone’s email address. And, you can choose any email address that it will be marked as being from. So, if you want to surprise them, but down a random email address. You can also choose to add the postcard to your photo library, so you can keep track of all the ones you send. I would have never thought of doing this, but it is a great idea. Then, once you have finished everything (and you can go back to the previous step at any point), you must click Send, and your postcard is complete.

Just as easy as—Actually easier than—Mailing an actual postcard and you can choose your own image, style and text style and it arrives almost instantly. All this for the (normal) price of ($4.99) about 8-10 postcards (with postage), and this allows you to send unlimited postcards. But as this is being written, Postage is 40% off, or just the price of ($2.99) 5-6 postcards (with postage). So, if you’re on vacation, or going on vacation soon, Postage can assure that you don’t have any angry relatives for not sending postcards—What’s not to like? It’s available in the App Store for only $2.99 as of now.


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Apple Releases iTunes 9 Update to Fix Bugs

Two weeks after the launch of iTunes 9, Apple on Wednesday released an updated version of the software that fixes several bugs.

The iTunes 9.0.1 release addresses eight problems with iTunes, including issues that affected browsing in the iTunes Store, as well as those that made iTunes unresponsive or led to it unexpectedly quitting.

The update also addresses a bug that made synching podcasts in playlists to the iPod or iPhone problematic, and another that improves application synching for the iPod touch and the iPhone.

The latest version makes it easier to sort albums with multiple discs, addresses an issue with the Zoom button not switching to Mini Player, and finally, Genius is now automatically updated to show Genius Mixes.

Apple unveiled iTunes 9 at a Sept. 9 event that also featured a nano with a video camera. It includes app management, home sharing, Genius Mixes, iTunes LP liner notes, and a cleaner user interface.

Source: Pcmag.com


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Apple’s iPhone Reached in South Korea Now

South Koreans will soon join the millions of others worldwide as its government on Wednesday approved the sale of the iPhone there.

For years, the Korea Communications Commission used technical rules to stifle competition, allowing homegrown companies like Samsung and LG to take over the market, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

With an estimated 93 percent of South Korea’s population subscribing to a mobile service, Apple should be able to overcome one of the biggest barriers to smartphone success in South Korea–applications. Apple has been able to entice developers worldwide to build apps for the iPhone, with 75,000 apps available and 1.8 billion apps downloaded thus far.

There was no indication of a release date, price, or carrier for the iPhone yet in South Korea.

This is the second piece of news related to international iPhone sales in less than a month. Apple landed a deal with China Unicom in late August to begin selling the iPhone in that country. Apple is also in talks with China Mobile, that country’s largest wireless carrier with 141 million subscribers.

Source: News.cnet.com


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