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March 18, 2009

When Apple Calls…3.0 Times

by shiftyjelly

For those of you keeping up with the latest news on Pocket Weather AU you would know that we released v1.3.4 to Apple on the 5th of March, which according to my maths is about two weeks ago. This is a long time to wait for a minor update, and we had no information as to what was going down in Apple Town. I assumed that they were all busy with firmware 3.0 (more on that later), but I assumed wrong. I got a call from Apple today, which got me all excited…did they finally want to give us some promo lovin’? No, actually they objected to some text on our iTunes description page, specifically the part that said:

“The built in weather app on your phone gets it’s data from yahoo.com, and is wildly inaccurate”.

Would you be kind enough to remove that they asked? Sure we said, we’d do anything for the people who hand us a cheque every month, and can cut off our access at any time and leave us in review limbo. The person I spoke to was pleasant enough, so I quizzed him a bit about the review process. In true Apple style he basically said that he didn’t know that much about it, and even if he did he wouldn’t be allowed to say. Fair enough I said, I guess that claim was a bit inflammatory (even though it’s an accurate statement).

So what of firmware 3.0? Well I’ve installed it on my iPhone 3G and for the most part it’s a nice incremental improvement. I can only talk about the things that Apple has publicly showed off this morning, but I’m happy to report that except for the absence of MMS (I think Optus would have to push a carrier setting for that to turn on) everything else works as advertised. There are some cool new developers features which we’re excited about, but the only one relevant would be the push notification. We could do some cool things like push the current temperature to your application as a badge, or even harass you with what the weather is doing a certain time each morning.

Another cool feature is the incremental payment system they showed off. This would also be very cool for book publishers, one app would let you buy many books (instead of one book per app). As a band you could also provide an app that showcased your music and charge per song for it. The problem is where do you draw the line. There are 50,000 registered developers for the iPhone, and currently 25,000 apps. You can guarantee that with those kind of numbers there will be some people who just abuse the system. Imagine if you will an app that charges you for every new level, or object in the game. Would you really want to spend $50 decking out your Sims house? More specifically to Pocket Weather, how would you feel about us charging $1 a year for access to our server? We are after all paying hosting costs (that keep going up as we add more users each day) and if the downloads dry up we’d be forced to pay for those out of our own pocket. Would that be seen as a reasonable request, or an attempt to gauge you, our adoring fans? We don’t have any plans to do that at the moment (so relax) but I would be interested in hearing any comments you may have about it?

Read more from Apple, Pocket Weather

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