Applidium has released its iPad port of the very popular open-source VLC media player application for desktop operating systems. The iPad version of VLC includes all of the same built-in codecs present on other platforms, supporting playback of almost any video format that can be found on the Internet, including support for a variety of streaming video formats. The iPad version continues to be part of the VLC OpenSource project with the iPad-specific patches and extensions forming part of the main VLC development tree. Applidium also indicates that a version of VLC for the iPhone and iPod touch is in the works but has not yet announced an expected release date. VLC Media Player is available from the App Store as a free download.
Though Apple has not officially enabled Retina Display emulation on the iPad, certain recent iPhone and iPod touch applications have started to display artwork in higher resolutions on the iPad screen, iLounge has discovered. Normally, iPhone and iPod touch applications run on the iPad in an emulation mode limited to the native 320x480 resolutions of Apple’s prior-generation screens. Users can optionally hit a “2X” button that merely increases the size of each dot from 1x1 to 2x2, resulting in pixellated images. Applications designed for the Retina Display on the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G have fared no better, still presenting the lower-resolution graphics designed for the older models.
Recently, however, some new applications are displaying higher-resolution assets when rendered in the iPad 2X mode. The most notable example is Napster, an iPod touch- and iPhone-formatted application without a native iPad mode. Although most of the user interface elements in the Napster app are clearly being scaled up when seen in 2X mode on the iPad, the album artwork is clearly being displayed at a higher iPad-native resolution. iLounge editors have observed several other recent iPhone and iPod touch apps showing similar behaviors, whereby some—not all—assets are being rendered in higher resolution when displayed on the iPad in 2X mode. It is unclear at this time whether developers have found some way to provide this capability or whether it is a function of compiling applications with the recently released iOS 4.1 SDK, but it is a positive sign that the iPad’s seemingly limited iPhone and iPod touch emulator is capable of more than it previously demonstrated.
Resolution Interactive has released an update to Aqua Moto Racing 2 adding support for the iPad and Retina Display graphics for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch. Released earlier this summer Aqua Moto Racing 2 (iLounge rating: B+) is a first-person water racing game that allows players to race one of 12 unique JetSkis in a variety of exotic locations across 48 different courses. Players can perform insane stunts and earn cash by participating in races and winning Championships and can then use that cash to upgrade their JetSkis. OpenFeint integration provides leaderboards, challenges and tracking of achievements. The new version also provides improved opponent difficulty, the ability to disable OpenFeint popups and minor bug fixes. Aqua Moto Racing 2 is currently available from the App Store as a universal app for $1.
Mind Crew has released a free update to Mayan Puzzle adding new content and achievements. Mayan Puzzle is a variant of a match-three puzzle game that provides different playing styles ranging from an action puzzler approach to a more classic strategy game and includes impressive special effects, an original Mayan soundtrack and high-quality animated backgrounds unique to each level. Version 1.1 adds four new levels in classic strategic mode, bringing the total number of levels to 36, and adds four new unique themed animated backgrounds for the new levels. The update also adds two additional OpenFeint game achievements for a total of 37 achievements and provides new effects and enhanced graphics throughout the game. Mayan Puzzle is available from the App Store for $1; version 1.1 is a free update for current users.
Electronic Arts has released its latest games in The Sims franchise for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Sims 3 Ambitions expands upon the features and scenarios offered in the earlier two Sims titles allowing players to turn their Sims’ hobbies into professions, build homes and businesses and even have babies. In The Sims 3 Ambitions, players can now develop their Sims along a variety of career paths such as firefighter, rock star, artist, teacher and more, with career-focused goals and locations in the game. The game also includes an improved build mode allowing players to resize, add and delete rooms, floors, walls and doors from their homes in addition to also building business and workplaces such as bistros, night clubs and preschools. The Sims 3 Ambitions also adds the much-requested ability for Sims to have babies in the game and interact with them by feeding them, playing with them, and putting them to bed and watching them grow into Sim toddlers. Players can choose to begin the game as a new character or import their favorite Sims from the original Sims 3 and The Sims 3 World Adventures for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Sims 3 Ambitions is available from the App Store for $5.
A number of new features and improvements have been discovered in the first beta version of iOS 4.2. AppleInsider reports that the software features an updated YouTube application with like and dislike buttons, as well as support for the CoreMIDI framework, which could enable iOS devices to interface with MIDI instruments via an adapter. Also new in 4.2 are restrictions allowing users to prevent the deletion of App Store applications and prevent changes to accounts in the Mail application, iTunes links in the iPad’s Videos app, and a dedicated FaceTime button at the top of all messaging sessions. Apple is expected to release iOS 4.2 in November.
Capcom has released an update to its acclaimed Street Fighter IV for iPhone and iPod touch devices. First released earlier this year, Street Fighter IV is an iOS optimized version of the popular console game with the same visual style and artwork and a user interface specifically redesigned for the touchscreen. The iOS version initially included eight classic characters from the game, with Cammy added as a ninth character in a subsequent update later in the spring. This most recent free update adds E. Honda and C. Viper-Ryu to the game, bringing the total number of playable characters from the Street Fighter franchise up to 11. The update also adds a new costume for Chun-Li that can be purchased from within the app. Street Fighter IV is available from the App Store for $10; the update is free for current users.
Chillingo has released Seed 2: Vortex of War, the fantasy RPG sequel to Seed 1: Rise of Darkness. In Vortex of War, players re-enter the world of Litta and his companion Gina five years after Litta’s previous adventure. Litta, now a teacher, experiences a powerful dream that encourages him to undertake a new epic quest and travel to the once bright city of Molzer only to discover it completely destroyed through war. With another looming crisis approaching in distant lands, Litta and Gina travel to the continent of Kalikuf to undertake a dangerous adventure. The game features a vast virtual world for players to explore and interact with local villagers and enemies and an immersive storyline that allows players to delve deeper into the relationships between the characters and their rivals. Players can customize their own character attributes and upgrade their character as they progress in the adventure, adjusting stats toward swordplay, firearms or magic and engage in challenging battles with over 160 different types of monsters across more than 200 battlefields. The game also features a diverse and dynamic combat system with a variety of attack moves based on character attributes and skills and various quests and missions such as destroying monsters, collecting treasures, defending villagers, attacking enemy fortresses and more. Seed 2: Vortex of War is available from the App Store for $4.
Eye-Fi has released an update to its wireless photo uploading app for the iPhone and iPod touch, adding compatibility with iOS 4. The Eye-Fi application allows iPhone and iPod touch users to wirelessly upload photos from their device to various online photo services and their own computer via the Eye-Fi service, similar to how the company’s wireless SD memory cards operate. Supported photo sites include Evernote, Facebook, Flickr, Kodak Gallery, MobileMe, Photobucket, Picasa and many more. The new version adds the ability to upload video content to Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, Smugmug and YouTube and create and edit destination sites from directly within the app. Eye-Fi 1.1.9 for the iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple today announced that it is releasing a beta version of AirPrint wireless printing for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch to members of its iOS Developer Program, and that the new feature will be part of iOS 4.2 when it is released publicly in November. AirPrint automatically finds printers on local networks that can print text, photos, and graphics wirelessly over Wi-Fi without the need for additional drivers or software. Supported printers include HP Photosmart, Officejet, Officejet Pro and LaserJet Pro series ePrint models, as well as printers shared through a Mac or a PC. Notably, Apple claims that printing will only be supported on iOS devices that support multitasking, yet lists the second-generation iPod touch as compatible, while omitting the iPhone 3G.
“AirPrint is Apple’s powerful new printing architecture that matches the simplicity of iOS—no set up, no configuration, no printer drivers and no software to download,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users can simply tap to print their documents or photos wirelessly to an HP ePrint printer or to a printer shared on a Mac or PC.”
“We’re pleased to work with Apple to bring Apple’s AirPrint to our fall lineup of ePrint printers in time for the holiday shopping season,” said Vyomesh Joshi, HP executive vice president, Imaging and Printing Group. “Making it easy for our customers to print anytime, anywhere, is a key priority for HP. iPad, iPhone and iPod touch customers are going to love how easy it is to print using our new range of ePrint printers, creating high-quality printed pages in an instant.”
Apple is preparing to announce a new subscription plan for newspapers, according to a new report. Citing unnamed industry sources, the San Jose Mercury News reports that Apple has agreed to provide an opt-in for subscribers that will allow Apple to share their information with the newspaper’s publishers, providing the publishers with data essential to attracting advertisers. Publishers “want the data of their customers so they can integrate it into their circulation database so they know who their customers are,” said Roger Fidler, head of digital publishing at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. Fidler also suggested that Apple will take a 30 percent cut of subscriptions sold through the App Store, and as much a 40 percent of advertising revenue from within the apps. Fidler also said that publishers wanted to pay Apple a straight fee instead of sharing revenue, and are less than happy with Apple’s terms. Apple recently enabled magazine publishers to offer iPad versions of their publications to print subscribers free of charge; if accurate, the report suggests the company is taking a different approach when it comes to newspapers.
iOS developer Kevin Ng has released results from an experiment he conducted with his app Kick Flick 2010. Early last month, Ng released a free update to the iPhone and iPod touch version of his app adding support for both the iPad and the iPhone 4 Retina Display, bundling this into a single $1 application rather than following the approach of other game developers in releasing a separate premium “HD” version of the game. In reviewing the past month of sales results, Ng believes that the figures make a “compelling argument” for iPhone developers to include iPad support for free in existing apps rather than charging customers twice for the same product.
Ng constructed a graph of sales starting with its initial release in July, noting that additional purchases following the update almost matched the launch spike. Two weeks after its initial launch, Apple chose to feature the game in the iPad section of the App Store, leading to an even larger surge. Ng believes that providing support for both iPhone and iPad in the same, inexpensive app resulted in the application getting better exposure by being noticed and featured by Apple and by hitting top application charts in both the iPhone and iPad sections of the App Store. Ng notes that since the iPad and iPhone versions are the same product in the App Store, sales on either platform contribute toward the sales rankings in both sections. From this experience, Ng concludes that it makes sense for developers to add iPad support to their existing apps rather than charging extra and feels that this situation is “Win-win for the developer and the customer.”
MediaMall Technologies has announced a free update to its PlayOn Premium software enabling media streaming to the iPad over a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. PlayOn is a Windows application designed to place-shift online video content from users’ PCs to various home entertainment and mobile devices including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and iPhone. The most recent update adds the ability for iPad users to stream video content from providers such as Hulu, Netflix, CBS, MTV and more via the PlayOn media server running on their home PC. Content is streamed directly to the Safari browser using HTML5 and can be accessed from anywhere that a 3G or Wi-Fi Internet connection is available.
Existing PlayOn Premium subscribers can download the update to their PC and begin streaming video to their iPad right away; new users can sign up for a free 14-day trial after which a subscription is required to continue using the service. Subscriptions are priced at $40 for the first year and $20 per year thereafter, with a lifetime license available for $80. The PlayOn software requires Microsoft Windows XP SP2 or later with Internet Explorer 7 and an Internet broadband connection of at least 1.5 Mbps. A free trial of the software can be downloaded from http://www.PlayOn.tv.
Ricky Bloomfield has released a major update to G-Whizz, his integrated Google Mobile App browser for iOS devices. G-Whizz 1.3 introduces support for Fast App Switching on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices and full Retina Display support for the iPhone 4. Tabs for Facebook and Twitter mobile apps are now also provided along with support for Read It Later and Tweet This browser actions in addition to existing Instapaper integration. Unread notification counts are now provided for Google Voice, Google Talk Facebook, Twitter and MySpace as well as audio and vibration alerts. Other improvements include an in-app settings tab, automatic loading of all tabs on startup for quicker browsing, and integration with Prowl for Push Notification support. G-Whizz Pro is available from the App Store for $5.
CBS News has launched an official CBS News app for the iPad. The new app delivers the latest news stories and video and photo galleries from the complete roster of CBS News broadcasts, including videos from The Early Show, 48 Hours Mystery, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, Sunday Morning, Face The Nation and Up to the Minute. The app also provides access to webcasts and blogs from CBSNews.com including @KatieCouric, Washington Unplugged, Political Hotsheet, Crimesider and Celebrity Circuit. Developed by CBS Mobile, the app delivers full-video episodes over both Wi-Fi and 3G networks and allows users to quickly select and watch video content or read full articles. Content is presented in a format appropriate for the iPad orientation, with portrait mode providing a graphical experience with thumbnail images and videos while landscape mode provides a more text-specific view to browse through headlines. Users can quickly access the day’s top headlines or browse and search through a variety of news categories with timelines of the latest articles and videos and links from each story to other related content. The app also provides access to weather information and forecasts powered by AccuWeather, stock market lookups through CBS MoneyWatch, a dedicated Shows section for viewing specific CBS News shows and social media integration to e-mail stores or share links on Twitter and Facebook. CBS News for iPad is available as a free download from the U.S. App Store.
Readdle has released an update to ReaddleDocs, its PDF viewer and file manager for the iPad. ReaddleDocs 1.6 adds a number of new features and improvements including a completely rewritten PDF reader with smooth horizontal scrolling, iPad VGA adapter support for displaying documents on external monitors and FTP/SFTP file transfer support. Additionally, support for IMAP and WebDAV file transfers has been completely rewritten and users can now upload files directly from their desktop web browser over Wi-Fi. The update also provides an improved built-in browser with HTTP authentication and support for custom SSL certificates as well as better saving of WebArchive files and the ability to download very large files. A number of other small features and bug fixes have also been addressed in the update. ReaddleDocs for iPad 1.6 is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for current users.
DataViz has released a new update to its Documents To Go Premium Office Suite for iOS devices. Documents to Go is a universal app that allows iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint files on their devices. iPad and iOS 4 users can open documents in Documents to Go from the built-in Mail and Safari apps as well as any third-party app that supports iOS file sharing as well as transferring documents over Wi-Fi, USB via iTunes or from online services such as Dropbox and Google Docs. Version 4.0 delivers an updated and more intuitive user interface for navigating and editing documents including improvements for the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G Retina Display as well as full support for external Bluetooth keyboards on iPad and modern iOS 4 devices including arrow keys and other keyboard shortcuts. The new version also provides significant speed improvements, the ability to freeze spreadsheet panes and extensive paragraph formatting options for Word documents such as indent, strike through and bullet styles. Documents To Go Premium 4.0 requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 3.2 or later; it is available from the App Store for $17 and is a free update for current users.
KainosAgora has released an update to TweetAgora, its advanced filtering app designed to provide users with more valuable content from their Twitter feeds. TweetAgora 2.0 introduces integration with Cadmus, a real-time service that analyses and prioritizes content in users’ Twitter streams. The Cadmus integration in TweetAgora allows users to view their Twitter feed sorted by relevance over the past 24 hours based on factors such as number of replies, number of retweets, times favorited, popularity and more, allowing users to get a quick overview of the best content in their stream without having to sift through hundreds of tweets. TweetAgora can also now provide personalized trending topics generated from only those people the user is following and check out only what their followers have said on those topics. Users can also view a filtered timeline of all of the replies that have been received for a specific tweet and use the Questions Asked link on user profile pages to see a filtered list of interrogative tweets from a specific user. The new version also provides a new look and feel with a new colour scheme, adds pull-to-refresh for mentions and direct messages across multiple accounts and provides several performance improvements that should be particularly noticeable for users of older iOS device models. TweetAgora 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download. The free version allows users to filter up to three keywords and three people, create up to three Agoras and load up to 150 tweets in a timeline. Users can upgrade to the paid version for $5 via in-app purchase to remove these limitations and add support for multiple accounts and filtering of tweets from third-party services such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Blip.FM.
Following yesterday’s statement by Apple that it was “relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code,” Adobe has announced that it has resumed development of its Packager feature for Flash, which allows developers to export Flash applications as native iOS apps. Apple’s decision has “direct implications for Adobe’s Packager for iPhone, a feature in the Flash Professional CS5 authoring tool,” the company said in a blog post. “This feature was created to enable Flash developers to quickly and easily deliver applications for iOS devices. The feature is available for developers to use today in Flash Professional CS5, and we will now resume development work on this feature for future releases. This is great news for developers and we’re hearing from our developer community that Packager apps are already being approved for the App Store.” Adobe went on to point out that Apple decision doesn’t change its stance on Flash content running in the browser on iOS devices.
Pangea Software has released an update to Cro-Mag Rally for the iPhone and iPod touch adding integration with Apple’s new Game Center and native iPad support. Cro-Mag Rally is a 3D racing game where the player takes on the role of a caveman racing primitive vehicles around prehistoric and ancient race tracks. Version 2.0 is now a universal binary providing a native game play experience on both iPhone/iPod touch devices and on the iPad, with high resolution graphics optimized for the iPad and the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G Retina Displays. The new version also adds integration with Apple’s new Game Center on iOS 4.1 devices, allowing high scores and achievements to be posted to Game Center as well as networked multiplayer racing in which up to four players can race against each other using any of the vehicles in the game. Cro-Mag Rally is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for current users.