iPay? iPaid? Apple Testing Mobile Payments

We’re not sure what it’ll be called, but we do know that Apple has signed on with Seattle-based Pirq to offer food and drink daily deals to Bay-area employees. As far as beta testing projects go, it doesn’t get much more exciting than this.

Here are the details via TechCrunch:

The deal with Apple being announced today will see discounts of between 20 percent and 50 percent at nearly 50 venues in Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and Mountain View, and it is Pirq’s jumping-off point for offering a wider service in San Francisco further down the line — within the next 12 months, according to Pirq. To date, the company’s service has only been available in Seattle, where it launched in September 2011.

Pirq’s deal with Apple is partly the result of an existing relationship that both companies have with Passport Unlimited, which has been working with Apple for the past six years offering eating discounts to its employees. Pirq’s chairman, Roger Blier, is the founder and CEO of Passport Unlimited.

Although Pirq was getting ready to announce this news itself today, we actually heard about it first from a tipster at Apple, who got in touch, enthusiastically, to say how great the service was.

As the tipster pointed out, the difference between what Pirq does and what, say, Groupon offers is that Pirq pre-sets the discounts with restaurants and doesn’t require users to pay for the service upfront before redeeming it.

“I just think it’s really cool that our family gets deals like 50% without ever having to buy them like Groupon,” the anonymous tipster noted to me. (A screen shot of how the Apple offering looks is the illustration for this post.)

Read the rest here >>

Who’s the Top Smartphone Manufacturer? The People Vote

Which mobile manufacturer came out on top?The iPhone is the number one selling unit. More Android devices are being activated than any other phone. Samsung is crushing it. You can find headlines and articles supporting every one of those statements. You can also find headlines and articles saying the exact opposite of every one of those statements.

The point is, it’s difficult to really tell who is at the top of the mobile devices pack. Stats are always changing and most major companies don’t actually release their numbers – so it’s all speculation anyway. So instead of trying to do it the official way with sales figures and  market monitoring let’s take the pulse of the people.

CNET’s Friday Poll last week asked readers “Who’s the Top Smartphone Maker?” The options were: Apple, Samsung, Motorola, HTC or Other. More than 1,700 people voted. In the end, Samsung won out with 45% of the vote with Apple pulling in second with 31%. As far as “Others” go, I saw a few shout-outs for Blackberry, Nokia and Sony in the comments section. Get more information at CNET.

Which manufacturer do YOU think puts out a superior product? Let us know in the comments!

No More UDID, Now What?

Some six months ago Apple warned app developers that pulling UDID information (the unique identification number tied to each Apple device) was soon going to be a no-no with iOS 5. The company said it would “deprecate UDIDs” because of privacy concerns. Nothing more was really said about it. Then, late last month, app developers began receiving these rejection notifications:

Tapbots UDID Rejection Letter

TechCrunch explains why Apple is now limiting access to UDIDs and who it’s effecting most:

Amid extra scrutiny from Congress around privacy issues, Apple this week has started rejecting apps that access UDIDs, or identification numbers that are unique to every iPhone and iPad. …

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The Best of the Best iOS Apps

Apple Announces the Top 100 Apps of All TimeIn honor of the 25,000,000,000th (billionth) app download, Apple released a list of the top 100 all-time most downloaded apps. They divided the list into four categories – listing the top 25 most downloaded free and paid apps for iPhone and iPad. It appears that the page has since disappeared from Apple proper and now just redirects to the regular iTunes page, but thanks to the internet the list is not gone forever! Razorianfly has helpfully re-posted the list. Here are the top 10 from each category:

Top Paid iPhone Apps

  1. Angry Birds
  2. Fruit Ninja
  3. Doodle Jump
  4. Cut the Rope
  5. Angry Birds Seasons
  6. Words With Friends
  7. Tiny Wings
  8. Angry Birds Rio
  9. Pocket God
  10. Camera+

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iPad Announcement Scheduled for March 7

Apple's iPad Announcement InviteThere’s been a lot of rumors floating around about the iPad3 and the iPhone5 that are both expected sometime this year. Well, it looks like the wait for the next gen iPad is coming to an end! Apple has officially scheduled an iPad announcement for March 7 at 10 am PST. There’s not much more information out there yet, but here’s what ABC News says:

The rumors were true: Apple has just sent out invites to an iPad event for next Wednesday, March 7.

The invitation, which is pictured above, shows an iPad and reads, “We have something you really have to see. And touch.”

Apple has been silent on the next version of its popular tablet, which is rumored to be called the iPad 3. It is rumored to have a higher resolution display, faster processor, Verizon and AT&T LTE optins, and have Apple’s Siri digital assistant feature. You can check out our complete guide to the rumors right here.

So mark your calenders for next Wednesday and get ready to see the latest device to add to the testing lineup!

Is Android or Apple Gaining? Answer: Both

Even ScalesAs testers do you own both an Apple and an Android phone? If not, how did you pick? Was it personal preference? How about platform marketshare? Or did you take developer-platform preference and app marketplaces into consideration?

I’m putting my money on personal preference, but in the event that your decision was driven by platforms, developers and marketshare here’s two interesting pieces of news:

1. While Apple has historically been the preferred developer platform (because it’s more lucrative), research firm Ovum is predicting Android to take that title by the end of the year.

2. Android and Apple marketshare are neck and neck as of the end of Q4 2011.

Here’s some more information on Point 1 from PCWorld:

Google’s Android will become the preeminent platform for developers over the next 12 months, edging ahead of Apple’s iOS, according to a study by research firm Ovum. Nearly all developers, however, will support both platforms.

Ovum’s call comes as Android continues to suck up market share, with more companies using the platform to crank out a wave of mobile devices. While iOS has seen its market share growth slow in the recent years, it has always been seen as a more lucrative location for developers to make money. As a result, most apps came to iOS first, and the other platforms second.

That, however, could all change in the coming months, Ovum said. Android’s prevalence is getting hard to ignore, and developers have incorporated new business models such as advertising and in-app purchases to spur revenue.

Read the full article >>>

And now a bit on Point 2 from Digital Trends:

Apple’s iPhone owned more of the US market than all Android-based devices combined during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a new study from market research firm Kantar.

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iPad Security Flaw with Smart Cover Users

Thanks to @spchampion for the link:

Anyone with a Smart Cover can break into your “password-protected” iPad 2. This issue occurs in iOS 5, but we’re hearing uncorroborated reports of it also working in earlier versions of iOS 4.3.

What the flaw allows:

As you can see in our video above, a Smart Cover can essentially unlock an iPad 2. The person who unlocks your iPad 2 will not have complete access to your iPad, but will be able to gain entrance to whatever you locked your iPad 2 on. If your iPad 2 went to sleep in Mail, Safari, Messages, Contacts, or Maps, you can imagine the sorts of personal information that can be viewed on your iPad. If you left your iPad 2 on its Home screen, the person can view which applications you have on your device, control media from the multitasking bar, but not much else.

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Problems Downloading iOS 5

From The Daily Mail:

The release of Apple’s latest iPhone iOS 5 software has been met with widespread anger and frustration from users as the tech giant struggles to cope with massive demand.

‘Error 3200′ even became a trending topic on Twitter as users were repeatedly confronted with the message as they tried to download the free package of updates intended to bring older iPhones into line with the functions offered by the iPhone 4S.

What makes the glitch so unusual is that Apple rarely struggles to cope with demand for its services.

Ironically, the inability of Apple’s servers to cope may be due to the power of social networks to spread news of yesterday’s release after ‘Downloading iOS 5′ became a trending topic.