When Co-Founders Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris set out to change the world of digital publishing, not many would have guessed that Al Gore would be at the forefront of their first title until Our Choice was demoed as a TED Talk, where the workings and interactions of the first title built using the new platform were revealed. Today, Our Choice is available at an introductory $4.99 on the App Store for the iPhone and the iPad, delivering rich interactive content via a completely custom app built on a native backbone. The Push Pop Press platform is seeking to revolutionize how content is published and made interactive, and my initial impressions with Our Choice can validate that cause. What’s at stake isn’t just the future of the new digital platform, but a complete rethinking of the traditional digital magazine or newspaper. The App Store is flooded with projects traditionally based on Adobe technologies, and while it was a good first attempt, the content we view needs to be intuitive, interactive, but most importantly fluid and un-static. Push Pop Press is the ideal platform to revolutionize how we think of traditional media, and Our Choice is the launch title proving that this new vision for content is a clear winner.
#MacStoriesDeals – Wednesday
Chatology Review: Flexibits Reinvents Messages.app Search
The iOS 7 Summer
iOS 7: Thoughts and Questions
Apple Releases New MacBook Airs, Previews New Mac Pro Design
If you’re familiar with the PC and Mac gaming scene, then you have most definitely heard of Steam: a game distribution platform by Valve that collects thousands of games in a single marketplace that’s easy to use and aggregates users worldwide enabling them to communicate through the platform. Steam, first released on Windows PCs, came out on OS X last year after much anticipation, quickly becoming many users’ favorite way of discovering and downloading games for the Mac.
Member of Steam’s forums Political Gamer recently visited the Valve headquarters and reported an interesting tidbit from his visit and talk with Valve co-founder Gabe Newell: Valve is apparently “looking into” iOS and Android as possible platforms for Steam’s expansion in the future:
After waiting in the lobby for a few minutes it turned out Gabe was in the office and wanted to say hi. To my great delight he was playing DOTA 2 when we walked in and from what I can see the game already looks very promising. After a little “sneak peek” we sat down to talk about Steam and other goings on in Valve. During this chat he confirmed that Steam will get a video recorder very soon, also he said they were looking into the iOS/Android platform for possible expansions with Steam. He also siad that the Source film maker is in the pipeline for a public release. After the chat was over he happily signed my copy of the Orange box and sent me on my way to Robin Walker.
The report doesn’t provide any additional details on Valve’s plans for a mobile Steam, and we only speculate that the development studio might be considering an iPhone or iPad client to check on your online Steam account and friends. Certainly Apple would never approve an iOS Steam app that lets you download and play games out of the App Store, whilst on Android Valve could easily deploy and alternative store like Amazon did (and got sued for the name choice). On iOS, Steam as we know it would be a difficult goal to accomplish: Apple doesn’t allow the installation of apps from alternative sources (the so-called “side-loading”) and the possible implementation of in-app purchases wouldn’t fit Steam’s growing catalogue of games.
Apple has turned its iOS and Mac App Stores into the perfect place for users to discover and buy games, and we don’t expect Steve Jobs to change his mind anytime soon about allowing other developers to “break the ecosystem” with unofficial app stores. So perhaps Steam for iOS will be a simple app to manage your online account? Or a “brand” for App Store developers to publish their games? We don’t know yet, but it’s interesting that Valve is at least looking at the possibilities offered by iOS. [via]
It looks like mobile gaming OpenFeint has no intention on leaving all the fun to Apple’s Game Center. In fact, OpenFeint has become more than a simple alternative to the Game Center with cross-platform integration (OpenFeint works on Android devices, too) and in-app purchasable content that’s not tied to App Store approval. The service sports 65 million users and it’s about to expand a lot more with the upcoming launch of OpenFeint Connect.
Connect will allow iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, OS X and Windows users to communicate through the OpenFeint platform, share leaderboards and achievements as if everyone was playing the same game on the same device or computer. In fact, Connect could also work with Facebook games and a plethora of other online gaming services. Unfortunately though, simultaneous cross-platform play won’t be possible (guess it’s a little tricky to implement real-time multiplayer on iOS vs. Android).
Months after the introduction of Apple’s iAd advertising platform, it looks like advertisers aren’t happy about the service at all. According to a report posted by TechCrunch, many developers have noticed a massive slowdown in iAd’s fill rates recently, especially after the New Year:
The fill rate—what percentage of the ad inventory is actually filled with an ad—for two separate developers plummeted from 18 percent to 6 percent. And in a few instances for some newer apps, none of the ad slots were getting filled, compared to nearly complete fill rates from other mobile ad networks.
For a couple of years now, Apple has been boasting about how many millions of iTunes IDs are linked to credit cards. Recent rumblings suggest that the company is seeking to expand the footprint of its financial services, too. It’s clear that Apple is tired of seeing companies make money on content served to iOS devices without using its system or cutting it in for a piece of the action. The current 30-percent cut of all content purchases would seem to be an impediment to getting partners to embrace Apple’s system; on the other hand, Apple’s the gatekeeper to its platform and if other companies don’t want to play ball with Apple, they’ll be on the outside looking in.
That’s exactly the point. You have to look at this whole Sony / Apple / everyone else story in two separate ways: the business perspective and consumers’ expectations. Apple does business, and it wants publishers selling content on its iOS platform to pay the fee all developers pay. The fee is 30 percent. Whether or not Apple will ease this fee and allow for lower revenue cut on ebook content is unclear, but it’s a possibility. Maybe tomorrow’s event won’t just be about The Daily, who knows. (more…)
Here’s a 48-minute video for your typical Sunday morning: at Macworld Expo 2011, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, Macworld’s Jason Snell and Dan Moren and Tidbits’ Adam Engst talk about the future of the Mac, the Mac App Store as the biggest innovation happening to the platform, the iOS influences on OS X and much more.
One argument that really made me think after watching the video is the idea of two kinds of Macs in the future: a “simplified Mac” with a closed system similar to iOS, and a Mac for advanced users. I don’t know how I would react to a closed, straightforward and really simple Mac personally, but I do know that I would appreciate a new system for managing and deleting apps. Perhaps Launchpad will bring some fresh air on Lion. But then again, should Apple just make the Mac as simple as possible and let “power users” enable the features they want (like, say, the Finder) in the machine’s preferences? And how does the Mac App Store fit in all this? Great discussion in the video above.
The iPad As A Company, Apple’s Products As A Platform
From a piece about Apple’s platform strategy on The New York Times:
Hit products like the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad are fueling Apple’s logic-defying growth. The latest entry — the iPad, introduced in April — is on track to deliver $15 billion to $20 billion in revenue in its first full year of sales, estimates A. M. Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.
At that size, if the iPad were a stand-alone company, it would rank within the top third of the Fortune 500.
Think about it: for any company on the planet, having a product like the iPad in its line-up would be the greatest success. Yet the iPad is one of the products in Apple’s chain, and like others is deeply integrated with software, MobileMe, the App Store. This platform strategy creates the following win-win situation:
The more people buy iPhones and iPads, the more software developers and media companies want to write applications for them, as various as games and digital magazines. And consumers are more likely to buy iPhones and iPads when more entertainment and information applications are available on them.
So the value of Apple’s products doesn’t lie in the products themselves, but in the platform that supports them all. This extends to internet services, App Stores, media management, support, accessories.
Epic Games: “Anything In The Apple World Is Perfect”
Q: What are the challenges in developing for Android? The demo there seems to be running great.
A: It runs really well and really fast. One of the problems with the Android marketplace is hardware fragmentation, that’s a really big issue. The other thing is marketplace fragmentation, there are so many different appstores out there. The Android marketplace is a little more difficult [to develop for] because there is less control. I think the Android marketplace is robust … I find it very easy to buy things on it, it’s just that Apple has very tight control. So anything in the Apple world is perfect. It’s just perfect. We like that, we like that a lot. We know that it’s just gonna work. Sometimes that’s not always the case in the Android marketplace.
Infinity Blade did great in the first weeks of App Store and slowly dropped off since then. A major update with new maps, weapons and features is expected soon, and that should bring the app back into the charts. We can’t wait to see more Unreal Engine games find their way to iOS. Read the whole interview here.