App Store

It’s here. Google Maps for iPhone

Get the new Google Maps and say hello to Google search, voice guided navigation, transit directions, Street View, and much more. The new Google Maps application for the iPhone became the most downloaded free item in Apple‘s App Store on Thursday, just hours after its launch.

The long-awaited app launched in the early hours of Thursday morning, finally bringing relief to the millions of iPhone users forced to rely on Apple’s own much-maligned mapping system.

The popularity of Google Maps provided an insight into the unpopularity of Apple’s own attempt at providing a map service. Its launch came after Apple ditched its partnership with Google ahead of the launch of iOS6, the most recently launched operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Starting today, we’re pleased to announce that Google Maps is here – rolling out across the world in the Apple App Store. It’s designed from the ground up to combine the comprehensiveness and accuracy of Google Maps with an interface that makes finding what you’re looking for faster and easier.

Early reviews of Google Maps were overwhelmingly positive. The New York Times described it as “free, fast and fantastic,” concluding that “Google Maps for iPhone is an astonishingly powerful, accurate, beautiful tool“.

The Next Web said the new tool was “pleasantly responsive and feature-rich,” although noted “a few rough spots that suggest it’s been rushed ahead to market“.

The early response to Google Maps is in stark contrast for the widespread despair provoked by Apple’s own attempt at building a mapping system.

Users reported that railway stations had been imagined, the Sears Tower in Chicago had been mislabelled, Paddington Station in London had ceased to exist and searches for ‘London’ directed UK iPhone users to the Canadian London in Ontario, rather than Britain’s teeming metropolis.

Google Maps had been an inbuilt part of the iOS operating system until this year’s update. Apple decided not to renew its licence with Google, reportedly frustrated that Google had refused to allow it access to its voice-directed turn-by-turn navigation and vector graphics for mapping.

The app looks wonderful. It’s easy to navigate and has a very clean interface and it’s free on the App Store.

* You must sign-in with a Google account to bookmark places.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Sparrow updated with iPhone 5 & Passbook Support

After Apple rejected Sparrow’s iPhone 5 update earlier in the month, critics cried foul and commentators happily pointed out Apple was attempting to derail the popular email client for iOS devices and Macs. There was little hope left for new features after Google acquired Sparrow in June. Plus, the search giant acknowledged as much when it said the Sparrow team would move to Google’s Mountain View offices to work on new Gmail features. It’s a welcome sign, then, that a new version of Sparrow just surfaced on the App Store. Though short of features, it does bring out two major nice-to-haves: support for the iPhone 5′s taller display and Passbook integration

Support for Passbook, a new stock app in iOS 6, allows Sparrow to send .pkpass files to the Passbook app. These small files are embedded in confirmation email messages when buying tickets, boarding passes, loyalty cards and other items Passbook understands.

Apart from the iPhone 5 and Passbook support, changelog makes no mention of other tweaks.

If you don’t have it, Sparrow will run you £1.99 (three bucks) on the App Store.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Apple unveils subscription service in App Store

Apple launched a subscription service at the App Store for magazines, newspapers, videos, and music bought through its App Store.

In a move that goes a long way to addressing concerns of many in the magazine and newspaper sectors, Apple said today that publishers will be allowed to set the price and the length of the subscription term. The processing of payments will be Apple’s job and handled within the App Store. Apple will collect 30 percent of the revenue.

Our philosophy is simple,Steve Jobs wrote in a statement. “When Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share. When the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing.

All we require,” Jobs continued, “is that if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app.

The Apple iPad has proven to be a popular media-consumption device and magazine and newspaper executives are typically excited about the tablet’s appeal as an e-reader. But to get their content on the iPad, some in the newspaper and magazine sectors are dissatisfied with the money Apple once offered–a 30 percent cut forever. They were also unhappy with the amount of control Apple would exercise over subscriptions and user data.

But this latest offer from Apple Inc is more publisher friendly, said Chuck McCullagh, a former senior vice president with the Magazine Publishers Association of America.

Apple should become a significant channel and this might reduce pain [for publishers],” McCullagh told CNET. “If Apple brings a customer to app it gets 30 percent. When publisher brings new or existing subscriber, Apple gets nothing. That is an advance.

But McCullagh, who is now a consultant and advises magazines on their digital strategies, also still sees some sticking points. Apple’s requirement that publishers must offer the same subscription for the app as it does out of it, could “bump into the common publisher practice of selling subscriptions at different prices across [distribution] channel’s,” McCullagh said. Some of those channels include the publisher’s Web site, direct mail and newsstands.

Apple said this is the same digital-subscription billing service that the company recently launched with The Daily app, created by News Corp. for the Apple iPad, In that case as with the latest announcement, Apple is giving subscribers the option to provide personal information, such as name and e-mail address, to publishers. This won’t meet the needs of the publishers, McCullagh said, adding that publishers don’t want third parties overseeing their relationship with readers.

Apple said that the relationship between the publisher and the App Store isn’t exclusive. Publishers can sell subscriptions on their own site or offer free access to existing customers, Subscriptions can be weekly, monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, biannual, or annual.

Publishers must provide their own authentication process within the app for subscribers who have signed up for service outside the App Store, according to Apple.

Chuck McCullagh is the father of CNET.com reporter Declan McCullagh.

Apple App Store Ready To Hit 10 Billion Downloads

It won’t be long before Apple App store customers help the company reach the 10 billion programs downloaded level, as is shown by the company’s own giant app download counter (pictured above).

To put the 10 billion mark into perspective at the end of September 2009 the company sat at 2 billion apps downloaded, by January 2010 they were at 3 billion and then through 2010 their numbers more than tripled.

Download sales have been of course helped by not just the Apple iPhone series of devices but also the Apple iPod Touch and the very quick success of the Apple iPad.

The 10 billionth person to download an app from the store will receive a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card, even if the 10 billionth mobile application is a free one to procure.

You can find the rules for the $10,000 prize by clicking here.

%d bloggers like this: