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.
G5 Entertainment has released the full version of Virtual City, its city building game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Released last month as a free lite version, Virtual City allows players to construct their own city, developing it into anything from a suburban utopia to a bustling metropolis. To accomplish this, players must build houses, setup industrial buildings, create mass-transit systems and entertain their city’s residents with parks, cinemas, stadiums and events. Players must also manage production chains to transport goods and services to the areas that require them, trade with neighbouring cities and look after planning and providing city services such as health care, public safety, waste collection and recycling in order to keep their city’s residents happy and healthy. In progressing through the game, players must balance time, income, environmental factors, population and happiness in order to succeed, while dealing with various political and economic crises and natural disasters. Virtual City supports high-resolution Retina Display graphics on the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G and provides 50 levels in five different geographic settings, 18 mission scenarios, over 50 types of buildings and 25 types of goods to transport and trade. Players can also earn special achievements and unlock special upgrades and additional buildings as they progress through the game. Virtual City is available from the App Store for $3.
Rockstar Games has released an iPad version of its highly popular Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. The latest game in the Grand Theft Auto series, Chinatown Wars HD brings the same intense, story-driven action from its iPhone and iPod touch counterpart to the iPad with updated, high-definition graphics. In the game, players take on the role of Huang Lee and must navigate the dangerous criminal underground of Liberty City on a quest for honor and revenge for his father’s murder. For the iPad version, Rockstar Games has produced enhanced graphics with higher polygon counts in vehicle and building models and enhanced lighting and explosion effects for the higher-resolution iPad screen. The HD version also provides a selection of multiple control schemes to offer more flexible play options on the larger device. Players can also customize the game soundtrack using music from their iPad media library. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD is available from the App Store for $10.
Gameloft has released Real Golf 2011 for the iPhone and iPod touch. Optimized for the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G Retina Display, Real Golf 2011 allows players to face off against some of the world’s best golfers on ten authentic real-world golf courses recreated in 3D. Players can choose from either a touch-based control scheme or more traditional controls and the game also provides support for the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G gyroscope for precise player movement. Players can choose to play either quick challenges such as Time Stroke and Closest to the Pin or play in Career mode to win tournaments and upgrade with new gear as their golfer rises in rank. Multiplayer support allows users to compete against other players either online or locally and integrates with Gameloft Live for online leader boards and achievements. Players can also upload their favorite instant replays directly to YouTube from within the game to show off their achievements. Real Golf 2011 is available from the App Store for $7.
Apple has released a statement regarding its App Store Review Guidelines, promising to publish a definitive set of rules for the first time. “We are continually trying to make the App Store even better. We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year,” said Apple in a release. “In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.” This latter statement seemingly opens the door for developers to release apps and games built using Adobe’s Flash technology, so long as they don’t download any executable code.
The release also says that Apple for the first time is “publishing the App Store Review Guidelines to help developers understand how we review submitted apps. We hope it will make us more transparent and help our developers create even more successful apps for the App Store. The App Store is perhaps the most important milestone in the history of mobile software. Working together with our developers, we will continue to surprise and delight our users with innovative mobile apps.”
Update: Apple has posted a complete PDF of the guidelines online. Notably, the document states that Apple doesn’t need any more Fart apps, and that if a developer wants to describe sex, they should write a book or song, or make a medical app.
Following the release of iOS 4.1 for the iPhone and iPod touch earlier today, the first Game Center enabled games have begun to appear on the App Store. Pangea Software has released updates to Nanosaur 2, Cro-Mag Rally and Enigmo, enabling support for Game Center achievements and leaderboards for single-player games as well as multilayer Game Center support including Voice Chat and Auto-Match. FireMint has also updated its iPhone and iPod touch versions of Real Racing and Flight Control with support for Game Center achievements and leaderboards. Namco Networks has also released an update to Ms. Pac-Man adding support for Game Center achievements and leaderboards. All titles are available from the App Store now and are free updates for owners of the previous versions.