In addition to the previously disclosed features of iPhone OS 3.0, Apple today announced that the software—officially launching June 17 worldwide—will now include two new features that were previously rumored: Find My iPhone and direct-to-device video downloads. Find My iPhone relies upon a subscription to Apple’s MobileMe service to let users automatically create sound and text alerts on their lost devices, helping them to either find the devices themselves or inform their finders as to their presence and return details. Users can send out noises that are audible even if the iPhone’s ringer switch has been turned off; they can also completely wipe the iPhone from afar, and use the integrated GPS functionality to locate the device’s current position on a map.
iPhone OS 3.0 also adds video downloads, a feature that enables the iPhone to wirelessly download movies, TV shows, and other video content without being connected to a computer. The feature also adds audiobook download support to the iPhone’s integrated iTunes Store for the first time, and permits direct-from-device video rentals as well.
Electronic Arts has released The Sims 3, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Demonstrated during Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 event, The Sims 3 is a life simulation game, in which users take control of their Sim’s life, customizing personality traits and physical characterisitcs, and choosing their destiny by deciding what actions they take, where they go, whether they fufill their goals, and who they interact with. The Sims 3 is available now from the App Store and sells for $10.
BeatRider, a new rhythm game, has been released in the App Store. Similar to the popular Tap Tap series of games, BeatRider players tap the screen along with the rhythm of the music. BeatRider, however, allows players to use their own music when playing the game, rather than only canned music provided within the application itself. As the Apple SDK does not currently provide the ability for third-party applications to access the device’s music library, BeatRider uses a hosted web site where players can upload their own tracks in MP3 or M4A format. BeatRider is available from the App Store in both a full version for $5 and a free lite version.
Apple and Electronic Arts have released demonstration versions of the highly-anticipated game, The Sims 3 in Apple Retail stores in advanced of the game’s release on June 2. At the Apple Store, customers can use the “Create A Sim” feature to test-drive the game by creating their own unique Sim characters. [via MacDailyNews]
Gameloft has begun to release “lite” versions of some of their games, such as Hero of Sparta (iLounge rating: A-) which provide single-level demo versions that users can try before purchasing the full games. As many of the Gameloft titles have rated high or general recommendations from iLounge, these lite versions may be of special interest to readers.
Doom creator John Carmack has posted a progress report on his iPhone Doom Classic project, describing the development process and some of the challenges he has been facing in bringing Doom to the iPhone platform. Specifically, Carmack indicates while making Doom run on a new platform is relatively simple, “making it a really good game on a platform that doesn’t have a keyboard and mouse or an excess of processing power is an honest development effort.” Carmack states that he is making good progress and hopes to have Doom Classic available on the App Store by next month. [via TouchArcade]
During a summit for shareholders today, Sirius XM displayed a slide revealing a screenshot of its forthcoming iPhone app. From the presentation, it appears that users will be able to browse audio programming by categories, channels and favorites. The app also appears to include a “shopping” feature which may integrate with the iTunes Store. While the app itself is expected to be available as a free download from the App Store, a Sirius XM radio subscription will be required. Subscribers may also be required to add an additional $3/month “streaming” package to their existing subscriptions. [via MacDailyNews]
Skorpiostech, maker of the Cocktails+ app for the iPhone and iPod touch (iLounge rating: B+) has announced the release of Tiki+, a new recipe app for Tiki cocktails and exotic drinks. Tiki+ shares most of the features of Cocktails+, including the ability to search recipes by ingredients, mark favorites, email recipes, and share recipes through Twitter and Facebook. In Tiki+, you can browse recipes by base liquor, type, flavor and other characteristics. Measurements can be displayed in imperial or metric units, and comprehensive ingredient definition and substitution information are provided. Tiki+ costs $4 and is available now from the App Store.
T-Mobile Austria briefly listed an “iPhone 32GB” placeholder in the “Coming Soon” section on its web site. A similar slip at T-Mobile Germany two years ago foretold the availability of the original iPhone on the German carrier. [via Engadget Mobile]
Two Tribes has just released its long-awaited iPhone version of Toki Tori. Originally released for the Game Boy Color in 2001 and later updated for the Wii, Toki Tori is a puzzle platform game where players take on the role of a chick working to free his kidnapped siblings while avoiding various obstacles and enemies. Tiki Tori includes 80 levels and is available from the App Store for $5. [via TouchArcade]
A reader at TUAW notes that a photo from the latest STS-125 space shuttle mission shows Astronauts John Grunsfeld and Andrew Feustel posing for a photo aboard the space shuttle with an iPod clearly visible in the background. On closer inspection, the iPod appears to be a fourth-generation model with what looks to be a Belkin TunePower battery pack.
Apple has rejected yet another iPhone reading application over “explicit content,” despite the fact that the same content is offered in other currently-available apps, as well as online. iPhone developer Jamie Montgomerie has posted a blog entry chronicling his communications with Apple over the rejection of Eucalyptus, his book reader app that taps into Project Gutenberg, a producer of free electronic books that offers more than 28,000 titles. “The exact book (the Kama Sutra) that Apple considers the ability to read ‘objectionable’ is freely available on the iPhone in many ways already,” writes Montgomerie. “You can find it through Safari or the Google app of course, but it is also easily available via other book reading apps. You can get it easily via eReader, though the search process is handled by launching a third-party site in Safari, with the download and viewing taking place in eReader. Stanza offers up multiple versions, some with illustrated covers. Amazon’s Kindle app, the latest version of which was approved by Apple this week, offers multiple versions too - although it does charge from 80¢ to $10 per book - and you again purchase via Safari before Kindle downloads the book.”
He continues, “I am at a loss to explain why Eucalyptus is being treated differently than these applications by Apple. I’m also frankly amazed that they would suggest I should be manually censoring content that is being downloaded from the public Internet - classic, even ancient, books, no less.” He goes on to say that Apple seems unaware of “how genuinely torturous the app store approval process is,” suggesting that Apple should at the least implement a policy of “responding to at least one email after a rejection.” Montgomerie explains that he plans to manually block the book from appearing in the application, in hopes of it finally being accepted.
Tapulous has teamed with Dave Matthews Band for the release of Dave Matthews Band Revenge, the company’s latest artist-specific rhythm game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Dave Matthews Band Revenge features ten songs, including two singles from the band’s upcoming album Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, themes, graphics, and effects inspired by the band’s videos and discography, four difficulty levels, each with unlockable boss tracks, a multi-player mode, a DMB news feed, and Facebook Connect. Dave Matthews Band Revenge is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.
Developers could potentially use hidden features to skirt Apple’s App Store rules, according to a new report. Citing iPhone developer Jelle Prins’ application Lyrics as an example, Wired reports that Apple may not have the ability to thoroughly test iPhone applications for secret features, exposing a potential loophole for developers to slide objectionable content and possibly even malicious code past the company’s watchdogs. Prins’ Lyrics app was originally rejected due to objectionable language in the lyrics of some songs, and was accepted only after Prins added a profanity filter. However, Prins hid the ability to turn the filter off in the app’s About page, letting users access the very content that got the app rejected in the first place.
“It’s almost impossible for Apple to see if there’s an Easter egg because they can’t really see the source code,” Prins said. “In theory a developer could make a simple Easter egg in their app and provide a user with whatever content they want.” Nullriver CEO Adam Dann expressed concern over the potential harm a wave of hidden content could cause, saying, “If people start putting in naked pictures of their ex-girlfriend as an Easter egg to get revenge, or something like that, that isn’t quite right[.] It has the potential to really mess things up for everybody.” iPhone forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski pointed out that hidden code could also potentially be used to invade a user’s privacy by secretly accessing the microphone, camera, or Address Book. “It’s not impossible to write code that looks innocent and acts innocent until you throw some kind of switch,” Zdziarski said. “It’s not hard to get that sort of thing past Apple…. It’s the equivalent of a doctor using a magnifying glass to try and find germs.”
MeLLmo, a mobile business application developer, has announced RoamBi, its new service/application for the iPhone and iPod touch. RoamBi allows users to take static information such as spreadsheets, tables, and reports from popular business applications and automatically convert it into interactive visualizations that can be viewed on the iPhone. RoamBi’s online tool lets users upload Excel spreadsheets, HTML table data, CSV files, Salesforce.com CRM reports, and more, select one of four information views, and publish the information to the RoamBi Visualizer iPhone application in one click. RoamBi’s Visualizer iPhone application is available now as a free download from the App Store; the company’s basic online publisher is also free, with a premium offering planned for later in the year.
Apple is forcing David Muzi, developer of the iPhone and iPod touch RSS application Trackr, to remove all features related to torrent queuing from the next version of the app, or have it pulled from the App Store. Trackr drew extra attention when iLounge reported that Apple had rejected Maza Digital’s Drivetrain torrent remote control application, as Muzi wrote in to point out that Trackr also lets users remotely queue torrents to start downloading, functionality similar to what Apple rejected in DriveTrain. In a message on his software site, Muzi explains that a new version of Trackr, minus the ability to work with torrent RSS feeds, will be submitted to the App Store today; as a result of the reduced feature set, he is dropping the price of Trackr to $1.99.
Square Enix has released Vanguard Storm, the latest addition to its series of Crystal Defenders games for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Vanguard Storm, players must strategically position units in various formations in order to prevent approaching monsters from breaking though the front lines and stealing the players’ crystals. The game features a real-time turn-based play system, jobs from the company’s Final Fantasy Tactics A2 game, and a wide variety of monsters. Vanguard Storm is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.
Elvis Presley Enterprises has introduced its new Elvis Mobile application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed by Resolute Games, Elvis Mobile features an Elvis sightings section for submitting Elvis pictures, with the option for Facebook integration, an images section offering never-before-seen and rare pictures of Elvis, a videos section with clips of the entertainer and other Elvis events, a news section, a livecam section offering real-time views of Graceland, and a podcast section for streaming the Graceland Beat from Elvis Radio. Elvis Mobile is available as a free download from the App Store.
Yellow Zinnia has announced Scoop, its new RSS reader application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Unlike traditional RSS readers, Scoop is optimized for viewing images and media, allowing users to view articles with full screen images. Other features include the ability to save images for offline viewing, the ability to watch YouTube videos in feeds, and full Newsgator sync support. Scoop is available now and sells for $3.
Smule has released Leaf Trombone: Lite & Free, a demo version of its latest music creation app Leaf Trombone: World Stage. Lite & Free allows players to get a sample of the paid game by offering a free play mode, a play game mode featuring a single default track, and an observe mode, which lets users watch the judging of performances by a live panel of judges. Leaf Trombone: Lite & Free is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Following the announcement that the new SlingPlayer Mobile app for iPhone would be limited to Wi-Fi only, AT&T has released an unusual statement regarding the limitation and why it was put into place. In the statement, the exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier claims the program “would use large amounts of wireless network capacity” and “could create congestion and potentially prevent other customers from using the network.” It goes on to say that the company considers the iPhone and other smartphones to be personal computers, as “they have the same hardware and software attributes as PCs,” while pointing out that applications that redirect a TV signal to a PC are specifically prohibited under its terms of service. Finally, the company pointed out that it doesn’t restrict users from watching video on the web, and that they can get free Wi-Fi access at the company’s 20,000 U.S. hot spots. The statement is the first to suggest that Apple permits its network partners a veto power over certain application approvals.
After a long delay, Sling Media’s SlingPlayer Mobile app for iPhone and iPod touch has been approved for release in the App Store, albeit with a very high price tag and more restrictions than originally planned. First unveiled in January, the approved app works only on Wi-Fi—not on 3G as planned, suggesting Apple and/or AT&T had issues with the bandwidth used by the app—and will support the SlingBox Pro, Pro-HD, and Solo, with unofficial support for older SlingBox units. According to Engadget, the app’s controls exhibit slight lag despite the Wi-Fi-only restriction, and it displays letterbox-formatted content with black bars on all four sides, failing to take full advantage of the iPhone’s and iPod touch’s screen. SlingPlayer Mobile for the iPhone and iPod touch is expected to hit the App Store between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time, and will sell for $30.
Update: SlingPlayer Mobile is now available from the App Store.
Capcom has released its new Resident Evil: Degeneration game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the film of the same name, Degeneration is a fully 3-D survival horror game in which players take control of Leon Kennedy as he shoots his way through hordes of zombies. The game features both touchscreen- and accelerometer-based context-sensitive controls, a third-person over the shoulder perspective, a large variety of weapons, and in-engine cut scenes. Resident Evil: Degeneration is available now and sells for $7.
PopCap has released its long-awaited version of Peggle for the iPhone and iPod touch. Peggle challenges players to fire a metallic ball from the top of the screen in hopes of clearing as many orange, green, and blue pegs as possible. Players must clear all orange pegs from the screen to advance, while green pegs offer power-ups such as area-clearing blasts, pinball flipper-like lobster claws, and fireballs, and blue pegs can be cleared for a large point bonus. In addition, the game offers a iPhone and iPod touch-exclusive zoom mode, on-screen controls, and new types of style shots. Peggle for the iPhone and iPod touch is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.
For more information on Peggle, see our full review.
Apple has rejected yet another iPhone and iPod touch application, Me So Holy, citing “objectionable content.” Similar to the developer Lil’ Shark’s prior photo manipulation app Animalizer, Me So Holy allows users to replace the face of a religious figure with any face from the iPhone’s camera or photo library, optionally adding text. On the product’s blog, the company writes, “Our question is, is religion really to be placed in the same category as these violent apps? Sex, urine and defecation don’t seem to be off-limits, yet a totally non-violent, religion-based app is. We feel that Apple is being too sensitive to its perceived user group and are disappointed that this otherwise creative, freethinking company would reject such a positive and fun application.” [via Silicon Alley Insider]
Ahead of the release of iPhone OS 3.0, Amazon has launched a new version of its Kindle Store optimized for the iPhone and iPod touch. Accessible from the “Get Books” button in Amazon’s Kindle for iPhone app, the new site opens pages in the Safari browser, giving users the ability to make one-click purchases of the Kindle Store’s 280,000 books without using an in-application downloading mechanism. Notably, Apple has announced “In-App Purchasing” as an iPhone OS 3.0 developer tool for adding content to apps, with Apple taking a 30% cut of any sales handled in this matter; the use of Safari appears to be a workaround to enable easy purchasing without Apple revenue sharing. Ian Freed, vice president of Amazon Kindle operations, said, “The most common feedback we heard from customers was that they wanted a better experience for purchasing new Kindle books from their iPhones. We’ve been working hard to respond to that feedback with a new web site optimized for Safari on iPhone and we’re excited to do that today.” Amazon’s Kindle for iPhone application is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Apple has rejected iPhone developer Maza Digital’s Drivetrain application, a remote control for Transmission, a BitTorrent client for Mac OS X and other platforms. After an initial email stating that Drivetrain required “unexpected additional time for review,” Maza then received a rejection email from Apple, stating that “this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store.”
Calling the rejection “ridiculous,” Maza notes that “a BitTorrent client or the BitTorrent protocol are not illegal (and does not infringe on third party rights),” and points out that Drivetrain does not download anything itself, instead allowing users to manage the activity of Transmission, including controls for stop, start, and delete; while it allows users to upload .torrent files to Transmission, it does so by sending links to Transmission instead of downloading/uploading files itself. Maza suggests that Apple “seems to have decided that any app that has anything to do with BitTorrent (even if the app does not download/upload anything!) is treated as doing something that ‘is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights,’ and will therefore likely be rejected.”
Update: iPhone developer David Muzi contacted iLounge to point out that his iPhone and iPod touch RSS application Trackr, currently available on the App Store, also lets users remotely queue torrents to start downloading to a computer running uTorrent or Transmission—functionality similar to what Apple rejected in DriveTrain. Trackr sells for $2.99.
The Iconfactory has released version 2.0 of its Twitterrific and Twitterrific Premium Twitter client applications for the iPhone and iPod touch. New in version 2.0 is a redesigned user interface, new themes and timeline layouts, support for multiple Twitter accounts, extended author information, support for Twitter searches and trends, timeline filtering, conversation threads, retweeting support, an improved posting interface, and advanced setting options. Twitterrific and Twitterrific Premium are available now from the App Store; Twitterrific is a free download, while the Premium version is priced at $4.
Namco has released Dig Dug Remix, its latest retro-inspired game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Like Galaga Remix, Dig Dug Remix includes both the arcade classic and a new “remix” version of the game, featuring all new graphics, boss battles, six different power-ups, 35 levels, and five bosses. Both versions of the game offer a choice between an on-screen D-pad and a “flick” control mode, three difficulty settings, and normal or free play game modes. Dig Dug Remix is available now from the App Store and sells for $6.