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Apple releases first beta version of iOS 4.3 to developers (Updated x2)

Apple has released iOS 4.3 beta 1, the first beta version of its next major point release for iOS, to its paid developers. According to notes accompanying the release, the beta includes a pre-release version of future Apple TV Software so that developers can test AirPlay functionality with their 4.3 apps, meaning that users should be able to send video from apps or websites to the Apple TV under the new software. A prior report also indicated that the Personal Hotspot Internet sharing feature debuting on the Verizon iPhone 4 will make its way to other models under iOS 4.3, although it is unclear whether the functionality is included in this update. Separate beta versions of iOS 4.3 for the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch are available as downloads for paid iOS developers from Apple’s iOS Dev Center.

Update: TUAW reports that the new beta also includes support for new four- and five-finger gestures on the iPad. “This beta release contains a preview of new Multi-Touch gestures for iPad,” reads Apple’s developer page for iOS 4.3. “You can use four or five fingers to pinch to the Home Screen; swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar; and swipe left or right between apps. We are providing this preview before releasing them to the public to understand how these gestures work with your apps. Test them and give us your feedback on the Apple Developer Forums.”

Update x2: Mac Rumors notes that the new beta also offers an option in the Settings app to choose whether the iPad’s side switch acts as a screen rotation lock or as a mute switch. The iPad originally shipped with the switch acting as a screen rotation lock, but Apple changed its behavior in iOS 4.2.

Microsoft trying to block Apple’s ‘App Store’ trademark

Microsoft has confirmed that it is attempting to block Apple’s trademark application for the phrase “App Store.” BBC News reports that Microsoft has asked the US Patent and Trademark Office to reject the application on the basis that it is too broad. “An ‘app store’ is an ‘app store’,” said Russell Pangborn, Microsoft’s associate general counsel. “Like ‘shoe store’ or ‘toy store’, it is a generic term that is commonly used by companies, governments and individuals that offer apps. The term ‘app store’ should continue to be available for use by all without fear of reprisal by Apple.” Apple first filed for the trademark in 2008, and this week launched its second application store—the Mac App Store—alongside the release of Mac OS X 10.6.6.

Flickr app adds EXIF support, uploading improvements

Flickr has released an update to its official application for the iPhone and iPod touch adding support for preserving EXIF data when uploading photos as well as a number of other improvements. Flickr 1.3 now allows users to include all EXIF data from photos uploaded via the app, including date, time and the original geo-location of the photo. The update also includes a new photo picker that allows users to select up to five photos for batch uploading and improvements to background uploading on 3G connections. Users can also now adjust a photos geo location prior to uploading using a custom map view and display a map to display the location where photos were taken. The new version also improves Twitter sharing using a short URL, removes the 42 set limit within the app and provides support for the Retina Display on the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch. Flickr is available from the App Store as a free download.

Murdoch, Jobs to announce The Daily on Jan. 19?

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch will appear onstage with Apple CEO Steve Jobs to announce the former’s new iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, on January 19, according to new reports. Yahoo! News reports that the event will be held in San Francisco, and that the date could change, although January 19 remains the expected launch date. Citing Ad Age’s Edmund Lee, Forbes reports that Murdoch briefed some reporters on The Daily at the 2011 International CES, although the information is under embargo. Forbes also claims that The Daily’s staffers have been engaged in full-scale dry runs for weeks, and notes that landing page now offers a coming soon message, as well as a new icon (pictured). Prior reports have indicated that The Daily will take advantage of a new subscription plan from Apple that will enable automatic delivery of new content to readers’ iPads.

Mattel shows Angry Birds playset at CES

Toy maker Mattel is showing a new Angry Birds-branded playset at the 2011 International CES. Named “Angry Birds: Knock On Wood,” the multi-piece plastic set includes recreations of the red, yellow, and black bomb birds from the game, a variety of wooden set pieces and pigs, and a slingshot launcher. Also included are point cards for keeping track of the score. Angry Birds: Knock On Wood will launch in May and will retail for $15; a second playset is planned for release, as is a card-based Angry Birds game. Keep reading for more pictures.

Keynote Remote adds Retina Display support

Apple has released an update to its Keynote Remote application for the iPhone and iPod touch adding support for iOS 4 multitasking features and Retina Display graphics on the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch.  The update also improves the handling of push notifications received while controlling a presentation and fixes several issues with network connectivity and connecting to Keynote ‘09. Keynote Remote 1.2 requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $1.

Navigon and Audi provide free CES 2011 Navigation app

Navigon, developer of the MobileNavigator series of turn-by-turn navigation apps for iOS devices has released a free navigation application for the Consumer Electronics Show 2011 in partnership with Audi. Based on MobileNavigator, Audi Las Vegas Navigator is designed to help CES visitors navigate around the Las Vegas area and includes maps for the state of Nevada and all of the core features of MobileNavigator. Users can take advantage of voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, lane guidance and point of interest information for hotels, restaurants and attractions around Las Vegas. Connected services such as google Local Search, Weather Live and location sharing via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail are also included, as well as a pedestrian mode for walking directions. Audi Las Vegas Navigator is available as a free download from the App Store for a limited time.

Skype 3.0 adds video calling

Skype Software has released an update to its popular voice-over-IP telephony app for the iPhone and iPod touch adding much-anticipated support for Skype-to-Skype video calls. Skype 3.0 now allows Skype users to make two-way video calls between other video-capable Skype apps over either Wi-Fi or 3G. iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch users can place bi-directional video calls to other compatible iOS devices or Skype desktop users on Mac OS X or Windows. Users of the iPad and older iPod touch devices are able to receive one-way video calls from video-capable Skype clients but cannot send video due to the lack of a camera on these devices. Video calls are supported in both portrait and landscape orientations and requires a device using iOS 4.0 or later. Skype video is not supported on the iPhone 3G. Skype 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.

iPad magazine sales slowing at year’s end

Sales of iPad-formatted versions of print magazines dropped towards the end of 2010, according to a new report. Citing figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, WWDMedia reports that Vanity Fair sold only 8,700 digital editions in November, down from an average of 10,500 for August, September, and October; Glamour, which sold 4,301 digital issues in September, saw sales drop 20 percent in October and another 20 percent to just 2,775 in November. GQ‘s November sales were the worst since April, when the iPad was released, and Wired saw sales of 22,000 and 23,000 in October and November, respectively, after averaging 31,000 digital sales between July in September, down from sales of over 100,000 in June. While the report notes that publishers are hopeful the sales of new iPads over the holidays will increase sales, it should be mentioned that most digital editions are priced at or above the newsstand price for print editions, with no subscription model currently available. A report from earlier this month indicated that talks between Apple and magazine publishers over the terms of a potential iTunes subscription model were at a standstill, with the two sides unable to agree on revenue and subscriber information sharing issues.

Rovio CEO: Apple will maintain lead in mobile gaming

Speaking in an interview with Tech N’ Marketing, Peter Vesterbacka, CEO of Angry Birds-maker Rovio, had several complimentary things to say about Apple and its mobile gaming ecosystem. “Apple will be the number one platform for a long time from a developer perspective, they have gotten so many things right,” Vesterbacka said. “And they know what they are doing and they call the shots. Android is growing, but it’s also growing complexity at the same time. Device fragmentation not the issue, but rather the fragmentation of the ecosystem. So many different shops, so many different models. The carriers messing with the experience again. Open but not really open, a very Google centric ecosystem. And paid content just doesn’t work on Android.” He went on to say that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was “absolutely right” when he said there were more challenges for developers working with Android, adding that “[n]obody else will be able to build what Apple has built, there just isn’t that kind of market power out there.” [via MacDailyNews]

Apple, developers sued over app privacy concerns

Apple and a handful of app developers have been sued—not once, but twice—over the collection and sharing of user data with outside companies. Both suits—Lalo v. Apple and Freeman v. Apple—were filed in the Northern District of California; the former was first reported by Bloomberg while the latter was spotted by Wired. Both suits appear to be heavily based on research compiled and published by the Wall Street Journal, which showed that some apps send age, gender, location, and phone identifier information to ad networks without notifying the user.

“Some apps are also selling additional information to ad networks, including users’ location, age, gender, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation and political views,” reads the Lalo suit. The Freeman suit claims that “[d]efendant Apple, by exercising significant control over App developers and sharing profits with them, has created a ‘community of interest’ with the other Defendants to render them joint venturers, who are responsible for each other’s torts. Defendant Apple has also aided and abetted the remaining Defendants in the commission of their legal wrongs against Plaintiffs and the proposed class.” In addition to Apple, Pandora, Paper Toss, the Weather Channel,, Toss It, Text4Plus, Talking Tom Cat, and Pimple Popper Lite were all named in either one or both the suits; both are seeking class action status.

ArtStudio for iPad adds select tool, gradient fill

Lucky Clan has released an update to ArtStudio, its drawing and painting application for the iPad. ArtStudio 3.0 adds a new select tool that allows users to select portions of their drawing using shapes, colors or magic wand. Users can then perform a range of actions on the selected area including inverse, border, contract, expand, round corners, feather and sharpen modifications and cop, fill, copy and paste operations as well as a number of drawing and transform functions. The new version also adds a gradient fill feature with the ability to choose color and transparency modes, set opacity and offset and use a variety of gradient shapes including linear, radial, conical and more. Several interface improvements have also been made in the latest update to improve usability and the latest version also adds support for iOS 4.2 multitasking features. ArtStudio for iPad is currently available from the App Store for $3.

Path adds Video Moments

Path has released an update to its personal photo sharing app for the iPhone and iPod touch introducing the ability to share videos on the Path network in addition to photos. Released in November, Path is designed to create a more personal social network by allowing users to easily share photos among a limited group of close friends without requiring more complicated settings for privacy and friend lists. Path 1.2 now allows users to share up to 10-second video clips on the Path service, adds a list of recently tagged users and improves the Push Notification system to take users directly to new posts. Path 1.2 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Camera+ returns to App Store with version 2.0

Popular iPhone camera app Camera+ has returned to the App Store with the release of version 2.0. Camera+ was previously removed from the App Store without any explanation following the discovery hidden hardware shutter control feature that violated Apple’s SDK guidelines for iOS developers. While it was expected at the time that the app would return shortly thereafter with the hidden feature removed, the app remained conspicuously absent from the App Store for several months with no further explanation from the developer or Apple.

Camera+ has now returned in version 2.0, introducing a number of significant new features including sliders for adjusting effect amounts, support for exporting geolocation information and other metadata when saving photos to the Camera Roll and viewing extended photo info including maps with location information. Version 2.0 also provides a more intuitive, redesigned user interface and removes the “SLR” screen for simplicity. Photos can now be rotated and flipped within the app and most of the existing effects have been improved in addition to dozens of new effects and borders which have been added. Additional analog-themed effects can also be purchased for $1 from within the application. A complete list of new features and examples of the new effects can be found on Taptaptap’s Blog. Camera+ 2.0 is a free update for users of the previous version and is currently available from the App Store for a limited-time sale price of $1 for new users.

Apple updates Remote app, adds AirPlay video support

Apple has released an update to its Remote app for iOS devices adding support for AirPlay video streaming and enhancing integration with iTunes. Remote 2.1 now allows users to stream videos via AirPlay from their iTunes library to an Apple TV and access and play Movie and TV Show rentals in the iTunes library. The update also adds support for browsing and playing back Internet radio streams in iTunes and addresses issues connecting to an iTunes library or Apple TV from an iOS device. Remote 2.1 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Acrobits Softphone now supports encrypted calls

Acrobits has updated its Softphone application for the iPhone and iPod touch adding support for secure calls and improvements to Google Voice integration and call interruption. Acrobits Softphone 4.6 now supports encrypted secure calls using SRTP/SDES and ZRTP; users can receive incoming ZRTP calls at no additional charge but must purchase an add-on feature via in-app purchase to initiate outgoing ZRTP calls. The update also improves the Google Voice integration within the app providing an easier and more intuitive setup procedure and adds a call quality indicator to allow users to view network connection quality in realtime. Users can also now record a message to be played to a SIP/VoIP caller when the call is interrupted by a standard incoming cellular call on the iPhone. Acrobits Softphone is available from the App Store for $7; additional features are available via in-app purchase including G.729 Annex A audio codec support ($10) and encrypted ZRTP outgoing call support ($25).

Photogene for iPad adds new editing tools, browser view and more

Omer Shoor has released a major update to Photogene for iPad, his popular photo editing software for iOS devices. Photogene for iPad 2.0 adds a new photo browser that allows users to view photos as large thumbnails, easily switch between the browsing screen and the editing screen and add captions to photos directly from the browser. The new version also adds support for batch uploading of several photos at a time and the ability to export photos in resolutions up to 8 megapixels. Users can also now view EXIF metadata for photos, including geotag information, and print photos via AirPrint. Several new editor tools have also been added including de-noise filter, improved sharpening, a heal/clone tool and a selective blur tool. The update also fixes problems in the previous version with opening RAW files. Photogene for iPad is available from the App Store for $4.

Edge adds Game Center support, new levels

Mobigame has released an update to Edge, its acclaimed puzzle game for iOS, adding integration with Apple’s Game Center and new levels and tracks. Edge 1.6 now supports Game Center achievements and leaderboards for sharing high scores and accomplishments with friends, and adds two new levels and a new soundtrack. The update also fixes a minor bug with playing in portrait mode on the iPad. Edge is a universal app compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and is available from the App Store for $3.

MobileNavigator adds iPad support, Zagat Guide

Navigon has released an update to its turn-by-turn GPS navigation apps adding native iPad support, optional Zagat guide integration and a new Active Lane Assistant feature. MobileNavigator 1.7 is now a universal app supporting the iPhone and iPad 3G natively, the first major GPS navigation app to provide universal support in a single app. iPod touch and iPad Wi-Fi users can also use MobileNavigator with an external GPS accessory. Users can also now take advantage of additional travel and restaurant guides through Zagat via an in-app purchase, providing ratings, reviews and directions to restaurants, hotels and other attractions from the Zagat Guide, integrated directly into the POI database.

The update also introduces a new optional Active Lane Assistant feature that provides a live lane animation in the lower-right corner of the map view, displaying the current lane configuration and indicating which lane the driver should follow. Additional new features include e-mail sharing of favourites between multiple iOS devices and a new MyReport feature that allows users to report road changes such as names, new speed limits and one-way streets directly from within the app such as names. Navigon MobileNavigator is available from the App Store in several versions for different geographic areas: MobileNavigator North America is currently available for $45, with U.S. and Canada versions available separately for $35 each. Region-specific U.S. versions are $25 and MobileNavigator Europe is $75. Prices for other areas around the world range from $40 to $65. Zagat content is available via in-app purchase for $6; Active Lane Assistant and Zagat content are not available in all areas.

Infinity Blade adds new items, in-app purchases

Chair Entertainment Group has released an update to its highly acclaimed Infinity Blade RPG for the iPhone and iPod touch adding new items and enemies and an in-app purchase feature. Specifically, Infinity Blade 1.1 adds five new swords, five new shields, five new helmets and one new set of armor to be mastered and raises the maximum character level from 40 to 45. A new enemy, the Marrow Fiend has also been added for extra challenges. Users can also now purchase gold for real money via a new in-app purchase feature with gold ranging from $1 for 25,000 gold up to $50 to purchase 2.5 million gold. The game also now allows players to listen to their own music while playing. Infinity Blade is a universal app supporting all recent iPhone, iPod touch and iPad models and is available from the App Store for $6.

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