Sparrow, developer of the popular Mac and iOS e-mail client of the same name, has announced that it has been acquired by Google. In a post on the company’s web site and an e-mail sent out to customers, Sparrow CEO Dom Leca indicates that the company will be joining the Gmail team “to accomplish a bigger vision” that it feels it can better achieve working with Google. Leca goes on to note that they will continue to make the Sparrow e-mail client available and provide support for its users, including any critical updates that may be required, however they do expect to be working on new projects at Google and do not plan to release any new features for the Sparrow apps.
Gameloft has released The Dark Knight Rises, a new exclusive gaming experience inspired by the concluding instalment in the Batman movie trilogy. The new game challenges players to take on the role of Bruce Wayne as Batman to protect Gotham City through a collection of missions dealing with hostage situations, bomb squads, jailbreaks and car chases. To succeed, players must learn to take advantage of the variety of tools in Batman’s arsenal and master different fighting moves to take on a variety of villains. Players can also climb into vehicles such as the Bat-Pod and The Bat to drive and fly through Gotham City on special missions, exploring the city and its different districts across a huge map. The Dark Knight Rises includes an immersive storyline with likenesses of key characters from the movie such as Catwoman, Lucius Fox and Commissioner Gordon along with detailed high-resolution graphics and soundtrack. The Dark Knight Rises requires an iPhone 3GS/4/4S, third- or fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $7.
- July 20, 2012
- Apps + Games
Omer Shoor has released an update to Photogene² for iPhone adding new photo annotation tools along with several other features and enhancements. In Photogene² 1.3 users can now take advantage of new annotations to add arrows and markers to photos and collages and can also rotate text boxes, add curved edges in collages and modify vignette colour. Photos are also now displayed in full resolution in the editor and a new oil-painting filter has also been added along with the ability to add or modify geo-tagging of photos and search for albums by name. The export menu has also been redesigned and users can now choose a destination folder when exporting photos to Dropbox and export IPTC metadata in XMP format. Users of the in-app Pro upgrade can also now geo-tag photos in bulk and copy and paste geo-tags between photos, add textual watermarks, and set DPI for exported photos. Photogene² for iPhone is available from the App Store for $1.
Hemisphere Games has introduced multiplayer support to its hit game Osmos in a major free update released earlier today. In Osmos (iLounge Rating: A) players control a ball known as a Mote by tapping to navigate it through a pool of fluid, absorbing nearby smaller motes to grow in size while avoiding larger objects and other obstacles; challenges across numerous levels include growing larger than other objects in the pool or absorbing specific target objects. The game also provides a unique physics engine and numerous small gameplay-enhancing touches such as gravity attractors, time warping controls and AI opponents to add strategy and unique gameplay throughout each level.
Osmos 2.0 takes the game into a new dimension by allowing players to challenge their friends to a mote-eat-mote absorption fest of skill and strategy in any of six distinct arenas via either local Wi-Fi/Bluetooth) or online Game Center play. The update also adds a new unique level type for multiplayer, Antimatter Impasse. iPad vs iPhone play is also supported for local multiplayer games, while Game Center requires all users to be on the same device. Additional enhancements in the new update include support for Retina Display graphics in the iPad version, Twitter integration for sending out achievements and challenges to friends and followers, and numerous audio/visual enhancements. Osmos 2.0 is available in separate, device-specific versions: Osmos ($3) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Osmos for iPad ($5). Both require iOS 4.1 or later.
- July 19, 2012
- Apps + Games
InMethod has released an update to its popular Air Video streaming app for iOS devices adding Retina Display support for the third-generation iPad and the ability to passthrough H.264 video streams in original, unconverted form. In combination with the free Air Video server application running on a Mac or PC, the Air Video iOS app allows users to stream videos remotely to their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch; almost all source video formats are supported with on-the-fly conversion in real-time. Videos can be streamed directly from the host computer over a local Wi-Fi network or remotely over a cellular data connection with routers that support the appropriate port forwarding protocols. Used in conjunction with the latest Air Video Server beta version for Mac or Windows, Air Video 2.4.11 now allows users to pass through videos that are already in an iOS compatible H.264 format natively without the requirement for re-conversion. This provides for better performance on the host computer as well as improved video quality, with support for H.264 source videos in full 1080p resolution. The H.264 Passthrough feature requires an iPad, iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S and currently does not support the display of soft subtitles. Air Video requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $3.
- July 18, 2012
- Apps + Games
Sensopia has added a new Room Editor feature to MagicPlan, its app for easily creating floor plans from an iOS device using augmented reality. By leveraging the camera and gyroscope to map out and measure rooms, MagicPlan allows users to quickly create a floor plan simply by standing in a single convenient location in a room and capture corners and doorway edges using the iOS camera; this information is then used to calculate the dimensions of the room and generate a floor plan; multiple room floor plans can also be easily connected together to create a complete floor plan of an entire property. Version 2.2 adds a new Room Editor to allow users to easily correct capture mistakes, create new rooms from scratch, fine tune room layouts and enter exact dimensions where available. Users can also now zoom in and zoom out when navigating floor plans and the update makes improvements to the iPad user interface in landscape orientation. MagicPlan is a universal app requiring iOS 5.0 or later and an iPad 2, third-generation iPad, iPhone 4/4S or fourth-generation iPod touch and is available from the App Store as a free download; commercial use requires in-app payment of $2 per floor plan.
- July 18, 2012
- Apps + Games
Adobe has released an update to its universal Adobe Reader app for iOS devices introducing support for adding text annotations to PDFs and improving compatibility with more complex PDF forms. Adobe Reader for iOS allows users to access, manage and share PDF files, including support for PDF Portfolios, password-protected documents, forms and Adobe LiveCycle rights-managed PDFs. PDFs can be opened in Adobe Reader for third-party iOS apps supporting the “Open In” feature and users can search text, view PDFs in page-based or continuous scrolling modes, and access bookmarks and thumbnails for navigating through PDF documents. Annotation tools provide the ability to highlight, strikethrough and underline text, make freehand annotations and add comments to a document. With Adobe Reader 10.3, users can now use forms that have Field Validation, Calculation and Formatting. The update also provides an improved file organizer allowing users to create folders and copy, move, rename and delete PDF files stored within the app. Additional enhancements include support for looking up definitions in the iOS 5 system-wide dictionary and bug and performance fixes.
- July 17, 2012
- Apps + Games
Sonos has updated the iOS controller apps for its wireless music system adding high resolution graphics for Retina Display devices and improved volume controls. The free Sonos Controller app, available in separate iPhone and iPad versions, allows users of Sonos wireless music systems to use their iOS devices to remotely control playback of content from iTunes, NAS devices and a variety of online music and radio streaming services. Users can search for songs and control the music selection and volume in each room individually, configure alarms and sleep timers and playback music from Airplay sources. In addition to Retina Display graphics, the latest update also adds support for using the hardware volume buttons on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.3 or later to control the Sonos playback volume. Sonos Controller for iPhone and iPod touch and Sonos Controller for iPad are available separately from the App Store as free downloads.
- July 16, 2012
- Apps + Games
Xobni has released an update to Smartr Contacts adding support for iCloud mail and Facebook messaging along with a number of other interface improvements. Smartr Contacts provides a contact management solution designed to provide an aggregated view of contact information from multiple sources such as e-mail conversations and social networking profiles. Version 1.6 adds support for bringing iCloud e-mail messages into Smartr Contacts as well as opening Facebook messages directly from within the app. Users can also now view and reply to e-mails from their contacts and view and open any calendar appointment along with the profile for each attendee.
The update also improves contact editing with archiving and the ability to view the source for a given phone number as well as improving searching, phone number ranking and location data from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Additional enhancements include unlimited contact and message availability, improvements to social update information and performance, speed, stability and security enhancements. Smartr Contacts for iPhone is available from the App Store as a free download.
- July 13, 2012
- Apps + Games
The Omni Group has released an update to its OmniPlan project management app for the iPad adding PDF export and support for generating HTML task and resource reports along with several other bug fixes and usability improvements. In OmniPlan 1.1 documents can now be printed directly from the document picker in Edit mode or exported in PDF, HTML or OmniPlan formats. Gantt charts can be e-mailed directly as PDF files in either full canvas or paginated formats and users can now create task and resource reports as standalone HTML web pages for sharing or posting to a team server. The update also fixes some Gantt drawing alignment issues when using baselines, improves the clarity of the calendar exceptions list, and fixes several WebDAV related synchronization issues. OmniPlan requires an iPad and iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $50.
A hacker has discovered a method for obtaining in-app purchases without having to pay for them. Citing Russian blog i-ekb.ru, 9to5Mac reports that the method was published by a Russian developer, and works on all devices running iOS 3.0 or later, no jailbreak required. According to the report, the hack involves the installation of two certificates and the changing of a DNS record in Wi-Fi settings. The report claims that the hack does not work on 100 percent of apps, failing with certain purchases in certain regions; the developer of the hack also receives unnecessary data when using it—including the user’s location—and for obvious reasons we recommend against trying this on your own device.
As expected, Apple today took its new Food & Drink category live in the App Store. The category was revealed in an earlier email from Apple to select developers, informing them of the change. According to that email, the category includes “apps that help users cook and bake, mix drinks, manage recipes, find new restaurants and bars, and learn what their friends like to eat and drink”, excluding “diet, grocery shopping, coupon-clipping, or food-related game apps.” Currently, the category holds 1120 apps; you can see the listings by following the link above.
- July 12, 2012
- Apps + Games
Open Air Publishing has released a universal update to its Speakeasy Cocktails app providing a native iPad user interface with Retina Display support. Speakeasy Cocktails is an interactive instruction book designed to inform users on how to mix the perfect drink, complete with video tutorials, graphics, recipes and expert advice from two award-winning bartenders. The app includes over 90 minutes of HD video tutorials featuring Jim Meehan and Joseph Schwartz, founders of New York City’s famed speakeasy revival bars and a unique collection of 200 fully interactive recipes created by 58 professional mixologists from leading cocktail bars in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia.
Additional features include recommendations for more than 100 spirits, liqueurs, bitters and other ingredients, a buying guide for common mixology tools and equipment, an interactive map of speakeasy-revival cocktail bars, and a history of the speakeasy. In addition to universal iPad support, the new version provides an updated Guided Tour of world speakeasies for 2012 with 17 new cocktail bars across the U.S. and U.K. and three new videos from Joseph Schwartz. Speakeasy Cocktails requires iOS 5.0 or later is available from the App Store for $10.
NBC Universal has officially launched two universal iOS apps to allow users in the U.S. to follow coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Summer Games. NBC Olympics (free) will provide users with news, video clips and photos for every sport and information on all Team USA athletes, along with social media integration to follow favourite sports, teams and athletes on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well as engage with other fans. The app provides real-time results and schedules, medal counts, and TV and online listings as well as a second screen experience for users following the NBC televised nightly Primetime Show. Push Notifications will provide breaking news, programming reminders, and results for selected team sand athletes.
NBC Olympics Live Extra (free) is a universal app that will provide live viewing of the 2012 London Olympic Summer games for verified cable, satellite and telco customers, complete with alternate camera views and full replays. Users can similarly follow their favourite events and sports and receive Push Notifications to be reminded of event start times. Users can browse by event, watch simulcasts of Olympic programming from NBC television cable channels and access DVR capabilities for most live streams and all full event replays. Users of the NBC Olympics Live Extra app must verify an existing cable, satellite or telco subscription at a tier that includes both CNBC and MSNBC to get access to the full collection of live stream content. Both of the NBC Olympics apps require iOS 5.0 or later, with video features accessible only to users in the U.S. and certain U.S. territories.
IMDb has updated its iOS app adding new social features such as check-ins and message boards along with several other improvements to available information and discovery. IMDb 2.7 now allows users to “check-in” to Movies and TV shows and share what they are watching via Facebook and Twitter and access a variety of online message boards for topics ranging from general discussions to specific topics such as people, movies and shows.
The new version also increases the amount of IMDb data accessible within the app, including filming locations and soundtracks and adds a “More Like This” feature to help users discover new similar movies and TV shows while browsing through the app. New navigation buttons have also been added when viewing TV show episodes to allow users to quickly browse through episodes sequentially without having to navigate back and forth from the season listing. Additional enhancements include improvements to Watchlist support and a full History list along with various bug fixes and performance improvements. IMDb Movies & TV is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Rovio Entertainment has released Amazing Alex a new physics puzzler representing the company’s first departure from its venerable Angry Birds franchise. The new game puts players in the role of a whiz kid with a boundless imagination and a houseful of toys where they are challenged to build creative, chain reaction solutions to accomplish various tasks ranging from battling cardboard robots to cleaning up Alex’s room. Players build elaborate Rube Goldberg devices from a collection of toys that bounce, pop, ricochet, bash and crash into each other; most puzzles can be solved in more than one way and users can share their most creative solutions with their friends and see what their friends have come up with as well.
Amazing Alex includes 100 built-in levels and users can also design their own levels and share them with friends or worldwide using 35 different interactive objects set in four different locations. A gallery of user-contributed levels is expected to add to the replayability and Rovio also promises regular free updates with its own new level packs. Amazing Alex is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $1.
- July 10, 2012
- Apps + Games
Readability has released an update to its iOS app with significant improvements to syncing performance, integrated third-party reading lists and YouTube and Vimeo support. Readability 1.1 now includes reading lists from both Top Reads and Longform Picks to help users discover new content along with a time-to-read display to help users choose the appropriate content for their reading preferences. A new double-tap action allows users to intelligently page up or down while reading and users can also now watch YouTube and Vimeo videos directly within the app, both for individual video links as well as videos embedded in articles. Readability is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Twitter has released an update to its official iOS app adding support for its new Expanded Tweets feature and improving notification options along with several other user interface enhancements. With Twitter 4.3 users will be able to view extended content within Tweets containing links to selected partner websites such as content previews, images, videos and more. Selected events will also now provide an enhanced experience highlighting the best Tweets and photos from specific users involved in the event.
Twitter 4.3 also provides more options for Push Notifications, allowing users to now choose to receive notifications any time someone they follow posts a tweet or retweet to their timeline and provides less intrusive “ambient notifications” in the status bar when using the app. Additional enhancements include improvements to search autocompletion for users, tappable avatars that link directly to user profiles, notification of new information on the Discover tab, Hungarian language support and numerous bug fixes and performance improvements. Twitter 4.3 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Google has released a universal update to its Google+ app for iOS devices adding a native iPad user interface, support for Google+ Events and improvements to Google+ Hangouts. Announced last month at Google’s I/O conference, the Google+ 3.0 update introduces a new user interface designed specifically for the iPad with gestural navigation, easily tappable actions and a full screen stream and media viewing experience. New Google+ Hangout features have also been added with the ability to start a Hangout with up to nine friends from within the iOS app along with support for streaming a Hangout to an Apple TV via AirPlay.
This latest version also adds support for Google+ Events, allowing users to create and manage new events directly from their iOS device along with posting comments, uploading photos and viewing guest lists and RSVP status. Users can also browse through past event invitations with all of their accompanying photos and posts. Users can also now easily attach Instant Upload photos to new posts. Google+ 3.0 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.3 and is available from the App Store as a free download.
- July 9, 2012
- Apps + Games
Josh Pressnell has released a major update to eNotify, his advanced e-mail notification app for iOS devices. Designed to provide a wide array of customizable notifications for incoming e-mail, eNotify runs in the background on iOS devices rather than relying on Push Notifications from an external server, directly monitoring e-mail accounts for new messages and providing fully customizable notifications. Users can configure rules based on account, priority, sender, subject line or recipient, scan multiple accounts and configure a Do Not Disturb schedule to silence alerts during specific times.
Version 3.0 provides a completely redesigned user interface that simplifies the setup process along with more advanced customization options for alerts, including the ability to create profiles for common alert configurations and easily switch between them. The new version allows the user to create high priority alerts that override the iPhone silent switch and combine criteria to create alerts with multiple triggers such alerts for messages with a specific subject received only from a given sender. Schedules can also now be set for additional alerts separately from the global Do Not Disturb setting. An alert history has been added to quickly see previous alerts along with an in-app marketplace for downloading additional alert tones. Users can also now re-order alert priority manually using drag-and-drop gestures, select specific folders to use as IMAP push triggers and make outbound VoIP calls directly from with the app. The update also improves battery life under certain configurations. eNotify is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.