Version 2.0 is done and submitted. I'm actually already started on 2.1 which will add some more polish to the newer features. I had to get the new features out as soon as possible because they really take the app to a new level... and I am running out of time to get it approved before Christmas 2009 (my last approval was 3 weeks).
So, version 2.0 will now search your iPod library and play music from your own library. Right now we are basically doing the simplest thing and just looking for track name matches. If you have more than one match we will play them in random order. This really makes the app more personalized and gets around some of the copyright issues we had with including this music in the original app. We have also added the ability to pull the lyrics from your track as well. So, for "White Christmas" or "Frosty the Snowman" or any of the other great carols from the last 80 years or so, which are still protected by copyright, we can now get the lyrics directly from *your* track. Again, this is your purchased music, so there is no problem with copyright. This functionality is a little more "flakey" than I would like at the moment. I struggled with getting the lyric functionality to work because sometimes the iPod library just won't return the lyrics in the track. I finally found an obscure blog post where the poster discovered that if you first play the track in your iPod, the lyrics magically appear. And, as cumbersome as this workaround is, it does seem to do the trick. I'll be looking into this more for 2.1 to see what can be improved.
Oh, and if your iPod track title doesn't quite match up, we have provided a button where you can go find the right track in your library. For instance, Faith Hill's track "Little Drummer Boy" will not be a match for our track "The Little Drummer Boy". I will definitely have a solution to this in 2.1, but in the meantime you can point the app to the correct track in your library. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to save this information right now, so you will have to do it each time you use the app. Again, this will be better in 2.1.
I know it is fashionable to bash Apple for the approval process these days and this was my longest approval yet. It was partly my fault. I originally had a reference to a "private" API. I removed all code paths that could call it, but I still had some code commented out and still had the reference included in the build. Once I fixed this, it was really only a few more business days until I got the approval. Yes, the approval process seems to take an interminably long time, but it beats having an empty app store that nobody pays attention to.
First of all, let me apologize for the long delay in reparing iChristmas for the iphone 3.0 OS update. While I did see this update coming and even
downloaded the beta SDKs several times, what I did not see coming was the interest in our little application in the middle of August or even the
beginning of October. I got a surge of energy reading through all of the support emails that have been left waiting for me until I dusted iChristmas off
again at beginning of Novemeber. I have had some new features in mind for this app for awhile and just seeing how many people use it and care
when it is broken has re-energized me. There will be an iChristmas 2.0 soon and it will have some cool new features to it. Thanks for your support
and patience this year. And, if you have feature ideas for the app, please do send them our way.
The second order of business for version 1.3 is also a little unpleasant. There were several carols that we included in previous versions for
completeness, but did not supply music for. These are carols that have been published recently and are still under copyright protection. That
copyright also applies to the lyrics, so we are no longer able to include the lyrics for these carols either. My knowledge of copyright law comes almost
completely from the wikipedia page on the subject and this was just a simple mistake that we had to correct in this version. This is probably also a
good time to point out that if you are a copyright holder and we still have lyrics or music in the app, please let us know and we will remove it promptly.
Conversely, if our "crack" research staff has made a mistake and not included a carol for copyright reasons that you believe is no longer protected by
copyright, please let us know so that we can include it. I have some plans in the works for alternate ways of obtaining lyrics while still respecting the
copyright for these great carols that should be implemented by the time version 2.0 is complete.
I had meant to get a web site up at the end of last year, but that didn't happen. I was literally exhausted after writing a couple of iPhone applications in
a couple of months time. It was a lot of fun and I really haven't been that excited about software in a long time. The problem is that these kind of
opportunities always seem to come at times when my cup is already full. The end of this year is kind of shaping up that way again, but at least I have
an early start on it and a web site.