iPhone OS 4.0, the next major revision to the software that powers the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, will offer support for multitasking, according to a new report. Citing anonymous sources “with a proven track record” in predicting Apple’s technical advancements, AppleInsider reports that iPhone OS 4.0, expected this summer, will include a “full-on solution” for multitasking, allowing third-party applications downloaded from the App Store to run in the background. According to the same sources, the software will include a multitasking manager built on interface technology already bundled with Apple’s Mac OS X operating system. Finally, the report states that the software is under development and has quite a “way to go” before its ready for release; no further specifics were given.
The City of Edmonton, Alberta has announced plans to sponsor an application development contest. Scheduled to be formally announced later this month, the Apps4Edmonton contest will aim to encourage local iPhone developers to create apps that improve municipal information sharing and communications. The contest will offer $50,000 in prizes and the winning application will be showcased at the 2010 Canadian Government Technology Conference (GTEC) in Ottawa in October. Edmonton is also planning the launch of its own iPhone application, CityWatch to allow residents to report problems to 311 call centres. [via iPhoneinCanada.ca]
A pair of files offering support for new gestures have been found in the latest beta version of the iPhone SDK 3.2 for iPad. 9to5Mac reports that the latest SDK’s “gestures” folder contains two previously unseen files, named “3Tap.plist” and “LongPress.plist,” presumably offering support for triple-tap and tap-and-hold gestures, which Apple currently uses in its implementations of VoiceOver and the iPhone OS’ cut-and-paste feature. In addition, 9to5Mac discovered that the files related to video chat features found in the previous beta SDK have been removed in the latest version.
Alamofire has released a major update to its Gowalla location sharing application for the iPhone and iPod touch, introducing a completely new interface design and support for several new features. Gowalla 2.0 now allows users to upload photos when checking in, browse photos from friends, or view photos that were taken at a specific location. Users can also now comment on their friends’ checkins and update their own checkins with additional messages. The update also improves browsing for friends and viewing their favorite locations and integrates Facebook, Twitter and web links for friends. Gowalla 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.
UpNext has released an update to its interactive 3D city map application for the iPhone and iPod touch, adding support for three new cities and integration into the Foursquare location sharing service. In addition to New York City, the update now adds 3D maps for Boston, Washington, DC and Austin, Texas. Integration with Foursquare now allows users to see checkins from Foursquare directly on the 3D maps, and the updated version also provides menu links for restaurants and bars, expanded reviews and ratings for venues, and a faster and smoother interface. The release notes indicate that users will need to download their cities again after updating the application, but that favorites and notes will be retained. UpNext 3D Cities is available on the App Store as a free download.
Foursquare has released an update to its popular location-based social networking application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Sporting a completely redesigned user interface, the update also provides a more efficient checkin process, category support in the “Places” view and a pull-down-to-refresh option. Users can also now view a history of where they’ve been, and locations now display category icons and more detailed address information. Foursquare is available from the App Store as a free download.
Thing Labs, developer of the Brizzly.com online Twitter and Facebook reader announced today that it has acquired the Birdfeed Twitter client from iPhone developer Buzz Andersen as the foundation for its new Brizzly for Twitter iPhone application. The original Birdfeed application has been removed from the App Store and the former home page for the app now simply displays an announcement from Brizzly informing users of the news and where to download the new Brizzly for Twitter application. The announcement notes that Birdfeed will continue to work for existing users but will no longer be supported or updated. The new Brizzly application provides support for multiple Twitter accounts, Twitter Lists, sharing of photos via Brizzly Pics or Flickr, saved searches, and integration with the Brizzly.com online reader. Brizzly for Twitter is available from the App Store as a free download.
Capcom has released the highly anticipated Street Fighter IV for the iPhone and iPod touch. First announced last month, Street Fighter IV brings the popular console game to the iPhone and iPod touch with a user interface specifically redesigned for the touchscreen and the same visual style and artwork found in the current generation console game. Eight classic characters are available in the game, including Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, Able, Blanka, M. Bison, Dhalsim, Guile and Ken and the game provides seven different playing environments. Familiar moves such as Unique Attacks, Special Moves, Focus Attacks, Super Combos and Ultra Combos are all present, and the game provides a “Dojo” mode to introduce new players to the game’s moves and features. In addition to the standard single-player mode, players can choose to compete against other iPhone and iPod touch users over Bluetooth in a two-player head-to-head mode. Street Fighter IV is available on the App Store for $10.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has acquired a recent copy of Apple’s iPhone Developer Program License Agreement (PDF Link) and posted it online. Previously seen only by those applying to be a licensed iPhone developer, the EFF used the Freedom of Information Act to ask NASA, which distributes a free NASA App through the App Store, for a copy. Contained within the agreement is a section prohibiting developers from making any “public statements” about the terms of the agreement, as well as sections prohibiting reverse engineering of the iPhone OS, prohibiting developers from contributing to the development of jailbreaking and or unlocking solutions, and a clause saying that Apple can “revoke the digital certificate of [an application] at any time,” a feature of the iPhone OS that Apple has yet to invoke, but keeps available as a backup plan should malicious software manage to find its way onto the App Store and users’ iPhones and iPod touches.
Apple has released the fourth beta version of its iPhone SDK 3.2 for iPad. First released in January following the introduction of the iPad, the SDK is tailored specifically to the device, including support for its 1024x768 resolution, other iPad-specific interface functions, and includes an iPad simulator application so developers can pre-test their apps in an environment similar to that of the final device. It is currently unclear what, if any, major changes were made in the updated version. The iPhone OS 3.2 SDK beta 4 for iPad is available now to registered iPhone developers through the iPhone Dev Center.
Genera Mobile has released FORMULA 1 Live Racing 2010, an unofficial Formula 1 information app that allows F1 racing fans to follow Grand Prix racing on their iPhone or iPod touch. The application provides live commentary, lap-by-lap race positions, live coverage of qualification sessions and real-time leaderboards for all Grand Prix 2010 races. Users can also view detailed circuit information including weather conditions, view stats on the drivers competing in each race and receive daily F1 news updates between races. FORMULA 1 Live Racing 2010 is available on the App Store as a free download.
CBS Interactive has released a new app for iPhone and iPod touch users to follow the NCAA March Madness tournament games on their devices. NCAA March Madness on Demand provides live streaming video of every game of the tournament, available over both Wi-Fi and 3G/EDGE connections. The application also provides Westwood One live radio broadcasts of all games, video-on-demand highlights, game previews and current scores and headlines. Users can choose to receive alerts on their favorite teams and other events and can share comments via Facebook and Twitter from directly within the application. CBS Sports NCAA March Madness on Demand is available from the App Store for $10. A free Lite version is also available that provides scores, stats, news and video highlights but excludes live video and audio streaming.
Electronic Arts has released the first new mega pack for its episodic Surviving High School game. “Homecoming Queen” casts the player in the role of a female student who must work on her popularity, dancing skills and find a date in order to become Homecoming Queen. While the original main game pack “Football Season” cast the player in the role of a male football player, the new add-on pack provides players with the opportunity to play in the first-person as a female character instead. Released last fall, Surviving High School is a choice-based role-playing game that is unique in its approach of providing free short weekly “episodes” using a TV-like model. The game includes a single full game pack, “Football Season” followed by shorter episodes released weekly that allow the player to follow various other characters and stories. New episodes are available for free each week with past episodes and new mega-packs sold as in-app purchases from within the game. Surviving High School is available on the App Store for $3, the Homecoming Queen Mega pack is $2 as an in-app purchase.
Apple has started blocking so-called “cookie-cutter” basic applications from the App Store, according to a new report. Citing developer comments, TechCrunch reports that Apple is cracking down on applications that function as little more than glorified RSS feeds or business cards, many of which have traditionally been produced by app-building services. One such service, Appmakr, said Apple has reached out to provide suggestions which could be used to improve the service. The company now plans to add more advanced features to the apps that it builds, including push notifications, in-app purchases, offline access, and landscape viewing modes. Other services, according to anonymous developer comments, are not receiving as much help from Apple on improving their products; TechCrunch suggests these are likely the services offering only the most basic of app templates. Notably, Apple does not appear to be going through the store and removing currently available applications that would not be approved under this new policy, as it did with a large number of “overtly sexual” applications last month.
Following last month’s acquisition of reMail by Google, developer Gabor Cselle announced today that he has released the reMail code under an open source license as he will be focusing on other projects at Google. After purchasing reMail, Google decided to discontinue the application and remove it from the App Store, although existing users who had already purchased the app were able to continue using it. Cselle writes in his blog that he has open sourced the code because he is passionate about mobile e-mail, and hopes “that developers interested in making email-related apps can use reMail code as a starting point.” The source code for reMail is now available on Google Code as remail-iphone under the Apache 2.0 License.
Volkwagen has released a unique new racing game for the iPhone and iPod touch that challenges players to drive efficiently rather than simply fast. In Think Blue Challenge players are rewarded for efficient driving and maximum range, with the goal of racking up the most kilometers by consuming the least amount of fuel. Quiz questions are presented between each game stage to provide tips on how to play and fuel bonuses for correct answers. Scores can be submitted to an online high score table and players can also submit their scores to the Volkswagen eGames Facebook page. Volkswagen Think Blue Challenge is available from the App Store as a free download.
An iTunes dialog box spotted by iPhone and Mac developer Fraser Speirs suggests Apple may be considering implementation of upgrade pricing in the App Store. The dialog box carries the heading “You do not qualify for this price,” going on to explain that “[t]his discounted price is only available to customers who own a previous version of this item. To purchase this item at full price, click OK.” Curiously, no “OK” button is offered, instead users have a choice between “Cancel” and “Buy.” The ability to offer current users upgraded software at a discount has been a feature long requested by iPhone developers; Apple has yet to officially announce such a feature.
Update: According to a Mac Rumors forum thread, the dialog box has in fact been in use for some time, and may be presented to users who attempt to re-download or update an application while logged into a different iTunes account than the one used to purchase the application originally.
SpinThought has released a new version of its StoryPages app for creating illustrated stories directly on the iPhone or iPod touch. StoryPages uses a storyboarding format similar to film and animation production and allows users to quickly layout drawings and associated text within a storyline. The StoryPages documents can be converted to PDF to share via e-mail or PNG to export to the photo library. StoryPages 2 adds full-screen landscape and portrait drawing modes and one-tap access to colored pencils and an eraser. Users can also set backgrounds using images from the device’s photo library, and the application now also provides full undo and redo support. StoryPages is available on the App Store for $3.
Soma Games has announced a major update to its game G: Into The Rain. G is a gravity golf genre puzzle game where players build and launch exploration rockets to map out an uncharted solar system. Completely rewritten from the ground up, G 2.0 improves game performance, adds on-line leaderboards, more interactive arcade-style gameplay, an expanded storyline and Facebook and Twitter integration. To promote the launch of the new version Soma Games is also running an in-game contest where players can compete to win an iPad by playing the game and posting their high scores to the online leaderboard. The contest runs through March 17, 2010; full contest rules can be found at the developer’s web site. G: Into The Rain is available on the App Store for $1; a free Lite version is also available for the contest.
The AppMaster has released a new free reference app for the 2010 Academy Awards. Meet The Oscars provides a full list of this year’s Academy Awards nominees, organized by category and film and allows users to keep a checklist of which movies they have viewed or are interested in seeing. Links to IMDB are provided for each nominated film, director and actor and users can view movie trailers directly from within the app. Meet The Oscars is available from the App Store as a free download.