Apple today gave several updates on its iOS, App Store, and retail store businesses. It said it has now shipped over 120 million iOS devices, and is handling 230,000 new activations each day. Over 6.5 billion applications have been downloaded from the App Store, resulting in an average of 200 apps every second, and the App Store now offers over 250,000 apps, 25,000 of which are made for the iPad. The company now has 300 retail stores in 10 countries—the Covent Garden store in London was the 300th opening—and has over one million customers coming through the stores on several days each month. It will soon open a store in Spain, marking the 11th country in which it has retail stores.
It also revealed that it has sold 275 million iPods, and that the iPod touch is now the best-selling portable gaming device in the world, outselling Nintendo’s and Sony’s portable devices combined. In enjoys over 50% market share in the portable gaming device category both in the U.S. and worldwide, and iPod touch users have downloaded over 1.5 billion game and entertainment apps.
ALK Technologies has released an update to CoPilot Live, its turn-by-turn GPS navigation app for the iPhone and iPod touch adding support for new services and updated maps. CoPilot Live North America and CoPilot Live USA now provides ActiveTraffic, an upgraded version of its optional Live Traffic service which improves on the prior service by extending live traffic coverage beyond highways and interstates to also include arterial roads, city streets and secondary roads across the U.S., using data from traffic information provider INRIX. The ActiveTraffic feature is a free upgrade for current CoPilot Live users who have already subscribed to Premium Live Services, and a 14-day free trial of ActiveTraffic is available for other CoPilot Live users. The update also provides in-app MapSure reporting for submitting map updates and corrections and a full map update to the latest Q2 2010 map data which adds thousands of new miles of roads in the U.S. and Canada including map improvements submitted by customers. The latest version also reducing the amount of time that the app remains running in the background while idle on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices and improves memory usage for iPhone 3G and 3GS users. CoPilot Live North America is available from the App Store for $20; CoPilot Live USA is available for $5. Both versions are free updates for current users.
Location-based social networking services Foursquare and Gowalla have released updates to their iOS applications addressing recently revealed security concerns. A report by software developer Martin Kou last week revealed that both the Foursquare and Gowalla iOS applications were sending all information to their respective services using clear, unencrypted connections, making it possible for usernames, passwords and other information to be intercepted, particularly when used over an open Wi-Fi network. Both companies responded quickly to the report indicating that they were preparing updates to their iOS apps to address these issues. Gowalla has released updates to Gowalla and Gowalla for iPad enabling more secure OAuth authentication while Foursquare has released an update to its Foursquare app adding SSL support to provide encrypted submission of user information. All three apps are available from the App Store as free downloads and should appear as automatic updates for current users.
Eyedip has released Flight Doodle and Flight Doodle HD, new action games for the iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad. Flight Doodle puts the player in control of a uniquely customizable hot-air balloon where they must soar upward and navigate using the accelerometer, gather power-ups and avoid falling objects, changing weather patterns and enemies to try and reach extreme altitudes. Users can collect different tools that allow them to shrink their balloon, envelop it in a protective shield or arm it with explosive shells and more in order to deal with various obstacles. An in-game drawing program allows users to design their own personalized hot-air balloon with doodles and imported photos; players’ customized balloon images are shown on visual OpenFeint leader boards to mark the most recent high scores. The developer has also indicated that new game modes will to be added every two weeks through September. Flight Doodle for the iPhone and iPod touch is priced at $1; Flight Doodle HD for the iPad is $3.
G5 Entertainment has released an update to Supermarket Mania, adding support for iOS 4 and updated graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display. Supermarket Mania is an iOS version of the popular casual time management game from other platforms where players must keep their grocery store shelves stocked with the right products by moving their character between stockrooms, shelves and in-store displays to provide the goods that customers are looking to buy. The game features a story mode with 50 levels, and endless shift mode with a global leader board, five different shops, multiple types of customers and products to sell and a variety of accessories and upgrades for each shop. The latest version provides Fast App switching on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices and now allows users to select their preferred language from the iOS Settings app. Supermarket Mania is available from the App Store for $3.
NASA has released an update to its official free iPhone application adding live streaming of the NASA TV public channel. The NASA App provides users with a variety of news and educational information from NASA directly in an app optimized for the iPhone and iPod touch. Users can access NASA mission information, launch information and countdown clocks, sighting opportunities for the ISS and Space Shuttle and a wide variety of NASA images and videos. The application also provides an integrated Twitter client and Facebook Connect support for easy sharing of information from within the app. NASA App 1.31 adds a live stream of the NASA TV channel, including a detailed programming schedule and the ability to pause and rewind the live stream during playback. The update also fixes bugs related to iOS 4 and issues with viewing maps on older devices. NASA App 1.31 is available from the App Store as a free download.
The Federal Trade Commission has announced that it has reached a settlement with Reverb Communications, Inc. and its sole owner, Tracie Snitker, over what it claimed were deceptive advertising practices. According to the FTC’s announcement, the Commission believes that Reverb “engaged in deceptive advertising by having employees pose as ordinary consumers posting game reviews at the online iTunes store, and not disclosing that the reviews came from paid employees working on behalf of the developers.” The allegedly phony reviews were posted by Reverb and Snitker between November 2008 and May 2009 on the pages of the company’s client’s games. “Companies, including public relations firms involved in online marketing need to abide by long-held principles of truth in advertising,” said Mary Engle, Director of the FTC’s Division of Advertising Practices. “Advertisers should not pass themselves off as ordinary consumers touting a product, and endorsers should make it clear when they have financial connections to sellers.”
Snitker denies the charges, telling Kotaku that the issue was “specific to a handful of small, independently developed iPhone apps that several team members downloaded onto their personal iPhones in their own time using their own money and accounts, a right and privilege afforded to every iPhone and iTouch user. This was neither mandated by Reverb nor connected to our policies.” As part of the proposed settlement, Reverb and Snitker must remove any “previously posted endorsements that misrepresent the authors as independent users or ordinary consumers, and that fail to disclose a connection between Reverb and Snitker and the seller of a product or service.”
An upcoming Griffin gaming accessory for iOS devices has been outed by a recently published FCC filing. The PartyDock is a set-top gaming accessory for the iPad and iPhone 4 that allows users to dock their device and use four wireless remotes to control specially-written games, including “Midway Motors,” “Fishing Frenzy,” “Flippin’ Frogs,” and “Wits and Wagers Family,” with the potential for more Griffin-branded games in the future. The wall-powered PartyDock connects to a TV using included composite cables or with user-supplied component cables, and also allows the remote to control video, picture, and audio playback. Curiously, the PartyDock’s user manual makes no reference to support for the iPod touch or any older iPhone model, carrying only “Made for iPad and iPhone” badges. Griffin has yet to make any announcement regarding the product; thus pricing and release information has yet to be revealed. [via UberGizmo]
Update: Griffin has launched an official website for the PartyDock, and has confirmed that the device will include the “Midway Motors,” “Fishing Frenzy,” and “Flippin’ Frogs” mini-games, as well as the full game “Wits and Wagers Family,” as mentioned above.
Facebook has issued a clarification of text posted on its official Facebook for iOS app page that indicated the app had more than 100 million active users. “There are currently 44 million monthly active users of the Facebook for iPhone app,” a Facebook spokesman told Engadget. “We recently changed the definition of mobile active users to exclude those who have only liked or commented on stream stories. Instead we are counting ‘active’ users as people who have taken explicit actions within an application. This practice is more aligned with how we count overall active users for the site.” This brings the overall percentage of iOS users who also actively use the Facebook app down to roughly 40%, far from the huge percentage represented by the prior 100 million figure.
Drakfyre’s Software has released its new 720tube application for the iPhone 4. 720tube allows users to bypass Apple’s mobile YouTube upload resolution restrictions to allow for uploading of full 720p videos, including both standard recordings and those edited and exported to the Camera Roll using iMovie. Drakfyre’s Software’s 720tube app for the iPhone 4 is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Netflix has released version 1.1.0 of its iOS application, adding support for the iPhone and iPod touch. Released for the iPad in April, the Netflix app allows qualifying subscribers to “instantly” stream movies and TV shows over Wi-Fi or 3G connections, resume watching where they left off on their TV, computer, or other device, browse movies, and manage their instant queues. Netflix version 1.1.0 for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad is available now as a free download from the App Store.
2K Sports has released its new NHL 2K11 game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Created using the company’s proprietary console game engine, NHL 2K11 is a professional hockey simulation game, featuring Season, Quick Game, Free Skate and Shootout gameplay modes, and a full lineup of professional teams and players. As noted in the game’s description, this marks the first time the NHL 2K series has appeared on a portable device. 2K Sports’ NHL 2K11 is available now from the App Store and sells for $2.
Mekentosj has released an update to its Papers academic research app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad adding several improvements to its annotation and page navigation features. Papers (iLounge Rating: A-) is an application designed for academic users to create a personal library of research literature that is readily accessible on their iOS devices. Users can directly access and search a variety of academic and scientific repositories, download research papers and journals directly to their iOS device and share and synchronize their libraries with other iOS devices or Papers for Mac OS X. Papers 1.8.5 adds more intuitive highlighting and note creation, the ability to navigate pages in PDF documents by tapping the sides of the screen and fixes to highlighting and downloading PDFs from specific online sources. Papers is available from the App Store as a universal app for $15 and is a free update for existing users.
Laminar Research has released an update to its X-Plane for iPad flight simulator adding several new features including a detailed map screen for the higher-resolution iPad display. X-Plane for iPad is a highly realistic flight simulator that allows users to fly a wide variety of aircraft such as the Cessna 182, F-22, Boeing 747 and even the Space Shuttle with detailed 3-D graphics, authentic instrument panels and accelerometer-based flight controls. Version 9.61 adds reverse thrust to aircraft that include this capability, low-fuel warnings and a detailed map screen that allows users to zoom in from a whole region view right down to runway markings and terminal buildings. The update also improves performance and stability by reducing the memory requirements on the iPad. X-Plane for the iPad is available from the App Store for $10 and is a free update for current users.
Pepe & Pepe has released an update to its online digital photo frame app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad adding support for sharing photos from Facebook friends in addition to Flickr. Air Frame allows users to turn their iOS devices into digital photo frames that display live content streams from Facebook and Flickr. Users can choose to display photos from their own accounts, photos from friends and/or interesting public photos from Flickr and iOS 4 users can also include photos from the device’s own photo album. Air Frame supports a number of different transitions such as Ken Burns and Page Curl effects and can optionally display maps showing where photos were taken or overlay photos with a clock. Recent images are also cached by the application for offline viewing. Version 2.3.2 adds support for streaming photos from Facebook Friends, UI performance improvements, new transitions and miscellaneous bug fixes. Air Frame is available from the App Store for $3 as a universal app and is a free update for current users.
Google has released an update to its Google Mobile app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad adding support for Push Notifications for GMail messages and Google Calendar appointments. The update allows users to optionally configure the application to provide Push Notifications for new mail messages and calendar appointments. New items will appear as a badge count on the Google Mobile App on the iOS home screen and opening the app will show the number of pending items in each account. Tapping on an account will open the mobile GMail or Google Calendar web page in the Safari browser. Popup messages and sound notifications do not appear to be supported at this time. Users can configure multiple accounts for Push Notifications, including Google Apps accounts, and for each account can enable mail and calendar notifications separately and choose to receive notifications only between certain times. The Google Mobile App is available as a free download from the App Store.
Quickoffice has released an update to Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite for the iPhone and iPod touch adding support for iOS 4 features and the iPhone 4 Retina Display. Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite allows iPhone and iPod touch users to open, edit and share Microsoft Word and Excel documents directly on their devices including support for opening and sharing files via cloud storage services such as Dropbox and iDisk and transferring files via Wi-Fi. Version 3.3 provides Fast App Switching on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices, the ability to open files from other applications such as the iOS Mail app and optimizations for the iPhone 4 Retina Display. Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite is available from the App Store for $10.
Amazon has released a minor update to its Kindle app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad fixing some issues related to highlighting text. Kindle 2.2.1 improves the sensitivity of the highlighting feature to help reduce accidental highlighting of text, fixes a crash that some users were experiencing when using the highlighting feature and also corrects a problem where the most recent page is not being saved when returning to the app. The release notes indicate fixes for several other bugs based on customer feedback as well. Kindle 2.2.1 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Simperium has released a major update to its Simplenote note-taking application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad adding a number of new features. Simplenote is a minimalist note-taking app that is designed to allow users to quickly and easily make and access notes from their iOS devices and keep them seamlessly synchronized with other devices using the Simplenote web service. Version 3.0.2 adds the ability for users to tag their notes, pin important notes to the top of the list and view notes by tag as well as accessing older versions of current notes and recovering deleted notes. Users can also now easily share notes with other Simplenote users or publish notes as a web page and search within notes that they are viewing. The update also offers a number of other smaller enhancements such as a fullscreen mode for viewing notes, character and word counts and improvements to link detection and synchronization with the web service. Simplenote 3.0.2 is available from the App Store as a free download.
According to stats found on the Facebook for iOS app’s dedicated Facebook page, the app now has over 100 million monthly active users. This represents the vast majority of iOS devices sold up to this point, based on figures released by Apple at its 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and serves to highlight the app’s importance to the iOS ecosystem.
In addition to showing over 100 million users, the app’s Facebook page also suggests that the new 3.2.2 update, released on the App Store today and said to fix login issues, may actually be targeted at users of jailbroken iOS devices who had experienced problems with the app’s latest updates. Places, a feature new to version 3.2 of Facebook that was not originally working when the application launched last week, has started to become active in a number of cities coinciding with the release of versions 3.2.1 and 3.2.2. Facebook version 3.2.2 is available now as a free download from the App Store.