Aurora Feint has announced plans to expand its OpenFeint social gaming network to connect users on both iOS and Android devices. Named OpenFeint PlayTime, the service will allow multiplayer gameplay, matchmaking, and even real-time voice chat between users playing games on iOS and Android devices. The service is currently available in a private beta; iOS and Android developers can apply to the program at the OpenFeint Developer page. No further details have been announced on when the service will actually be released and begin appearing in games. [via Engadget]
NASA has released a native iPad version of its free NASA App for the iPhone and iPod touch. NASA App HD provides access to a comprehensive library of news and information from NASA presented more effectively using the larger iPad display, including access to thousands of images from NASA’s various image libraries, on-demand NASA videos, live streaming of NASA TV, current mission information, launch information and ISS and satellite tracking. Like its iPhone counterpart, NASA App HD also includes access to NASA Twitter feeds and support for sharing information via Facebook Connect and an integrated Twitter client along with a map and links to all of the various NASA centers. NASA App HD is available from the App Store as a free download; a Wi-Fi or 3G network connection is required to use the application.
Twitter has released a universal update, adding iPad support to its official Twitter app for iOS devices. Earlier this year, Twitter acquired Tweetie for the iPhone and iPod touch for it to become the company’s official Twitter app. As part of the acquisition, Tweetie developer Loren Brichter was brought onto Twitter’s staff to continue further development of the app including work on developing an iPad-native version. Now released as a universal app for both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad devices, Twitter 3.1 on the iPad provides all of the features of the iPhone version with an enhanced user interface optimized for the larger screen. Web pages, photos and videos are easily accessible from within the timeline and users can tap on any tweet and a related content pane opens to display linked content from within the tweet such as media content, web pages, profile information and hashtag searches. Panels can be slid from side to side to allow users to quickly navigate through related content, and can use two-finger pinch and drag operations to quickly peek into tweets for related information, actions and replies. Users can also access the public Twitter timelines and searches without requiring a Twitter account, or sign up for an account directly within the app. Twitter 3.1 for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad is available from the App Store as a free download.
Epic Games has released a walk-through demo of its upcoming RPG for iOS devices demonstrated during today’s Apple iPod event. Codenamed “Project Sword,” the game is an impressive 3D RPG with detailed real-time graphics powered by the Unreal Engine 3. In the full game, players will be able to explore a medieval town and engage in combat with other players over the Internet. The current demo, Epic Citadel, available as a free download from the App Store, provides a simple walk-through of the game environment with no combat options, allowing users to simply explore the detailed 3D realm. The full version of Project Sword is expected to be released later this year.
Apple today announced iOS 4.1, brining with it a multitude of bug fixes, built-in HDR photography, the Game Center social gaming service, and HD video uploads over Wi-Fi. The free update for iPhone and iPod touch users will fix existing bugs with the proximity sensor, Bluetooth, and iPhone 3G performance, and will feature built-in High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography, a feature through which the camera takes three photos in rapid succession and combines them to make a picture with a wider dynamic range than a traditional photo. In addition, the update will provide HD video uploading over Wi-Fi, and the aforementioned Game Center social gaming service. iOS 4.1 will be available next week and will be a free update for users of capable iPhone and iPod touch devices.
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.