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MacRumors
Sep 16, 2008, 11:48 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) has started an iFund blog (http://ifundvc.com) covering topics about its $100 million venture capital fund for iPhone developers. KPCB has currently funded five companies with about $30 million of investment capital. Those companies include:

- Pelago (http://www.whrrl.com/) – social discovery and location sharing through an application called Whrrl which is live on the AppStore (http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284836534&mt=8)
- iControl (http://www.icontrol.com/) – a home automation and monitoring solution available in Q1
- ng:moco (http://www.ngmoco.com/) – iPhone games launching its first titles this month
- GOGII (http://www.gogii.com/) – A new social interaction and marketing platform, launching in Q4
- An unannounced venture launching in Q1

The company is excited about the prospects of the App Store and note that iPhone application downloads for the first 30 days exceeded all other US carriers combined in a quarter. According to our estimates and M:Metrics data, that’s more iPhone application downloads in 30 days than all US carriers combined have in a quarter.* That means a relatively small base of handsets (~12M, mostly US) is dramatically outperforming the other 250M.KPCB also believes that a more sophisticated set of applications will arrive as developers become more familiar with the iPhone SDK, and claim to "know some of the apps in the pipeline" that will take things to a whole new level.

Several prominent titles have recently been released (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/) to the App Store, including Star Wars The Force Unleashed (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2008/09/15/star-wars-force-unleashed-for-iphone-now-available/) and Spore (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2008/09/08/spore-origins-now-available-for-iphone-and-ipod-touch/). Meanwhile, SlingMedia has acknowledged (http://www.slingcommunity.com/blog/entry/30050/SlingPlayer-2.0-Symbian-UIQ-PRO-HD-Catcher-Pre-Orders-and-more.../) that they are working on their media player for the iPhone. Despite demoing a version (http://www.macrumors.com/2008/06/08/demo-video-of-slingplayer-for-iphone-and-ipod-touch/) of their app for jailbroken iPhones, the company has made no further announcements. We've heard, however, that they are planning on launching a beta version later this year.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2008/09/16/ifund-app-store-success-future-apps/)



mfermier
Sep 16, 2008, 11:51 AM
I'm really excited about seeing the App Store mature. I like what is offered now, but I know that as apps continue to develop it will only add value to the iPhone.

Yea Apple!

audioadrenaline
Sep 16, 2008, 11:57 AM
Home automation. Sweet.

Beric
Sep 16, 2008, 12:00 PM
Yeah yeah, that's great. When are they going to release the new MBPs?

When you in particular want them so bad, they can up the price $1000. ;)
EDIT: I see you edited your post. :)


I'm excited about the App store. It looks like it has a good future, as long as Apple stops refusing Apps right and left, of course, or else clarifies the rules more so developer know what to expect.

JML42691
Sep 16, 2008, 12:04 PM
I for one am really glad to hear about the Sling Media player, the demo looked pretty good, and hopefully the released version will be even better. Hopefully they release this app soon.

BOOMBA
Sep 16, 2008, 12:08 PM
The iFund is a joke. The first 2 companies to get funded were owned by its board members.

http://macenstein.com/default/archives/1384

I wouldn't be surprised if we discovered similar ties to the latest 3 companies.

It will be interesting to see how much of the $100 million they've raised goes back into their board member's pockets.

nagromme
Sep 16, 2008, 12:10 PM
I'll admit to having some fear that venture capital may tend to make marketing more important than innovation and quality.

How many iPhone apps really need hundreds of thousands of dollars to build, or to build better? Some, probably, if they have a huge server-side back-end, but not most of the ones I'd care about I would bet.

So it seems to me more likely that the money could be used to PROMOTE the apps when the little guy who is free to make his own decisions without VC breathing down his neck may actually be building the better app.

Luckily the App Store gives apps some chance even without much marketing. Still, heavy marketing can help you stay on those top lists! And few may see the better-rated alternatives from 3-person shops.

vendettabass
Sep 16, 2008, 12:11 PM
SlingMedia has acknowledged (http://www.slingcommunity.com/blog/entry/30050/SlingPlayer-2.0-Symbian-UIQ-PRO-HD-Catcher-Pre-Orders-and-more.../) that they are working on their media player for the iPhone.

thumbs up!

NightCastle
Sep 16, 2008, 12:14 PM
Is it possible that Sling Media will be rejected because it duplicates some of the functionality of the iPhone? Or am I missing something?

JML42691
Sep 16, 2008, 12:16 PM
Is it possible that Sling Media will be rejected because it duplicates some of the functionality of the iPhone? Or am I missing something?
How at all does it duplicate the functionality of the iPhone? The iPhone does not allow you to play live TV.

Beric
Sep 16, 2008, 12:21 PM
How at all does it duplicate the functionality of the iPhone? The iPhone does not allow you to play live TV.

The iPhone does not allow you to download podcasts remotely.

JML42691
Sep 16, 2008, 12:26 PM
The iPhone does not allow you to download podcasts remotely.
Still, I believe that Apple referenced the fact that it duplicates a function of iTunes, which SlingBox wouldn't do either. The Podcaster app did copy an iTunes functionality, but not an iPhone one, the SlingBox player wouldn't violate either.

detz
Sep 16, 2008, 12:30 PM
I wonder what kind of cut that VC gets, probably a pretty big one.

Stella
Sep 16, 2008, 12:32 PM
I hope Apple doesn't reject these forthcoming applications, due competition fears, or anal retention, ala PodCaster.

NightCastle
Sep 16, 2008, 12:32 PM
Sling box would allow for users to "put" (I use that word in the boadest way possible since, from what I know Slingbox allows for streaming video) movies onto their iPhone/iPod Touch, which are already available by Apple's iTunes. It could be argued that this might be duplicating that particular functionality. It would also allow users to watch movies that they might otherwise (leagally) have to purchase or rent from iTunes. That might cut into Apple's bottom line for movie purchases and rentals.

Just my 2 cents.

twoodcc
Sep 16, 2008, 12:35 PM
looking forward to the new apps

NightCastle
Sep 16, 2008, 12:39 PM
How at all does it duplicate the functionality of the iPhone? The iPhone does not allow you to play live TV.

But isn't AT&T working on that? Also, on a side note, isn't the phrase in the link funny?

http://www.9to5mac.com/att-apps-going-to-suck

morespce54
Sep 16, 2008, 12:42 PM
...more iPhone application downloads in 30 days than all US carriers combined have in a quarter.

Wow, that's quite a lot! :)

Digipimp
Sep 16, 2008, 12:42 PM
the ifund does seem like a joke, they've funded 5 companies to the tune of 30 million. well give me 5 or 6 million and im sure i can get a kickass iphone app developed. this really seems to go against the way it was presented, not to mention people from the ifund being invovled in the companies that the money was given to.

while they're at it take $20 from that remaining 70 million and get yourself a wordpress theme. these guys arent promoting innovation.

I WAS the one
Sep 16, 2008, 12:47 PM
I thought that people were going to create awsome apps with this kind of money sponsorship.... whats going on with the developers? too much junk on the App Store, and now this??? wel, maybe the iPhone is meant to be use by casual phone users and not Mac Power Users... :confused:

Wingsy
Sep 16, 2008, 12:49 PM
The one I'm waiting for is iCall VOIP. I work from home so most of my calls would be via VOIP.

Oh, and X-Plane 9 for the iPhone is simply awesome. I got sick while flying it and walking at the same time.

gmeddles
Sep 16, 2008, 12:57 PM
Apple's got to get a few things right before revolutionary software will come to pass on the iPhone.

1. Remove the NDA on the iPhone SDK. Without a vibrant open knowledge-sharing community, the wheel must repeatedly be reinvented, dramatically slowing innovation. You can search for certain things, but there isn't enough chatter to effectively problem-solve technical hurdles for the average software engineer. For simple apps this doesn't matter, but for the complex it definitely does.

2. Loosen the reins on the AppStore. Why would I spend money or time (read money) on development for a product when the entry to the market can be blocked so capriciously? Fraud/Theft/Malfeasance is the ONLY acceptable reason for blocking an app. Serious apps require more serious investments, and investors want to make sure that the product can get to market before throwing cash around. Why would I invest in something if Apple could block it based on "Duplication of iTunes functionality."

3. Really finalize the SDK. There's a lot of reasonably-expected functionality that's missing. Clipboard? Intra-process communication (assuming background processing is verboten)? It doesn't have to be permanently frozen, but it needs to reach a higher level of maturity fairly quickly.

I don't believe that Android will be an iPhone-killer due to many factors, but it will definitely steal developer interest if Apple doesn't get some of these things right in a hurry. Nobody likes a big bully in their developer sandbox, and Apple certainly has been looking like one lately.

elpenguino
Sep 16, 2008, 01:07 PM
I love the iControl idea. It would be cool to automate my house (lights on at 7:00am, fan on low, dimmer on half,MWF), but I can't see how they could do that with just an app and a 3g/wifi connection. Wireless surveillance I can see (use the iSight on a Mac to stream video to the iPhone). Am I missing something when they say "home automation?"

Trajectory
Sep 16, 2008, 01:10 PM
KPCB also believes that a more sophisticated set of applications will arrive as developers become more familiar with the iPhone SDK, and claim to "know some of the apps in the pipeline" that will take things to a whole new level

Let's hope that's true. 95% of the apps in the App Store are junk.

But does it really require millions and millions of dollars to develop a $4.99 app?

LagunaSol
Sep 16, 2008, 02:09 PM
These apps are all well and good, but where is my voice-based turn-by-turn navigation app???

Not upgrading to the 3G iPhone until a nav app like this is available. No need to.

Jason Edwards
Sep 16, 2008, 02:16 PM
I love the iControl idea. It would be cool to automate my house (lights on at 7:00am, fan on low, dimmer on half,MWF), but I can't see how they could do that with just an app and a 3g/wifi connection. Wireless surveillance I can see (use the iSight on a Mac to stream video to the iPhone). Am I missing something when they say "home automation?"

The iPhone app would work in conjunction with their home automation hardware/devices. Check out their website to see what I mean.

Jason

eastcoastsurfer
Sep 16, 2008, 02:46 PM
Apple's got to get a few things right before revolutionary software will come to pass on the iPhone.

1. Remove the NDA on the iPhone SDK. Without a vibrant open knowledge-sharing community, the wheel must repeatedly be reinvented, dramatically slowing innovation. You can search for certain things, but there isn't enough chatter to effectively problem-solve technical hurdles for the average software engineer. For simple apps this doesn't matter, but for the complex it definitely does.


This is a huge one! The article mentions better apps as developers become more familiar with the platform. Hello! Remove the NDA so we actually talk openly about the platform! Apple needs to start treating 3rd party devs as an asset instead of a liability. Who the hell is running the show up there?

ryanwarsaw
Sep 16, 2008, 03:05 PM
The last rejected app was small news because it is only worth peanuts. If Apple rejects any app this company put so much money into then it is another story.

The Tall One
Sep 16, 2008, 03:27 PM
When you pump money into something, good things usually result. If developers know they can be funded by venture capitalists who are EXPECTING the developers to make money, then these developers will be motivated to do good and interesting work. Hopefully.

And by the way, WTF with Force Unleashed.

mackiwi
Sep 16, 2008, 03:47 PM
Their analysis is a bit lame - they are comparing 12m iphones to 250m other phones, but fail to mention:

- The 10s of millions of ipod touch units also sold - that also run apps

I thought these guys were supposed to br financial gurus, instead they sound like apples PR department.

I love my apps by the way.

mamcx
Sep 16, 2008, 05:18 PM
Yeah, I was a bit dissapointed by the original way the iFund was presented. In my mind, I imagine that was for give something in the range of US 10.000-100.000 for each developers, so US 100 millons could fund a lot of developers.I submit two ideas, but in the end look like was the average VC plan.

calisurfboy
Sep 16, 2008, 05:45 PM
Forces Unleased looked awesome..... for a phone. That is the thing, the iphone is a phone. Its in its earliest stages but with the right advancements it can be an awesome game machine, ipod, and what I really want, a PDA. For the time being, though, some of the statements talking about it being a powerful game machine are way off and I feel it is like that spore game. It is dabbing in two many areas but is weak in all of them. They need to strengthen the different stages that they make up one at a time. For starters make it a strong phone. Get MMS. Add signature recognition for PDA. Copy and Paste. The ability to video record and not just take photos. Then move on to more ambitious projects like a gaming machine, etc.

bplein
Sep 16, 2008, 06:03 PM
The iFund is a joke. The first 2 companies to get funded were owned by its board members.

http://macenstein.com/default/archives/1384

I wouldn't be surprised if we discovered similar ties to the latest 3 companies.

It will be interesting to see how much of the $100 million they've raised goes back into their board member's pockets.

Uh, you do realize how venture capital works, don't you?

VC funds corporation, takes a board seat as an advisor. VC also owns stock in the company.

Or did you think that VC did this out of the kindness of their hearts?

angusshangus
Sep 16, 2008, 06:24 PM
I've been waiting for the slingplayer for the iPhone since i first got a slingbox 1 year ago... All along slingmedia has ben promising this application, i hope it doesn't fall through. Give me that and turn-by-turn w/ voice commands on the GPS and I'm all good.

iReality85
Sep 16, 2008, 07:18 PM
So for 6 million dollars, Pelago is developing consumer software (Whrrl) that will allow us to know exactly where our friends are (should they so choose) in real time, all the time.

Creep-tastic.

Lara F
Sep 16, 2008, 08:25 PM
I'm more worried about SlingPlayer being delayed over bandwith issues than over iTunes function duplication. Unless it's restricted to Wifi only which would be pretty disappointing. With AT&T being notoriously sucky in NYC, I'm not expecting good video streaming anyway but I still want to be able to program my DVR at least.

ricardo.hudson
Sep 16, 2008, 08:30 PM
If they want to recoup some of their money - they should invest in a simple puzzle type game - the type that are booming in the app store.. not a remote control solution to a problem that about 5 extremely rich people have.

marksman
Sep 16, 2008, 09:50 PM
The iPhone does not allow you to download podcasts remotely.

The primary function of the program is to manage and organize and play podcasts. The iPhone already does that natively.

If you make an app that has e-mail but then also turns the screen orange, it is not going to get denied for turning the screen orange, and because it can turn the screen orange and the native app can not, does not mean it should be approved.

As for the incestous funding, who cares. The people putting up the money have a right to put it where they want it. if it involves other companies they trust and are familar with, i don't see a problem with that. As long as those who are contributing to the fund don't care, why should any of us?

if you want to spend 100 million to fund iPhone developers, feel free. I am sure you will find many to take you up on it.

marksman
Sep 16, 2008, 09:54 PM
Let's hope that's true. 95% of the apps in the App Store are junk.

But does it really require millions and millions of dollars to develop a $4.99 app?

Why do you think an application that cost $5 million to develop would cost $4.99.

People are seemingly confused. Because 99% of all app store apps so far were done for a few thousand dollars or less, and can sell for free or .99 cents, does not mean that is what all apps are going to cost to make or be worth.

the iPhone is a pretty robust development platform. That is at least what you hear from a lot of prominent developers. it will take time and money for some of the more serious applications to come to fruition. But to sit here and think that someone is spending a million dollars on a flashlight/tip calculator combo application and going to sell it for $1.99 is pretty naive.

Rybold
Sep 17, 2008, 01:13 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

Kleiner Perkins ...
companies:
- Pelago (http://www.whrrl.com/) – social discovery and location sharing through an application called Whrrl
- iControl (http://www.icontrol.com/) – a home automation and monitoring solution available in Q1
- ng:moco (http://www.ngmoco.com/) – iPhone games launching its first titles this month
- GOGII (http://www.gogii.com/) – A new social interaction and marketing platform, launching in Q4
- An unannounced venture launching in Q1


You named five companies, but which Apps ???

What popular Apps did "Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB)" fund?

winterspan
Sep 17, 2008, 02:28 AM
I know that either way it is implemented, SOMEONE will be bitching sooner or later, but I've been disappointed in how Apple has handled the application store.I'm not necessarily advocating that Apple needs to create a high barrier to entry of the walled garden app store, but there has to be some guidelines to separate out the good applications from the pure trash that clogs the store! I'm not exactly sure how they could implement a policy, but there should be a minimum level of quality and completeness to be accepted.
I guess if they would just revamp their rating system and navigation, it would go a long way to getting good apps in the face of users.

Heres my recommendations:

1) First of all, when browsing the app store (on the iPhone) you should definitely be able to SORT BY USER RATING! Why should I have to dig through pages and pages of mindless crap created to find the few gems worth purchasing in given category?? This sorting should extend to categories, featured, searches, etc.

2) The application category hierarchy needs to be revamped so its much more expressive/detailed. The first level categories could definitely be arranged better, and there needs to be a second and possibly even a third level. Just having "Utilities" or "Productivity" or "Games" just doesn't cut it when they are going to have literally thousands of apps in the store.

3) The amazon-type rating system is a failure. After looking through many of the comments, it is clear that many individuals don't have a clue in hell as to the philosophy behind product reviews and ratings. Here a few of the problems:

* Applications improve over time. Many of the applications on launch day which had some bugs and problems saw hundreds of negative ratings from users, and now even if they have fixed bugs and dramatically improved the application, the huge volume of initial poor ratings overwhelms any of the recent positive ratings.

* Similar to above, people will assign a poor rating to an application when they have problems that may be unrelated to the specific application, and actually an issue with the iPhone itself, like Applications that are refusing to start or freezing up, etc.

* For some reason, individuals think they should give poor ratings to applications when they disagree with the price or some other issue unrelated to the actual functionality of the app. I can't count how many times I have seen a comment with a 1-star rating like this: "$5.99 DOLALRS FOR A CELLPHONE GAME? TOTALY NOT WORTH IT! SUX". I'm not saying that overall "value" shouldn't be part of a legitimate rating, but that's not exactly what these people are doing.



To make this work better, what I would recommend is revamping the rating system to have two or even three discrete 5-star ratings for different evaluations. You could have, say, one rating for functionality and one rating for value . And possibly even a third of "maturity/stability".

In addition, they should figure out some simple way to either separate or at least statistically weight the ratings so that if more recent versions of an application are much better than the early versions, they can shed the weight of all the initial poor ratings. Perhaps newer ratings after each update of the application is release could be statistically weighted to have a great bearing on the final rating than the initial ratings.

agree? am I crazy?

Lictor
Sep 17, 2008, 04:51 AM
Let's hope that's true. 95% of the apps in the App Store are junk.

Apple policy is not helping there.
The NDA makes it more costly to develop complex applications, because of the lack of documentation (books), training and forums.
The random rejection policy makes it so that it's best to develop applications with little risk of rejection and little investment. The only exception is games, because there is little risk of these being rejecting.
The ironic part is that outside of the gaming industry, the only other industry that seems willing to invest a lot in the platform is the porn industry... They work well with the webapp model, they can manage to earn a lot of cash with the webapp model and also have little fear of rejection by Apple since they can't control the webapps.

But does it really require millions and millions of dollars to develop a $4.99 app?

Not really. But don't expect all the applications to cost $4.99. When the big players, like TomTom, finally cut a deal with Apple, don't expect them to sell their applications for a mere $4.99. Or even $49.99...

Lictor
Sep 17, 2008, 05:06 AM
I'm more worried about SlingPlayer being delayed over bandwith issues than over iTunes function duplication. Unless it's restricted to Wifi only which would be pretty disappointing. With AT&T being notoriously sucky in NYC, I'm not expecting good video streaming anyway but I still want to be able to program my DVR at least.

Well, if that is the case, it would be high time that Apple realises that the iPhone also sells *outside* of the USA. Like, in Europe, where 3G+ actually works. Or, when it doesn't, where the consummers actually petition until it is fixed - like what happened in France with Orange. Orange finally removed any restriction on the iPhones on its network, 1.8Mbs now works well.

So, high bandwidth applications are perfectly possible in a market that is actually bigger than the USA with AT&T. There is a demand for that, there is a network than can handle that (and actually does since notebooks users have had 3G+ adapters for quite a while) and the majority of the population has access to 3G even in rural areas.

Having a single partner unable to deliver is not a good reason to block an entire market...

milatchi
Sep 17, 2008, 01:11 PM
I wish Quake would come to the iPhone. I'm not sure about the controls for it but I would love to play it. Anyway, Apple is great and this is fantastic! Way to go Apple!

Steve Jobs = Genius

Mr Fusion
Sep 17, 2008, 03:27 PM
I'm more worried about SlingPlayer being delayed over bandwith issues than over iTunes function duplication. Unless it's restricted to Wifi only which would be pretty disappointing. With AT&T being notoriously sucky in NYC, I'm not expecting good video streaming anyway but I still want to be able to program my DVR at least.
That would be bulls&it. Ma Bell's pathetic 3G coverage is their problem, don't make it ours. I'm not paying $30/mo. to share bandwith. My friend in SF lives five miles from Apple's home base and the best he can receive is Edge. :rolleyes:

My iPhone Must-Have List:

- SlingPlayer - I waited for the 3G iPhone [and so did Sling] so they could allow me to control my DirecTV DVR from anywhere 3G is.

- Flash - Believe it or not, some websites actually require it, including most of the sites I access for work/productivity. So quit sh*tting on it Steve, and stop telling me I have the "full internet" without this and Java.

- Java - This is as simple as a software upgrade for the iPhone. It's a no-brainer.

- Pocket Quicken - I need something that automatically syncs with Quicken, but unfortunately Intuit has dropped off the face of the Earth this year.

So enough with the silly games and the ten million tip calculators, give me the above so I can do what my iPhone was meant to do: Make me more productive. :)

gmeddles
Sep 17, 2008, 05:01 PM
- Pocket Quicken - I need something that automatically syncs with Quicken, but unfortunately Intuit has dropped off the face of the Earth this year.


It's a shame they haven't dropped of the face of the Earth entirely. Quicken for Mac 2007 was the one and only reason that I installed VMWare/XP to use a real version. It really is a shame that I have the last 15 years worth of data in their proprietary file format, or I would have stopped using their bloatware years ago. I own my data but they certainly have it held hostage. If there were a web app which could download transactions from all my banks, and allow my to import my historical data I would be in heaven. A mobile version would be a very simple extension. You wouldn't even need a native app.

Lictor
Sep 18, 2008, 01:21 AM
- Flash - Believe it or not, some websites actually require it, including most of the sites I access for work/productivity. So quit sh*tting on it Steve, and stop telling me I have the "full internet" without this and Java.

Actually, it goes even farther than that. The iPhone might be in the process of bringing the next paradygm shift to the mobile phone, but Flash is in the process of bringing another one to the web. Frameworks such as Flex and AIR are *really* moving things to the next step.
Having Flash support would allow to run Flex and AIR applications on the platform, and what your provide developers with a step between webapps and custom iPhone applications. Flex can really shine for corporate developmets, with its natural ability to interface with webservices.

- Java - This is as simple as a software upgrade for the iPhone. It's a no-brainer.

And, again, more choices for the developers.
Though I can understand Apple there, Java could predate Objective-C/Cocoa developments. Also, Java could break the uniformity of the UI on the platform, it's way to easy to design crapy GUI in Java.
Flash doesn't have such problems. It would be very easy to provide iPhone like controls on Flex.

So enough with the silly games and the ten million tip calculators, give me the above so I can do what my iPhone was meant to do: Make me more productive. :)

And bring a way for decent applications to stand out on the AppStore...