Apple has started rolling its new iAd mobile advertising platform in iOS 4 applications coded to display the ads. Although reports indicate that some users are already able to see and interact with the new ads, two iLounge editors have yet to have one appear—possibly due to their geographic locations—leaving nothing but a blank banner, as pictured above. Previewed by Apple at both its iPhone OS 4 event in April and then again during the company’s WWDC keynote address, iAd is a new, Apple-controlled mobile advertising platform that is built directly into iOS, allowing for more advanced interaction between the viewer and the content, with the bonus of not having to leave the app in which the ad was displayed. A recent report indicated that the first companies with iAds paid $1 million for the privilege, with some paying up to $10 million for some measure of exclusivity in their respective categories.
Mozilla announced yesterday that it has submitted its first iPhone app, Firefox Home to the App Store. Firefox Home allows users to access their Firefox desktop history, bookmarks, and even currently open tabs on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, enabling users to easily look up information on the go and pick up where they left off from their desktop browsing. Data is synced securely from Firefox on the desktop using the Firefox Sync browser plug-in, and Firefox Home users can view sites directly in Firefox Home, open them in Mobile Safari or share them via e-mail. Firefox Home is currently under App Store review and is expected to be available as a free download once it has been approved by Apple. [via Tech Crunch]
Facebook has released an update to its iPhone and iPod touch app, bringing support for iOS 4 Fast App Switching. The update also provides high-resolution icons for the iPhone 4 Retina display, Korean and Russian localizations and minor bug fixes. Facebook released an update last week on the same day that iOS 4 was released, however this prior update was notably missing any features related to iOS 4 itself, focusing instead on adding support for video playback and other integration features. This latest update focuses primarily on iOS 4 and iPhone 4 compatibility. Facebook 3.1.4 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Building on the success of its popular iPhone application launched last fall, the National Film Board of Canada has released a native iPad version. NFB Films for iPad allows users to enjoy over 1,000 free NFB documentaries, animated shorts and trailers streamed over either Wi-Fi or 3G. The app also includes a selection of films in 3-D and high-definition as well as a dedicated kids’ channel containing fun and educational content for children. In addition to online streaming, users can download and store films for offline viewing for up to 48 hours. The app provides the same basic features as its iPhone counterpart but has been optimized for the iPad not only for higher-resolution video support but also includes improved navigation controls and a split-screen view that allows users to browse other NFB content while viewing a film. NFB Films for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download and includes access to all of the National Film Board’s iPad-ready content at no charge.
Marco Arment has released another update to his popular Instapaper offline reader application introducing synchronization of reading positions in articles between multiple iOS devices. The new feature allows users of more than one iOS device, such as an iPhone and iPad, to switch back and forth between devices and easily pick up where they left off on the other device. The update also adds the promised background task completion for iOS 4 devices allowing synchronization with the Instapaper service to complete even after you exit the app. Other enhancements in Instapaper 2.2.5 include dramatically improved performance and accuracy when rotating the device between portrait and landscape mode, the ability to e-mail the full text of stored articles and improvements to tilt-scrolling and password entry on iOS 4. Instapaper is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for current users.
Cocoa Box Design has released an update to its iPad digital ink note-taking application, Penultimate. The update adds support for colored ink, including red, green, blue and two shades of grey as well as two additional line weights suitable for words, bold shapes and shading. Penultimate 1.2 also now allows to place the toolbar at the top of the screen and includes a magic eraser to assist with removing fine details. Other changes include bug fixes and usability improvements as well as additional language support for Japanese, French, Italian, German and spanish. Penultimate 1.2 is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for current users.
Apple has released an update to its MobileMe Gallery application for iPhone and iPod touch devices. MobileMe Gallery 1.1.1 adds support for downloading higher-resolution images when using an iPhone 4 on a Wi-Fi network. The update also notes additional bug fixes, and although no mention is made of iOS 4 support the update appears to add Fast App Switching capabilities as well, although no other specific iOS 4 multitasking features are available. MobileMe Gallery allows iPhone and iPod touch users to view photos and movies from their own and their friends’ MobileMe Galleries in a manner similar to the built-in Photos app. Previously viewed photos are cached on the device so that they can be viewed even without an Internet connection, and links to albums and photos can be e-mailed out directly from within the app. MobileMe Gallery is available from the App Store as a free download for the iPhone and iPod touch and although the current version runs on the iPad, an iPad-native version is not yet available.
In a brief update to its iPhone Developer news and announcements page, Apple has revealed that it is ending support for iOS 2.x apps. The post, which urges developers to review Apple’s iOS 4 Readiness Checklist, states that “the App Store will no longer support applications that target iOS 2.x,” while reminding developers that “[a]ll new applications and updates to existing applications must be built with iPhone SDK 4.” Apple released iOS 4 on June 21 as a free update for all iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, second-, and third-generation iPod touch users.
Online video service Hulu today announced Hulu Plus, a new $10 per month, ad-supported subscription service that offers users the ability to watch Hulu content on a wide variety of devices. Notably, the new Hulu Plus service will allow subscribers to watch any TV show from a sizable catalog, streamed in 720p, on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, third-generation iPod touch, and iPad via the new Hulu Plus app. Writing about the announcement on the company blog, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar said, “I’ve been watching Hulu on my iPad for several weeks now, and I’ve watched more TV through the iPad than any other device.” The Hulu Plus service will also offer users access to more current full-length episodes and seasons than the standard service. Hulu Plus is currently in a private, invitation only phase, and will be opened up to all customers “as soon as [it’s] ready.”
iPont has released an update to its FlickStackr Flickr photo sharing application for the iOS devices. A universal app, FlickStackr allows iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users to search and browse photos on Flickr, upload new photos and edit metadata for existing photos. FlickStackr 1.3 adds a number of new features including iOS 4 compatibility, Flickr video playback support, better integration with the Camera Connection Kit and iPhone camera and improved slideshow, swipe and photo list views and additional social features including Facebook integration. The update also now preserves existing EXIF information when uploading photos to Flickr and allows users to select a photo size when uploading. FlickStackr is currently available from the App Store for $1.
SmileOnMyMac has released a universal update to its TextExpander text expansion application for iOS devices. TextExpander 1.1.4 adds an iPad-native user interface and additional minor fixes and improvements. TextExpander is a utility app for iOS devices that allows users to create their own abbreviations for common snippets of text and expand them automatically. Unlike its Mac counterpart, limitations in iOS prevent TextExpander from functioning as a background application, requiring users to either compose their text within the app for pasting into another app or use a TextExpander-enhanced third-party application. TextExpander compatible apps include Twitter for iPhone, SimpleNote, WriteRoom, SMS touch and others; a complete list of third-party apps integrating TextExpander support can be found at http://www.smileonmymac.com/applist. TextExpander 1.1.4 is available from the App Store for $5 as a universal app for both iPad and iPhone devices and is a free upgrade for current users.
Amazon has introduced Kindle Editions with Audio/Video for users of the Kindle application on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. The new e-book format now includes embedded video and audio clips in Kindle books, allowing readers to access rich-media content as part of the reading experience. Support for the new content was quietly added to the Kindle app for iOS devices last week with the new content appearing on Amazon’s Kindle Store yesterday. Some of the first books to take advantage of the new technology include Rick Steves’ London which provides walking tours with narration and Rose’s Heavenly Cakes which includes video tips on preparing the perfect cake. The current books are priced at $12 each and although only nine audio/video titles are presently available, Amazon notes that this is only the beginning and they are collaborating with major publishers such as Wiley and Avalon Travel to take advantage of this new functionality. Kindle for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store as a free download. Kindle Editions with Audio/Video can be found at http://www.amazon.com/kindleaudiovideo.
Marco Arment has updated his popular Instapaper Pro application, adding basic iOS 4 support and renaming the application to simply “Instapaper,” dropping the “Pro” designation. Instapaper 2.2.4 continues to support all of the features of the previous “Instapaper Pro” version and adds support for Fast App Switching on iOS 4, swipe gestures for page-turning on iOS 4 and iPad devices with improved page turn performance and OAuth support for Twitter. The update also fixes minor interface bugs related to the actions menu, the folder list and zooming of text. iOS 4 multitasking support is currently limited to Fast App Switching; background task completion for synchronization is expected to be coming in a later update. Instapaper 2.2.4 is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $5; a free version is also available for the iPhone and iPod touch.
iTeleport has released an update to its VNC remote control application for iPhone and iPad devices, introducing support for iOS 4 Fast App Switching and the iPhone 4 Retina display. iTeleport 4.0.4 is available from the App Store for $25 and is a free update for current users.
Toodledo has updated its iPhone task management app to provide support for iOS 4 Fast App Switching and background synchronization when exiting. Toodledo 2.0.1 also provides support for the iPhone 4 Retina display, fixes a problem with the rotation lock on iOS 4 and improves French and Italian translations. Toodledo 2.0.1 is available from the App Store for $4 and is a free update for current users.
Urbanspoon has released an update adding Fast App Switching for multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. There appear to be no other notable changes beyond iOS 4 support. Urbanspoon is available from the App Store as a free download.
Amazon has updated its Kindle app with optimizations for the iPhone 4 Retina display, but oddly does not appear to have added support for other new iOS 4 enhancements such as Fast App Switching. The release notes also continue to indicate that dictionary support and Google and Wikipedia lookups will also be coming “in the next release.” Kindle 2.1.1 is available from the App Store as a free download.
MotionX has released an update adding iOS 4 background navigation to its subscription-based navigation app for the iPhone and iPod touch. When running on multitasking capable iOS 4 devices, MotionX GPS Drive 5.0 now provides routing and live guidance in the background, including live voice directions while running other applications. The update also provides improved accuracy of GPS location information when connected to a power source. MotionX GPS Drive is available from the App Store for $1 and includes 30 days of real-time routing with Live Voice Guidance. After the initial 30-day trial period, users may continue using the other navigation features of the application or purchase a subscription for $3/month or $25/year to continue using Live Voice Guidance.
Sophiestication Software has updated its award-winning Articles Wikipedia reference app to support iOS 4 Fast App Switching and the iPhone 4 Retina display. Articles 1.2 also adds several other fixes and enhancements including search interface improvements, a list of recently-used languages, improvements to font size adjustments and chapter index display and several performance optimizations. Articles 1.2 is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for current users.
The Icon Factory has released a major update to its popular Twitter client. Twitterrific 3.0 merges the previous separate iPhone and iPad versions into a single universal app for both platforms and adds support for iOS 4 fast app switching and interface optimizations for the iPhone 4 Retina display. Other new features and improvements include VoiceOver accessibility for the visually impaired, a light appearance theme, OAuth authentication and tweet integration for media upload services, new “Relationship” information on the user profile screen and a simplified and friendlier user interface for iPhone users. The update also fixes problems with shortening very long URLs and preserving draft tweets when network problems occur. Twitterrific 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free ad-supported version—a Premium upgrade is available within the app for $5 to remove the advertising and add support for multiple Twitter accounts. Twitterrific 3.0 Premium is a free upgrade for Premium users of the iPad version; users of Twitterrific 2.0 for the iPhone will need to purchase the Premium upgrade separately or use the free, ad-supported version with single account support.
De Voorkant has released an iOS 4 universal update to its archive file management application, iUnarchive. Originally released as an iPad application, iUnarchive 1.2.1 is now a universal app that can take advantage of the file management features of iOS 4. iUnarchive allows users to open and display the content of compressed files from other apps such as Mail or Safari using the built-in “Open In” option found in iOS 4. Users can then open individual files in other supported applications or open any additional nested archives contained within the original file. iUnarchive can open ZIP, RAR, 7-ZIP, TAR, GZIP, bz2, LhA and StuffIt archives, including password-protected files and can preview contained JPG, PNG, GIF, XLS, DOC, PPT, PDF, RTF and iWork documents as well as text files and syntax-highlighted programming language source files. iUnarchive requires iOS 3.2 or later on the iPad or iOS 4 on the iPhone and iPod touch. It is currently available from the App Store for $1 for a limited time and is a free update for users of the iPad version.
Return7 has released an update to its photo geotagging application PlaceTagger adding iOS 4 background location support. PlaceTagger allows users to track their location while taking photos using a standalone digital camera and then later use that location information to automatically add geotags to photos during import into iPhoto or Aperture or export geotag information via a GPX file for other applications. The addition of iOS 4 background location support to the latest version will allow PlaceTagger users to more effectively track their location without having to worry about leaving the PlaceTagger application constantly running. Although PlaceTagger provides options to balance location accuracy and battery usage, the release notes indicate that “PlaceTagger will consume more battery in the background than it will in the foreground” suggesting that background location tracking inherently consumes more power or simply may have fewer configuration options available for power-saving. PlaceTagger is available from the App Store for $10 and is a free update for current users.
Pangea Software, developers of such popular iPhone game applications as Enigmo and Cro-Mag Rally have announced that it will be providing free updates to all of its iPhone games to add native support for the new iPhone 4 960 x 640 Retina display. Most Pangea titles have already been updated for iPhone 4 and and are available as free updates for users of the previous versions, including Enigmo, Cro-Mag Rally, Bugdom 2, Nanosaur 2, Antimatter, Billy Frontier, PangeaVR and more. A complete list can be found on Pangea’s App Store Page. All updated applications will continue to support the older iPhone and iPod touch models running iOS 3.1.3 as well.