With an official announcement on the Twitter Google Group, head of platform and API at Twitter Ryan Sarver has told developers to stop building third-party Twitter clients that “mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience”. Basically: no more unofficial Twitter apps that look just like the official iOS, Mac, Android or BlackBerry apps and don’t add any value to the experience. Instead, focus on different areas of the whole Twitter experience. Uh oh.
The move is quickly causing a reaction among developers on Twitter that didn’t expect such a response from the company. Basically, although in a subtle way, they’re telling everyone to stop wasting time trying to emulate the official Twitter apps because 90% of users are already using Twitter through the officially provided tools. On top of that, though, it’s not only a matter of choice: it seems like Twitter is really going to force developers to stop building apps by “holding you to high standards to ensure you do not violate users’ privacy, that you provide consistency in the user experience, and that you rigorously adhere to all areas of our Terms of Service”. Some key parts from the announcement:
With more people joining Twitter and accessing the service in multiple ways, a consistent user experience is more crucial than ever. As we talked about last April, this was our motivation for buying Tweetie and developing our own official iPhone app. It is the reason why we have developed official apps for the Mac, iPad, Android and Windows Phone, and worked with RIM on their Twitter for Blackberry app. As a result, the top five ways that people access Twitter are official Twitter apps.
Developers have told us that they’d like more guidance from us about the best opportunities to build on Twitter. More specifically, developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no.
As we point out above, we need to move to a less fragmented world, where every user can experience Twitter in a consistent way.
A major new version of Flipboard, the social iPad magazine, was released a few minutes ago, and it’s a rather big update since the “iPad app of the year” was first released last summer. Flipboard 1.2, now available in the App Store, comes with ful Instagram integration to let users browse Instagram pictures as if they were flipping through a full-size photo album. It looks great on the iPad, photos are much bigger than the native iPhone Instagram app, and all of this has been achieved thanks to the Instagram API we covered a few times in the past.
Thanks to a new feature called “social search”, users can also browse for specific words and hashtags inside Flipboard. This was a much requested functionality that adds a lot of value to the app, which now can not only display content from your favorite online sources, but also search for relevant fresh one.
Flipboard 1.2 is faster thanks to a new backend engine, features a refresh button to check for new articles at any time without closing and restarting the app, has a Featured section at the top to browser editors’ picks. Again, another way to find great content you might like and read in Flipboard.
Flipboard 1.2 is available in the App Store here. In case you missed them, check out our previous reviews of the app here and here. Read more
Just like the launch of Instagram itself, the Instagram API has enjoyed some substantial success with a number of cool web apps that have utilized it. But none of those really matter much at all once you see Instaprint, its not a webapp but an actual printer that can print any Instagram photo onto Polaroid-esque paper for those tagged at a certain location or with a specific hashtag.
Right now Instaprint has set up a demo box at SXSW and plans to eventually offer to rent the printers out, which sounds great for big events or promotional campaigns that want to utilise social media in a new and unique way. You can try it out right now by tagging any Instagram photo with the hashtag #Instaprint and see it being printed live in the Ustream video after the break (although as of writing it wasn’t live).
A few days after an update that brought proper Google Reader sync and faster loading times, the developers of Pulse News Reader for iPad issued a small update on their online backend (it means you don’t need to check for updates in iTunes) to bring extensive support for a series of APIs. What Alphonso Labs is doing is very simple: they’re slowly moving beyond RSS. And with this move, they have embraced APIs as the new way to fetch content from various services like Reddit, Vimeo, Youtube and Digg.
RSS, as many have noted, sounds very geeky - something we find impossible to explain to our mothers. RSS provides the plumbing to visualize a variety of news sources, but it is never mentioned in the app. We added a layer of usability that really resonated with our mainstream users.
For a lot of our users, Pulse has now become their go-to “browser” for consuming content. And this content does not have to be restricted to RSS feeds. Today, we’re adding SIX brand new sources to Pulse.
Instagram has been a phenomenal success story gaining a user base of 2 million people in just four months that are now uploading 300,000 photos a day and now the developers are inviting developers to sign up for access to an Instagram API. In a blog post, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said that the guiding principle for Instagram was to “create and maintain an open ecosystem that changes the way we see our world,” opening up Instagram to other developers is their next step to fulfilling that principle.
The opening up of a developers API seems to indicate a shift by Instagram from one of giving users an app to edit photos and share, to one dominated by creating a social image sharing service. This could allow other apps such as Hipstamatic to hook into Instagram and let users share their Hipstamatic photo’s on through Instagram. The blog post doesn’t quite make it clear if this is their intention but it most definitely seems like the logical iteration.
XBMC, a popular media center originally made for the first Xbox has become fairly widespread has been available for a variety of platforms, today that platform base extended to include the new Apple TV, iPhone and iPad.
The client on these new platforms is not stripped down to simply just view streams but is fully fledged with all the features you would come to expect it to have on a Windows PC. Because of this it is being distributed for the iOS devices through a Cydia repository and for the Apple TV through an apt-get install.
Scott Davilla one of the XBMC developers talked to TUAW and he revealed that development for the Apple TV 2 started only on November 1st last year and the iOS versions a few weeks later. He notes that the built in web server is currently disabled and the skin isn’t optimized but says improvements will be made including the possibility of implementing AirPlay into all the Apple related releases.
Perhaps one of the most interesting developments that occurred whilst XBMC was ported was the discovery of an API called VideoToolBox that allows hardware video decoding, encoding and scaling of the video size to match the final display size. So powerful is this API that Davilla and others that developed XBMC for iPad are able to stream full 1080p video with no transcoding to the iPad and it plays nearly perfectly, only dropping a few frames. Davilla’s confident however that the A4 processor can handle 1080p and will be working to ensure fully smooth playback.
TUAW put together some video’s demonstrating it running on all three of the new platforms, check it out here.
[Via XBMC, TUAW]
Are you one of those who recently uninstalled Flash from your computer? I did, mainly because I use Chrome – which comes with its own instance of Flash. If you’ve really uninstalled Flash though, you might want to take a look at Adobe’s latest beta release of the popular plugin.
Version 10.2 beta comes with initial support for Stage Video, a new API Adobe demoed a few weeks ago that is aimed at reducing processor usage by relying on the GPU instead. While hardware acceleration had been deployed in the previous versions of Flash, Stage Video offloads all video tasks to the GPU reducing the CPU load by up to 85%.
Flash 10.2 beta also improves text rendering and support for dual monitors. It’s available for download here, press release embedded below. There are a lot of fixes in this new release as well, so make sure to hit the Adobe source link for a full rundown of what’s new. [TUAW via Adobe] Read more
When iOS 4 landed on the iPhone and iPod touch, a lot of people expected there to be this explosion of multitasking applications that would enable us to do things like automatically copy information to our Pastebot clipboard. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. Private APIs are still a sorry subject for developers in Apple’s community, so the folks at Tapbots had to get creative. “How do we avoid touching Apple’s Private APIs?” It’s all done through the sound of music. Or the lack thereof.