Apple rarely buys other companies, so when the Cupertino giant makes an acquisition, it’s worth noting. CNET is reporting that Apple has recently purchased Particle, a small creative consulting company based in San Francisco that specializes in HTML5 development. Particle is a relatively small firm, but it has done some big projects for companies like Google, Sony and even Apple.
What does the acquisition mean? While the reason behind the deal remains unknown, Apple likely wants the web talent from Particle.
iPads help USDA service survey farmers and collect agriculture data across the country.
The USDA is working its way through an ambitious iPad deployment that may come to serve as a model for a range of government agencies within the U.S. and around the world. The challenge was to develop a simple, intuitive, and effective field survey and data collection system.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is a division of the USDA that is charged with surveying and reporting agricultural data across the country. NASS operates in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico. With a staff of around 3,000 enumerators NASS conducts thousands of survey each year about agriculture across the country. The service has been operating since the mid-1800s and, until the iPad, it conducted surveys and collected data in pretty much the same way that it had back in the 19th century – with paper forms filled out by hand and mailed to various field offices. Although various technology initiatives have been tried by NASS since the 1980s, none was a successful fit before the iPad.
A new discovery suggests that Instagram is working on improving its experience on the web. The popular photography network added the ability to comment on and like photos from the browser several weeks ago, and a “View Profile” option was spotted in the wild today by web designer Cole Reinke. While the new menu option returned a 404 error, the finding reveals that Instagram is indeed developing a more full-featured web app for its users.
There’s a plethora of third-party web apps like Webstagram, but as the largest mobile-only social network in existence, an official Instagram web app would be huge.
Is the Financial Times leading a mass exodus from Apple’s Newsstand?
When Apple announced the terms for Newsstand and digital subscriptions, many publications felt that the company was being too hard on them. Apple’s requirement that publishers offer the same deals through the App Store that they do elsewhere while still taking its typical 30% cut of the income ruffled a lot of feathers in the publishing world. While there was a lot of angry discussion about the policy when Apple announced and implemented it, many publications decided to accept the policy – at least initially.
Since then, however, a handful of publications have decided to abandon their presence on iOS devices. Some are planning to build a web app as their only iOS or mobile presence. Others are looking to create deals with various news aggregators. Regardless of their plans, Apple’s terms are one of the key reasons that publishers are getting out of the App Store.
iGenApps lets you create mobile web apps right from your iOS device
Puerto Rico based iGenApps showed off its signature service at the DEMO Spring event in silicon valley this week. iGenApps offers the ability to create iOS and other mobile apps with no programming knowledge and just a basic working knowledge of HTML. The service is centered around web app development, but the company claims a premium service will turn web apps into native apps for a price.
I’ve always thought of FileMaker as “databases for the rest of us” – the software is easy to understand for even novice users, it has an immense focus on visual design that allows users to create impressive looking solutions quickly and easily, and it packs quite a bit of power. All of those traits get a boost in FileMaker 12, which was released this morning.
My first impression on using FileMaker 12 is that the company took all the things I’ve always like about FileMaker Pro and Server and turned them up to 11 – particularly when it comes to making mobile solutions.
IBM relies on user education, device management to leverage BYOD
IBM, once known as on of the most straight-laced companies in the world, has jumped on the BYOD bandwagon with a level of enthusiasm rarely seen in such large and established enterprises. The company has big plans for BYOD – rolling out a program out that covers all 440,000 employees worldwide.
That’s a big challenge and one that Big Blue has yet achieve. However, the company currently has mobility solutions deployed to about a quarter of its workforce (120,000 users) two thirds of whom (80,000) are supplying their own devices and service plans. The company, which had been a predominantly BlackBerry shop, began to shift gears as iPhones and other devices began showing up in its offices.
While not a model for every company, IBM’s BYOD policies can serve as a great starting point.
Often the first and biggest question that confronts any company developing a new mobile presence (or revamping an existing one) is whether to focus on developing a native app or a mobile web site. While each approach has its pros and cons, one way to decide may be to look at how users are accessing content on their mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad.
Unfortunately, the latest news from comScore is that users are evenly split between using a dedicated native app or using a mobile web browser to access content – making that criteria alone useless when it comes to developing a mobile strategy.
We love Jeff Broderick’s work here at Cult of Mac. We’ve told you about some of his web app projects, like QuickWiFi and QuickContact, and his latest creation is called Photogram. As the name implies, you can use Photogram to view Instagram in your web browser. The app is beautiful and optimized for both the desktop and mobile experience.
Multiple tricks for gaining quick access to settings toggles on the iPhone’s Home screen have been making the news lately, and many rejoiced that such a thing could be accomplished without needing to jailbreak.
In the iOS 5.1 beta, it’s been discovered that Apple has blocked access to these settings shortcuts. How lame!