European music subscription and download service Spotify has received approval from Apple for its iPhone application after a month-long delay, paidContent UK reports. The app lets users stream music from the Spotify service, access and edit saved playlists, save playlists for offline listening, and search for new music. It also offers album artwork and detailed information for each song. The company submitted the application to Apple in late July, and had been in subsequent contact with the company, finally gaining approval today. Some had suggested that Apple was attempting to block the app, as paid subscription services could be seen as direct competitors to the iTunes Store; Real Networks has also submitted an application for its Rhapsody service, which also offers a paid subscription model. Spotify is currently available in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France and Spain, and hopes to launch in the U.S. later this year.
Apple is forcing developers to update, or otherwise pulling, applications offering a “Free Memory” function in an apparent attempt to ban the feature from the App Store. The “Free Memory” feature is most often a button found in iPhone and iPod touch activity monitoring programs such as Bjango’s iStat, allowing users to free up RAM that remains marked for use by closed programs. According to Bjango, iStat’s Free Memory function was removed at Apple’s request, and “all other apps with Free Memory appear to have been removed or updated without their Free Memory function.” It is unclear why Apple just now decided to outlaw the feature, or if the company plans on offering a similar built-in alternative, apart from simply restarting the device; users have long reported iPhone system and application instabilities traceable to memory problems.
Metro Paris Subway 3.0 from Presselite has been released onto the App Store with augmented reality features, possibly becoming the first application released to offer such functionality. Augmented reality applications utilize the iPhone’s Internet connection, GPS, Compass, and camera to overlay information atop a stream of video showing the user’s surroundings; Metro Paris Subway allows iPhone 3GS users to see nearby subway stations and points of interest. It is unclear what method the app is using to provide the background images, as it was previously believed that APIs allowing augmented reality applications to gain access to live video from the 3GS’ camera would not be implemented until iPhone OS 3.1. Metro Paris Subway is available now and sells for $1.
Q Entertainment has revealed plans to bring the puzzle game Lumines to the iPhone and iPod touch, 1-Up reports. Originally released for the PSP in 2004 and later adapted for other consoles, Lumines is a block-dropping game in which players must align rotate 2x2 multi-colored blocks and drop them onto the playing field in order to create solid 2x2 squares, which are then cleared away by a timeline that moves in sync with the background music. According to the company, the game will include new skins and music, and will be available in September.
After a multi-month delay, burrito chain Chipotle has re-released its ordering application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Launched alongside a newly updated online ordering system, the new Chipotle Ordering application lets users order food directly from their device, securely pay with a credit card, utilize Location services to find the nearest Chipotle restaurant, view the menu and fully customize their orders, save favorites for future orders, and more. Chipotle Ordering is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Gameloft has released Gangstar: West Coast Hustle, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Gangstar is a 3D Grand Theft Auto-style game, putting players in a fully-3D reconstruction of a city with open-ended environments. Players can complete missions at their own pace, and the game offers a variety of vehicles, weapons, and in game music; players can also choose to play their own music. Gangstar: West Coast Hustle sells for $7.
PawPaw has released Farm Idol, its new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Farm Idol is a music app in which users select from a cow, chicken, duck, pig, or sheep, and use a combination of on-screen notes and accelerometer-based pitch control to create music. Farm Idol is available now and is priced at $1.
Bump’ny Company has released Bump’ny, its first game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Bump’ny is based on an English pub game called Shove Ha’penny, in which players drag a coin to the bottom of the board and bump it so that it lands between two lines. the game offers both single and two-player modes, three levels of difficulty, varied playing surfaces, realistic gesture controls to “shove” coins into play, and accelerometer-based bump controls. Bump’ny is available now and sells for $2.
EA Mobile has released the first screenshots and details of its upcoming Madden NFL 10 football game for the iPhone and iPod touch. The game will feature complete rosters from all 32 NFL teams, authentic models of NFL stadiums such as Lambeau Field and the Metrodome, a season mode with in-depth trades, stats and individual player rewards, in-game commentary from John Madden, Tom Hammond and Cris Collinsworth, detailed roster management, the ability for players to draw up their own plays using the iPhone’s or iPod touch’s screen, and an action control mode that slows the game down to give the player more time to react to ongoing plays. The three screenshots, meanwhile, show the in-game interfaces for both passing and running, with what appears to be a color code system for indicating whether a receiver is in heavy, moderate, or light coverage. Notably, both interfaces include a mix of an on-screen analog stick and a bevy of buttons in the lower right-hand corner for handling player action and movement. Madden NFL 10 is currently slated for a September release; continue reading to see more screenshots.
In a lengthy, in-depth investigation spurred by an anonymous developer tip, MobileCrunch has revealed that the PR firm Reverb Communications has been actively posting bogus reviews on the App Store for its clients’ games, and offering the same service to potential clients. A check of the App Store, cross-referenced with information from the Internet, shows that Reverb has employed at least seven different iTunes accounts to create positive reviews for clients including IUGO, Pangea Software, which had its game Cro-Mag Rally featured prominently in a TV advertisement for the iPhone 3G, and Publisher X, which is owned by Reverb. In each case, the iTunes account in question had posted only 5-star reviews to a select number of these clients’ games, and had not posted a single review for any non-Reverb application.
In addition to the phony positive reviews, which are created by in-house writers to target select age ranges and are posted upon the game’s release, the company also promises clients “online message boards” management, and preferential placement on the App Store via its dealings with Apple. The company claims to work directly with Apple on “each and every iPhone title,” claiming to have secured on-stage Apple keynote appearances, national iPhone TV commercials, placement on the “What’s Hot,” “Staff Favorite,” and “What’s New” lists, and more for its clients. Other Reverb clients include Harmonix, International Game Technology, Realtime Associates, Playlogic, Zen Studios, Graffiti Entertainment, and MTV Games, and the company claims its clients have sold over $2 billion in product while contracted with the firm.
Over the course of a number of our own reviews of these companies’ titles, iLounge’s Editors have repeatedly noted a pronounced disparity between the quality of the apps and the App Store user comments. We urge our readers to exercise extreme caution in relying upon App Store ratings, as they continue to be subject to considerable manipulation by anonymous users.
Infinite Labs has released Mover+, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. As a paid alternative to the company’s free Mover app—featured prominently in a recent Apple iPhone commercial—Mover+ offers the same Wi-Fi-based picture and contact sharing as its free counterpart, as well as sharing via Bluetooth and e-mail, the ability to paste text, links, and other media from other applications into Mover for sharing, and support for bookmarks, which can be created by pasting in a URL or by using a new Safari bookmarklet. Mover+ is available now from the App Store and sells for $2.
McDSP has introduced Retro Recorder, its new audio application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Retro Recorder is an audio recording application with a tape recorder-like interface, and uses patent pending Audio Level eXtension (ALX) signal processing to boost the decibel level of quiet material and maintain the sound level of louder recordings, without the distortion caused by a traditional volume control. Other features include the ability to export recordings in WAV format to the Mac or PC, support for mono recordings at up to 22,050Hz sample rates, and more. Retro Recorder is available now and sells for $2. the company is also holding an audio clip contest in which users can win up to $50 of iTunes Store credit by submitting an audio clip made using the app’s ALX processing feature.
TapFactory Apps has released Stick It, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Stick It is a sticky note application, offering users 17 styles of notes, papers and objects, more than 25 backgrounds, full note customization with varied font styles, sizes, and colors, the ability to create wallpapers for one-touch note access, a preview feature to visualize the lock screen with the current Stick It layout applied, automatic saving, and the ability to share notes via e-mail. Stick It is available now and sells for $1.
WEsoft has debuted Comb, its new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Comb is a match 3-style game, in which players must touch and rotate surrounding hexagons to arrange same-colored stones in diagonal rows, in order to get three or more stones of the same kind placed in the row to clear them. Users can choose to play the game with touch- and accelerometer-based controls, or can use on-screen controls to play the game. Comb is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.
National Public Radio has launched its new NPR News application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed by the MPR Mobile team and Bottle Rocket Apps, NPR News relies on location services or a zip code search to let users locate the nearest NPR station. The app also allows users to search by station or by program, letting them connect to more than 1,000 live or on-demand streams of NPR stations, including popular programs such as All Things Considered, Car Talk, and Morning Edition. In addition, it also offers a customizable playlist feature, which lets users select, organize and time-shift their favorite NPR programs or stories. NPR News is available now as a free download.
Discovery Communications has introduced its new Discovery Channel application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The free application offers users access to a collection of video clips from some of the network’s shows, including Mythbusters, Man vs. Wild, and Cash Cab, along with a collection of quizzes, photo galleries, programming schedules and updates from Discovery News. Users may also share content via email and save favorites for later viewing. The Discovery Channel application is available now.
YinzCam has released iBurgh, a new application for the iPhone that allows Pittsburgh residents to report problems to the city. The application lets users take photographs of problems, such as graffiti, potholes, traffic issues, and more, automatically geotagging the image to allow officials to know exactly where the problem is, and sending it to the city’s 311 complaint system. iBurgh is available now and is a free download.
Announced and demonstrated during Apple’s 2009 WWDC Keynote Address, TomTom has released its navigation applications for the iPhone. The four separate TomTom apps cover the U.S. and Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, respectively, each featuring the latest Tele Atlas maps for its designated region. Features include the company’s IQ Routes technology for calculating fast, accurate routes and travel time estimates, voice instructions, automatic re-routing if a turn is missed, six million points of interest for the U.S. and Canada edition, night and day color modes, 2D and 3D display options, multi-touch gestures for zoom control, Contacts integration, and more. TomTom’s navigation apps for the U.S. and Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand are available now and sell for $100, $140, $80, and $95, respectively. A mounting cradle with GPS antenna accessory announced by TomTom for use with the apps is not required in order to use the software.
2K Games has released Civilization Revolution, its first game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Remade for the iPhone OS, Revolution puts players in control of an entire civilization, which they have to evolve by waging war, conducting diplomacy, discovering new technologies, and building an empire. The game features 16 historical civilizations to choose from, gesture-based touch controls, multiple difficulty levels, an integrated tutorial, and in-game advisors. Civilization Revolution is available now and sells for $5.
Electronic Arts has released Wolfenstein RPG, a Firemint-developed iPhone and iPod touch remake of the J2ME mobile game by id Software. Unlike the first-person shooter from which it gets its name, Wolfenstein RPG is a turn-based game, featuring a variety of different weapons, nine levels and over eight hours of gameplay, 32 different types of enemies, two built-in mini-games, hidden secrets, and a “mixing station” at which players can enhance their characters’ abilities. Wolfenstein RPG is priced at $5.
The University of Saskatchewan has released its new iUsask application for the iPhone and iPod touch. This new app allows students to get a list of their classes, read class announcements, get news and recent scores for the school’s sports teams, search for books in the library catalogue and view their library account, check assignment marks and feedback, check final grades, view a campus map, and more. iUsask is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Top Meadow has released Buggle, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. A match 3-style game, Buggle has players swipe their fingers across the screen to slide and rotate various bugs placed on the screen in order to match three or more and “free” them before they can be eaten by a spider. Features include five different “super powers,” the ability to earn award badges, and an in-game top ten list. Buggle is available now and sells for $1.
3D Realms has released Duke Nukem 3D, an iPhone and iPod touch port of the classic PC game. Though the graphics engine offers a faithful port other than certain censored risque graphics, users have discovered serious control issues, as well as problems getting the game to install on iPod touch units. According to Touch Arcade, the game’s on-screen analog sticks don’t work properly, requiring taps rather than smooth dragging motions. George Broussard, a co-author of the original game, has replied to some of the criticism on the site’s forums, saying that there was “internal miscommunication” which resulted in the game being released before he had a chance to test it, admitting that he agrees “100% on the comments on the [control] sticks,” and indicating that the company will be releasing an update that addresses “as much as possible.” Duke Nukem 3D is available now from the App Store and is priced at $3.
CourseSmart has launched its new eTextbooks application for the iPhone and iPod touch. eTextbooks serves as a reader application for CourseSmart’s eTextbook service, which offers online access to more than 7,000 textbook titles from twelve different publishers. The Textbooks are offered via a subscription at an average of 50% off traditional print versions, although the electronic versions typically expire after 180 days and require an Internet connection for access. Features of the application include access to subscribed textbooks, the ability to scan for visual aids, skim thumbnails, access full pages, and keyword search. CourseSmart’s eTextbooks for the iPhone is available now as a free download from the App Store.
USAA, a privately held bank and insurance company, plans to allow customers to deposit checks remotely using its iPhone application, the New York Times reports. The updated application, which is expected to be released this week, will use the iPhone’s camera to photograph both sides of a check, with an on-screen guide to make sure the check’s image is placed correctly in the frame. “We’re essentially taking an image of the check, and once you hit the send button, that image is going into our deposit-taking system as any other check would,” Wayne Peacock, a USAA executive vice president, told the NYT. Customers will not be required to mail the check in, and are told to void the check and either file it or discard it after it has been deposited. To reduce fraud, only customers who are eligible for credit and have some form of insurance through USAA will be permitted to use the feature, a group which includes about 60 percent of the bank’s customers.
Apple has pulled the paid version of ThinAir Wireless’ Offender Locator application from the App Store, but left the free version—Offender Locator Lite—in place. Offender Locator used publicly-available databases to help users locate sex offenders in their areas. Trip Wakefield, a ThinAir employee, told Cnet that the app was pulled for unspecified legal reasons, although readers on both Cnet and TechCrunch have suggested that the state of California prohibits the sale of criminal information for profit, which would have made the paid version of the application illegal. Wakefield also noted that a competing paid application, Sex Offenders Search, remains on sale.
Vimov has introduced iSimulate, a new iPhone app and Xcode library bundle that lets iPhone developers wirelessly control their applications and games from an actual iPhone or iPod touch unit. In addition to sending multi-touch events, accelerometer data, and GPS location to the iPhone Simulator, iSimulate also allows developers to test across different versions of the iPhone OS without needing several devices, each provisioned with a different OS build, and test applications with different device IDs to test for different models. The ability to fully control the iPhone Simulator on a real device allows developers to take full-quality preview videos of games and other mixed-media applications. iSimulate is available now from the App Store and is currently $8; its price will be raised to $32 on August 16.
RJ Softwares has released Lexulous, its first game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Lexulous is a crossword-style game that challenges players to make words on a 15x15 board using eight letter tiles, and is designed for play by 2-4 players at a time. The game features real-time chat between players, Facebook integration, as well as the ability to continue games started on the device on Facebook, a dictionary for word look-up, a two-letter word list, and the ability to listen to iPod music while playing. Lexulous is available now from the App Store and sells for $4.
Social mapping service Waze has released its new client application on the App Store. Compatible with both the iPhone and iPod touch, Waze uses driver-generated data to build road maps and provide real-time traffic information to users. As the app runs, it automatically and anonymously relays location points back to the company’s servers, data which is used to build and constantly updated the road grid, traffic information, driving directions, road changes, and more. Waze is available now as a free download.
ALK Technologies has released its CoPilot Live United Kingdom turn-by-turn navigation application for the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Featuring detailed street maps of the U.K. and Ireland, it offers 3D and 2D driving views with speed-variable zoom and street names, automatic portrait to landscape switching, intelligent navigation for guidance in tunnels and overpasses, automatic day/night mode switching, lane indicator, signpost display, and ClearTurn features, weather forecasts, and more. It also stores maps on the phone for use when out of service areas, and does not require monthly fees. CoPilot Live United Kingdom is priced at £26, or $43.
Amidio, in collaboration with Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess, has released JR Hexatone Pro, its new music creation application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Hexatone Pro is a six-directional drum machine and rhythm sequencer that uses artificial intelligence and advanced randomization algorithms to produce constantly changing sonic structures. The app can create a variety of drum loops, melodic sequences or rhythm patterns by loading custom user samples and modifying them in real-time; users can also add stutter or chorus effects and control them via the iPhone’s or iPod touch’s accelerometers. Hexatone Pro features 400 original factory samples, 40 loop presets, and .WAV exporting, and is available now for $10.
Apple has started rejecting all e-book and e-book reader applications for the iPhone and iPod touch on the basis of possible copyright infringement, according to a new report. Citing developers speaking on the grounds of anonymity, TUAW reports that Apple has begun sending all e-book submitters rejection letters which state, “this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing upon third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store.” The report claims that Apple has rejected at least one application from a national content syndicate who owns the rights to the materials and can prove those rights, and has also rejected a new e-book reader application on the same grounds. As the developer of the reader application said in an email to TUAW, “[l]eaving aside the presumption of innocence, [what] about iTunes and iPod; shouldn’t they be banned too? After all many users indeed are using them to listen to the music that is not always legally obtained.” It is unclear whether the company also plans to remove and/or reject future updates to other e-book applications currently available on the App Store, and whether this move may be paving the way for Apple to offer its own e-book store, as was rumored last week.
An U.K.-based online retailer has posted pricing for TomTom’s upcoming GPS car mount and application bundle for the iPhone. According to the item’s Handtec listing page, the TomTom for iPhone Mount will sell for £99 plus VAT, or roughly $168 plus tax. Unveiled during Apple’s 2009 WWDC Keynote, the Mount will offer a more accurate, consistent GPS signal than that made possible by the iPhone 3G or 3GS alone, a louder speaker, a microphone to facilitate hands-free calling, the ability to power the iPhone while docked, and the ability to stick to either the windshield or dashboard. An exact release date has yet to be revealed. [via Daniweb | MDN]
Namco has released Pac-Man Remix, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Announced in July and featuring an angled overhead 3-D view, the game is similar to the Pac-Man Arrangement game found on Namco Museum Battle Collection for the PSP, and adds maze traps, the ability to jump, and a number of power-ups to the classic Pac-Man gameplay. Additional features include a choice between on-screen, flick-, and accelerometer-based controls, six unique boss characters, and stage-specific gadgets. Pac-Man Remix is available now from the App Store and sells for $6.
Sony Pictures Television has released Q*Bert Deluxe, its newest release for the iPhone and iPod touch. An updated version of the 1982 arcade game, Q*Bert Deluxe features three game modes—arcade, modern, and jungle—a choice between accelerometer- or touch-based controls, five different enemy types, and four friendly objects. The developer also promises “regular updates” with “new themes and gameplay.” Q*Bert Deluxe is available now and is priced at $2.
Intuit has released its new GoPayment application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Intuit GoPayment allows business owners to process credit card payments directly from their devices, view past charges and send customers electronic receipts via e-mail or text message. In addition, users can also review transactions online and synchronize them with Intuit’s QuickBooks software. In addition to the app, users will need an Intuit GoPayment merchant account, which costs $19.95 a month and requires a one-time setup fee of $59.95; Intuit will, for a limited time only, waive both the setup fee as well as the first 60 days of monthly fees and minimums. Intuit’s GoPayment application is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Apple rejected the dictionary app Ninjawords three times before accepting it into the App Store, in the process forcing the developers to remove every word it deemed “objectionable,” including commonly-used words that have non-objectionable uses. Unlike many competing low-cost dictionary apps using WordNet, Ninjawords uses Wiktionary as its source. John Gruber of Daring Fireball notes that Mac OS X’s built-in Dictionary app lists all of the words deemed objectionable by App Store reviewers. After having been rejected in May for a bug that crashed the software on the latest beta of iPhone OS 3.0, the app was rejected again for listing curse words.
Phil Crosby, a developer for Ninjawords maker Matchstick Software, told Gruber in an email interview that the rejection came despite the fact that Ninjawords filtered out all curse words in its suggestion listings, something competing apps, including Dictionary.com’s application, don’t do. It was rejected a third time following Matchstick’s efforts to remove the curse words, with an Apple representative calling Matchstick to inform them that “no matter what we did to our dictionary, it will have to be 17+ to make it to the App Store.” In the end, Matchstick ended up having to remove common words such as snatch, c*ck, and screw, and managed to have the app approved in mid-July. Ninjawords is available now from the App Store and sells for $2.
Update: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller has responded to Gruber’s report via an email, stating that Ninjawords was rejected not because of common swear words, but because of “other more vulgar terms,” “urban slang” that might be more offensive than those found in traditional and common dictionaries, and suggested that had the developer waited for the release of Parental Controls in iPhone OS 3.0, the app would not have needed censoring.
“You are correct that the Ninjawords application should not have needed to be censored while also receiving a 17+ rating, but that was a result of the developers’ actions, not Apple’s. I believe that the Apple app review team’s original recommendation to the developer to submit the Ninjawords application, without censoring it, to the App Store once parental controls was implemented would have been the best course of action for all; Wiktionary.org is an open, ever-changing resource and filtering the content does not seem reasonable or necessary,” Schiller said in his email.