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.
Matt MacInnis, a former Apple employee, is behind a new start-up looking to bring collegiate textbooks to the iPad. The Wall Street Journal reports that MacInnis’ company, Inkling, is set to introduce four full-length interactive textbooks on the App Store. The books—McGraw-Hill’s best sellers in biology, economics, marketing, and psychology—will include features like 3-D views, video lectures, and interactive quizzes, while allowing students to highlight text and take and share notes. According to the report, Inkling has already made deals with other major publishers, including John Wiley & Sons, and Cengage Learning, to launch new titles. Prices for McGraw-Hill’s first titles are expected to start a $2.99 per chapter or $69.99 per book, with prices increasing over time to $3.99 per chapter and $84.99 per book.
Following an update to Photogene for the iPad earlier this week, the iPhone version has also received an update. Photogene 2.6 for the iPhone and iPod touch adds the new features introduced in the earlier iPad version including support for Flickr and FTP uploading, custom resizing and IPTC metadata. This update also adds support for the Retina Display, 5MP camera and rear-facing camera on the iPhone 4 and brings Fast App Switching and background saving and uploading for multitasking-capable devices. Users can also now share photos while preserving geo-tag information stored in the EXIF data. Photogene 2.6 requires an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.
Gameloft has released an iPhone 4 update to its acclaimed Modern Combat: Sandstorm for the iPhone and iPod touch. Modern Combat: Sandstorm (iLounge Rating: A) is a first-person action-thriller where players must locate and annihilate a terrorist cell in a remote desert hotspot. Users play through 10 missions featuring detailed Middle Eastern environments and are provided with a wide range of authentic advanced weapons ranging from assault rifles to rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The game provides local and online multiplayer support, a choice of multiple control systems and polished 3D graphics with cinematic interludes and voice-overs. The latest update brings support for gyroscopic control mode on the iPhone 4 with full 3D range of motion, high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display and support for Fast App Switching on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. Modern Combat: Sandstorm is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for current users.
Apple has finally enabled publishers to offer their magazines via iPad apps to current subscribers free of charge. Beginning with the update of the People Magazine app earlier today, subscribers to Time, Inc. publications including Time, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune will soon be able to be able to access the iPad versions of issues for free as part of their print subscriptions. Fortune reports that the changes should roll out to the other magazines within 30 days, and suggests that other magazine publishers will likely adopt the same policy. The report also states that publishers who were encouraged to built iPad apps say they were ready from the start to make them free to subscribers, but Apple would not provide the tools necessary, or explain what was delaying their release. Publishers remain unable to sell subscriptions directly through the App Store.
Black Enterprise, the premier business and wealth building resource for African Americans, has released a digital edition of its magazine publication exclusively for the iPad. The application, Black Enterprise Wealth for Life serves as a portal to download and read monthly issues of the magazine and will provide access to additional exclusive content not found in the printed edition including full-screen high-definition videos, slide shows, photo galleries, social networking links and extended editorial content. The application also allows users to sign-in to their custom reader accounts to share, bookmark and reference personal notes and includes the ability to search by keywords including names, tools, brands and services. An integrated browser allows users to select their desired content with color-coded categories and quick access to an itemized display of pages, photos, videos, bookmarks and ads. Black Enterprise Wealth For Life is available from the App Store as a free download. The app includes the 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition and Best Companies for Diversity issue at no cost; subsequent issues will be priced at $2.
Paramount Digital Entertainment, in cooperation with Freeverse, has released Top Gun 2, the sequel to its earlier first-person combat jet shooter for the iOS platform. In Top Gun 2 players engage in air-to-air and air-to-ground arcade style combat with new high-speed defensive maneuvers and offensive attacks. Players fly using the accelerometer to engage in combat with multiple enemies through seven unique environments, including outer space, in a variety of different mission types. Top Gun 2 features dynamic level design with surprise attacks and unique gameplay and an enhanced AI. Players can choose to pilot an F/A-18 Hornet, F-16 Fighting Falcon or F-14 Tomcat, each with upgradeable cannon and missile systems and unique offensive and defensive capabilities. Top Gun 2 features full-screen anti-aliasing and enhanced visual effects and a soundtrack by Brooklyn-based Daredevil Squadron as well as the classic track “Danger Zone” from the Top Gun movie. Top Gun 2 requires an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4 or later and is available from the App Store at a discounted price of $3 until August 23.
Facebook has released an update to its iPhone and iPod touch application adding support for its new Places feature and improving iOS4 multitasking support. Introduced by Facebook earlier this week, Places is a new location-based social networking that allows users to register their presence at physical locations in a manner similar to services such as Foursquare and Gowalla. Facebook 3.2 provides a new section on the home screen for accessing the new Places location feature and integrates GPS location services support to allow users to view nearby places from within the app, check-in at various locations and view friends’ locations. The new version can also now continue photo and video uploads in the background on iOS 4 multitasking-capable devices and adds the ability to set the privacy of individual status updates and see all recipients of inbox messages. Facebook 3.2 is available from the App Store as a free download. The Facebook Places feature is presently only available in the U.S.
A number of Nintendo NES game titles have once again returned to the App Store, in apparent violation of Nintendo copyrights. Two titles released this month, 8-Bit Gamepak and 8-Bit Gamepack LITE from Dalian Bale Trade Co., are based upon Nintendo’s Ice Climber and Wild Gunman titles, mentioned in the app’s description as “Wild Gunman Plus” and “Ice Climber Plus.” Another title, Duck Hunt: The Game from Arsen Torosian, steals not only graphics and gameplay, but also the box art and title of Nintendo’s famous Zapper-based title Duck Hunt. Prior Nintendo titles appropriated by developers have disappeared from the App Store relatively quickly, but Duck Hunt: The Game has been on the store since June 18, according to its description.
Apple’s applications director is selling his own fart apps on the App Store. Wired reports that Phillip Shoemaker, director of applications technology at Apple, is behind a selection of seven iPhone apps from Gray Noodle, including both a fart app called Animal Farts and a urination simulator called iWiz. Shoemaker’s apps range in price from $1 ro $2, and have generally received below-average ratings from users, while also testing the limits of Apple’s App Store decency restrictions. Apple told Wired that Shoemaker was hired partly because of his background in application development. “Phillip’s apps were written, submitted and approved before he became an Apple employee,” an Apple spokeswoman said in a statement. “His experience and perspective as a developer is one of the valuable things he brings to Apple’s developer relations team. Apple’s policy allows for employees to have apps on the App Store if they’re developed and published prior to their start at Apple.” The report notes that Shoemaker said he had started working at Apple via a tweet on March 9, 2009, while three of his apps weren’t published until afterwards.
Former Apple senior iPhone software engineer Evan Doll said the company typically doesn’t allow employees to sell apps unless they receive special permission from an executive, part of a policy to avoid conflicts of interest. “Apple employees are generally prohibited [from selling apps],” Doll told Wired. “You have to get a special exception from a VP. Otherwise, big no-no. If he was doing it pre-Apple then he’d have an easier time getting an exception.” Doll left Apple last year and now runs the company behind the Flipboard application for the iPad. Following the publication of Wired’s story, Shoemaker edited or outright deleted many of his social networking profiles that linked him with Gray Noodle, and has yet to comment on the matter.
Barnes & Noble has released an iPhone version of its Nook e-reader software introduced for the iPad earlier this year. The Nook e-reader apps feature access to over a million titles from Barnes & Noble’s eBookstore, multiple font types and sizes, customizable background and text colors and brightness controls. Nook also provides an integrated Merriam-Webster Pocket Dictionary, synchronization of notes, highlights and current reading position and provides a unique LendMe digital lending feature that allows users to share their purchased eBooks with friends using the Nook platform. Nook for iPhone provides the same features offered in the iPad application optimized for the iPhone’s smaller screen and iPhone 4 Retina Display and includes integrated B&N eBookstore shopping, personal B&N digital library access, digital lending features and the ability to sync notes, highlights and current reading position with other Nook apps. Barnes & Noble has also released an update to its iPad application, renaming it from BN eReader to Nook for iPad and adding the ability for users to rate their books and sort by favorites as well as a user guide and first run tutorial for new users. Nook for iPhone and Nook for iPad are available separately as free downloads from the U.S. App Store.
Sony has released a new TV advertisement for its PlayStation Portable handheld gaming console that mocks players of iOS games. Holding a device that clearly is meant to resemble an iPhone, a young man—identified as “Josh Rose,” who is said to be “kidding himself”—holds up the device, talking about the “sweet game” he’s playing. Sony’s new PSP TV advertisement spokesperson “Marcus” exclaims that the device “isn’t built for big boy games,” and proceeds to show a variety of games available for the PSP for only $9.99. The new advertisement appears in embedded form below. [via Kotaku]
Mind Crew has released Mayan Puzzle, a new puzzle game for the iPhone and iPod touch. A unique variant of a match-three style game, Mayan Puzzle includes four modes: classic, time trial, challenge and marathon to provide different styles of play ranging from an action puzzler to a more classic strategy game. The game is set in a beautiful Mayan surrounding with 32 animated backgrounds and includes impressive special effects and an original Mayan soundtrack. The game provides 32 levels in classic strategic mode, four target times in time trial mode, four difficulty settings in challenge mode or infinite gameplay in marathon mode. Online leaderboards and 35 achievements are provided through OpenFeint integration. Mayan Puzzle is available from the App Store for $1.
Square Enix has released the iPad version of Chaos Rings, its popular RPG introduced earlier this year for the iPhone and iPod touch. The story in Chaos Rings centers on a tournament where combatants must fight for their lives in the Ark Arena. Players choose a pair of characters and must then fight against other pairs as the story unfolds to reveal the truth behind the Ark Arena. The game provides a deep storyline with unique tales for each pair of characters and multiple endings. The iPad version brings the same classic game system from the iPhone app with higher-resolution graphics, detailed backgrounds, intense battle scenes and an enhanced soundtrack. Chaos Rings for iPad is available from the App Store for $16.