Google has announced a new iPad-optimized version of its Gmail for Mobile HTML5 web app. Launched last year for the iPhone and Android platform, the GMail for mobile web app provides an optimized browsing experience on the iPhone and iPod touch and uses HTML5 to provide a native app-like experience in the web browser. For the iPad browser, Google has created a two-pane view to take advantage of the larger screen. In the new iPad web app, the list of messages and conversations appears on the left with detailed messages appearing on the right, similar to the iPad’s built-in Mail application. To access the new site, users merely need to visit gmail.com in their iPad web browser, and can also add a home screen icon for easier access in the same manner as on the iPhone and iPod touch. Google notes that its other web-based apps have not yet been specifically optimized for the iPad, but that it has evaluated the behaviour of each app using the iPad Simulator to serve the desktop or mobile user interfaces based on which user experience it thinks will be the best for iPad users.
Apple has posted a number of videos showing off a handful of launch day iPad applications. Featured on the new “Apps for iPad” page are The Elements, Real Racing HD, Marvel Comics, The Wall Street Journal, Epicurious, MLB.com At Bat 2010, E*TRADE Mobile Pro, Asphalt 5, Scrabble, F1 2010, and Labyrinth 2 HD. Notably, the video for EA’s Scrabble shows off the game’s ability to use iPhone and iPod touch units as personal tile racks, with the players “flicking” the desired tiles over to the main iPad game board. The company has also changed the main graphic on its home page to a large image of the iPad with the text “iPad is here.”
Craig Rothwell, inventor of the iControlPad peripheral for jailbroken iPhones, has taken issue with a recently-published Apple patent application that appears to describe a device much like his own. Entitled “Accessory For Playing Games With A Portable Electronic Device,” the application describes a controller-like accessory—with standard game controller buttons—with a recess in the center into which a user can place a touchscreen gaming device. Variations on the design include one with a rotating dock connector for connection to the device, one which connects wirelessly, and one that offers wireless connectivity to other devices.
In a post titled “An extremely sinister development,” Rothwell said he and his colleagues “were very very surprised to see that Apple have [sic] allegedly filed a patent for our original iControlPad design some 6 months after we revealed it,” promising to give “More updates once we get a more clear picture of what the h—- is going on.” Development on the iControlPad dates back to May 2008, while Apple’s application was filed in September 2008. [via Pocket Gamer]
A number of noteworthy iPad-optimized applications have hit the App Store ahead of the device’s April 3 launch. Below is a list of some of the titles we consider to be the most interesting, important, or otherwise worth mentioning.
Pandora Media has released a new universal version of its free Pandora Radio app offering an enhanced iPad interface.
Smule has released Magic Piano, an iPad-specific virtual instrument app.
Social networking service Loopt has released Loopt Pulse, offering location-based event, restaurant, entertainment, and nightlife search.
Chillingo has released Cogs HD, an iPad version of its well-received game for the iPhone and iPod touch, along with 13 other games.
iPad updates for existing applications have begun to appear in the App Store. Rather than releasing separate iPad versions of their apps, some developers have chosen to release “Universal” updates to the existing apps, providing both iPhone and iPad support in the same application package. Universal apps are denoted on the App Store by a small Plus sign beside the purchase button in the app listings, similar to the icon that was formerly used to denote iTunes Plus music tracks. A note also appears on the App Store page for Universal apps indicating that “This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad” and Universal apps will appear in search results under both the general Apps and the new “iPad Apps” headings. The App Store page for Universal apps now includes a selection button above the screenshots where users to choose to view either iPhone or iPad screenshots for the app.
Some of the apps that have been updated with iPad support include Instapaper Pro, LogMeIn Ignition, IMDb, Evernote, WordPress, and Now Playing. Despite the packaging of content for both platforms into a single app, most of the Universal app updates do not show a significant increase in size over their previous versions. As with all previous iPhone OS app updates each of these are available free to existing users, and new users gain the benefit of paying one price for a single app that will run on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
iPad applications have begun to appear in the App Store in advance of Saturday’s launch of the iPad. Although no specific front-page promotions or categories are yet appearing, searches on the App Store are showing results in separate categories for “Apps” and “iPad Apps.” Titles that have already begun to appear include iPad versions of such popular games as Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. HD, Firemint’s Real Racing HD, and 2K Games’ Civlization Revolution for iPad. Popular apps include NewsGator’s NetNewsWire for iPad, Culture Code’s Things for iPad and The Iconfactory’s Twitterrific for iPad. Apple’s own iWork applications, including Keynote are also now available. iPad versions of prior games generally appear to consume between 50% and 100% more storage capacity than their predecessors, though the exact amount varies from title to title, and some have much smaller size differences. Prices for iPad apps are often higher than for their iPhone/iPod touch counterparts, with certain EA titles going for $10 to $15 each, and many other updated games now selling in the $5 to $10 range.
Activision has released its top-rated action sports game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Pro Skater 2 players ride as Tony Hawk or choose from one of 12 other featured pros to skate in any of 13 different tracks. Players must master signature pro moves and tricks to win competitions and advance in the game by earning virtual cash which to purchase additional in-game moves and alternate boards. Users can choose to play with either traditional controls or use an enhanced control set that takes advantage of the iPhone and iPod touch accelerometer. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is available from the App Store for $10.
Appadvice reports that Netflix has developed an official application for the iPad to be available in the App Store starting April 3rd. The Netflix iPad app is expected to be a free download but will require users to have an unlimited Netflix plan to access content. The app will allow iPad users to stream TV shows and movies from the Netflix catalog and browse and manage their Netflix queue from within the app. Users can also synchronize viewing status with the Netflix service in order to continue watching a movie from where they left off on another device. It is unclear at this time whether Netflix streaming will be supported over a 3G connection or only over Wi-Fi or whether an iPhone version of the application will also be available. [via PC World]
The Wall Street Journal reports that CBS and ABC are preparing to stream selected television content to the iPad. The networks will adopt a model similar to traditional broadcast television, with the shows being free and ad-supported. CBS plans to stream their content directly to the Safari browser while ABC will use a separate ABC Player iPad application. CBS plans to have full episodes of its reality series “Survivor” available by Saturday from its web site as well as promotional clips of several other shows. [via Mac Rumors]
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) has announced that it is doubling its iFund to $200 million of venture capital for iPhone apps. Originally announced in March 2008, the iFund is pool of funds designed to help KPCB find and back budding iPhone developers. According to the company, the entire original $100 million iFind is now fully committed across 14 companies, accounting for more than $100 million in 2010 mobile revenue, more than 100 million aggregate mobile downloads, and 18 titles that reached the Top 10 on the App Store. In addition, iFund-supported companies have more than 20 applications in development for the iPad, 11 of which will be available on April 3: seven games from ngmoco including We Rule, GodFinger and WarpGate, Doodle Buddy and Star Smash from Pinger, textPlus from GOGII, and Shazam from Shazam Entertainment.
Apple has launched a new App Store Facebook page. Developed by social media company Virtue, the new page offers a “Featured” tab of App Store highlights, Top Charts listing the most-downloaded apps, a “Games” tab to showcase featured titles and top-selling games, and a “Search and Share” tab that lets users search for apps—using the App Store API—and share them with their Facebook friends via Wall posts. In addition, each app listing includes a “Get App” button, which will open the app’s iTunes Preview page, and, if iTunes is installed, take the user straight to the related App Store listing. The new App Store Facebook page can be accessed from facebok.com/AppStore. [via Mashable]
TechCrunch reports that Boxcar, developer of the popular Push Notification app of the same name has implemented a new Provider API to allow third-party services to leverage its Push Notification service. Previously Boxcar provided Push Notifications for specific services such as Twitter, Facebook and e-mail as well as a user API for individual users to customize their own Push Notifications from desktop apps such as Growl. The new Provider API allows web sites and other online services to build their own customized Push Notification feeds that can be subscribed to by any Boxcar user. Boxcar plans to allow third-party providers the option of charging for their Push Notifications via a one-time in-app purchase with revenue shared 50/50 between Boxcar and the Provider. Boxcar is available from the App Store as a free download and includes Push Notifications for one service; additional services can be added via in-app purchase for $1 each.
Navigon has released an update to its MobileNavigator suite of applications for the iPhone, adding support for MyRoutes, location sharing via Facebook and Twitter and 3D terrain views. Previously available only on Navigon’s dedicated GPS hardware devices, the MyRoutes feature analyzes users driving habits and patterns based on location and time of day to provide up to three optimal routes tailored to the user with ETA, distance and driving times for each. Social media integration features allow users to post information on their current position, destination and ETA to Facebook and Twitter from directly within the application. The latest update also adds support for Navigon’s new Panorama View 3D feature which provides 3D in-map terrain views with digital landscape elevations and geographic images integrated into the map data. Navigon MobileNavigator North America is available from the App Store for $80 and is a free update for existing Navigon users. MobileNavigator versions for other regions have also been updated and are available separately. The Panorama View 3D is available as an in-app purchase for an additional $10.
MobileAge has released a preview of the iPad version of its popular Shanghai Mahjong for the iPhone and iPod touch. Shanghai Mahjong for iPad will provide new iPad-optimized artwork and 200 new layouts for expanded game play. Users will also be able to download additional custom-designed tileset art and background images from within the app or choose a background from the iPad photo album. The company plans to release the iPad version as a universal app that will run on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The iPad version will be available as a free update for existing Shanghai Mahjong users. More information and screenshots can be found at the developer’s web site.
Filemaker has announced that it will be launching a version of its popular consumer database application, Bento, for the iPad. Similar in concept to the Bento for iPhone app released last spring, the iPad version of Bento can be used as a standalone app or sync via Wi-Fi with the Mac version of Bento. The new version has been redesigned to take advantage of the larger screen size and UI features offered by the iPad to provide smoother database navigation and a visually appealing presentation of data. The app will ship with a number of database templates to allow users to quickly get started and is expected to be sold as a separate app for the same $5 price tag as the iPhone version. [via Mac Rumors]
Cultured Code has released an update to its popular iPhone task management app, Things. The update adds full support for working in landscape mode and now allows users to search their task list from within the app. Things 1.4 also adds built-in crash reporting functionality and improved stability and addresses multiple bugs from the previous version. Things can be used as a standalone iPhone application or users can sync via Wi-Fi with the Mac version of Things. Things for the iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store for $10. Things for Mac is available separately from the Cultured Code web site.
Silvio Rizzi has released a major update to his popular Reeder client for Google Reader. Reeder 2.0 provides significant performance improvements over the previous version as well as support for caching images in feeds for offline viewing and state saving so that users can return to the app and pick up where they left off. The new version also improves syncing speeds and provides the ability to sync shared items, read items, and items from friends for offline viewing. Built-in support for Google Mobilizer and Instapaper Mobilizer is now included as well as the option to open links with Safari or copy them to the clipboard. Reeder 2.0 is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for existing users.
A team at Toronto’s University Health Network Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, in partnership with The Hospital for Sick Children and Saint Elizabeth Health Care, has released a new iPhone application designed to simplify diabetes management. Designed initially as a self-management system for adolescents with Type I Diabetes, Bant allows iPhone and iPod touch users to track their blood glucose levels and self-manage their condition. Users can store their recorded data to their Google Health account and share their experience with the diabetes community via Twitter. In an interview with The Care to Know Centre, Dr. Joseph Cafazzo, one of the researchers on the project explained that it began as a study in the “challenges in managing kids with Type 1 Diabetes” and the issue that many teens to do not take their measurements regularly or properly self-manage their condition. Cafazzo indicated that the team wanted to find a way to encourage teens to develop proper self-management skills. They looked at an iPhone app as a solution since “the ubiquitous mobile phone is so central to this demographic’s life ... even as inpatients, teens are never far from their phone.” Cafazzo explains that social networking features were also built in to further engage adolescents and allow them to share their experiences with others like themselves. Cafazzo also notes that the team is working with Apple Canada to arrange for iTunes redemption codes to reward teens who use the app to take their measurements regularly and participate in the community. Bant is available from the App Store as a free download.
iPhone developer KainosAgora has shown a preview of TweetAgora, a unique new Twitter client for the iPhone aimed at improving the signal-to-noise ratio in users’ Twitter streams. TweetAgora provides users with the ability to filter or “mute” tweets in their timeline based on hashtags, sender or conversation, allowing them to hide tweets they may not be interested in without having to unfollow people. Users can also filter their timeline to show only tweets containing photos, links or retweets and create superset lists, or “Agoras,” that contain an aggregated timeline of tweets from other Twitter Lists, people and/or hashtags. The app also provides the ability to display full conversation threads from a selected tweet, including all of the reply branches of a conversation. TweetAgora is currently in closed beta; users can apply to join the beta at [email protected] TweetAgora is scheduled for release to the App Store in mid-April. Pricing has not yet been announced.
Following a report from yesterday indicating that the iBookstore would offer most titles on The New York Times best sellers list for $9.99, App Advice is now reporting that the iBookstore will also feature a vast number of free titles from Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is a volunteer organization that digitizes and catalogs books which have seen their U.S. copyright expire; the Gutenberg website claims to offer over 30,000 ebook titles for free. The report is accompanied by a supposed screenshot of the iBookstore interface, showing several free titles, including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, both of which are available through Project Gutenberg; the report also notes that while the number of free titles wasn’t counted, it appears the entirety of Gutenberg’s catalog is available. It was previously revealed that the iPad’s iBooks applicaiton would support non-DRM ePub books not downloaded from the iBookstore, however, this is the first evidence of Apple actually offering these books for direct download.