Augmented reality apps on hold until 3.1?
It was only a couple of weeks ago that straphanger hopes for an augmented reality guide to the NYC subways were flying high... and now it looks like they may have to wait for Labor Day before they can amaze their friends and stun their enemies. The LA Times is reporting a conversation with Acrossair developers where they indicate that the full-screen video features of the app can't ship before Apple releases iPhone OS 3.1 -- which they expect to drop in early September, in case you're marking your calendar.
According to the story, the live video/augmented reality approach depends on an unpublished camera API, hence the apps cannot be set free in the wild just yet. That may explain why several other inside-the-Matrix apps haven't cleared the store... and why September may see a bit of a surge in admissions to hospital emergency rooms for people with bruised foreheads and sheepish expressions.
Update 7/25: While the LA Times story is (so far) not yet updated, we have gotten feedback from a developer who insists that the 3.1 update will not provide additional hooks for AR apps; specifically, that the live camera view APIs are going to remain private and will not be exposed for third-party development. This source suggests that Acrossair is confused about Apple's position, and that the approval schedule aligning with 3.1 is a coincidence and not a technical restraint. We will try to reach Acrossair to confirm.