MLB delivers completely revamped At The Ballpark app


With the start of the Major League Baseball season just days away the league has delivered a complete rebuilt At The Ballpark app that includes a great deal more local customization, new technology integration and support.

The app has been available for 4 years and the facelift will add many features that will give users a greater ability to customize the app to meet their personal needs and usage model. It is available now for 20 ballparks and runs on both Android and Apple’s iOS operating system with additional customization in the latest release for the iOS 7 operating system.

The first of the two key technologies that have been incorporated is mapping and directions provided by a MapQuest-powered engine. MapQuest has a deal with MLBAM that will call for the delivery of additional MLB-focused features that will be available soon for both operating systems that At The Ballpark supports. In addition MapQuest and MLBAM also are co-creating an original video series, expected to debut in May 2014.

The second technology has been much more talked about in recent months, and that is the inclusion of iBeacon, a low powered micro-location technology that was introduced with iOS 7. MLBAM has equipped 20 ballparks with dozens of iBeacons each, and starting with Opening Day fans can check in at the ballpark and then receive offers and information from locations within the park as they travel around or sit in their seats.

Currently there are only a select few applications for the technology at the ball yards but MLBAM is working to create more and expects to deliver them later this year, as well as expand the number of fields that have the technology.

For fans who have been using At The Ballpark in the past it will still have the familiar functions including the ability to use MyTickets Mobile for delivery and storage of all MLB tickets sold as well as seat upgrade functions in select clubs. Some clubs also allow you to order food and beverages with the app.

You can view team stats, schedule and watch video of games, a number of hooks into social media and rewards for check-ins as well as more mundane features such as ballpark guides, parking and directions are all among the functions of the app.

This is a great upgrade to the app and really enables fans to not just customize their experience but will provide even seasoned baseball game attendees the ability to make the experience easier and more enjoyable.

Apple Shows iOS7, OSX and iTunes Radio at WWDC


Apple’s annual World Wide Developer Conference opened today at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and the company’s CEO Tim Cook took center stage to talk about what the company’s near term plans are and to drop hints about what it might do in the long run.

There had already been a host of hints about what the company would discuss, focused primarily on the software side with a new iOS and a new OS for computers online. The questions people had were about a possible music service and if there was going to be any solid news about hardware such as next generation iPads and iPhones.

The issue that Apple increasingly faces at this event, and for that matter at any event at which it makes an announcement is that there is a sense of over anticipation among the company’s fans and it is increasingly hard to have blockbuster after blockbuster announcements

Apple opened the show with its usual retail update and one set of numbers really stands out of you are an app developer looking at this platform. Apple has 575 million online accounts and it has paid app developers $10 billion over the last five years, reportedly that is 3X more than all of the other platforms combined. The company’s game center has 240 million users. 600 million iOS devices sold.

Mac sales are up 100% in the last year, compared to only 18% for PCs. The company introduced its latest upgrade to its computer operating system, OSX Mavericks. It has, as expected a host of new features including CPU optimization, compressed memory that enables apps to start much faster, iBooks, Maps, and the ability to merge multiple windows.

The operating system is available now for developers and for the general public this fall. There is also a new line of MacBook Airs with a huge increase in batter life due to using the Haswell processor, all available now while a sneak peak at forthcoming Mac Pro desktops was also provided.

The company showed iWorks for iCloud that enables users to create and format documents in your browser, and it supports drag and drop. It is in beta now and should be available by the end of the year.

The latest mobile operating system, iOS 7 was also introduced at the show. It starts out with a basic new look with redesigned icons and what is referred to as a flatter look. That is just on top, it has been redesigned to have distinct layers of functionality that help with order and establish a hierarchy.

An interesting twist is that in the future you will be able to get iOS in your future car as at least 12 automakers have agreed to integrated the OS by the end of next year. It can get maps, make calls and play music, just as you would expect.

A few of the new features include multitasking supported by all apps, folders now support multiple pages so they can store more apps. New access to Control Center, you just simply swipe up from the bottom of the device as well as faster access to Wi-Fi. It has the ability to judge apps that you use more, or use at specific times of day to enable them faster.

New organization and added filters for photos and it can now share video with iCloud. New updated version of Siri of course including a male voice, information from Twitter, Bing and Wikipedia has been integrated.

iTunes radio was introduced and is built into the music app, with features such as one tap purchase of songs and the ability to share music with friends and create your own stations. Another new iTunes feature is that it will no longer notify you when apps need updating, it will just do it automatically.

Other software news was that the new iOS 7 will be supported by iPhones 4 and later and iPad 2 and later. There are 1,500 new APIs for developers and the final release of the operating system will be this fall.