Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jobs Didn't Like the Name Siri

A recent report released by Network World revealed that Apple’s founder Steve Jobs was not particularly fond of calling the iPhone 4S voice assistant app by the name of Siri.

Dag Kittlaus, one of the co-founders of Siri, was a keynote speaker at Technori Pitch, a monthly event hosted in Chicago. Kittlaus discussed entrepreneurship, start-up culture and the acceleration of technology advancement. He also talked about the history of Siri and Siri’s name.

Originally, Kittlaus had run Siri as an app until it was acquired by Apple. He said that Jobs saw plenty of promise in the Siri technology; however, he was not thrilled about the voice assistant’s name. During his presentation, Kittlaus offered some explanation as to why the technology was named Siri.

"Siri means in Norwegian 'beautiful woman who leads you to victory,'" he said. "I worked with a lady named Siri in Norway and wanted to name my daughter Siri and the domain was available. And also consumer companies need to focus on the fact that the name is easy to spell, is easy to say."

Kittlaus’s firt child was not a girl; therefore, he decided to name the voice assistant Siri instead. Although Jobs thought that they should choose a better name, somehow Siri stuck. This was not the only time that Jobs was skeptical of the names of new technology. Network World pointed out that he was also unsure about the names iMac and iPod; however, we all know how that worked out.

Siri has become quite popular, despite the fact that she might not be the most accurate voice assistant. She was mentioned in a new Flaming Lips song and appeared on an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Obviously, no one else has had a hangup about her name.

Sources: Network World - Steve Jobs wasn't a fan of the Siri name and PCMag - Report: Steve Jobs Didn't Like the Name 'Siri'

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Army Debuts New Army App Marketplace

Army App MarketplaceThere have been rumors of a specific Army app store created specifically for the United States military floating around for a while now, and those rumors may have just become real. The United States Army has officially launched the very first prototype for the Army Software Marketplace, a web-based app store that has also recently been approved for Army-wide use.

The newly launched app store only has 12 apps so far, each one designed as a mobile training application for soldiers, allowing them to use the apps while on personal phones or tablets. The apps themselves were designed by Army training schools in the Connecting Soldiers to Digital Apps (CSDA) initiative. Each app, all of which have been approved for Army-wide use, can be acquired online at, with the CSDA community dedicated to providing more apps in the future.

According to Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, Chief Information Officer/G-6, "The Apps Marketplace is at the center of Army efforts to radically reduce the time to deliver applications across the force. This prototype is a first step in establishing and exercising new submissions and approval processes that will eventually enable Army members, organizations and third party developers to release applications for Army-wide distribution."

This new app marketplace prototype brings key Army stakeholders together, allowing them to focus on implementing industry-proven agile software-development practices, like increasing collaboration early on between developers and end-users as well as delivering software to users in short release cycles.

The marketplace currently supports publicly-facing apps on personal iOS devices, which means you can only have access to these applications if you are using an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad from Apple. The marketplace is, however, currently working on support for Android devices as well, allowing you to have access no matter what OS you're using. Some of the currently available apps include The Soldiers Blue Book (initial entry training guide), Army Values, Army Social Media Handbook and Developing a Performance Work Statement.

"Training aids, planning tools and other apps in the Marketplace give soldiers easy access to information we need to keep current," said Sgt. 1st Class Nanette Williams, a member of the Army Executive Communications Team at the Pentagon. Army CSDA Director Brig. Gen. Wayne Grigsby Jr. also stated that the prototypes "will allow CSDA to start distributing training and leader development content to the soldier at the point of learning."

Source: U.S. Army - Army launches apps marketplace prototype
Engadget - US Army debuts app marketplace prototype: iOS first, Android coming soon

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Best Buy Sells Nearly As Many iPhones As Apple

In April 2008 Apple decided to partner with Best Buy to sell the iPhone, and according to data released by the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, it seems as though Apple made a very smart decision. The data revealed that Best Buy sells nearly as many iPhones as Apple does itself.

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners surveyed iPhone buyers from December 2011 to February 2012. The firm asked consumers where they had purchased their iPhone, and the results showed that 15 percent of consumers bought their iPhones directly from Apple and 13 percent bought theirs from Best Buy. There is only a two percent difference between the sales at Apple and the sales at Best Buy.

The other 69 percent of sales belong to mobile carriers AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. AT&T sold 32 percent, Verizon sold 30 percent and Sprint only sold 7 percent. However, according to the research, Apple and Best Buy both sold more new models than any of the mobile carriers.

"Apple and Best Buy sold more high-end phones, with the iPhone 4S accounting for 87 percent and 82 percent of total iPhone sales, respectively, for those two outlets," Consumer Intelligence Research Partners wrote in its report. "In contrast, carriers sold relatively more lower-end phones, with iPhone 4S accounting for 57 percent to 66 percent of total iPhone sales at AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint."

“Apple Stores and the Apple Website are tremendously productive, but they are limited by their relatively small retail footprint,” said CIRP analyst Josh Lowitz. “There are four times as many Best Buy stores, and probably 20 times as many AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint stores, so aggressive distribution through all these channels is critical to Apple’s U.S. strategy.”

The survey also looked at more than just where consumers were buying their iPhones. The research showed that people prefer to buy their iPhone in the store instead of online. Seventy-six percent of iPhone sales were from retail stores, leaving only 24 percent to online sales. Those numbers did spike a bit when the iPhone 4S was first released however. Retails stores grabbed 67 percent, while online had 33 percent.

Sources: TechnoBuffalo - Best Buy Sells Almost As Many iPhones as Apple Does and PCMag - Best Buy Sells Nearly As Many iPhones as Apple

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Android App Size Limit Increased to 4GB

Ever since it first hit the scene, Android has limited its applications to a maximum size of 50MB. Overall this has worked pretty well, with smaller apps obviously having an easier time with the limitations. However, every megabyte you add that gets closer to 50 makes it that much harder for users to download the app and start using it. Other apps, specifically the ones that use high-end 3D graphics, use more local features. With regard to this, Android has decided to increase the Android app size limit from 50MB to 4GB.

Before you go planning the next mega-app, the size of the APK file will still be limited to 50MB to make sure you have secure on-device storage, though you now have the ability to attach expansion files to your APK. The Android Developers Blog listed some features of the new size increase, which includes:

  • Each app can have two expansion files, each one up to 2GB, in whatever format you choose.

  • Android Market will host the files to save you the hassle and cost of file serving.

  • Users will see the total size of your app and all of the downloads before they install/purchase.

A lot of newer mobile devices expansion files will be downloaded automatically as soon as you download the app from the marketplace. The refund period won't start until the expansion files are downloaded. Older devices have your app download the expansion files the first time it runs through a downloader library, which can be found on the blog.

The Android Developers Blog also says that even though you have the option of using the two expansion files however you want, they recommend that you use one as the initial download and only update rarely, if at all. They say you should use the second one as a smaller file to act as a "patch carrier" that will get revised with each major release of the app.

This is definitely going to have some big implications on the app development world and it will be interesting to see how it affects both app developers and users alike. What do you think? If you're an app developer, is this something that you are very interested in or excited about?

Source: Android Developers Blog - Android Apps Break the 50MB Barrier
Engadget - Android Market raises maximum app size to 4GB, APK files still limited to 50MB

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Monday, March 5, 2012

$10,000 iTunes Gift Card Goes to a Lucky Apple Customer

A lucky Apple user in Qingdao, China just received a $10,000 prize for downloading the 25 billionth Apple app from the App Store. In eastern China Chunli Fu unsuspectingly downloaded a free version of the Disney puzzle game, “Where’s My Water?” On Monday, March 5 Apple announced that Fu had won the $10,000 iTunes gift card.

"We'd like to thank our customers and developers for helping us achieve this historic milestone of 25 billion apps downloaded," said Eddy Cue, the senior vice president of Internet Software and Services at Apple, in a statement. "When we launched the App Store less than four years ago, we never imagined that mobile apps would become the phenomenon they have, or that developers would create such an incredible selection of apps for iOS users."

Over the weekend Apple announced that the 25 billionth app download milestone had been reached; however, it did not reveal who the winner was.

Instead, the App Store had an announcement posted on its website, “A billion thanks. 25 times over."

In January 2011 Apple gave a $10,000 iTunes gift card to Gail Davis, the 10 billionth customer at the Apple App Store, who was living in Orpington, Kent, U.K. Davis won the gift card downloading Paper Glider, a paper airplane flying game.

"Whilst app downloads of Paper Glider might not have experienced a huge shift after Apple's announcement, [Neon Play Managing Director Oli Christie] could not have imagined the response from the media and from potential clients," wrote The Next Web's Matt Brian. "Within two days of the announcement, Neon Play received numerous inquiries from digital marketing agencies and has already undertaken at least three projects as a result."

Apple launched the App Store in 2007. According to Apple, the app store now offers more than 550,000 apps for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. It also features more than 170,000 iPad apps as well.

Sources: Apple - Apple’s App Store Downloads Top 25 Billion and PCMag - Apple's 25 Billionth App Downloaded in China

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