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Netflix: Apple TV has passed iPad in viewing hours

In its fourth-quarter letter to shareholders and financial results release (PDF Link), Netflix has revealed that the Apple TV has surpassed the iPad in viewing hours, despite having sold far fewer units. Noting that the devices with the largest installed bases—including Windows and Mac laptops, the Sony PS3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and the Nintendo Wii—are the most popular devices for streaming Netflix, the release states that the “AppleTV has done very well for us, and in just four months has passed the also-growing iPad in Netflix viewing hours.” Apple sold its one-millionth Apple TV the week of December 25th, while cumulative iPads sales as of the same date were 14.79 million.

PhatPad adds voice notes, VGA output

Stan Miasnikov has released an update to PhatPad, his advanced note-taking and sketching app for the iPad, adding support for recording voice notes and displaying output on an external monitor or projector. PhatPad provides a freeform writing and sketching pad that allows users to write notes and draw shapes using digital ink which can then be converted into text or proper geometrical shapes using a built-in handwriting and shape recognition engine. Users can share their notes via e-mail, Wi-Fi sync or Dropbox or display them in presentation mode. PhatPad 1.1 adds the ability to record voice notes and also now includes an advanced presentation mode allowing pages to be shown on a projector or external monitor using the iPad Dock Connector to VGA adapter. Users can also create unattended presentations by synchronizing document pages and playback of voice notes. Version 1.1 also provides several other new features and enhancements including a new erase gesture for quick deletion of content, improved recognition of geometrical shapes, increased support for cut, copy and paste commands and the ability to change the layout order of overlapping images and text labels. PhatPad requires an iPad running iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $4.

Awareness update lowers price, adds new optional features

Essency has released an update to Awareness The Headphone App bringing several new add-on features available via in-app purchase. Designed to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists listening to music via sound-isolating headphones, Awareness allows users to remain aware of external sounds such as warnings, shouts or even normal conversations using the device’s built-in microphone. Outside sounds are mixed in with whatever music is currently playing based on automatic or user-specified external sound levels ensuring that users can hear others speaking to them or important warnings such as alarms or car horns. With the release of version 2.1 the price of the application has been reduced to $1 with a number of additional features available separately as $1 in-app purchases. Optional features include AutoPause which automatically pauses audio playback when outside noise exceeds a certain threshold, AutoSet which automatically adjusts thresholds based on normal background noise, ClearVoice to improve speech quality and a dB Noise Meter to provide a visual measurement of ambient noise. Version 2.1 also adds the ability to duck music volume levels and vibrate the iPhone when the external mic is triggered. Awareness requires an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third- or fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.1 or later. Version 2.1 is available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for existing users. Current users will also receive all in-app purchases free upon upgrade provided a copy of the previous version of Awareness is already installed on their device.

SpeechTrans adds Facebook Voice Translation Chat

SpeechTrans has released an update to its series of voice language translation applications adding a new feature that allows SpeechTrans users to communicate with FaceBook or SpeechTrans friends around the world using voice-recognition translation. The SpeechTrans applications leverage Nuance’s speech recognition technology to allow users to speak words or phrases into their iOS device which are then translated and spoken back in a specified alternate language. The new Facebook Voice Translation Chat feature now allows SpeechTrans users to conduct online speech translated conversations with other users around the world in their native languages via Facebook Chat. Supported input languages include U.S. English, U.K. English, Spanish, French and German which can be translated into English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian and Polish. SpeechTrans is available in several language-specific editions with bi-directional language versions for $10 and one-way language versions for $6. A SpeechTrans Ultimate Edition includes support for all available languages and sells for $20. Lite editions are also available for $1. SpeechTrans provides unlimited text-to-speech translations and a limited number of speech recognition transcriptions depending on the version; additional speech recognition transcriptions may be purchased from within the app. Note that 3G or Wi-Fi Internet connectivity is required to use the application as speech recognition and translation is performed by an online server.

Photoshop Express adds Retina Display, background uploads

Adobe has released an update to its free Photoshop Express photo editing application for iOS devices adding support for the Retina Display on the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch. The update also now includes background upload completion on multitasking-capable devices and introduces a faster and more streamlined photo capture and editing workflow. Photoshop Express 1.5 is a universal app and requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.2 or later; it is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple launches official App Store Twitter account

Apple has launched an official Twitter account for the App Store, its latest iTunes-related Twitter account. According to the description on the account, it will provide featured apps, exclusive offers, and more. As of this writing, the verified account has nearly 90,000 followers, and has seen four updates—one an introductory statement, and three pointing to specific apps. Notably, the account is taking advantage of Apple’s appstore.com domain name, using tw.appstore.com as a URL shortener.

10 Billionth app downloaded, winner to be named [updated]

As expected, Apple’s 10 Billion App Countdown ended early in the morning of Saturday, January 22, 2011 with the download of the 10 billionth application from the App Store. One winner is being selected to receive a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card as the sole prize for reaching the milestone, and Apple is expected to name the individual and app in the near future.

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Update: The winning app was Paper Glider, downloaded by Gail Davis of Orpington, Kent, United Kingdom. Congratulations, Gail!

10 Billion App Countdown nearing end

According to the counter graphics on Apple’s 10 Billion App Countdown webpage and the App Store, the promotion is nearing its end. Launched on January 14, the promotion is offering a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card to the person who downloads the ten billionth app from the App Store, or submits a free entry form at the right time. Currently, the counter sits at roughly 9,984,000, up from 9,975,000 earlier today. While estimates using the average number of downloads per minute during the promotion have indicated that the 10 billionth download should occur sometime tomorrow afternoon, the pace of downloads in past promotions has typically accelerated as the total approached the relevant amount, making it possible that the download could occur late tonight or early tomorrow morning. For more information on Apple’s 10 billion App Countdown, see Apple’s official rules.

Quark announces iPad app publishing service

Quark has announced that it is launching a new iPad Publishing service for users of QuarkXPress 8.5. According to the release, the service will include a Quark Starter iPad App, configured to the customer’s needs—including the addition of the customer’s logos and colors—and prepared for App Store submission, free XTensions software to allow for the enrichment of QuarkXPress layouts with sound, video, and interactive features, conversion of the enriched layout into “issue” files that can be published to the iPad app, and a web-based service for managing apps, publications, and issues. Costs will include a one-time $495 configuration fee for the Starter iPad App, a $495 per issue charge for the conversion of QuarkXPress layouts to iPad issue files, and a license fee of $349 for publishing a single issue; the license fee decreases depending on the number of issues purchased. No further charges, such as revenue sharing agreements, are required. Quark’s iPad Publishing Service will be available in February. [via Digital Arts]

iOS 4.3 beta 2 offers more evidence of iPad camera, new features

The second beta version of iOS 4.3 has been shown to offer further evidence of a camera-equipped iPad, as well as hints of a new cloud-based media sharing and syncing service, a new app, and Push Notifications for an existing service. Mac Rumors reports that the new beta includes an image of an iPad home screen with icons for FaceTime, Camera, and Photo Booth pictured, offering further evidence that the next iPad will include at least one camera. According to the report, the image is used to show a preview of the user’s wallpaper selection; it also suggests Apple is porting its standard Mac OS X Photo Booth app to its portable devices.

Also found in iOS 4.3 beta 2 and reported by AppleInsider is a mention of a new Photo Stream image sync feature, which appears to make MobileMe Gallery sharing automatic, which was found inside a “Media Stream” folder. “Photo Stream uploads and stores the last thirty days of your photos on MobileMe and downloads them to all of your devices,” reads the text found in the beta. Finally, 9 to 5 Mac reports that Ping has received the ability to send Push Notifications under iOS 4.3 beta 2. Apple has yet to set a public release date for iOS 4.3, and as with all betas, features are subject to changes and/or removal prior to the official release.

AirView displays AirPlay video on iOS devices

Clément Vasseur has released an AirPlay client application for iOS device users. Although the AirPlay technology built into iOS 4.2 allows iOS users to stream content to an AirPlay client device, iOS 4.2 does not currently provide any way to view content from an AirPlay source. AirView is a free universal application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad that allows a device to receive and display AirPlay video streams from another AirPlay-enabled source such as iTunes or another iOS device. Users can simply launch the Airview application on their iOS device which will then appears in a list of AirPlay destinations on other devices. At this time, AirView supports only video streams and not audio or photos. AirView requires iOS 4.2 and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Pixelsync for iPad provides a mobile Aperture library

Bart Jacobs has released Pixelsync, a new app that allows Aperture users to sync photos from their Aperture libraries to their iPad for reviewing, rating and labelling while on the go. Using a companion app on the Mac, Pixelsync can transfer and sync photos with the iPad app from one or more Aperture Libraries over a local Wi-Fi connection. Selected photos are stored locally on the iPad where they can be rated and labelled offline, later syncing this information back to the Aperture library. Formerly known as Tagalicious, the recent update has renamed the app to Pixelsync due to a naming conflict with an existing Mac application. The latest version allows users to assign color labels to photos in addition to star ratings, and adds a slideshow feature and the ability to sort the view by name, date or rating. Pixelsync requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later, Aperture 3.0 or later and iOS 4.2 and is available from the App Store for $6.

Adult content coming to App Store in March?

A recent series of high-profile Twitter updates suggests that Apple will be relaxing its restrictions on adult content beginning in March. Late last evening, Playboy CEO Hugh Hefner made an announcement via Twitter that “Playboy—both old & new—will be available on iPad beginning in March.” In response to questions about the content, Hefner added that “all the back issues of Playboy will be available on iPad, & current issues as well,” and said that “Playboy on iPad will be uncensored.” Playboy currently offers a $1 iPhone app, with recent monthly editions available for purchase within the app, but the app’s description states that it “does NOT contain any nude content.” The possibility remains that Playboy has simply created a web application through which it can offer its full range of content, however, Hefner’s preface of “Big News!” on the announcement seems to imply that iPad access will be made possible via an approved app. [via TechTrackr]

Update: Playboy spokesperson Theresa Hennessey, speaking with Fox News, has clarified Hefner’s comments, saying that the magazine’s archives will be coming to the iPad via a web-based subscription service. “We are releasing a web-based subscription service with Bondi Digital Publishing that will give users access to every issue of Playboy both past and present,” said Hennessey. “The service will be iPad-compatible and will utilize iPad functions.”

Starbucks officially launches iPhone payment feature

Starbucks will officially launch its iPhone-based mobile payment service today in all of its U.S. company-operated stores, allowing users of its Starbucks Card Mobile app to pay for their coffee and other Starbucks products directly from their iOS device. The Starbucks Card Mobile app was originally released in the fall of 2009 to allow iPhone users to manage their Starbucks Cards, tracking rewards and balances and reloading their cards. At that time a pilot program was put in place to test mobile payments at select locations in California, Seattle and New York City whereby users could pay simply by displaying a barcode on their iOS device that could be read by the scanner at the register. Starbucks today announced that it is rolling out the mobile payments platform throughout the U.S. allowing iOS devices to be used as virtual Starbucks Cards for payment and rewards. The Starbucks Card Mobile app is available from the App Store as a free download. [via Mashable]

iDOS returns to the App Store

FastIntelligence has re-released its iDOS virtual DOS application onto the App Store in the form of an update. Originally released last November, the original version of iDOS was a DOS emulator for iOS devices that allowed users to run old PC DOS based applications ranging from Doom to Windows 3.1 on an iOS device. Applications were loaded onto the device over USB using the iTunes File Sharing feature and a simple DOS prompt and virtual keyboard was provided to extract and run DOS commands and applications transferred to the device. The application was removed from the App Store after only a day, presumably for violation of Apple’s App Store policies against running external code in iOS applications.

Late last night iDOS 2.0.1 appeared as an update for owners of the previous version with the significant change that the iTunes File Sharing feature has been removed, preventing users from installing their own external code. Instead, the package includes a number of DOS freeware/shareware games from 3D Realms including Wolfenstein 3D, Major Striker, Duke Nukem I and II, SuperNova and Kingdom of Kroz II. The update also adds a simplified game launcher so users are not required to use the DOS command-line and a virtual gamepad/joystick within the app. Improvements have also been made to landscape view and Bluetooth keyboard support for text-based games has been added. iDOS 2.0.1 is available from the App Store as a free download. Users of iDOS 1.0 may wish to back up their existing version before downloading the update.

TiVo releases iPad app

TiVo has released a free iPad remote control app for users of its TiVo Premiere box. With the new TiVo app, iPad users can search and browse content directly from their device without interrupting whatever programming they are currently watching. The application allows users to view a 14-day program guide, schedule and manage both one-time and Season Pass recordings and see listings of new and recommended content using a gesture-based touchscreen interface. Users can also post comments about shows and movies to Twitter and Facebook from directly within the app. The application works with the TiVo service so that users can also search and browse shows when away from home and schedule recordings remotely. The TiVo application for the iPad requires a TiVo Premiere or Premiere XL box and is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.

Endloop X announces new location-based social game

Endloop X, a new venture from Endloop Studios has announced a new location-based social gaming platform currently under development for iOS devices. Titled Please Stay Calm, the game promises to engage players in unique location-based exploration and co-operative game play with online friends in a theme related to preparing for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Although details are limited at this time, Endloop X has opened applications for a Closed Alpha of the game; interested users may apply at http://pleasestaycalm.com.

Gameloft releases trailer for Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden

Gameloft has released the trailer for Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden, its latest game under development for the iOS platform. While still short on details, the new game is expected to be a fantasy action RPG in which players take on the role of Ayden, a young hero chosen by the god Uryah to save the kingdom of Lasgalen from the Apocalypse. The game is slated for release next month for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Nike+ GPS adds Tag

Nike has released an update to its Nike+ GPS app for the iPhone and iPod touch adding a new competitive game mode. Dubbed Nike+ Tag, the game allows users to challenge their friends to a virtual game of tag where players must avoid being “it” by running a greater distance, longer amount of time or earlier in the day than their friends. Players create a tag challenge and specify the rules based on distance, time running or time of day and then invite their friends to participate. A game of Nike+ Tag lasts three days or until all of the friends have taken part, and the runner with the lowest score becomes designated as “it” at which point the other players can post comments to their Nike+ home screen. The player designated as “it” continues to hold their designation until the next game of Nike+ Tag. Nike+ GPS is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPod touch running iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.

PopCap: Peggle for iPad coming “soon”

PopCap Games, developer of highly-acclaimed games including Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled 2, has revealed in an e-mail that it “soon” plans to release an iPad-native version of its award-winning Peggle. Following its release on PC and Mac platforms, Peggle was released as a Click Wheel iPod Game where it truly took off, receiving our iPod Game of the Year Award before making its way to the iOS platform as an iPhone and iPod touch version, then adding the semi-sequel Peggle Nights as additional downloadable content. The iPad version would likely follow Plants vs. Zombies in being a standalone “HD” version, using touch-optimized content from the Mac game that was released years ago.

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