One thing that was overlooked — and perhaps strategically underplayed — during its fourth quarter earnings call is that AT&T is now the nation’s largest mobile carrier boasting 95.5 million subscribers to Verizon’s 94.1 million.
AT&T’s climb to reclaim the top spot from rival Verizon after Big Red’s acquisition of Alltel Wireless 2 years ago has been an arduous one fueled in large part by Ma Bell’s lock on Apple’s iPhone. However, that 1.4 million subscriber lead may be short-lived with iPhone exclusivity set to end within a fortnight as Verizon prepares to offer its customers a CDMA variant of the iPhone 4 beginning February 10.
Regardless of the outcome, AT&T’s fourth quarter earnings are impressive with a record 2.8 million new adds reflecting ‘rapid adoption of smartphones’, 4.1 million iPhone activations and 442,000 tablet subscribers, all contributing to $31.4 billion in total revenue (up 2.1%) and $1.1 billion in net income (down 60%).
Although growth is likely to stall this coming quarter with Apple’s darling headed to Big Red, it remains to be seen exactly how much the loss of iPhone exclusivity affects AT&T in the long run. AT&T has repeatedly emphasized it is more than just a one-trick pony touting a diverse portfolio of integrated devices and hyping its accelerated deployment of ‘4G’ mobile broadband technologies such as HSPA+ and LTE. In any case, increased efforts to upgrade and improve the existing network to be on par with its device offerings would go a long way to silence critics and keep the momentum in AT&T’s favor.
It was late this summer that we learned that Google Goggles was coming to the iPhone. With the latest version of Google Mobile App hitting the App Store today, Goggles functionality is finally available for iOS.
Google Mobile App already enabled users to search via voice, current location, or traditional text. Now, with Google Goggles support, the app also allows users to search the web using pictures. Simply tap the camera button in the app and take a snapshot. Google will then do its best to match your picture to relevant search criteria.
It’s been a long, thorny road for Google Voice apps in the App Store. When Google initially launched the service, an iPhone app was on many a user’s wishlist. It wasn’t long before developers answered the call, most notably Sean Kovacs with his GV Mobile app. Shortly thereafter, however, Apple inexplicably pulled all Google Voice apps with no notice. Google itself had submitted an official one that has infamously been ‘in review’ for over a year now.
Even after an FCC inquiry into the absence of Google Voice on the iPhone, Apple provided little useful information stating it was still ‘pondering’ the matter. Speculation as to why Google Voice was banned from the iPhone included Apple’s anti-competitive stance towards Google, finger pointing at AT&T, and the App Store guideline that states that submitted apps shall not duplicate existing functionality.
As of this evening, GV Mobile + has been accepted as well and will also retail for $2.99 when it hits Apple’s servers.
One more thing from Sean Kovacs: “I’ll be blowing away some promo codes via Twitter (@seankovacs) once I get them AND if #gvmobile trends on Twitter, I’ll set that bad boy to free for the night.” Thanks, Sean!
Apparently, IE9 wasn’t the only notable beta release announced yesterday. With iOS 4.1 going public only last week, Apple has taken the initiative to seed developers with the fruits of its next labor. Announced at Apple’s media event on September 1, iOS 4.2 will be available for all iDevices come November save for the original iPhone and iPod Touch.
iPad owners, however, have a special reason to rejoice over iOS 4.2’s imminent release as it will finally bring the iPad on par with its brethren. That’s right, the iPad will finally get multitasking, folders, a unified inbox, threaded messaging and Game Center, the first four of which have been available for iPhones and iPods Touch since iOS 4.0 was released back in June.
Also coming in iOS 4.2 will be two new wireless services dubbed AirPrint and AirPlay. As their names suggest, AirPrint will enable iOS devices to directly print mail, photos, web pages and more over a wireless network, while AirPlay will allow them to wirelessly stream and share multimedia with other AirPlay supported devices, including but not limited to Apple TV and AirPort Express. Subtler enhancements that have been gleaned in iOS 4.2 include the ability to search within a web page in Safari and the option to use Helvetica in lieu of Marker Felt in the Notes app.
Developers can get in on the action now by clicking the source link below. For the rest of us, though, November can’t come soon enough.
In a surprising turn of events, Apple announced today in a press release that they are now allowing developers the freedom to use third-party tools to create iOS apps ‘as long as the resulting apps do not download any code.’ Apple claims that this will give developers ‘the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.’
Previously, Apple’s developer agreement had explicitly stated that ‘only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).’ The new terms allow developers the liberty to use third-party tools like Appcelerator and Adobe Flash CS5, interpreters like Lua, and ported engines like Unreal — used to create the stunning Epic Citadel demo pictured above — to further innovate in app space.
In the same press release, Apple revealed that it was publishing its App Store review guidelines in an effort to bring as much transparency to the App Store review process for developers as possible — a step that should be welcomed by any developer who has had an app rejected or relegated to limbo with little reason as to why. The guidelines — described as a ‘living document’ presumably open to evolutionary change — are written in a surprisingly candid, even informal tone. ‘We don’t need any more Fart apps’ the introduction proclaims. Apple is right on the mark there, and hopefully, its actions today will encourage and enable developers to produce less iCrap and more Epic Citadel.
For a copy of the press release and App Store review guidelines, hop on after the break. Continuing coverage and analysis is also provided in the source links at the end of the article.