User beware: your iPhone is spying on you!

April 21, 2011

From the unbelievable department today: researchers discovered that every iPhone with iOS4 and every iPad 3G is continuously recording the location of the device. The file with locations and timestamps is hidden among device backup files. That means that every time you backup your device via iTunes, the location file is copied into your Mac or PC. There is even software available that will decode the data and put the dots to the map. Right now, there is no evidence that Apple is accessing that information. However, even without Apple’s access it’s a huge security risk: anyone with temporary access to your computer can download your movement info across months and eventually years. Moreover, you cannot turn this “feature” off, and it doesn’t rely on GPS – the coordinates are calculated using cell tower triangulation method. While it’s unprecise, it’s better than GPS in some aspects: it consumes a lot less battery energy and it works inside buildings and cars. Just wow.

This is how a typical map looks like after routes are decoded and visualized:


Apple nuked another market!

July 18, 2010

You never know where they hit. Once Apple admitted their iPhone 4 had the antenna problem, they had to either make a major recall (3 million units sold already) or provide everyone with a free iPhone case. Of course, it’s a no-brainer. So they went with the free cases and accidentally wiped out the market for iPhone case manufacturers. While it may seem that the smartphone case manufacturing is not an important business, still there are companies that make their money by making and selling the cases. I guess they could never imagine that Apple would start giving cases for free.

There is another point of view, that Apple has actually significantly expanded the iPhone case market, now that everyone is going to need one. Since Apple cannot create that many cases in a limited time, they will go and buy them from third-parties. However, Apple is a hard bargainer, so they will probably be buying a hundred for a dime, destroying the margins.

Market destruction with a free offer is a fascinating theme. The most famous example is Microsoft’s offering of IE and IIS for free, bundling it with Windows, and eventually wiping out Netscape Communications, once a $13B company. A lot of startups offer their services and products for free these days, in the hope of hitting it big via ads or some magic freemium model. This is basically a market destruction from the very beginning. When this happens, they don’t even need Apple or Microsoft to drop a nuke. The startups are destroying the market themselves.

NSFW: Catch the latest news about eyePhone, twitcher, and the Killer App!

July 6, 2010

The Always Amusing Futurama is back! You surely want to know about the Third World, the eyePhone, and the evil Killer App a thousand years from now. Watch episode 3! Did I say a thousand years?

What are the best days for AppStore sales?

April 7, 2010

It is probably not news for anyone who’s been in the AppStore business long enough… My friends, who develop iPhone games say that Saturday is a huge spike in downloads. Sunday is good too. If your app gets into the “new apps” list on Saturday, it’s likely to make some buck, even if it is going to be buried in the 500th spot in the “top downloaded apps” list eventually. MobileNoter is Business/Productivity software. Weekends and holidays are not good for us. Wednesday is one of the best days for sales for Business and Productivity. Luckily, our business model does not rely on bored people who would download and try anything for a few minutes of entertainment. Even though it’s not in any of the Top 10 list, people do find, download and buy our app.

We got “iPhone” into Google ad copy, but nobody cares

February 8, 2010

OK, we finally got our ad copy approved by Google and it has word “iPhone” in it. We didn’t do anything fancy, just were persistent and Google caved in. The thing is however that we are getting miserable CTR on those ads. It doesn’t look that Google is good to advertise iPhone apps on it.

Now we are trying Microsoft adCenter. The CTR in Search will probably be low as well. The idea is to get somewhere on a Microsoft page with “OneNote” on it. This should be a relevant page for OneNote client for iPhone, ain’t it?

Google don’t let advertise iPhone apps

February 4, 2010

We tried advertising our app on AdWords and were immediately set back by Google. Turned out, they don’t let some trademarked terms to be used in the ad copy. Namely, we can’t use word “iPhone”. They neither allow “i Phone” or “i-Phones”, but you would expect this from Google.

This is obviously wrong, because it’s legal to use a trademarked term to describe product compatibility. And the sole purpose of using the word is to say that our app is designed for iPhone, nothing else.

Funny enough, we can use “Onenote” no problem, even though it’s a trademarked term too. So, Apple nowadays is really the Microsoft of 90s, the enemy of openness, competitiveness, trying to preserve the monopoly by any mean.

New release of MobileNoter is out there!

November 11, 2009

I am excited about our recent release of the MobileNoter. Technically, it is an update for our iPhone app. However, it is a really major update, AND we offer a paid subscription now. Previous version was free, and “free” doesn’t count when we talk about product’s viability. Apple approved our update a few hours ago and we are already have paying customers – this is a good sign!

So it’s time to become serious about marketing. I don’t think our app will make into the Top 10 in its category any time soon, because it’s kinda niche app. On the other hand it’s not a throw-away app either, that is when an app is downloaded, run once, and happily forgotten or removed altogether. We’ll see how it goes and I will post about interesting discoveries we are sure to make.