Opera Submits Browser App…But Who Cares?

I don’t use any browser on my iPhone (s aapl) other than Mobile Safari. And, unless you have a jailbroken iPhone, neither do you.

That’s because Apple’s webkit-powered Mobile Safari provides the browser engine for all the iPhone’s various windows onto the Interweb. So, whether you’re viewing a webpage from inside Tweetie 2, Instapaper or any one of the multitude of apps that allow for in-app web browsing, you’re using Mobile Safari.

Back in early February at the Mobile World Congress, Opera showed off an iPhone version of their mobile browser, Opera Mini, to a select group of reporters and tech-pundits. That left me a little confused; how could they produce a real browser, built from the ground-up, using its own in-house rendering engine, without breaking the rules? Read More about Opera Submits Browser App…But Who Cares?

Apple’s Phil Schiller Responds to App Store Furore and Ninja Words Debacle

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In an attempt to salvage what little good will is left in the App Store developer community, Apple’s (s aapl) senior vice president, Phil Schiller, has fought back against burgeoning anti-App Store sentiment.

In recent weeks an increasing number of apps submitted to Apple for App Store release have been unceremoniously rejected. Apple’s App Store approval process has proven to be a costly and inconsistent barrier to the App Store. The most recent rejection, Ninjawords, a fast dictionary app powered by Wiktionary.org, has sparked growing unrest in the Apple developer community. Ninjawords was initially rejected on the basis that it included several words that Apple found objectionable. Apple eventually approved the app but only after several words had been censored and the app was certified with a 17+ parental control rating.
Apple is usually known for its closed-door policy when it comes to commenting on any speculation surrounding the company, however in an entirely unexpected move, Phil Schiller has publicly responded to the growing disapproval of the development community. In a letter written to Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, Schiller responded directly to the accusations Apple was facing:

“… Apple did not censor the content in this developer’s application and Apple did not reject this developer’s application for including references to common swear words. You accused Apple of both in your story and the fact is that we did neither.”

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Apple Silences Google Voice On the iPhone

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First it was just apps that gave users access to Google Voice features, but now it seems as though even an official app from Google (s goog), who have traditionally been very close with Apple (s aapl), will not (for now) see the light of day. GV Mobile and Voice Central, two apps that allowed Google Voice users to access the service on their iPhone have been pulled from the App Store for duplicating functionality, and an official Google Voice app won’t see release at all for the same reason.

According to a Google spokesperson speaking to TechCrunch, Apple received the app submission from the internet search giant six weeks ago, and “did not approve the Google Voice application.” Apple has bandied about the feature duplication defense before, when they rejected Podcaster prior to releasing their own integrated podcast direct search and download section to the iPhone’s iTunes store. Read More about Apple Silences Google Voice On the iPhone

Apple Approves Podcaster App, Provides Another Ray of Hope

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It was the rejection heard ’round the world when Apple’s (s aapl) reviewers rejected the user-favorite Podcaster app, citing as the cause the fact that it duplicated functionality provided by Apple’s own software. That proved to be the case, but only after Apple released the 2.2 iPhone firmware update, which brought direct podcast downloading support to Apple’s handheld devices. Podcaster was a standalone third party app that allowed the same thing.

Now Apple’s singing a different tune, though it took some change from the Podcaster developers to make that happen. They recently approved the App, now available under the name “RSS Player” (App Store), and with some of the original functionality removed. RSS Player is Podcaster minus their podcast directory, which is apparently the bit Apple took particular offense to. So, while you may not be able to find feeds with the app, RSS Player will let you subscribe to any cast feed you like, and there’s no built-in 10MB download limit while using 3G, as there is with Apple’s app.

While the people behind RSS Player clearly made some concessions, Apple seems to have softened a bit as well. While it may be a product of the same kind of thinking that allowed fart simulation and bikini babe apps into the App Store, this latest reversal of fortune, along with the recent influx of browser apps, represents a relaxation of the rules that could actually provide real benefit to iPhone and iPod touch owners in the long run.

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