Apple has released an update to GarageBand for iOS adding the ability to import songs from the iOS Music library and create ringtones directly from the app. With GarageBand 1.3 users on iOS 6 can now create custom ringtones and alerts for the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and save them directly into the device’s ringtone/alert library. The new version also adds support for importing songs directly from the iOS Music library and playing and recording in the background while using other apps on the iPhone 4S/5 and the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad. A number of minor performance and stability issues have also been addressed in this update. GarageBand 1.3 is a universal app requiring iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.
Apple has updated its standalone Podcasts app for iOS adding support for iOS 6 and synchronization of podcasts subscriptions between devices via iCloud. Users can now also choose to automatically download new episodes only when on Wi-Fi and play episodes in both forward and reverse chronological order. A new pull-to-refresh gesture has also been added to check for new episodes on iOS 6 devices. Podcasts 1.1 is a universal app requiring iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Twitter has released an update to its official iOS application with a completely redesigned user interface for iPad users. Departing from the prior unique sliding panels interface, the new iPad version now uses a full-screen UI adapted from the iPhone and iPod touch, with the standard navigation buttons on the left side and a single timeline view. The new layout makes use of the additional iPad screen space by providing header photos in user profiles and photo streams on profiles and events, however it does not expand when using the iPad in landscape orientation, leaving empty space to the left and right of the timeline view. The iPhone and iPod touch user interface remains the same in this update other than minor improvements, polish and fixes. Twitter 5.0 is a universal app requiring iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
- September 11, 2012
- Apps + Games
Google has updated its Google Drive app for iOS adding several new features including the ability to upload photos and videos and edit Google documents from directly within the application. Initially released earlier this summer, the Google Drive universal iOS app allows users of the online storage service to access and manage their documents and other files directly from their iOS device. The initial release was somewhat limited in scope, providing support only for viewing Google documents, however the latest release now allows users to more effectively collaborate with the ability to make edits in almost real-time, complete with formatting control. The update also improves Google presentations, adding support for animations and speaker notes and now allows users to create new folders and Google Documents from directly within the application. Users can also now upload photos and videos from the iOS Camera Roll or directly from the camera and can now move and delete files from their account. Google Drive is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Following reports that iOS 6 will remove the built-in YouTube app, Google has now launched its own official standalone YouTube app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Although Apple has included a native YouTube app on the iPhone since the beginning, the built-in version was developed by Apple rather than Google and has generally seen only modest updates as new iOS versions are released, failing to keep pace with newer YouTube features. Recent iOS 6 betas now suggest that the built-in app will disappear when Apple releases iOS 6 later this month, and while Google introduced an iPhone optimized web version of YouTube back in 2010, this still relied on Safari and like many web apps lacked native iOS integration.
The new YouTube app has been developed for the iPhone and iPod touch to provide a more integrated experience along with improved performance and exploration features, allowing users to access YouTube either as a guest or with their own YouTube account, view playlists, subscribe to video channels, and discover content via a new integrated YouTube channel guide. Users can also play videos via AirPlay and share on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Messages and e-mail. The new app also provides access to a greater range of content by allowing users to view videos with pre-roll advertising—a requirement that barred many videos from being displayed in the built-in app. YouTube is an iPhone and iPod touch app requiring iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. An iPad optimized version is reportedly under development and expected to be available in the coming months.
American Airlines, United, Virgin, and Delta have all confirmed they’re either ready or working to support Apple’s new Passbook application, debuting with iOS 6 this month. Passbook stores boarding passes, tickets, loyalty cards and other forms of digital information, then uses the iPhone’s location services feature to call up the appropriate document on the Lock Screen when in the correct location. At the initial iOS 6 presentation, Apple suggested that Passbook would be backed by companies such as United, Amtrak, Starbucks, and Fandango. [via Electronista]
- September 6, 2012
- Apps + Games
Lady Gaga has announced that she will be releasing her next album, Artpop, in the form of a universal iOS app. In a post on LittleMonsters.com, the artist writes that the new album will be a “multimedia experience” available in different forms, including a fully immersive app designed to be “iPad, iPhone, mobile and compute compatible” that will include interactive content such as chats, videos, extra music, games, fashion updates, magazines and more. The app is also expected to receive live updates to allow Lady Gaga to communicate with her fans through regular content postings. Artpop is expected to be released Spring 2013.
- September 6, 2012
- Apps + Games
PopCap has released another set of updates to Plants vs Zombies for both the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad adding a new game mode, additional mini-games and more new content. The latest update adds a “Last Stand” Game Pack with five new levels and an endless game mode. A new set of achievements has also been added: Hammer Time, Standing Still and The Stuff of Legends and users can pick up a new Mallet Pack to help them with zombie-whacking in Survival and Last Stand Endless modes. A number of other items have also been added to the in-game store. Plants vs Zombies is available from the App Store in two versions, Plants vs Zombies ($3) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Plants vs Zombies HD ($7) for the iPad.
Adobe has released an update to Adobe Photoshop Touch for the iPad adding support for the Retina Display in the third-generation iPad along with the ability to work with higher resolution images. In version 1.3 users can now edit images of up to 12 megapixels in size, an increase from the application’s original 1600x1600 (2.5MP) limitations. The new version also adds new Shred and Colorize effects, support for Photo Stream and improvements to animation and scrolling, toggling views and precision editing. Russian and Brazilian Portuguese localization has also been added. Adobe Photoshop Touch requires an iPad 2 or third-generation iPad running iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $10.
Overnight, Apple unveiled some major changes to the iOS 6 beta version of the App Store, and the tweaks seem to be heavily inspired by Chomp. Chomp, a search and app discovery startup, was acquired by Apple earlier this year.
The new Chomp-inspired App Store search features a considerably larger tile-based display of results, making comparatively poor use of both small and large iOS device screens, a point that has already inspired complaints from some App Store developers. Notably, the redesigned App Store features remain in beta form and subject to considerable change before iOS 6 is released next month. In other updates to the App Store, Genius and Purchased sections have been added, and the iTunes Store has been updated to again include a Podcast search function. [via MacRumors]
Garmin has announced two coming updates for its StreetPilot Onboard and Navigon series of iOS navigation apps that will add major new features including public transportation routing and improvements to pedestrian navigation. The new transit feature, known as Urban Guidance will be available as an optional $5 in-app purchase and will allow users to consider public transportation options such as trains, trams, busses and water taxis when calculating pedestrian routes. Users will be provided with walking directions to the most appropriate transit stop and can look up detailed information on which line to take and where to get off. The real colours of transportation lines will also be reflected within the app to help users correlated the in-app directions with the appropriate transit stops.
The updates will also include Last Mile Navigation, a new feature designed to allow users to more effectively continue their journey by foot after parking their vehicle. Users will be advised about parking locations near their destination where users can park their car, saving their location in the app, and then automatically switch into pedestrian mode for walking directions to their final destination. The app will also provide directions back to the car’s saved location for the return journey. In addition, Garmin has also announced that the Google Street View feature introduced to the Navigon app earlier this year will be introduced to its StreetPilot Onboard app for the iPhone, alone with Navigon’s optional Panorama View 3D terrain view. The new StreetPilot Onboard and Navigon app versions are expected to be available sometime this fall as free updates for existing users.
Orbotix has announced the release of six new apps for the previously-reviewed Sphero, the motorized ball remote-controlled by an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Four of the apps are new games, including the shooter Exile, quick-reflex game ColorGrab, snake game Doodle Grub, and multiplayer collision title Tag. Updated apps include a redesigned version of the original Sphero app, incorporating multiple prior Sphero apps into one download, and an updated golf game, featuring new course creation and practice features. Four of the new apps are currently available for iOS, while Doodle Grub and Sphero v2 will be released on Sept. 14.
Facebook has released a major update to its iOS app focused on improving performance. In Facebook 5.0 major portions of the app have been rewritten in iOS native Objective-C code, rather than relying on the HTML5 code used for the browser-based Facebook mobile site. The result is an app that now performs significantly faster when loading and scrolling through news feeds and timelines. Several smaller user interface improvements have also been made in the new version, including the integration of Facebook Messenger features, the ability to open and close photos more quickly using upward and downward swipe gestures and a banner notification for new stories and comments, along with a few other minor cosmetic changes. Facebook 5.0 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
- August 20, 2012
- Apps + Games
PopCap Games has announced plans for a sequel to its highly acclaimed tower defence action game Plants vs. Zombies. Scheduled to launch in “late spring 2013” the company’s announcement is currently sparse on details but notes that the game will include a “bevy of new features, settings and situations” with new plant and zombie types and new challenges. PopCap Games, now a division of EA, is also known for a number of other popular games on the iOS platform including such additional titles as Peggle, Bejeweled, and Zuma.
- August 16, 2012
- Apps + Games
Google has updated its Google+ social media app for iOS devices adding support for opening links directly in its Chrome browser for iOS rather than the default Safari browser. Released in late June, Google Chrome is a replacement browser for iOS devices that provides the ability for users of the desktop version of Chrome to sync open tabs, bookmarks, passwords and omnibus data between their Mac/PC and iOS devices along with a number of other unique browser features. However, iOS does not allow users to choose a replacement default browser, relegating Chrome on the iOS side to a secondary choice for many users; today’s Google+ update allows Chrome to be used as a default browser for opening links from the social network and it seems likely that Google is at least contemplating providing similar integration in its other iOS apps. Links will continue to open in Safari as before for users without Chrome installed. In addition to Chrome support, Google+ 3.1 also makes several performance improvements to Instant Upload and lowers the age restriction for creating and joining Hangouts. Google+ is a universal app requiring iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
- August 16, 2012
- Apps + Games
Crackle has released a major update to its universal iOS video streaming app adding support for watching movies and TV shows on an external TV via AirPlay or HDMI out. A division of Sony Picture Entertainment, the Crackle app allows users to stream popular full-length Hollywood movies and mainstream TV series directly to their device with unlimited, on-demand viewing of video content over either a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. In addition to video output support, Crackle 3.0 also provides a completely redesigned user interface with the aim of making it easier for users to discover their favourite movies and TV shows along with an improved playback experience. Crackle requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. The Crackle service is available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia; not all content is available outside of the U.S.
A major new update to Instagram has been released adding support for location information in photos along with a number of design improvements. Instagram 3.0 now provides a new map view to allow users to view their photos by geographic location along with a profile setting to control which photos are displayed on the map. The update also features redesigned profile and uploads screens alongside other design improvements throughout the app. In addition, Photo feeds now provide infinite scrolling and users can flag inappropriate comments. Instagram 3.0 requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
- August 15, 2012
- Apps + Games
Social content sharing service Pinterest has released a universal update to its iOS app adding native iPad support and making several general usability improvements for the iPhone interface. The Pinterest service allows users to collect and “pin” content from around the web for sharing with followers in an image focused service. Users can pin content from within the app, view general categories for existing pins, follower other users and create new pins with their iOS device’s camera.
The new iPad user interface provides a fullscreen layout based on the same design as the website with a swipe-based navigation menu that allows users to view different categories and share, like, re-pin and comment on posts; an integrated browser is also present to allow users to easily visit source web sites without needing to leave the app. The update also includes a new two-column layout and performance and stability improvements. Pinterest requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. [via TUAW]
- August 10, 2012
- Apps + Games
Cultured Code has released version 2.0 of its Things task management app for iOS and Mac adding its long-awaited cloud synchronization feature. Originally beginning development over two years ago, Things Cloud went into a closed beta in mid 2011 and was expanded to a limited public beta several months ago. The new feature replaces the former Bonjour Wi-Fi Sync that has been in place since Things’ debut in 2008 with the company’s own online service, Things Cloud, allowing users to keep data seamlessly synchronized across the iPad, iPhone and Mac versions of Things.
Things 2.0 also introduces a new Daily Review feature to help users keep on top of their tasks for each day at a glance and a new Date Picker to make selecting dates easier by implementing a scrolling, rather than page-based, calendar view. Additional enhancements include visual refinements, the ability to cancel to-dos, move completed to-dos immediately to the Logbook, and view whole Projects in the Today list. Things 2.0 requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store in two versions: Things ($10) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Things for iPad ($20); a Mac desktop version of Things is also available from the Mac App Store separately for $50. Each Things 2.0 app is a free update for users of the corresponding prior version.
- August 10, 2012
- Apps + Games
Automattic has released an update to WordPress for iOS feature a major UI redesign focused on improved navigation and ease of use. WordPress 3.1 now includes a sidebar menu for quick navigation along with a sliding panels interface on the iPad, updated colours and graphics and landscape support throughout the app. Additional enhancements include support for post formats, WordPress.com and Quick Photo on the iPad, and new WordPress.com stats. A new friend finder feature has also been added to help users find their friends with blogs on WordPress.com and the latest version also provides easier access to user’s sites and web dashboard directly from within the app. WordPress 3.1 is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.