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Slacker Radio adds background audio

Slacker has released another update to its popular Slacker Radio personalized streaming radio application, adding support for background audio on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. With Slacker Radio 2.1, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch users can now start a personalized radio station playing and then exit the app while the music continues playing in the background. Slacker Radio 2.1 also builds upon the offline listening feature introduced earlier this month, allowing users to listen to cached versions of their favorite playlists in the background even without an active Internet connection. Although the actual station caching process will only occur while Slacker Radio is running, users can continue to listen to their cached content while using other applications in the same manner as for live streaming stations. As before, station caching requires a Slacker Radio Plus subscription for $5/month or $48/year, which also provides users with ad-free listening, song lyrics, and unlimited song skipping and song requests. Background audio support is available with either the free Slacker Radio Basic or paid Slacker Radio Plus subscriptions. Slacker Radio 2.1 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Microsoft updates Bing for iPhone, adds camera and social support

Microsoft has released an update to its Bing application for iOS devices. Going beyond the basic search engine features now included in iOS4, the Bing 1.2 app brings support for conducting searches by scanning barcodes and cover art with the iPhone camera and connecting to Facebook and Twitter accounts. The new version now combines results from users’ social networks when searching the web and allows users to share their search results via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. An expanded shopping section with reviews, ratings and prices is also now available as well as additional clips and trailers when searching movies. Bing 1.2 is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.

EA drops iPhone app prices for 99-cent sale

For a limited time Electronic Arts has dropped the prices on 17 of their popular game titles for the iPhone and iPod touch. For 48 hours, EA titles such as Need for Speed Shift (normally $6.99) and Madden NFL 10 (normally $6.99) are selling for only $0.99 each. Other titles include SimCity, Command & Conquer Red Alert, FIFA 10, NBA Live, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Need for Speed Undercover, Dragon’s Lair, Clue, Trivial Pursuit, The Game of Life, YAHTZEE Adventures, Battleship, Connect 4, Surviving High School and Jewel Quest Mysteries: Curse of the Emerald Tear. The games normally sell for $1.99-6.99 each.

Byline 3.2 adds background sync

Phantom Fish has released an iOS 4 update to its popular Byline RSS client for Google Reader. Byline 3.2 introduces higher-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina display and adds background task completion for multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. When exiting Byline on an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS or third-generation iPod touch with iOS 4, the app will finish the current syncing or caching process in the background. Fast App Switching is also supported on these devices to allow users to quickly return to where they left off when re-entering the application. Byline 3.2 also tweaks swipe sensitivity to improve navigation and fixes several bugs related to syncing, caching and handling of links to iTunes and the App Store. Byline is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for existing users. A free ad-supported version is also available.

Real Racing updated for iPhone 4, adds gyroscope controls

Firemint has released an iPhone 4 update to its popular Real Racing game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Real Racing 1.22 features new graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina display with higher-resolution textures, more detailed car interiors, updated menus and improved graphical performance on the iPhone 4. The update also promises smoother graphics on iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch devices through the use of anti-aliasing in iOS4. With this version Real Racing adds support for the iPhone 4 gyroscope to provide more responsive and accurate controls for iPhone 4 users in addition to accelerometer-based controls. iOS 4 Fast App Switching is also supported to allow users to exit the game and automatically pick up where they left off when returning to it. Real Racing 1.22 is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for existing users.

iBooks 1.1 breaks dictionary for some books

Following yesterday’s iBooks 1.1 update, users have discovered that Apple’s built-in dictionary is no longer working with some e-books, a problem traced by iLounge’s editors to a difference in the way iBooks 1.1 chooses dictionaries relative to versions 1.0 and 1.01. The new iBooks appears to be using the language identifier normally stored within ePub files to determine which dictionary to use for a given e-book. Some popular e-book conversation applications such as Calibre do not insert the correct language identifier when saving in the ePub format, which will result in iBooks not knowing which dictionary to use. The problem appears to be confined to e-books that users have converted themselves or downloaded from third-party sources outside of the iBookstore, despite the fact that dictionary lookups for these books worked fine prior to the iBooks 1.1 update. More information on this problem and how to fix it can be found in our Backstage section.

Ambiance updated for iOS 4 with background audio

Urban Apps has released a major update to its Ambiance “environment enhancer” app for iPhone and iPod touch devices. Ambiance 3.0 is a complete rewrite of the application to support iOS4 and the coming iPhone 4. New features include High Definition sound images to support the new Retina Display on the iPhone 4, background audio support to allow ambient sounds to continue playing while using other applications, multiple customized alarms and alarm themes and support for downloading Ambiance sound updates in the background on iOS 4. The rewritten version also includes a completely revamped user interface to provide easier navigation. Ambiance 3.0 is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for existing users.

Apple releases iBooks 1.1 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch

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Apple has released iBooks 1.1, the first major update to its e-Book reading and purchasing software for iOS devices. As revealed by Apple in its WWDC keynote address, iBooks 1.1 offers compatibility with the iPad as well as any iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4, and features several noteworthy improvements, including PDF support, the ability to highlight text, add notes, and bookmark, the latter two of which are reflected in the book’s Table of Contents, wireless syncing of notes, highlights, and page position between devices, and, interestingly, support for iTunes Digital Booklet files once they’ve been marked as a Book in iTunes. iBooks 1.1 is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Apple releases iPhone SDK 4 to all devs

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Apple has released its iPhone Software Development Kit for iOS 4 to all iPhone developers. Previously available only to paid developers, the updated SDK allows all registered developers a chance to develop OS 4-compatible apps, although the $99 annual fee will still be required for on-device testing and submission to the App Store. Notably, at least some of the accompanying documentation make references to iPhone OS 4, which was officially renamed iOS 4 two weeks ago. TUAW notes that Apple is expected to rescind its prior NDA covering iOS 4 developers now that the SDK and software update are more widely available. The iPhone SDK 4 s available now as a free download for all registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center.

Apple sneaks iAd opt-out into iTunes Store update

Apple has made “material” changes to its iTunes privacy policy, including a section related to the company’s upcoming iAd mobile advertising platform that gives users the option of opting out of the service. “Apple and its partners use cookies and other technologies in mobile advertising services to control the number of times you see a given ad, deliver ads that relate to your interests, and measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns,” the text says. “If you do not want to receive ads with this level of relevance on your mobile device, you can opt out by accessing the following link on your device: http://oo.apple.com. If you opt out, you will continue to receive the same number of mobile ads, but they may be less relevant because they will not be based on your interests. You may still see ads related to the contrent on a web page or in an application or based on other non-personal information. This opt-out applies only to Apple advertising services and does not affect interest-based advertising from other advertising networks.” Notably, the opt out must be performed from the device, and if a user has multiple devices, each must be opted out separately. Apple is expected to roll out its iAd platform to iOS 4 devices beginning July 1.

Pandora releases iOS 4 update with background audio

Pandora Media has released the anticipated iOS 4 update for its popular Pandora Radio application. As demonstrated by Apple at recent iOS 4 events, the latest version of Pandora Radio leverages the new background audio multitasking feature in iOS 4 to allow users to continue listening to their music while using other applications. With Pandora Radio 3.1 and a multitasking-capable device using iOS 4, Pandora Radio can operate in the background in the same manner as the built-in iPod application—audio continues to play in the background even after closing the app, and the device’s on-screen and headphone media controls will be used for the Pandora Radio application instead of the iPod application. Pandora Radio 3.1 is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.

Microsoft releases Windows Live Messenger for iPhone

Microsoft has released an official version of Windows Live Messenger for iOS devices. Windows Live Messenger allows iPhone and iPod touch users to chat with their Windows Live Messenger and Y! Messenger contacts and view updates from social networks such as Facebook, Flickr and MySpace. Push Notifications are supported for new IM notifications. Users can also upload photos directly from their device and create albums, add captions and allow friends and family to comment on photos. Windows Live Messenger also provides built-in support for Hotmail so users can read, reply to and compose e-mails and receive e-mail notifications within the application. Windows Live Messenger is available from the App Store as a free download. [via TechCrunch

iAd apps begin appearing on App Store

The first applications supporting Apple’s new iAd mobile advertising platform have appeared on the App Store. Avantar, developer of mobile search applications such as OneTap Movies, Showtimes, Munch and Yellow Pages, has updated several of its applications integrating the new mobile advertising platform. Apple’s iAd does not go live until July 1st, and at this time these apps appear to be showing either a test ad or an empty banner. The release notes for these apps originally cited iAd integration; this note has since been removed and replaced simply with “minor bug fixes,” however the apps themselves remain on the App Store and continue to display the iAd banners. Avantar’s App Store page can be found here.

Evernote adds iOS 4 support, background recording

Evernote has released an update adding iOS 4 support to its popular cloud-based note application. In addition to Fast App Switching, Evernote 3.3.5 also adds support for some more advanced iOS 4 capabilities. When using iOS 4, Evernote will now automatically finish synchronizing with the Evernote servers even after the application has been closed. Further, users can now continue recording voice memos while outside of the application; iOS 4 will note a recording in progress by a red status bar at the top of the screen, similar to the iPhone’s built-in Voice Memos application. Evernote 3.3.5 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Elgato updates EyeTV for iPad

Elgato has released an update to its EyeTV client for iOS devices, adding support for iPad users. EyeTV 1.1 is now a universal app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices and has been specifically optimized for the iPad screen. Version 1.1 also adds separate bitrate settings for streaming via local Wi-Fi, remote Wi-Fi and 3G connections and the ability to select composite or S-Video inputs from the channel favorites list. The EyeTV application allows users of Elgato’s EyeTV software for the Mac to stream live TV and view previously recorded shows from their Mac over Wi-Fi or 3G connections as well as viewing their program guide and scheduling recordings remotely. EyeTV 1.1 is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for existing EyeTV users.

Facebook update adds video support

Facebook has released an update to its popular iPhone application adding the ability to view Facebook videos through the app. Previous versions allowed users to upload video to Facebook, however even videos uploaded directly from the iPhone could not be viewed from Facebook once saved. Facebook 3.1.3 also allows users to write on walls of events and uploads photos with a maximum 720 pixel width. The update also addresses a number of bugs, including problems commenting on photos accessed from Notifications, problems uploading smaller photos, incorrect highlighting and sorting in certain areas, and broken photo album links in the news feed. Notably, Facebook 3.1.3 adds no support for iOS 4, suggesting that the app may have been submitted to the App Store for review prior to the iOS 4 announcement. Facebook is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple releases Find My iPhone app

Following a recent update to its MobileMe service, Apple has released Find My iPhone for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. A native app for the web-based service, Find My iPhone can be installed on any device running iOS 3.1.3 or later and assists users in locating another lost or missing iPhone, iPod touch or iPad that is using the MobileMe service. Users simply sign in with the MobileMe member name associated with the missing device and the Find My iPhone app provides an integrated map to show where the lost device last reported its location. Users can then display a message and/or play a sound on the remote device, remotely lock the device with a passcode or wipe the device completely in the same way as through the MobileMe web-based Find My iPhone service. Note that the Find My iPhone service must already have been enabled on the missing device in order for the app to locate it. Find My iPhone is a universal app that runs natively on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices and is a free download from the App Store, although a $99/year MobileMe subscription is required to use the Find My iPhone service.

Ngmoco releases Godfinger worldwide

Ngmoco has released its latest online social media game Godfinger (iLounge rating: C) to App Stores worldwide. Initially released for limited testing on the Canadian App Store in March, Godfinger puts the player in the role of an all-powerful deity who must customize and cultivate their world and convert inhabitants into loyal followers. The game provides an open-ended gameplay where users can choose to play as a benevolent god or a destructive demagogue. Players increase in level by generating additional followers and can then earn additional Wonders to impress or subdue their subjects. The game utilizes the Plus+ network for players to invite their friends to become followers or Mystics to help rule on their behalf. Godfinger is available as a free download from the App Store in separate iPad and iPhone versions; game progress is synced via the Plus+ network so the same world can be played on multiple devices. The game is free to play but like other recent Ngmoco titles encourages users to accelerate their progress in the game by purchasing upgrades and currency via in-app purchase.

iBooks 1.1 to offer iTunes Digital Booklet support

Apple has posted a new Knowledge Base document revealing that iBooks 1.1 and iTunes 9.2 now support the sync of iTunes Digital Booklets to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. According to the document, users simply need to select the desired iTunes Digital Booklet from the Music library, click Get Info, change the Media type to Book, and hit okay. The Digital Booklet will then be moved to the Book library, and can be synced like any other book. Apple has already released iTunes 9.2, and is expected to release iBooks for iPhone and iPod touch alongside iOS 4.0 on June 21.

iOS 4 apps begin to appear on App Store

Following last week’s announcement that developers can begin submitting updates for iOS 4 compatibility, updates have now begun to appear on the App Store. Among the first applications boasting iOS 4 compatibility is the popular Dropbox app, which has also received some minor bug fixes as well. Developers can simply recompile their applications using the iOS 4 SDK to take advantage of the new Fast App Switching feature in iOS 4, allowing applications to be suspended in the background and resumed at their current state, and all applications listing iOS 4 compatibility should at least support this new multitasking feature. Other multitasking capabilities such as Background Task Completion will need to be specifically added by developers and will not necessarily be inherent in iOS 4 compatible applications.

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