Digital music service Rhapsody has announced the release of a major update to its streaming music player app for the iPhone platform. Rhapsody 2.0 now allows subscribers to download their favorite Rhapsody playlists for offline listening. Rhapsody playlists can be streamed or downloaded over either a 3G or Wi-Fi connection, and once downloaded can be played through the app even when outside of network coverage. Downloaded songs use the same 64kbps AAC format as tracks streamed from the Rhapsody servers. The Rhapsody app is designed for the iPhone and iPod touch but works on the iPad in the same manner as other iPhone apps. A native iPad version is planned for later this year once multitasking capabilities are available and will allow users to listen to music in the background. The updated app has been released as a new application rather than an update, so existing users will need to specifically download the new version. Rhapsody 2.0 is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download; a $10 per month Rhapsody Premier subscription is required to use it on a single device beyond the free seven-day trial period, and the subscription must be maintained to continue accessing downloaded tracks.
Apple has hired long-time IGN editor Matt Casamassina to help manage the App Store’s games section. Casamassina worked at IGN for over a decade, focusing primarily on Nintendo; his official title at Apple will be global editorial games manager, App Store. “I will be leading the charge for games on the App Store, so whether you browse through iTunes, iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, the games content you see will be handpicked and organized by me and my team[,]” Casamassina wrote in a post on his personal blog, adding, “I couldn’t be happier.” Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime recently made some disparaging remarks about gaming on iPhone OS devices, saying that Apple “is not having an impact on Nintendo when you look at our business, our volume, our hardware, our software,” later adding that the iPhone isn’t a “viable profit platform” due to the ratio of free to paid downloads.
A recently published Apple patent application suggests the company is working on a system for wireless transportation ticketing and check-in. Entitled “System and method for transportation check-in,” the patent refers to a travel management application called “iTravel” which would allow the users to purchase, store, and use travel documents. The patent goes on to show the application being used on an iPhone equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, such as RFID, which then interacts with similarly-equipped electronics throughout the travel process, such as at check-in, security checkpoints, and when boarding. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via Patently Apple]
Gameprom has released The Pinball HD, an iPad version of its popular set of Pinball games for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Pinball HD combines the tables from Gameprom’s three iPhone pinball games into a single iPad game featuring a higher-resolution display of the detailed 3D graphics, multiple camera angles and realistic physics that the iPhone versions are known for. Pinball tables in The Pinball HD include Wild West, The Deep and Jungle Style, with each table providing unique detailed artwork and distinct gameplay features. Users can also reorient the iPad to view the table in either a full table view or follow the ball in a “flying camerea” view. The Pinball HD is available from the App Store for $3.
SplashData has released an update to its popular SplashID Password Manager for the iPhone and iPod touch. The latest version adds the ability to buy additional icons through in-app purchase, a search history, landscape support in web view and a new Pattern Unlock option. The Finger Pattern Unlock option allows users to access the app by tracing a pattern on the iPhone screen rather than typing in a password, providing a more convenient means of quickly accessing the application securely. The update also adds localization into French, German, Italian and Spanish and several other UI improvements. SplashID for the iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store for $10.
Amidio has released iHolophone, a new digital music instrument for iPhone and iPod touch users. iHolophone allows users to add their own live performance over fully programmable sequencer beats for a futuristic sound. The application includes over 250MB of sequenced sounds 160 factory sequencer patterns, 60 modern instrument sounds and 800 percussive and melodic samples. Users play sounds, melodies and rhythms by placing their fingers on the two HoloDiscs and can access precise sound controls using the touchscreen including attack, release, vibrato, volume and portamento and use the accelerometer for pitch-bending and switching between instruments. As the user plays the screen backgrounds change to produce artistic effects corresponding to the rhythms, sounds and harmonies. iHolophone is available from the App Store for $7. A free iHolophone Happy Birthday Edition is also available which allows users to try the app by playing Happy Birthday.
Following a change in Apple’s Phone developer SDK terms that outlawed intermediary, cross-compatibility tools from iPhone apps, an Adobe employee has responded to the new restrictions. Specifically, section 3.3.1 of the new iPhone developer terms states that “[a]pplications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool,” such as Adobe’s Packager for iPhone that ships with Flash Professional CS5, “are prohibited.” Mike Chambers, Adobe’s Principal Product Manager for developer relations for the Flash Platform, says that “[d]evelopers should be prepared for Apple to remove existing content and applications (100+ on the store today) created with Flash CS5 from the iTunes store.”
Concerning the future of the company’s Flash-to-iPhone-app software, Chambers claims that the company “will still be shipping the ability to target the iPhone and iPad in Flash CS5. However, we are not currently planning any additional investments in that feature.” Chambers adds that he doesn’t have any plans to update or maintain his existing iPhone applications, as he thinks “the closed system that Apple is trying to create is bad for the industry, developers and ultimately consumers, and that is not something that I want to actively promote.” A recent report suggested that Adobe may be considering legal action against Apple over its refusal to allow Flash to run on its iPhone OS devices, and this recent decision to ban iPhone apps made using Flash software. [via Digital Arts]
The IconFactory has released an update to the iPad version of its popular Twitter client. Twitterrific for iPad 1.0.1 adds the ability to save links to Instapaper, use older style retweets and turn off new tweet alert sounds. The update also fixes several bugs and adds support for integration with third-party notification services such as Boxcar. Instapaper for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download. Unlike its iPhone counterpart, Twitterrific for iPad is a single app which is fully functional but ad-supported; instead of downloading a separate Premium app, users can upgrade to the ad-free version via in-app purchase for $5.
The National Hockey League has released an official iPhone app for hockey fans. NHL Ice Time 2010 allows iPhone and iPod touch users to track live game scores, player profiles, player and team statistics and schedules for upcoming games directly on their devices. Users can view live scores and in-game stats for ongoing games, access a full season schedule, view standing by division and even view game photos. The application also provides a unique Ice Tracker feature that allows fans to view locations of goals, hits and saves for live games on a virtual hockey rink. NHL Ice Time 2010 Free is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download. It is not presently available outside of the U.S.
Open Door Networks has released the iPad version of its Art Authority application. Expanding upon the iPhone version released in February, Art Authority for the iPad takes advantage of the larger screen and enhanced UI of the iPad to provide an impressive interactive virtual museum experience. Works are displayed within the app framed and hung on textured walls accompanied by titles, dates, and other information. Tapping on a work provides a pop-over for users to access additional details on the selected work or artist or view other related items from the period and artists’ influences. As with the original iPhone version, a customizable full-screen slideshow is also available with images presented in higher resolutions appropriate for the iPad. Works can also be saved to the iPad photo library to be used as home screen or lock screen wallpapers or shared with others. The application provides access to an online database of over 40,000 paintings and sculptures and over 1,000 western artists across all historical periods. Art Authority for the iPad is available from the App Store for $10.
Capcom has announced plans to add a new character to Street Fighter IV for the iPhone and iPod touch. Released March 10th, the iPhone version of Street Fighter IV currently includes 8 popular characters from the Street Fighter franchise: Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, Able, Blanka, M. Bison, Dhalsim, Guile and Ken. A coming free update of the game will add the second female character from the Street Fighter genre, Cammy. Capcom has not yet provided any information on when the update will be available. Additional photos and video can be found on the Street Fighter IV for iPhone Facebook Fan Page.
SHAPE Services has released iDisplay, a new universal application that allows Mac users to extend their desktop onto their iPad or iPhone. Users install a free companion application on their Mac and then run iDisplay on their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to connect to the Mac over Wi-Fi and act as a second display. Users can then simply drag windows and other objects from the normal Mac desktop off the screen edge and onto the iPad display in the same manner as using a secondary monitor. iDisplay also allows users to control the mouse using the touch screen to select text and other objects that are displayed on the iPad or iPhone screen. iDisplay is available from the App Store for $5; the Mac application is a free download from the developer’s web site. A Windows version of the host application is presently under development.
GoodReader has released an update for its popular iPad document management application, adding support for the iPad’s new Document Sharing feature. GoodReader iPad users can now open documents in GoodReader from other iPad applications such as Apple’s Mail app, Safari and any other third-party apps that support Document Sharing. Documents stored in GoodReader can also be opened in other compatible applications such as Apple’s Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps. GoodReader continues to provide support for viewing a wide vareity of files types and transferring files to and from the iPad via a number of online services including MobileMe iDisk, box.net, Dropbox and Google Docs. GoodReader for iPad is available from the App Store for $1.
Gameloft has released Shrek Kart HD for the iPad. Shrek Kart puts players in the role of one of more than 10 characters from the Shrek movies to compete for the title of the Kingdom’s Fastest Kart Racer. The game includes four single player modes, local multiplayer support, 10 unique karts, 15 tracks and numerous power-ups and challenges throughout. The new iPad version provides all of the familiar game play features from the original Shrek Kart for iPhone and adds new features such as a redesigned mini-map and a new customizable user interface. Shrek Kart HD is available from the App Store for $7.
The Omni Group has released an updated roadmap for its iPad applications. Following Apple’s announcement of the iPad at the end of January, Omni announced plans to develop iPad versions of its five most popular Mac apps: OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, OmniPlan, OmniFocus and OmniGraphSketcher. The company later decided to focus on releasing OmniGraffle and OmniGraphSketcher for the iPad launch as the company felt that these apps would be a good fit for the iPad, and they did not already exist as iPhone apps. OmniFocus for the iPhone has already been available for some time and can be used on the iPad, however the company indicates that a native version is in the works and scheduled for a June release. OmniOutliner for iPad is being developed concurrently with OmniFocus and will follow later in the summer and an iPad release of OmniPlan is scheduled for the fall. No details on pricing have yet been announced.
TapFactory has released an update adding Bump™ Technology to its popular Stick It notes app for the iPad. Stick It allows iPad users to take take and store quick sticky notes in a wide variety of different customizable styles. Users can e-mail their notes from the app or create a wallpaper to display them on their home screen or lock screen. In addition to several other minor features and bug fixes, the latest update now allows users to share notes with other Stick It users through Bump™ by bumping or shaking their devices and flinging notes across that they want to share. Stick It is available from the App Store for the iPad for a limited-time price of $1. A version for the iPhone and iPod touch is currently under development.
Zell Applications has released Joypad, a new application that allows Mac users to use their iPhone or iPod touch as a wireless gaming controller. The app connects over Wi-Fi to a Mac running the free companion Joypad Connect app and maps taps on the iPhone or iPad screen into equivalent keyboard actions on the host Mac. Joypad is available from the App Store for $2 and is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch devices running iPhone OS 3.1.2 or later and requires a Mac using OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard.
Smule has released an official iPhone and iPad application for fans of the TV show Glee. The Glee application allows users to sing along to songs from the official soundtrack of the show, recording their own versions and sharing them on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or Smule’s own Sonic Network. Users can create their own virtual Glee club by recording a song and inviting their friends to add their own versions which are combined and harmonized into an actual club song. The application also allows users to listen to and rate recordings shared by other Glee users around the world and earn “Gleeks” by publishing songs on Facebook or MySpace and having them rated by other users. Glee is available from the App Store as a single universal iPhone and iPad app for $3.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the free ABC Player app for the iPad has been downloaded 205,000 times and used to watch 650,000 television episodes in the 10 days since the iPad’s release. According to ABC this has in turn generated “several million” ad impressions, and Disney-ABC television President Anne Sweeney indicates the network is pleased with the initial results. The ABC Player application allows iPad users to watch free, ad-supported television content on the iPad with five 30-second ads presented within each hour of programming in a manner similar to broadcast television. A direct link is also provided for each episode to allow iPad users to purchase the ad-free version from the iTunes Store. This coming fall ABC expects to begin providing more interactive advertising similar to that already found on its web player and eventually expects to allow affiliates the ability to sell specific advertising that would only be seen by users in their specific local markets. The ABC Player app is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has begun banning App Store applications that contain the term ‘pad’ in the app name. Previously, the company contacted Jesse Waites, maker of ContactPad, to inform him that an update to his application would be rejected because “it [was] inappropriately using ‘Pad’ in the application name.” The company also included its product work mark guidelines, which states that the developer can use the mark “in a referential phrase such as ‘runs on,’ ‘for use with,’ ‘for,’ or ‘compatible with.’” Following Waites’ rejection, Chris Ostmo, developer of journalPad and journalPad Bible edition, received a similar notice from Apple regarding his apps’ names, and emailed Apple CEO Steve Jobs explaining his position on the matter. 9 to 5 Mac reports that Ostmo claimed to have “spent tens of thousands of dollars” on marketing and media exposure for the two apps, both of which will need to be renamed.
Jobs, in a typically brief response, wrote simply, “Its [sic] just common sense to not use another company’s trademarks in your app name.” Curiously, Apple’s Copyright and Trademark Guidelines page, linked to in the initial email to Waites, makes no mention of a “Pad” trademark, and neither does the company’s official Trademark listing. Judging by the language in both App Store correspondence emails and in Jobs’ response, however, it appears that Apple considers the “Pad” trademark to be under its ownership, and intends to defend it.