Jan 28, 2009

Business - Apple Approves Stripped-Down App, Updates iPhone

Patricia Resende

Apple has approved a stripped-down version of Podcaster, an App Store application that was denied approval last year, and has released an update for the iPhone and iPhone 3G. The original Podcaster competed with Apple's iTunes.

Podcaster allowed users to stream video and audio podcasts to an iPhone or iPod touch without having to sync with iTunes. Now a version of Podcaster called RssPlayer has been approved.

Alex Sokirynsky, creator of Podcaster and RssPlayer, said that after Podcaster was not approved by Apple, an inferior application developed by someone else was accepted. "I tried to use it, but it was not that good, [and] it made me want to remake the app into RssPlayer," Sokirynsky said. "Maybe Apple wanted to release its own implementation before it accepted anyone else's."

Better the Second Time

RssPlayer is designed to play audio files attached to RSS feeds. To use the app, a user enters the feed URL. The app will show the 10 most current items, according to Sokirynsky, then automatically download the first item. "It is a simple and elegant way to listen to a netcast," he said.

"Several features are missing," Sokirynsky said. "The podcast directory is gone. The look of the screen that plays the netcast is different -- before it looked very similar to Apple's own app ... the underlying code has been changed to be more stable, and I also follow Apple's human-interface guidelines much closer."

RssPlayer has more features than Podcaster. For example, the app remembers the play position of a streamed or downloaded audiocast and will return there after the application has been closed.

Sokirynsky said he plans to keep improving the application and adding features in future releases.

So far the developer has had a great response from users. "I am very happy that Apple has approved my app," Sokirynsky said. "Reports from Apple look very promising. Everyone has been very helpful, and I am positive that this app will be one that has a long life on everyone's device."

New Firmware

Apple on Tuesday released version 2.2.1 of the iPhone software, a minor firmware update that fixes bugs in the Safari Web browser and fixes issues with images saved from Mail, which were not displaying correctly in Camera Roll.

iPhone owners can access the update by connecting to a computer. Then click on Check for Updates in iTunes.

No comments: