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iOS 5 and the TUAW iPhone app


As those of you using the free TUAW iPhone app in iOS 5 have already seen, there are a few issues with it; missing buttons, some broken functionality, et cetera. While we were expecting that the AOL team handling mobile development for us & all our sister sites would have an update ready for the iOS 5 release, that didn't happen. I was told that as of October 28, an update would be submitted to Apple. AOL has a QA process for mobile apps, and several bugs popped up once iOS 5 hit.

I did receive a new build to test on Thursday, and I'm happy to report it works well with iOS 5. That said, I do not yet know if the latest version of our app has been submitted for App Store review. Therefore, on Monday, October 31, I will ask our mobile team to provide me with an update and ETA for a properly-functioning iPhone app (noting that Apple's review process is obviously outside our control).

If the word is still "we hope to submit it this week," I will most likely pull the current app from the store so that no more new users will be wondering why an Apple blog's iOS app doesn't work. I'm hoping not to have to do this, as it won't do anything for the existing users who are frustrated and unhappy; I can only tell you that I'm just as frustrated and unhappy as you are, possibly more so.

Also, if you're wondering about an iPad app, you should check out Engadget's Distro app. Would you like this same treatment for TUAW? I have watched Distro in development, and while I think it's a cool way to skin the site into a magazine-like format, I still feel that it lacks some of the filtering and sorting tools our users would expect. That said, I also realize it is almost 2012 and we still don't have an iPad app, although our site works perfectly well in Mobile Safari.

Just as with our iPhone app, we must rely upon the mobile development team within AOL, and that team doesn't exactly have TUAW at the top of its priority list (we're sort of the pinky toe of the AOL content universe). If and when we're able to put TUAW into something like Distro, I'll be the first to let you know.

Thanks to everyone who sent in bug reports. I hope to have better news for you in November. In the meanwhile, I would encourage you to check out our site in Mobile Safari. Unlike when we used to call iOS "iPhone OS," the latest version of Safari in iOS doesn't crash miserably when loading TUAW. Those were good times, weren't they?

By the way, if you're wondering why our app has a 17+ rating, that's because Apple requires it on any app which allows you to "go" to the full web within the app (the theory being you'll go from TUAW to some inappropriate site -- Apple can be weird this way). So if we remove that option, we can lower the age limit. Unfortunately, that option is very handy sometimes. Let me know in the comments if you'd rather we ditch our web view in exchange for lowering the age limit.

My apologies for the bugs, the lack of communication and lack of an iPad app. We hope to fix things soon.

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