Apple App Store Now Boasts of 425,000 Apps and Over 15 Billion Downloads

Apple App StoreApple officially announced some statistics about the App Store today. In a press release, it revealed that over 15 billion apps and games have been downloaded from the App Store. The App Store now houses over 425,000 apps, the largest collection of apps in the world, on any platform.

Even the iPad has been a huge hit with developers, with over 100,000 native iPad apps now available. Other tablet platforms like Android, Blackberry QNX and webOS only have a couple hundred apps each.

“In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen,said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. Thank you to all of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for surpassing 15 billion downloads.”

Apple also announced that it had paid out over $2.5 billion to its developers to date. Since it has a 30% cut, this would mean that apps worth about $3.6 billion have been sold to date.

The App Store has been instrumental in making millionaires out of many developers. Many funds like the iFund have been launched by leading VC firms, in order to capitalize on the popularity of iOS apps.

The App Store has revolutionized the way in which applications are delivered. Almost every major smartphone and tablet platform now comes with an application store. Even the Mac OS now has an App Store, and Windows 8 is rumored to launch with one as well.

Apple to Launch Sprint iPhone by the End of 2011?

An analyst from Citadel Securities, Shing Yin, has sparked off rumors that Apple may be planning to launch an iPhone on Sprint-Nextel by the end of 2011.

With the iPhone already available on AT&T (which is in the process of buying T-Mobile) and Verizon, Sprint is the only major national carrier on which the iPhone isn’t present.

Offering an iPhone on Sprint could be a great way for Apple to stem the growth of Android and gain some additional market share. Since Sprint offers much cheaper service plans, as well as an unlimited data plan (unlike AT&T, or Verizon which recently announced that it would be offering only usage based data plans), it may become the carrier of choice for many iPhone users.

Sprint could offer an attractive proposition for more price-conscious users (a demographic that we think is increasingly important to Apple following the rise of Android) could be a relatively stronger seller than the Verizon iPhone. We believe Sprint could capture more than its fair share of iPhone sales, especially if it gets the new model at the same time as AT&T and Verizon.states Yin.

The next version of the iPhone – the iPhone 5 / 4S will probably launch on all three carriers – AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. With all the patent issues with Microsoft and Oracle, and now this, Android’s prospects aren’t looking so good.

Android: Microsoft’s New Cash Cow

The Rise of Android

Android is, without doubt, one of Google’s greatest successes to date. Millions of Android devices have been sold until now, with over 500k Android devices activations happening daily. It is the number one smartphone OS in the world and it has the second largest application repository after the iPhone App Store; with over 300,000 apps and games in the Android Market. Android is also a large profit driver for Google now. Google is expected to make close to $1.3 billion dollars from mobile advertising revenue on Android devices in 2012.

Patent Wars!

In the most recent development relating to the patent wars between the major tech companies, Microsoft has asked Samsung to pay it $15 for every Android device it sells, as part of a patent licensing arrangement. Microsoft has been going after many Android device manufacturers and has been successful in getting royalty payments from companies like HTC, Onkyo, Wistron etc.

With Samsung being the number one Android phone manufacturer, that may amount to a huge figure. Samsung sold more than 3 million Galaxy S 2 units in the first 2 months itself, which means a $45 million payoff for Microsoft from one handset itself.

A Win for Microsoft

If Microsoft is able to coerce every Android manufacturer into such deals, assuming an average royalty of $10, it may make billions from its greatest nemesis in the mobile arena – Android. Such a scenario would be a win-win for Microsoft, as the only other viable option for device manufacturers except Android is its own product – Windows Phone 7. Whether manufacturers use Android or Windows Phone 7, Microsoft would be smiling all the way to the bank.

Google’s Troubles

Google’s troubles are only beginning. After losing the Nortel patent auctions, it still has only about 700 patents in its portfolio. With Oracle suing Google, demanding billions of dollars up front as well as 15% of all Android ad revenues, and Microsoft gunning for its hardware partners, Google is in a tough spot. Manufacturers may refrain from producing Android handsets and tablets if they fear litigation by giants like Microsoft and Oracle. Google is in a very vulnerable position, and it cannot defend its partners unless it builds up a huge patent portfolio. Microsoft, Apple, RIM and others are spending billions to ensure that it stays that way.

The biggest gainers might turn out to be Windows Phone 7. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Windows Phone 7 and iOS as the major players in the smartphone market in the next couple of years, with Android being relegated to the sidelines, however low the chances of that happening may seem now.

Jailbreak iPad 2 and iPhone 4 Running iOS 4.3 Using JailbreakMe.com

Apple announced the iPad 2 way back in March this year. The second generation iPad boasts of a dual-core A5 processor, and was slimmer and lighter than its predecessor.

However, the iPad 2 was made insanely secure from jailbreaking by Apple. All the hardware level exploits used by the jailbreakers, were patched by Apple in iPad 2.

Nevertheless, popular hacker comex has finally released a way to jailbreak the iPad 2. The jailbreak works via a PDF exploit found, which was first discovered in 2010.

image

To jailbreak your iPad 2, owners just need to head over to JailbreakMe.com from their iDevice, and press the Free’ button on the site. Then, users need to select the Install button which comes up on the screen. The site will then load a PDF, which may crash Safari.

Afterwards, users will find the Cydia shortcut on their iOS home screen. Tap on free and install button only once, even if it may look like Safari is not responding.

This jailbreak is also compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch 3G and 4G, running on iOS 4.3.3.

15 Million iPhone 5 Units Ordered for September Launch?

Apple has supposedly placed an order for 15 million iPhone 5 units with Pegatron, its primary supplier in Taiwan, according to Digitimes, the most prolific source for Apple rumors.

According to most rumors, Apple will start shipping the iPhone 5 (or the iPhone 4S) in September 2011. Placing such a huge order now would ensure that there are no supply shortages for the next version of the iPhone, for which the anticipated demand is extremely high.

Pegatron has significantly expanded its plants, human power and equipment since 2010, to complete the orders for the CDMA iPhone 4 by Apple. It has also been trying to get orders for the production of the iPad and the Macbook from Apple, but it hasn’t had much luck there.

Apparently, the iPhone 5 “does not seem to have any major update from iPhone 4″, which leads me to believe that it might be branded the iPhone 4S after all.

iPhone 5

The iPhone 5 / 4S is expected to come with a dual core A5 processor, a larger 4 inch display and an 8 MP camera with a dual LED flash. It will compete with Android heavyweights like the Samsung Galaxy S 2 and the HTC Sensation.

Apple Hacked. 27 Administrative Account Stolen

While the infamous hacking group LulzSec are done with their 30-days long campaign creating a havoc by hacking into several government and corporate websites, a new group of hackers who call themeselves “AntiSec”, are claiming to have hacked into one of the Apple’s servers using an SQL injection.

According to reports, it is expected that the group includes hackers from both Anonymous and LulzSec Security. Anonymous tweeted that they hacked one of the Apple servers and managed to steal 27 usernames and passwords. The document wih usernames, password and the server link was posted on Pastebin.

Apple Hacked by AntiSec

The hackers gained access to Apple’s severs due to a security falw in Apple’s software that is used by the Cupertino, California based gadget maker and other companies. However, the hacker group stated that they are focused elsewhere and there is nothing to worry about Apple as of now, but it could be target in the near future.

AntiSec posted that they managed to steal username and password from this server:

http://abs.apple.com:8080/ssurvey/survey?id=

The hacked Apple’s servers is used for conducting technical support follow-up surveys. Currently the server is temporarily down: http://abs.apple.com/fsurvey/survey.html?l=en

Apple was earlier hacked by LulzSec during their month-long campaign. LulzSec posted that it had “mapped Apple’s internal network, thoroughly pillaging all of their servers, grabbed all their source code and database passwords,  which we proceeded to shift silently back to our storage deck.”

Some weeks ago, we smashed into the iCloud with our heavy artillery Lulz Cannons and decided to switch to ninja mode. From our LFI entry point, we acquired command execution via local file inclusion of enemy fleet
Apache vessel. We then found that the HTTPD had SSH auth keys, which let our ship SSH into other servers. See where this is going?

However, Apple has not yet confirmed the breach and we are not sure if these claims are true.

Microsoft, Apple, RIM & Others Win the Nortel Patents that Google was Desperate For

Google was desperate to win the Nortel portfolio of patents, so that it could stave off patent trolls and other companies trying to sue it. Nortel’s huge portfolio of over 6,000 patents would have given Google a lot of leverage over its competitors. When Google first made the $900 million bid for those patents, it was expected that it would be very aggressive in trying to win them. The Department of Justice first played spoilsport, but later cleared Google to make the bid, setting the stage for Google to make the winning bid.

Today, Nortel announced that it had concluded the auction of all its remaining patents. The winner, it said, was a consortium consisting of Apple, Microsoft, Research in Motion, Sony, Ericsson and EMC. The consortium won the entire patent portfolio for $4.5 billion.

“Following a very robust auction, we are pleased at the outcome of the auction of this extensive patent portfolio”, said George Riedel, Chief Strategy Officer and President of Business Units, Nortel. “The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world.”

From the looks of it, it seems like all the members of the consortium teamed up against Google. Losing the auction means that it is still vulnerable, with a portfolio of less than 1000 patents. It is currently being sued by Oracle over the use of Java in Android, for damages estimated to be over $2.6 billion.

Many Android device manufacturers are also being sued by Microsoft. If it had won this patent portfolio, it might have been able to fight off its opponents.

via Marketwatch

Apple Offering 7-Day Refund Policy On App Store Apps In Taiwan

App Store LogoOver the past few days, reports have suggested that Apple and Google maybe being pressurized by the Taiwanese Government  to modify their app sales policies. This app sale policy would require both companies  to modify their app sales policies to comply with a law requiring a one-week return and refund policy on all purchases. WantChinaTimes was the first to report this story and today more info has become available.

At the request of Taipei City Hall, Apple agreed to let their phone users have a trial period of seven days, within which a user can return the app for a full refund.

Apple hasn’t in the past offered refunds officially, but refunds have been available case by case via iTunes support. Today, The Economic Times of India reports that Apple has agreed to these new rules while Google has been fined $34,600 over its refusal to offer a 7-day refund policy. Also, another report from the Taipei Times uncovers that  Google has withdrawn its paid apps from the marketplace in Taiwan rather than agree to the new conditions.

The reason why Apple agreed to this law is unclear, and there’s no word of  changes in the handling of purchases made through the App Store in Taiwan. In addition, it is unknown if  Apple will be extending the policy to other countries.

Apple MacBook Air Getting a Refresh Soon ?

According to a new  rumor  from DigiTimes, MacBook Air’s production will run in full gearbeginning in July. If true, this report suggests that new MacBook Air could be launched after the release, or more likely alongside with the release of Mac OS X Lion, which is scheduled to be released this July.

Apple MacBook Air

Digitime says, Apple is expected to take deliveries of over eight million MacBook Airs in the third quarter, nearly doubling from the previous quarter, the sources in the supply chain estimated. This is in line with a previous rumor from Taiwan’s Economic Daily newspaper that Apple will ship 380,000 new MacBook Air units within the next month.

Shipments of parts and components for MacBook lineups totaled an equivalent of 2.2-2.4 million MacBooks in June, and orders for July are likely to top 2.7-2.8 million units, said the sources, noting that the increase is in line with Apple’s previous strategy to ramp up deliveries prior to the launch of new products.

Last time Apple refreshed the MacBook Air range, they added a new size(11.6), upgraded processor to Core 2 Duo, and used SSD for storage. This time we are expecting Thunderbolt ports, either Core i5 or Core i7 chips, or maybe Intel’s new ULV processor. Few rumors suggesting option of a black color have also surfaced.

Samurai II Vengeance Hits the Android Market; Available For Both Tegra 2 And Non-Tegra 2 Handsets

One of the major complaints in the Android eco-system is the lack of quality’ games. Yes, there is Angry Birds and its various versions, but one game alone is not enough to cater to everyone’s need.

Thankfully, the gaming scene of the Android Market has been changing rapidly with new quality games being added nearly every day. Yesterday, Cut The Rope was made available for Android phones, and the day before that N.O.V.A. 2 hit the Android Market.

Today, another quality’ game Samurai II Vengeance has hit the Android Market. The game is about a Samurai who is seeking vengeance from Orochi. It is the sequel to the massively popular Samurai: Way of Warrior game, which is available for iOS, and was also crowned by Apple as one of the best games of 2009.

Below is a small video demo of the game :

Samurai II Vengeance is a quality game in all respect, especially gameplay and graphics. The game is based on the Unity 3D engine and looks absolutely great. The controls are easy to use as well. The game ran perfectly fine without any lags on my SGS II, which is down clocked to 1GHz.

Samurai II Vengeance is available in two flavors, one for Tegra 2 based devices with optimized graphics, and a non-Tegra 2 version. The non-Tegra 2 version is also optimized for Xperia Play, and supports its gamepad.

The Tegra 2 version costs $4.99, while the non Tegra 2 version costs $2.99. Here is the link to the game.