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Upcoming iPhone games: Final Fantasy, Assassin’s Creed, Sega

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A number of upcoming game releases for the iPhone and iPod touch have been revealed over the last several days. Square Enix has revealed plans to release its classic Role Playing Games Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II on the App Store. Although few details have been announced, screenshots posted to the company’s Facebook account show dramatically enhanced graphics compared to the original Nintendo Entertainment System releases, and slight interface tweaks meant to take advantage of the devices’ touchscreens.

Ubisoft has confirmed that it will be releasing a follow-up to its Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles game on February 1st. According to USA Today, Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery will follow lead character Ezio as he attempts to rescue fellow assassins being held in Spain. Curiously, an “unfinished” version of the game was posted early to and subsequently pulled from the App Store, according to an IGN report; it was priced at $12 for the brief time it was available, although it is unclear whether that will remain the price when the game is officially released.

Finally, Sega has announced plans to release its Sega Ultimate Genesis Collection title for the iPhone and iPod touch. Essentially serving as an official emulator for the console, Ultimate will include the game Space Harrier II for free, with other titles, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Golden Axe, Eco the Dolphin, and Shining Force available via In-App Purchase at prices ranging from $3-$6; more titles are expected to be added as time goes on.

The White House launches app for iPhone, iPod touch

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The White House has released its new official application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The app offers access to whitehouse.gov’s White House Blog and Briefing Room news areas, including photo and video content, and also offers live video streaming of White House events, including the President’s public events, web chats with Administration officials, key speeches, and press briefings. Notably, the live streaming feature will also allow users to watch next week’s State of the Union address directly on their device. The White House official application for iPhone and iPod touch is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Gartner: Mobile app sales to reach $6.2 billion in 2010

According to the latest research released by Gartner, worldwide mobile application store download revenue reached $4.2 billion in 2009, a number that is set to grow to $6.2 billion by the end of this year. The research group claims that 2009 saw 2.5 billion app downloads, a number that Engadget used to estimate Apple’s share of the market at roughly 97.5%. Gartner also claims that advertising-sponsored apps will generate nearly a quarter of all mobile app store revenue by 2013, a year in which the group expects overall revenue to hit $29.5 billion. Free apps are expected to account for 82% of all downloads in 2010, growing to account for 87% of downloads in 2013. “As smartphones grow in popularity and application stores become the focus for several players in the value chain, more consumers will experiment with application downloads,” said Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner. “Games remain the No. 1 application, and mobile shopping, social networking, utilities and productivity tools continue to grow and attract increasing amounts of money.”

Slacker Radio for iPhone now available in Canada

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Following the Canadian launch of Slacker Radio last week, Slacker today announced the release of its Slacker Radio for iPhone application on the Canadian App Store. The Slacker Radio iPhone application allows users to listen to streamed music on the iPhone via a wide variety of pre-defined stations by genre or user-created custom stations. Canadian users can try Slacker Radio for free for 30 days with an ad-supported Basic subscription that provides unlimited streamed music and the ability to skip ahead by up to six songs per hour. To continue using Slacker Radio beyond the initial thirty-day trial users must upgrade to a Slacker Radio Plus subscription for $5/month which removes the advertising, provides unlimited skips, and provides access to complete lyrics and song requests.

Slacker Radio is available as a free download from the Canadian iTunes Store. Slacker Radio Plus subscriptions are available from within the app as in-app purchases.

Rockstar releases Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for iPhone, iPod touch

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Rockstar Games has released Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the title of the same name for the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP systems, Chinatown Wars places players in the shoes of Huang Lee, who must seek revenge following his father’s murder. Features include Multi-Touch based controls, adjusted difficulty levels, top-down gameplay, a new radio station that allows players to create custom playlists for in-game listening, and more. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is available now and sells for $10.

Apple releases MobileMe Gallery app for iPhone, iPod touch

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Apple has released its new MobileMe Gallery application for the iPhone and iPod touch. This new application lets MobileMe users access all their galleries, including those that are password protected or hidden albums, view friends’ gallery photos and movies, access previously view photos when offline, share links to albums directly from the iPhone, and also supports flick and pinch-to-zoom gestures. MobileMe Gallery requires a MobileMe account and iPhone OS 3.1 or later, and is available as a free download from the App Store. [via iFun.de]

NYT, others deal with impostor paid apps

The New York Times and several other content providers are dealing with a number of paid iPhone apps that are using the providers’ names while scraping content from their websites for unauthorized commercial use. Time Magazine editor Josh Quittner found that several of the top-selling paid apps in the App Store’s News category are unauthorized, such as The New York Times Mobile Reader, New York Times Mobile News Reader, and BBC Mobile News Reader. The Times’ official app, by contrast, is the number one downloaded free News app. A Times spokeswoman told AllThingsD that the apps “are not authorized and our legal department is looking into the matter,” but for now the apps remain on the store. Apple has said that is has “a process in the App Store for developers to alert us to possible IP infringement. When we’re notified, our policy includes the removal of the infringing app until a resolution is reached between the parties.”

App Store hits 3 billion downloads: 10 million per day

Less than one hundred days after marking the two billionth download from the App Store, Apple today announced an additional one billion downloads, bringing the total to three billion during the Store’s less than 18-month life span. Equating to roughly 10,000,000 downloads per day, or 300 million downloads per month, this three billion download milestone demonstrates a dramatic acceleration in app acquisition, more than doubling the 4.7 million download per day average of the first two billion downloads. Apple has previously stated that its download figures are based on initial downloads and do not include updates, which would make the statistics far higher. “This is like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a press release, which noted the App Store’s current availability in 77 countries. “And we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon.”

Report: Apple buys mobile ad company Quattro (Updated)

Following Google’s November acquisition of mobile phone advertising company AdMob for $750 million, a last-minute bid that reportedly scuttled AdMob’s acquisition by Apple, a Wall Street Journal report states that Apple has purchased AdMob competitor Quattro Wireless for $275 million. Quattro provides an advertising platform for the iPhone and iPod touch, complete with dynamic targeting and tracking capabilities, citing its ability to use banner advertisements to generate both revenue and additional app downloads for developers. The company’s advertising software development kits are also available for Android, Blackberry, and Palm WebOS platforms.

Updated: Quattro and Apple have confirmed the acquisition, with former Quattro head Andy Miller joining Apple as Vice President, Mobile Advertising.

App Mix: Hipstamatic, Momento, MatchTunes, iZen Garden

Synthetic Corp has released Hipstamatic, its first application for the iPhone. Hipstamatic is a new camera application that mimics the functionality of an interchangeable lens analog camera, with multiple lenses and “films” provided with the initial purchase; more lenses, films, flashes, and gels are available as $1 packs from within the application. Hipstamatic is available now and sells for $2.

D3i has introduced Momento, a new writing application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Momento is a diary and journal writing application, which allows users to keep a private daily diary on their device, and integrates with a variety of social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr to add updates and photos to each day’s log of activities. Momento sells for $3.

Izatt has debuted MatchTunes, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. MatchTunes is an audio-based matching game that challenges users to match audio clips to the appropriate track in their iPod library. Features include the ability to match by song, album, artist, or music clip, a two-player mode, and the ability to select music from a particular genre and clip length. MatchTunes is a $3 download from the App Store.

Random Ideas has unveiled iZen Garden 2.0, a new version of its Top 100 app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Like the original, iZen Garden 2.0 offers users a virtual zen garden to interact with on their device; version 2.0 adds more garden elements, more relaxation sound tracks, more bits of “daily zen,” a meditation timer, a sleep timer, and the ability to share a garden via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, or through the device’s photo library. iZen Garden is available now and sells for $3.

Tap Tap Revenge 3 hits 2 million downloads

Tapulous has revealed that its popular Tap Tap Revenge 3 rhythm game has seen 2 million downloads since its price was dropped from $1 to free on December 23. Silicon Valley Insider reports that the game, which employs both in-app advertising and in-app purchases to generate revenue, did more than 700,000 downloads on Christmas alone, far more than the most current Tap Tap release did last year. Tap Tap Revenge is currently the most popular free application on the U.S. App Store; for more information on the game, see our iPhone Gems review.

App Store sales soar on Christmas, touch takes lead

The App Store saw a huge sales spike on Christmas Day, according to new data from Flurry Analytics. The firm found that iPod touch downloads surpassed those of iPhone users for the first time, as iPod touch downloads jumped nearly 1,000% on December 25 compared to the average of all previous Fridays in December, eclipsing iPhone downloads by 172%. iPod touch download volumes continued to exceed that of the iPhone by 104% on December 26. Overall, App Store download growth increased by over 50% in December over November, and current App Store download volume is more than 13 times that of the Android Market. Flurry’s stats are based on information gained through its analytics software for mobile devices.

App Mix: NFS Shift, Dragon Search, Cash Cab, Muppets

EA has released Need For Speed Shift, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Need For Speed Shift features 20 licensed cars, a unique driver’s seat view, both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi multiplayer across six game modes, the ability to personalize each car’s performance and styling, a driver profile that provides a “persona” based on the player’s skills, driving style, success rate, and other attributes, 18 unique tracks, three difficulty settings, and more. Need For Speed Shift is available now and sells for $10.

Nuance Communications has introduced Dragon Search, the company’s second application for the iPhone. Powered by Nuance’s NaturallySpeaking software, Dragon Search allows users to speak their search queries into the device and returns results across a variety of sources, including Google, Yahoo! or Bing, depending on preference, YouTube, Twitter, iTunes, and Wikipedia. Dragon Search is available now as a free download from the App Store.
 
Capcom has debuted Cash Cab, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the Discovery Channel’s game show of the same name, Cash Cab has players attempting to answer trivia questions of an increasingly difficult nature as the move from one point of New York City to another. The game features video snippets taken from the show, a variety of question categories including history, pop culture, language, and science, 21 different NYC destinations, the ability to listen to music from the iPod while playing, the ability to upload high scores to Facebook, and more. Cash Cab is priced at $5.

Disney Interactive Studios has unveiled The Muppets Animal Drummer, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Drummer puts lets users play listen to and play along with Animal, matching his beat and timing to score points and unlock new songs. The app also includes a Free Play Mode in which users can play along to original music—including a record feature—or to songs from their iPod library. The Muppets Animal Drummer is available now and sells for $2.

App Mix: Pastebot, Epson iPrint, Circletris, NYC Meters

Tapbots has released Pastebot, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Pastebot is a clipboard manager that allows users to save text snippets and images to the application for later access. In addition to this basic functionality, Pastebot allows users to apply filters to the text and images—such as “find & replace” or black and white image conversion — create new image and text clippings from within the application, one-tap copying back to the clipboard, and the ability to push images and text from the app to a Mac computer located on the same network using a free companion app called Pastebot Sync. Pastebot is available now and sells for $2.

Seiko Epson has introduced Epson iPrint, the company’s first application for the iPhone and iPod touch. iPrint lets users print photos stored on the device to a variety of network-capable Epson printers over Wi-Fi. Other features include automatic printer discovery, the ability to print with or without borders, and support for several paper sizes. Epson iPrint is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Ivan Starchenkov has debuted Circletris, a new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Circletris combines elements of Tetris and Zuma to create a game in which players rotate an outer wheel with their fingers in order to create columns or lines of three or more same-colored cells, which are then cleared from the board. Features include increasing difficulty as the game progresses, two different bonus abilities, a built-in tutorial, and the ability to change background colors. Circletris is priced at $2.

Zen Concepts has launched NYC Broken Meters, its second application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Broken Meters relies on the City of New York’s Scout/311 broken parking meter database to display a location-based map of broken parking meters, with an alternate list view and the ability to sort by distance and also filter by distance and date created. In addition, users can also report broken meters, and photo tag a meter with the iPhone’s built-in camera if he/she happens to get a ticket while at a broken meter—NYC laws state that a person may park at a broken meter for one hour without paying or receiving a ticket. NYC Broken Meters is available as a free download.

App Mix: Battleship, Sphere Raider, Gravity Sling Deluxe, Chromixa

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Electronic Arts has released Battleship, an iPhone and iPod touch version of the classic board game. Battleship provides both a classic turn-based mode and a more real-time “Salvo mode” allowing players to choose to play against the computer or a human opponent via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or pass-and-play modes. Animated graphic cut scenes are included to liven up the game play by showing guns firing, successful hits, and enemy ships being sunk. Battleship also includes an additional “Super Weapons Mode” where players can unlock additional weapon types for more expanded game play with additional Super Weapons becoming available as players progress. Battleship is available for $3 on the App Store.

Gallen Technologies has released Sphere Raider, a puzzle game in which players must rotate a sphere using the touch screen or accelerometer to capture as many objects as possible within a limited time. Players can choose from three initial difficulty levels and progress through ten game levels, each with unique graphics. Sphere Raider is available for $2 on the App Store.

Riptide Games has released Gravity Sling Deluxe, a paid version of its earlier Gravity Sling game. Gravity Sling Deluxe bundles all of the content previously available through in-app purchases into the base application, allowing OS 2.2 devices to take advantage of the extended game content. In this inertia-based puzzle game you must route an astronaut back to a space shuttle while taking into account the gravity from nearby planets. Gravity Sling Deluxe is currently being sold for $1 for the first 5,000 customers and is available from the App Store.

Developer Simon Watson has released Chromixa, a unique color-blending puzzle game. Chromixa presents the player with a series of multi-colored shapes which are arranged in an outlined area to produce a desired color. Shapes can be moved, rotated and intersected to mix colors and desired shape as appropriate. The game includes 48 puzzles, three arcade-style mini-games and three difficulty levels. Chromixa is available in the App Store for $2.

Amazon releases Kindle for iPhone outside of U.S.

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Following the release of the hardware Kindle device internationally in October, Amazon has released the Kindle for iPhone app in the iTunes App Store in 60 other countries outside of the United States. The Kindle for iPhone app (iLounge rating: B+) allows Amazon Kindle ebooks to be downloaded and read on the iPhone and iPod touch, including WhisperNet synchronization of read status and bookmarks across multiple devices running Kindle software. The international version remains available in U.S. English only and does not appear to have changed significantly from the previous version; version 1.3 release notes state simply that “Kindle for iPhone is now available in more than 60 countries.” (via Wired)

App Mix: IMDb, Google Mobile, Gorillacam, NASA

IMDB app

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has released an iPhone application to enhance access to its service from the iPhone. IMDb lets iPhone users search through its entire database of movies, TV shows and celebrities, as well as access trailers, photos, U.S.-based TV and movie listings, box office results and top-ranked movies and celebrities. The IMDb app is available as a free download from the U.S. App Store; it is not yet available in other countries.

Google has released an update to its Google Mobile App, providing the ability to open search results within an in-app browser rather than switching to Safari, and expanding International support with additional languages, the ability to choose the spoken language used when searching by voice, and support for users within China. The Google Mobile App is available as a free download from the App Store.

Joby, maker of the Gorillamobile camera mount for the iPhone, has released a new iPhone photography application designed as a companion to its iPhone mounts. The Gorillacam application provides enhanced iPhone camera features such as a self-timer for taking delayed pictures, a time-lapse feature for taking automatic photos at regular intervals and a continuous rapid-fire feature that allows a series of photos to be taken at 1.6fps. The application also features a grid overlay and bubble level to properly adjust your iPhone for taking pictures and the ability to upload or share photos directly from within the app itself. Gorillacam is available as a free download from the App Store.

NASA has released an update to its iPhone application providing new features such as information on visible sighting opportunities for the International Space Station (ISS) and Space Shuttle based on the user’s current location, more detailed information on missions and additional content, an option to display high-resolution images and status updates on upcoming launches. The NASA App is available as a free download from the App Store.

Ustream releases Live Broadcasting app

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Ustream today released its free live broadcasting application for the iPhone 3G and 3GS, allowing iPhone users to stream and broadcast live video from the iPhone over either Wi-Fi or the 3G network. Ustream Live Broadcaster provides the ability to broadcast a live stream via the Ustream servers or record video locally on the device, even on the iPhone 3G. Videos are streamed or recorded at a maximum resolution of 320x240 and recorded videos can be viewed within the Broadcaster application on the iPhone itself or uploaded to Ustream, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter for sharing. Live Broadcaster also provides the ability to send out a notification via Twitter when you start a broadcast as well as interact with your audience during a broadcast through chat or a Twitter feed via Ustream’s Social Stream service. Ustream Live Broadcaster requires an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS running OS 3.1 or later and is available as a free download from the App Store.

App Mix: AT&T Problem & Rogers Apps, Modern Combat, AppButler + Beaterator

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AT&T has released a new iPhone application that provides customers with the ability to report service problems, complete with information on the location where they experienced the problem. Customers can report problems such as dropped or failed calls, coverage problems, data failure or poor voice quality, and can specify a location or use the current location from the iPhone GPS. Reports can be submitted immediately or after the fact and customers can specify how frequently they’ve encountered problems of this nature. Submitted reports are acknowledged with a return SMS to indicate that the information was received properly. AT&T Mark the Spot is available as a free download from the U.S. App Store.

Rogers Wireless in Canada has released its Rogers My Account app, providing real-time access to up-to-date voice, data and messaging usage, account balance information, and online payments. The My Account app authenticates the user automatically based on the specific iPhone it is being run on and requires an active cellular data connection rather than a Wi-Fi connection to operate. Users are not charged for data used by the application itself, and the app does not work with Corporate or Prepaid accounts. Rogers My Account is available as a free download from the Canadian App Store.

Gameloft has released an update to its popular Modern Combat: Sandstorm game, providing both local and online multiplayer support. Modern Combat; Sandstorm is a first-person shooter for the iPhone and iPod touch, and recipient of 2009 Game of the Year award—a highly recommended download even prior to this update.

A new application for the iPhone and iPod touch, AppButler, provides a new way of searching and discovering information on applications in the App Store by aggregating the rating and top listings information from the largest iTunes App Store countries—the U.S., Canada, UK, France, Italy, Japan and Australia. AppButler uses its own algorithm to calculate a score for every app based on its ranking over a 24-hour period in the top 100 listings for these countries, creating an International ranking for the top applications. Users can choose specific categories and their own score threshold to filter only those apps they are interested in. AppButler also takes advantage of push notifications to allow users to set up customized alerts for their favorite categories. AppButler is available as a free download from the iTunes Store.

Rockstar Games has released a new app, Beaterator which provides users with access to a large library of sounds with which to create their own music. Many of the sounds have been constructed by super producer Timbaland, and Beaterator has been specifically designed and optimized for user on the iPhone and iPod touch, with a pick-up-and-play interface that gets users started quickly creating their own music on the go. Beaterator sells for $5 on the App Store.

App Mix: Aqua Forest 2, Le Bar Guide, Christmas Cards, Mean Girls

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Hudson Entertainment has announced the release of Aqua Forest 2, the sequel to its popular Aqua Forest game. Aqua Forest 2 builds on the unique and innovative puzzle game experience from the original version, focusing on realistic physics and fluid dynamics of water across fifty new game environments to challenge players. It is available from the App Store for $5.

Stella Artois has released a new augmented reality app, Le Bar Guide, which uses augmented reality combined with an extensive guide of the best bars around the world to help guide users to the best beer experience. The app includes bar reviews and ratings as well as an integrated taxi number service that uses the iPhone’s GPS to locate the nearest cab company and automatically give it a call for a ride home afterwards. Le Bar Guide is available as a free download from the App Store and requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later, and is compatible with the iPhone and iPod touch, although AR features are only available on the iPhone 3GS.

Equinux has released a new Christmas Greeting Cards application that allows users to send out holiday wishes directly from the iPhone. The app includes eight greeting card designs that can be further customized with specific greetings and photos from the iPhone camera or photo library. Once complete, the electronic greeting card is sent out directly from the device via e-mail. Christmas Greeting Cards is available on the App Store for $1.

Paramount Digital Entertainment has released a new app based on a popular film. Mean Girls allows the player to take on the role of a new student who must fight opposing high school cliques in a series of Match 3 battles. The game provides a full story mode with customizable character profiles, a plot line based on your in-game accomplishments and social interactions, or simply a quick play mode where players can jump in and play a single Match 3 battle. Mean Girls is available now on the App Store for an introductory price of $1.

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