July 13, 2010

The sweet sweet sound of music Wafting through the air...

Back from my self-imposed iPhone development exile, I wrote a new App:  Waft.  Waft plays streaming Internet radio stations.  For free.

Waft makes it easy and fun for listening to the vast spectrum of Internet radio stations on the iPhone.  Just pick a station and Waft begins to play, showing any song information embedded in the audio stream.  Waft plays beautifully in the background in iOS 4.0.

Most of the other streaming players I’ve seen provide you with a giant list of stations and you get to choose from them.  Waft does have a small station list to get you started, but in addition to choosing stations from an arbitrary list of limited stations, Waft lets you add any station from standard .pls or .m3u playlist files.  Most Internet streaming stations are supported including those broadcast via Shoutcast/Icecast and Live365.

And yes, you heard me right, Waft is free.  I am trying out the new iAd system to see how that works.  I also provide a way to turn the ads off — via an in-App payment, of course.  I don’t know how it will all pan out.  But it’s going to be a fun experiment.

Waft requires iOS 4, as playing in the background is a core feature, as well as iAd.  So for now, only iPhone and iPod Touch customers are supported.  Once the iPad receives its OS upgrade I’ll have to make a few user interface changes before Waft becomes native, but that’s true of any app making the transition to the pad.

I couldn’t stay away…

I tried.  I tried not to do it.  The iPhone kept beckoning me, though, and eventually I had to succumb to its siren call.  If you’ve been watching your App Store updates page, you’ll already have noticed that quite a few updates became live recently for my Apps.  I went back and threw in some updated graphics for the new iPhone 4 screen.  (I love the new high resolution screen!)  Yes, I know, I said I wouldn’t be doing any more iOS development.  I really did stick to my plan.  But I changed my mind when the new iOS 4 and iPhone 4 hit the streets.

Most of the Apps (Ball, Circle Theory, Guimbarde, and Meteorology) just received new graphics and a few fixes for bugs only present on iOS 4.

Dates, however, does get some new functionality for iOS 4.  It now shows a badge on its App icon indicating how many events there are for the current day.  I’d always wanted that feature but it was impractical in prior OS versions as when the day changed and Dates wasn’t running, the count would not change.  With iOS 4 I can now post some notifications so the count stays current even when Dates is not running.  Nifty!

I updated Horn and Slasher with new higher resolution graphics too.  Slasher is still waiting for approval.  However, Horn was approved.  Wait… what?  Approved?  I submitted it with iPad support still in there!  What ever happened to the App Store policy that “do-nothing” Apps are not allowed on the iPad?  Oh yeah.  Just as I suspected.  It’s a totally capricious system.  I half expect Horn to be approved and Slasher denied.

So… a bit more on Slasher still being in review:  I submitted everything on exactly the same day.  (June 24, the day the iPhone 4 came out.)  Dates even was rejected once and I resubmitted it.  I even submitted a brand new App, Waft, over the July 4 weekend and it was approved before Slasher.  I guess the internal App Store politics are hard at work thinking about pictures of Knives…

I’ve been rather critical (since day one) of what they call the App Store “curation” process.  It’s not curation as that presented by a museum.  It’s a bouncer at the front door of a club only letting the pretty girls inside.  Or the girls with rich daddies.  And every so often, a girl slips in through the side door when the bouncer is not paying attention.