Spotify is releasing its API for iOS Wednesday.

The red hot music streaming service, which recently made its U.S. debut, will open its catalogue of more than 15 million tracks to third-party iPhone and iPad app developers.

The application package, Libspotify for iOS, is available to Spotify Premium users. It rounds out Spotify’s API suite, also available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux.

“We hope this will enable a new category of iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch applications with Spotify inside and allow for more immersive music experiences within iOS apps,” Director of Platform Sten Garmark says.

The API release is important considering the bevy of music subscription services competing for end user attention. Now, Spotify has the opportunity to piggyback on the popularity of Apple’s iOS platform to reach an even greater audience.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Andreas Blixt

More About: api, iOS, spotify

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Appcelerator and IDC released their Q3 Mobile Developer Report on Wednesday, which looks at how mobile developers currently view the smartphone and tablet landscape. The report revealed that developers are most excited about the mobile potential of Google+ and Apple’s iCloud.

Despite it being just a month old, Google+ is showing plenty of potential, according to devs. The majority surveyed say Google+ has what it takes to compete head-on with Facebook. Meanwhile, iCloud’s mainstream potential has iOS developers enthused about the possibilities of integrating it into their apps.

Looking at the report, the one area that hasn’t changed since last spring is developer interest in the main mobile ecosystems: iOS and Android continue to be the platforms that developers are “very interested” in developing for.

There is a clear disparity between the number of developers that indicate interest in Android tablets and the relatively small number of Honeycomb-optimized apps. Scott Schwarzhoff, Appcelerator’s VP of marketing, says Android tablets are in a holding pattern. Interest is still high — based on the belief that the tablet market will mimic what we’ve seen in the mobile phone market. But tablet pricing, availability and market share are keeping many developers from taking that first step.

For the first time, Appcelerator and IDC added HTML5 to its list of platforms. Some 66% of respondents indicated that they were very interested in that format.

As we’ve seen with Twitter‘s new HTML5 iPad website, the trend of creating both native apps and HTML5 web apps — rather than choosing one or the other — remains strong.


Where’s the API?


To us, the most interesting part of the survey are the questions on social networking and cloud computing APIs.

When asked what announcement would have the biggest impact on mobile growth and adoption, near-field communication (NFC), Android patent issues and rumors of an Amazon Android tablet were all outshone by Google+ and iCloud.

Why is this compelling? Because Google+ doesn’t even have a public facing API. At the time of the survey (two weeks ago), the state of the iCloud API was still relatively limited. Ultimately, we’re not convinced that these statistics will mean a lot in terms of real-world usage, until the APIs are actually released and broadly understood.

On the social front, two-thirds of developers believe that Google+ has the potential to challenge or catch up with Facebook. Again, these numbers are compelling, but they don’t mean a whole lot until Google can back up the hype with a real, tangible API.


Easy Does It


On the cloud computing front — Amazon, the leader in the last few surveys — was essentially tied with Apple and its iCloud platform. Schwarzhoff says iCloud, unlike Amazon’s AWS, is thought to be easier for developers to implement.

Dropbox and Box.net, cloud collaboration and storage companies that have mobile APIs and are already in use by dozens of mobile apps, were not included in the survey. We think iCloud will be used by developers the same way that Box.net and Dropbox are used now, for easy access to storage and syncing tools.

Does the latest mobile survey mirror any of your thoughts and experiences with mobile app development? Let us know in the comments.

More About: appcelerator, Google Plus, icloud, mobile developer reports, stats

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Apple has unveiled the beta for iCloud, the company’s new suite of media streaming and cloud-based services.

The new beta, which is available to all users with an Apple ID, features web-based version of Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Find my iPhone and iWork. They are accessible if you visit iCloud.com while using iOS 5 (available to Apple developers) or Mac OS X Lion. It does not include Apple’s cloud music services, including iTunes Match.

Update: Some of our readers are having trouble accessing iCloud with Lion.

Apple also unveiled the pricing structure for iCloud. The first 5 GB of storage on the service are free. An additional 10 GB will cost $20, 20 GB will cost $40 and 5 0GB will retail for $100. It’s more expensive than Amazon Cloud Drive, which gives 20 GB of space for $20 and lets users store an unlimited amount of music for free.

We’re playing around with the iCloud beta now, and while we’ll have more to report, our initial conclusion is that the iCloud beta is a modified version of MobileMe. It includes similar interfaces, which isn’t a surprise. The addition of iWork support is a welcomed addition though, as is the simplistic and universal interface for all of Apple’s cloud services.

We’ve taken some screenshots of the beta and embedded them below. Check them out, and let us know what you think of the iCloud beta in the comments.

Mashable reporter Christina Warren contributed to this report.

iCloud Beta Login Screen

This is the login screen for the iCloud beta.

iCloud Icons

iCloud’s beta includes Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Find My iPhone and iWork.

iCloud Contacts

This is the interface for contacts.

iCloud Calendar

This is the interface for calendar.

iCloud Mail

You need an @me.com email address to use iCloud Mail.

iCloud Keynote

This is the opening screen for Keynote in iCloud.

iCloud Numbers

This is the opening screen for Numbers in iCloud.

iCloud Pages

This is the opening screen for Pages in iCloud.

iCloud for Mac OS X

This is the iCloud icon for the Mac OS X version.

Install iCloud Screen

This is the first screen you’ll see when you attempt to install iCloud for Mac OS x lion

More About: apple, icloud, iOS, itunes, iwork, mac os x, mac os x lion, mobileme

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Apple is planning to include face detection capabilities in the next version of its smartphone/tablet platform, iOS 5, 9to5Mac has discovered.

It is too early to tell how, exactly, the face recognition in iOS 5 will work, but it seems that Apple plans to open it up to developers via several API controls, including a call for recognizing the position of the person’s eyes and mouth. This means that in the future we’ll be seeing iOS apps utilizing face detection from third party developers, and possibly from Apple itself.

The technology behind this feature probably comes from Polar Rose, a Swedish company specializing in face recognition which Apple acquired in 2010.

Check out a video showcasing an augmented reality app called Recognizr which Polar Rose co-developed, below.

[9to5Mac]

More About: apple, face detection, face recognition, iOS, ipad, iphone, polar rose

Part of the appeal of mobile services is that they are relevant to where you are right now. Most phones support GPS and a connection to the network. And when you combine those you get a convenient location based service. In this example application we are going to create a backend service in PHP that an iPad application on the front end will connect to

Read More:
BuildMobile: Building a GPS Enabled iPad Search App

This is part three of an ongoing series. You may wish to read or review the previous sections on iOS Development Basics and iOS Apps with Tasty UI . As the series goes on, we’re going to develop an application called “Orny”.

See more here:
BuildMobile: An Interactive Orny

Apple will start its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with several important software releases: iCloud, Apple’s upcoming cloud service, as well as the next iteration of its desktop and mobile platform, Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5.

Apple announced earlier that the focus of this year’s WWDC will be software, in particular iOS and Lion, and recent rumors claim that the next generation iPhone will not be announced at the event.

The really big announcement this year is iCloud, which is rumored to be Apple’s cloud service for music. In an announcement Tuesday morning, Apple confirmed that iCloud is coming as a “cloud services offering” but didn’t mention music or provide details. Recent reports said that Apple has signed a licensing deal with EMI and was close to signing similar deals with Sony and Universal, which would pave the way for iCloud. Apple’s music offering comes hot on the heals of announcements of similar services from Google and Amazon.

SEE ALSO: Steve Jobs To Participate in Keynote at WWDC

The WWDC starts Monday, June 6, at 10 a.m. in San Francisco. For more details, check out the conference’s official site, and don’t forget to check Mashable for coverage of the event.

More About: apple, icloud, iOS, lion, mac, mac os x, wwdc

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Less than 24 hours after the official announcement of this year’s Apple’s WWDC conference, the tickets for the event are sold out, as stated on the event’s website.

Last year, it took eight days for the WWDC tickets to sell out. But this year’s record ticket sales are no surprise given how much the iOS platform has grown in a year.

This year’s conference will focus on the next generation of iOS and Mac OS X Lion, and recent rumors claim that the next generation iPhone will be absent from the event.

[via TUAW, Apple WWDC]

More About: apple, Conference, iOS, wwdc

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A new App Store rejection sheds some light on the real implications behind Apple’s new in-app subscription policies, and the results aren’t pretty.

The iOS app for Arc90′s recently re-launched Readability service was rejected on Friday for “utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase (IAP) API to purchase content, functionality, or services.” This is significant because unlike companies like Rhapsody (who are already on the record as being firmly against the new policies), Readability is not a a traditional content provider.

As Readability creator and Arc90 founding partner Richard Ziade says in his “Open Letter to Apple” blog post, “Readability’s model is unique in that 70% of our service fees go directly to writers and publishers.” He continues, “if we implemented In App purchasing, your 30% cut drastically undermines a key premise of how Readability works.”

We spoke with Ziade after he posted his letter and he offered us this additional insight:

A big problem with this isn’t just the model (which is a big problem on its own). It’s the additional hoops we’d have to jump through just to make all this work. Imagine two payment distribution systems — one for iOS subscribers and another for web — that would have to exist. It’s just a big obstacle on our roadmap if we decided to do it. We’d rather put our energy towards making Readability better.


About Readability


Readability started as a bookmarklet that provided users with a better-formatted reading experience. Ideally suited for long-form content, Readability cuts out the clutter of modern web writing and presents text in a clean, focused way. The original proof of concept was so popular that Apple even based its Safari Reader feature on Readability.

Last month, Readability evolved into a total reading platform. While the basic bookmarklet remains free, users can subscribe to the Readability service (starting at $5 a month) and add articles, Instapaper-style, to a reading queue accessible from any web browser. What sets Readability apart is that publishers of the content that users choose to read get a percentage of the profits. In fact, 70% of a user’s subscription goes directly to the content writers.

The iOS app, which was developed by Instapaper’s Marco Arment, was supposed to be a special bonus for paid subscribers. It’s based on Instapaper and offers and optimized, offline reading and queuing experience.

Apple’s decision to reject the app doesn’t change the fact that the Readability is still usable within iOS. As a Readability subscriber, I’ve added “Read Now” and “Read Later” bookmarks to Mobile Safari on both my iPhone and iPad and am fully satisfied with the experience.

Instead, the decision very clearly sets the tone for what the rules for subscription-based service apps are going forward.


iOS Adverse Implications


The iOS platform is no stranger to criticism. Even before the official iPhone SDK made its debut in March 2008, developers were complaining about Apple’s policies in keeping the platform locked down, closed off and under a stringent set of guidelines. Through the years, some restrictions have lifted, rules have been better explained and more service offerings have opened up. Still, this is Apple’s show, and anyone who develops for the platform knows it.

For most developers, it’s worth the trouble. Despite Android’s tremendous gains in adoption, developers make more money on iOS and are more likely to cultivate repeat customers. New features tend to appear in the iPhone version of an app first; the iPhone and iPad get more exclusive titles; and the overall app experience tends to be more cohesive and complete.

Major brands and larger development houses target iOS and Android, but there are far more independent developers and smaller software shops that make their living entirely off of the iOS ecosystem than from Android. If Apple isn’t careful, it could start to push some of those indie developers away.

First launched with The Daily, Apple’s new subscription purchasing policy seems largely targeted at print publishers of magazines and newspapers. In that context, we have a hard time finding fault with Apple’s decision to take a 30% cut of all subscriptions obtained through the application download. Newspaper and magazine publishers might not be happy with the arrangement (though they can still offer subscribers the ability to subscribe outside the app), but in the grand scheme of things, 30% is likely on the low side of subscriber acquisition costs.

Even for streaming content services like Rdio, MOG or Rhapsody, we can understand Apple asking for a cut of a subscription rate — if only because those companies typically charge much higher rates for subscriptions that include mobile device support.

Plus, for consumers, the benefits of an in-app subscription system for magazines or music services is to their advangate. Not only is canceling a subscription faster (no having to wai
t on hold with an operator), but user privacy is better protected, too. Furthermore, at least in the case of published content, most content is going to be consumed on the device. If I subscribe to an iPad magazine, I am going to be consuming that content on the iPad.

This isn’t the case with web apps and cloud-based web services like Readability. Readability is an app built for the web browser. Having an iOS app is great — but fundamentally, the app and the service are designed to be platform agnostic and the desktop browser is definitely a major target.


How Far Does This Go?


The frustrating aspect of the Readability rejection is that this makes the road for apps that tie into cloud-based services in the future much less clear.

As Dan Benjamin and I discuss on a near-weekly basis, the line between web apps and native mobile apps is starting to become less and less distinguishable. A recent Appcelerator study showed that cloud connectivity is one of the top requirements for developers when building a mobile application.

Cloud connectivity can often mean plugging into subscription ecosystems. What worries us is what this means for native clients for web services.

Does 37signals now have to offer an in-app Campfire subscription in its Campfire for iPhone app? What about Evernote? Moreover, what about third-party apps that plug into the API for systems like Evernote or Campfire or Basecamp — are they also subject to this new subscription pricing policy? If so, how can that be enforced if the API doesn’t designate a payment or subscription option?

At the end of the day, we think Ziade summs it up best in his letter:

To be clear, we believe [Apple has] every right to push forward such a policy… But to impose this course on any web service or web application that delivers any value outside of iOS will only discourage smaller ventures like ours to invest in iOS apps for our services.

More About: app store, apple, In-app subscriptions, Instapaper, iOS, readability

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ShoutEm, the Zagreb, Croatia-based startup that started out as a white-label Twitter solution, has significantly changed its strategy with a new version, launching in beta today.

Instead of merely creating your own Twitter, ShoutEm now lets you effortlessly create a full-fledged iPhone app, with support for an RSS feed, event listings, video, audio podcasts, radio streaming, locations and microblogging – all in one.

We’ve tried the app creation process and it really is as simple as it can be: You add modules and rearrange them as you please, and then test the app on your iPhone by downloading a special app called ShoutEm Mobilizer and logging in with your ShoutEm credentials.

Your app can be quite simple; for example, it can consist only of an RSS feed from your company’s website. However, if you want, you can add a rich array of features that would put many iPhone apps to shame. One module we’ve had some trouble with was the images module, which works well with Flickr but with some other sites, such as Imgur, doesn’t display images correctly.

You can also brand the app with the colors and logos of your company, including setting up your own application icon, home image, iTunes artwork and more.

ShoutEm doesn’t offer a free version. To create your mobile app you must pay a monthly fee starting from $29.90/month for the Basic plan, which offers up to 1000 installs and lacks some of the more advanced features such as Events. The Advanced plan starts from $49.90 and offers up to 2,000 installs, while the Pro plan also offers plugins for WordPress and Drupal and up to 5,000 installs. The most demanding customers can negotiate the price for an Enterprise plan, which offers all of the above plus advanced customization of the application.

Viktor Marohnic, one of ShoutEm’s co-founders, spoke about the company’s strategy. “Remember when WordPress was all the rage, and everyone was creating websites and blogs? Well, now it’s happening in the mobile realm,” he says.

“There are tens of thousands of companies around the world that want – no, need – a mobile app, but can’t afford to go through the expensive process of hiring a development team, waiting for the app to be finished and submitting it to Apple’s App Store for approval. With ShoutEm, you don’t have to do any of that. Creating a mobile app with ShoutEm is simple, easy, customizable and – we think – cheap,” says Marohnic.

ShoutEm has prepared 100 beta invites for Mashable readers; to use one, register over at www.shoutem.com/registration using the code “mashableapps”.

More About: application, iOS, iphone, Mobile 2.0, mobile app, Shout’Em, smartphone

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