Yelp has announced an upcoming update to its same-named iPhone application, reviewed yesterday, which currently offers restaurant reviews and a restaurant finder feature. According to a company spokesman, the new Yelp version will let iPhone users “write Twitter-length ‘quick tips’ about a business, draft full reviews, browse a Facebook-style feed of reviews, tips, photos and events” either nearby or authored by friends, as well as adding U.K. support, a large photo browser, and account creation directly from the iPhone. A video of the new Yelp version, which is expected to become available in the App Store in the next day or so, can be viewed here.
Two separate developers have released what one bills as the “first dual web browser for iPhone,” both under similar names, enabling a user to look at two web pages at once. Michal Wagner/7sql’s iBrowseTwo 1.0 divides the vertical-orientation iPhone screen into upper and lower portions, with a bar dividing the two web pages and capable of being moved to let you see more of one or the other. BIG Development’s iBrowse2 1.0 divides the widescreen-orientation screen into two halves, left and right, placing pages on both sides and letting you switch into single-page vertical mode at will. Each app sells for $1.
Direct-from-iPhone postcard-creating applications have appeared in the App Store, including the $2 CardPuppy from Wildcat Mobile and the free app Postcards from Stolen Bases. Both applications let you use iPhone photo gallery images to instantly upload and create actual mailable postcards, complete with text and addresses you enter, which are sent via the developers to recipients of your choice. While CardPuppy comes with a credit good for one postcard, selling additional credits via PayPal for $2.50 and up, Postcards gives you two cards for free and then charges $1.30 and up for additional cards, depending on quantity. Both are available now.
Yahoo! has released its new Yahoo! Messenger application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The application allows users to login to Yahoo’s messaging service, set their status with custom status messages, view recent conversations, and share photos. In addition, it offers an automatic idle mode that changes users’ statuses to idle upon leaving the application, giving them ten minutes to return to the app without missing any messages. Yahoo! Messenger is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Namco has released Galaga Remix, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. The game includes both the arcade classic Galaga and an enhanced Remix version, featuring six unique boss battles, nine different power-ups, new background images, an updated dual-fighter mode, and a new free play mode that lets players choose from previously-cleared stages. Galaga Remix also offers three control modes, including on-screen arrow keys, a slider bar, and accelerometer control. Galaga Remix is available now from the App Store and sells for $6; a free lite version is available as well. Continue reading for more screenshots.
France’s iPhone carrier Orange has released a new application (Translated Link) that allows French users to watch TV on their devices. The Orange TV application is available for free from the App Store, but downloaders must pay separately to use the app, via either a €6-€9 monthly charge, or €.90 per 20-minute session. Between 20 and 64 channels are available, depending on the user’s plan; curiously, the app works over EDGE or 3G connections, but not over Wi-Fi due to TV channel concerns. According to MacGeneration, the app will be followed tomorrow by a version from competing carrier SFR, and Bouygues Telecom may also offer a similar application when it begins sales of the iPhone. YouTube videos of Orange TV in action are available in the MacGeneration article.
Tapulous has released Tap Tap Coldplay (aka Tap Tap Revenge: Coldplay Edition), the latest in its series of Tap Tap rhythm games for the iPhone and iPod touch. Tap Tap Revenge: Coldplay Edition includes ten songs from the Grammy-winning English band, including “Yellow,” “Clocks,” and “Lost,” plus remixed versions of Lovers in Japan and Viva la Vida. The game also features new themes, graphics, and effects inspired by the band’s music videos, four difficulty levels, each with unlockable boss tracks, a multi-player mode, and Facebook Connect high score tracking. Tap Tap Revenge: Coldplay Edition is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.
For more information on Tap Tap Coldplay, see our review.
iPhone developer Illusion Labs has posted a video to YouTube showing two of its iPhone games, TouchGrind and Sway, being played on a large multi-touch table. The technology for table was developed by Touchtech in cooperation with Crowd; according to Mac Rumors, the games, which had been slightly modified to accommodate the larger screen, were running on a MacBook Pro with input from the table being sent via a network cable. Continue reading to watch an embedded version of the video.
Sony Pictures Television has released its new Jeopardy! game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the popular quiz show of the same name, Jeopardy! lets players compete against two computer opponents, with the same gameplay as seen on the television show. Features include the ability for players to write their names on the podium using the touchscreen, a landscape view for showing both the contestants and categories at once, real sound effects from the game show including the Final Jeopardy theme, the ability for players to create their own custom contestants, and over 1,500 clues. Jeopardy! is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.
Apple has released Remote 1.2.1, the latest version of its iTunes and Apple TV remote software for the iPhone and iPod touch. According to Apple, the new release contains bug fixes and provides compatibility with iTunes 8.1; however, this is the same “What’s New” description it used for Remote 1.2, making it difficult to ascertain what changes have been made. Remote v.1.2 added the ability for guests to select songs to add to the iTunes DJ playlist, and vote for songs picked by others. Remote 1.2.1 is available now as a free download from the App Store.
T-Mobile Germany, the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in Germany, has said it will block customers from using the new Skype application for iPhone, both on a network and contractual basis. “It is clearly stated in our customer contracts that such services may not be used,” T-Mobile spokesperson Alexander von Schmettow told German publication The Local. “There are two reasons for this – because the high level of traffic would hinder our network performance, and because if the Skype programme didn’t work properly, customers would make us responsible for it.” Skype for iPhone works only over Wi-Fi connections, meaning it would have no effect on T-Mobile cellular network performance, only at company-owned Wi-Fi hotspots. Skype General Counsel Robert Miller points out in a blog post that the application is the number one download on the App Store in Germany, but that customers in the country have no choice but to abide by the company’s rules, at least while on T-Mobile controlled networks, because all German mobile operators forbid the use of VoIP applications.
“[T]here is no technical justification for this arbitrary blocking of Skype, and it represents a barrier to online business put in place by a private company just because they can, because they control access to the Internet,” Miller writes. “Yet, no one can do anything about it: German or EU regulation does not forbid such blatantly unfair practices, and the new EU legislation for telecoms which the European Parliament and European governments are supposed to adopt later this month will not help either, it seems from the latest texts being considered in Brussels: it may even make things worse, by legitimizing restrictions put in place by operators to users’ Internet access, as long as they inform consumers.” Meanwhile, Schmettow said the company will not hesitate to enforce the policy, stating, “[T]hose who violate their contracts can expect to have them cancelled. It’s the same with any contract. If you rent a no-pets apartment and expect no one to notice your little dog, you can’t be surprised when your landlord comes knocking.”
Sony Pictures Television has announced three new iPhone and iPod touch games slated for release in 2009. Based on the upcoming console game, Ghostbusters will let users catch ghosts and save NYC citizens from being slimed when it is released in June. Q*Bert is an update of the classic arcade game, featuring new graphics and maps, animations, 50 new levels, and the retro arcade game. It will launch in July. Finally, players will create their own spy in Top Agent, a multi-player game that pits users against henchmen, famous villains from the James Bond films, and other players’ agents. It is expected to be released in August.
DirecTV has introduced its new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The app lets users search for any television show up to 14 days in advance, browse programs by channel or date + time, access detailed program information, set their DirecTV boxes to record shows by single episode or series, program Pay Per View movies to be recorded, and record to any DirecTV DVR in their home. Available now as a free download, DirecTV’s browsing functionality is available for all users, while its DVR features are available to DirecTV customers only.
Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling has released its TNA Wrestling game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed by Longtail Studios, the game revolves around a story mode, in which players create their own wrestler, with the goal of making it from unsigned rookie to TNA World Champion. Along the way, players will wrestle against 15 different TNA stars, unlocking new moves, creating rivalries, making decisions outside of the ring that will effect future matches, and participating in various match types including tag team, gauntlet, iron man, and lumberjack events. TNA Wrestling is available now from the App Store and sells for $5; continue reading for more screenshots.
Major League Baseball has released MLB.com At Bat 2009 for iPhone and iPod touch, a new version of its app of the same name that was released last year. At Bat 2009 offers users the ability to view real-time box scores, play-by-play and video highlights, and pitch type, location, and speed data from MLB.com Gameday. New for 2009, the app also gives users access to MLB.com Gameday Audio, letting users listen to every regular season and postseason game live, with a choice between the home or visiting team’s announcers. MLB.com At Bat 2009 is available now from the App Store and sells for $10.
VoIP provider Skype has announced plans to launch an official application for iPhone and iPod touch. The app will allow users to make free calls to other Skype users over Wi-Fi; calls to normal landline phones will be charged to the users’ Skype accounts. The app will also feature integration with the iPhone’s built-in Address Book, support for Skype chat over Wi-Fi or cellular networks, a call history screen, and support for the iPod touch 2G. Skype for iPhone and iPod touch will be available tomorrow as a free download from the App Store.
Capcom has released a port of its Mega Man II game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Originally appearing on the NES, the game features fourteen levels, nine different bosses—each with a unique weapon—on-screen, arcade-style controls, and “rebalanced gameplay” optimized for the iPhone. In early testing, the game appears to be a nearly direct port of the original, except with poor controls. Mega Man II is available now for the iPhone and iPod touch and sells for $5.
Amidio, maker of the Noise.io Pro synthesizer application, has released Star Guitar, its new guitar and voice recording application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Unlike other virtual guitar applications which rely on a simulation-style interface, with small strings to tap and strum, Star Guitar presents users with a pad of chord buttons, allowing them to play the instrument with their thumbs. Three guitars are offered, with more coming in updates, and users can play chords via the manual SmartStrumming mode or by relying on one the more than 13 rhythm patterns, each with A and B variations for chorus/verse. In addition, the app can be set to record the guitar alongside the user’s vocals, saving the files in the .WAV format, which can then be accessed via a built-in web server over Wi-Fi. A YouTube demo video is available for viewing. Star Guitar is available now from the App Store and sells for $4.
EA Mobile has announced additions to its lineup of upcoming titles for the iPhone and iPod touch. Joining the already promised Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf, Need for Speed Underground, The Sims 3, and Wolfenstein RPG as 2009 releases are FIFA Soccer, Madden NFL Football, NBA Live Basketball, Spore Creatures, Mystery Mania, SSX Snowboarding, Connect Four, Battleship, RISK, Monopoly Classic, Clue, American Idol, and Command & Conquer. In addition, the company disclosed that it has released an update to its Scrabble game for iPhone, enabling users to play against friends using the Facebook Connect feature.
iPhone developers are dealing with a new threat: duplicates of their applications being approved by Apple, and then released in the App Store as competitors. Citing an Apple Developer Forums thread in which app developers are complaining of their apps being downloaded, copied by other developers, and then re-posted to the store with either the same or very similar names, iLounge reader Zen Ho says that the cloning phenomenon is “being handled unsatisfactorily by Apple.” Ho cites TouchScan, an application cloned by a different developer’s “Touch Scan Pro,” reusing images, sound, and text from the original app; additionally, the developer of iCopter recently watched as both “iCopter Free”—now titled “Copter Free”—and “iCopter Classic” were released, further confusing consumers by using an only slightly modified version of the original iCopter’s logo. Thus far, Apple has been unwilling to help affected developers by removing the impostor applications, says Ho, and instead has told them “to sue the offenders themselves.” Ho sees it as “Apple’s duty to ensure that such plagiarism is rejected in the first place, and to at least take them down upon complaints,” noting that “it is scary to think that anyone developing for the platform can have their business stolen [at] anytime.”
Updated: In an e-mail response to iLounge, the developer of Touch Scan Pro has presented several counter-arguments to the ones made by Ho above. “I wrote Touch Scan Pro in 38 minutes,” explains Gary Fung, suggesting that due to the trivial time it took to copy Touch Scan, and the lack of originality in the original application’s graphics, name, and concept, all of which he claims were legally unprotectable, “[t]he author of Touch Scan simply cannot expect this amount of effort to earn him a living for the rest of his life.” Fung also claims that he developed the Pro application to make a statement about the lack of value that the original Touch Scan application offered. “I felt that consumers are not getting their $0.99 worth of utility from this app so I wrote one and gave it away for free,” said Fung. “For the first week Touch Scan Pro was free not as a trial or limited time offer. It was simply free. It was only until Markus started to harass me then I decided to change my mind.” Now Fung is charging the same $1 that he said the original program was not worth.
Update 2: Markus Stöbe, developer of the original Touch Scan, has weighed in with his own e-mail response: “What kind of difference does it make how long it took me to code TouchScan?... And it doesn’t make any difference if he thinks this is not original… it’s my work and hence it is protected by copyright. [M]y interpretation of the theme, regardless how long it took me, regardless if he doesn’t like it and regardless of the prize I ask for it: it is my work and it is protected… [he] did not start charging because I mailed him but because he wanted to make some quick bucks with someone elses work.”
The 2009 Independent Games Festival Mobile award winners have been announced, with iPhone applications winning six out of the seven available awards. Zen Bound from Secret Exit was given the Mobile Audio Achievement Award and won the Best iPhone Game category as well, while Fieldrunners from Subatomic Studios was also honored twice, winning in the Art category and being named the IGF Mobile Best Game. Real Racing from Firemint won in the Technical Achievement category, and Galcon from Hassey Enterprises won in the Design category. Reflection for the Nintendo DS was the lone non-iPhone winner, taking the Next Great Mobile Game category.
During a keynote address at the GDC conference, Ngmoco CEO Neil Young revealed the company’s plans for more Rolando level packs, two sequels, and a collaboration with Secret Exit. Young said the company plans on releasing three more level packs for Rolando between now and the end of May, bringing the total number of add-on levels to 20, with Rolando 2 following with a June release. It will feature four worlds with 36 levels, and will see a similar level pack expansion with 20 extra levels by October. Young also announced Rolando 3 for a November release; it should see similar level packs released thereafter. Finally, Young said that Ngmoco and Zen Bound-creators Secret Exit are collaborating on a new game, utilizing the companies’ “super powers” in order to build on each other’s strengths.