Some iOS users have great app ideas, but maybe they're just not very good at programming. Apple could be seeking to broaden app development opportunities to people without typical developer skills if a patent revealed by AppleInsider means anything.
Apple has already released the iBooks Author software package to help streamline the process of publishing ebooks. Although there are already services that help build iOS apps, nothing would compare to a software package from Apple dedicated to the process. Drawings from the patent application show a variety of graphic interfaces that could be used to make apps.
The iOS 5.1 firmware update came one step closer to public release as Apple has launched the third beta version to developers. Nearly a month after the iOS 5.1 beta 2 release, this latest version officially contains bug fixes and improvements. As is usually the case, as developers install and examine the new release more changes will be discovered.
Already it has been reported that the beta 3 version brings back a toggle under settings to switch 3G cellular data on or off. The toggle disappeared in an earlier release, despite the fact that having this option can help save battery life by reverting to EDGE data. iOS 5.1 beta 3 can be updated over-the-air (OTA) or downloaded directly from the Apple Developer Center.
Some registered Apple developers are finding email warnings from Apple in their inboxes as the company cracks down on unauthorized distribution of iOS 5 beta. Reports from users who have paid developers to activate their UDID (unique device identifiers) indicate that Apple could even be deactivating devices running beta versions of the firmware and suspending developer accounts.
The timing of the reports coincide with Apple's routine deactivation of iOS 5 beta 1 and 2, which could explain some of the deactivations. Version 5 was recently seeded to developers and Apple is expected to release a final iOS 5 firmware to consumers this fall. As usually happens, some developers violate their agreement with Apple and sell device slots to users who can't wait to get their hands on the latest iPhone operating system.
Apple has relaxed restrictions on third-party software used to develop iPhone applications. Flash won't be coming to an iOS device anytime soon, however Adobe Flash Professional CS5 users can now submit apps created with the tool. Adobe has responded to Apple's change in policy by renewing investment in Packager, which converts Flash to iPhone apps.
As most everyone knows by now, Apple's official stance of not allowing third party software to be developed for the iPhone hasn't done much to stop it. At the time of writing this article, there are already third party IM clients, an iPhone OS X terminal, spanking new GPS software, and much much more. Though third party software packages have been streaming in by the dozens, initially there was little structure to development.
Things are changing. As developers collaborate and as more and more applications are introduced and delivered to users through methods which keep getting simpler and simpler, an informal set of standards is blossoming.
In an attempt to provide structure where Apple has not, Lucas Newman - developer of the first native iPhone game, Lights Off - has just released an Unofficial iPhone SDK. The SDK and guide provide