As reported earlier this week Apple has come under scrutiny for its licensing policies with those who develop apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. U.S. antitrust enforcers from the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are discussing which agencies would take the lead in an inquiry.
This goes beyond the war of words and technology with Google or Adobe, and now Apple has come into the spotlight as new language in the policies notes that app makers will be forbidden to gather or transmit analytical data, which means that ad networks would be unable to target ads. To some this is seen as giving an unfair advantage to Apple’s own iAd mobile-advertising service.
So will this all end up in court? Time will certainly tell, but as I noted earlier in the week it is a strange turn of events, given that Apple had long been seen as the underdog. The company that once offered the slogan, “Think Different,” maybe the one that is criticized for making everyone think too much alike.
Twitter Makes it Official for Android
There have been numerous third-party apps that have allowed Android handset users to “Tweet,” but this week Twitter made it official, and launched its own mobile application for Google’s operating system. The new app allows users to make seamless updates to their Twitter accounts, and read Tweet streams from other accounts.
This is also an interesting turn of events, as Twitter typically allowed various third-party makers to provide the apps. The company even provided these makers with the code to provide a variety of options and features, but with so many choices came user confusion. Thus the Twitter folks have opted to create the official Twitter app, and its arrival on Android follows a launch earlier this year on the iPhone.
The Twitter app for Android is available via a free download from the Android Market for handsets utilizing version 2.1 or later software.
Driven to Apps
Using a mobile phone while driving is never a good idea, and in many states it is actually illegal. But that isn’t stopping the development of apps meant to be used while behind the wheel. The difference of course is that these apps are being developed with drivers in mind. This week Read Write Web offered some insight on how cloud computing and apps are being integrated into the automobile, with Ford Motor Company leading the way.
As reported Ford isn’t alone in this venture either, and the auto maker is working with Microsoft and Intel, and has teamed up with the University of Michigan, where professors along with Ford’s engineers taught a 12-week course on “Cloud Computing in the Commute.” The apps in development are of course travel-centric market, including those that track traffic jams, offer options for ride-sharing and notably track fuel usage.
Of course safety is still a concern and the last thing people need are greater distractions. So while it seems like a helpful solution, one has to ask whether it will put drivers at risk. Using an app at 70 miles per hour is akin to having your head in the clouds.