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Google releases Uptime app for watching and sharing YouTube videos

Google’s Area 120 program has just released a new iOS app called Uptime, allowing U.S. users to share YouTube videos with one another and chat in real time while watching them. The app also provides the ability to add reactions or comments, allows users to curate lists of their favorite YouTube clips and provides daily recommendations from friends and people you follow. The app is free on the App Store, but you’ll need to use the invitation code PIZZA to get in. [via TNW]

Plex opens up Plex Cloud to all subscribers

Plex has announced that its new Plex Cloud feature, originally released as a limited beta last fall, is now available to all Plex Pass subscribers. The Plex Cloud service expands the capabilities of the company’s media streaming platform, allowing users to store their movies, TV shows, and other media content in the cloud rather than, or in addition to, running their own Plex Media Server at home. Although Plex Cloud integrated with Amazon Drive when originally launched in beta, the fully-deployed Plex Cloud service instead allows you to simply tie into your choice of three major storage providers — Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive — and use whatever paid storage you have available on these services.

iDevices adds dynamic automation, enhanced scheduling to ‘Connected’ app for HomeKit

iDevices has released a major update to iDevices Connected, the company’s app for controlling HomeKit-based devices, including its own Switch, Socket, and Thermostat devices. Version 3.0 of iDevices Connected adds support for HomeKit location triggers, as well as “characteristic” triggers that can initiate HomeKit scenes when another HomeKit device is controlled, such as activating an “arriving home” scene when unlocking a HomeKit-enabled door lock. The new version also adds new services and characteristics to expand Scene capabilities, and brings a number of enhancements to scheduling, including a visual timeline the presents schedules in a calendar-like view, the ability to save and re-apply schedules across multiple scenes, and an initial setup assistant to create a baseline schedule for iDevices’ connected thermostat. The app also allows individual iDevices products to be scheduled without having to create single-device scenes, and makes some nice improvements to energy reporting. Firmware updates for iDevices’ accessories are also included as part of this update, improving responsiveness and addressing several minor stability bugs pertaining to certain Wi-Fi configurations.

Mobiata announces sunset of FlightTrack 5 and FlightBoard apps

Mobiata has announced that it is shutting down its popular FlightTrack 5 and FlightBoard apps, effective Mar. 1, 2017. Although the company admits that it hasn’t provided many updates to the two apps in recent months, FlightTrack was one of the first and best flight tracking apps on the App Store, and quickly became a mainstay for iPhone travellers. Mobiata was acquired by Expedia in 2010, and although it continued to run largely as an independent unit in developing its FlightTrack and FlightBoard apps over the past six years, a recent “critical assessment” by the larger parent company regarding the demand for travel app products suggests that a decision was made to focus Mobiata’s resources on implementing the technology in FlightTrack and FlightBoard into the main Expedia app in order to provide a “one-stop shopping” travel app solution.

Mini Metro adds Endless Mode

Playdigious and Dinosaur Polo club have released an update to their highly-acclaimed Mini Metro, adding the long-awaited Endless Mode. Covered in our App Diary and selected as our 2016 Game of the Year, Mini Metro is an addictive puzzle-strategy game with a simple premise: players are tasked with creating an efficient rail system in a growing city, connecting rail stations on a variety of different maps to ensure the smooth flow of passengers within a limited amount of time — the goal being to move the highest number of passengers before one of your stations fills up to capacity, ending the game. With Endless Mode in the latest update, players now have the option of open-ended gameplay where time is no longer a stress factor, allowing for a more zen-like gameplay experience to experiment, design, and operate the subway grid of your dreams.

Instagram adds ability to include up to 10 photos or videos in a single post

Instagram has rolled out an update to its iOS app today allowing users to include up to 10 photos or videos in a single post. When uploading photos, a new icon in the bottom right of the photo offers the option “select multiple,” after which users can choose to apply a filter to all the images/videos at once or edit each individually. The posts will all share the same caption and can only be square shaped for the time being. The first image will appear in followers’ feeds with an icon in the bottom right corner indicating there are more photos or videos attached, allowing users to swipe them to see more. The move is the latest push by Instagram to add new features to its tried-and-true single-image formula, following the addition of the Snapchat-like Stories feature last year and the inclusion of support for the iPhone 7’s Live Photos last month.

Facebook’s talks with MLB raise possibility that game streams could come to Apple TV

Facebook is reportedly in talks with Major League Baseball to live stream one game each week during the 2017 season, Reuters reports. The move raises the possibility that the broadcast could also land on the company’s new Apple TV app, similar to the deal reached by Twitter to stream Thursday night NFL games on the device. While Facebook’s promises about its upcoming Apple TV video app make no mention of using it to stream live sports, the company has been making deals to stream everything from Mexican soccer games to table tennis matches, and sources close to the discussions say the company is already in “advanced talks” with MLB.

Facebook announces Apple TV app along with iOS app video improvements

Facebook has announced its rumored video-centric app for the Apple TV, alongside several other improvements to viewing videos within the Facebook app for iPhone and iPad. Originally rumored earlier this month to be in development, the new Facebook app is expected to “roll out soon” on the Apple TV App Store, alongside support for several other smart TV platforms and media devices such as Amazon’s Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV. The new app will allow users to watch top videos, videos shared by friends and shared on Pages that they follow, recommended videos, and videos that have been saved to watch later.

EPIX launches Apple TV app

Today EPIX announced it has joined the ranks of other pay channels like HBO and Showtime, offering an Apple TV app for the first time. EPIX is offering a “limited free trial of the app exclusively on Apple TV,” with a report from Variety spelling out that new subscribers enrolling through Apple TV will receive a four-week free trial before having to sign up for the channel through their cable provider. The app provides access to the channel’s live programming and the ability to add content to a queue, search through the channel’s older content, browse curated collections and view movie trailers. The app is also available on iPhone and iPad, where users can download content for offline viewing.

App security service identifies 76 popular iOS apps with privacy vulnerabilites

In a post on Medium, verify.ly creator Will Strafach claims his team has discovered at least 76 popular iOS apps vulnerable to silent man-in-the-middle attacks. Strafach doesn’t disclose the most vulnerable apps for security purposes, but listed a few of the apps that have a lower degree of security risks, like the ooVoo video calling app, Trading 212 Forex & Stocks trading app and several different file uploaders affiliated with Snapchat. Most of the apps named leave user details like email addresses, user names and passwords open to interception by a third party, and Strafach says iOS’s App Transport Security feature doesn’t help block the vulnerability. The problem lies in commonly misconfigured networking code that Apple is unable to patch on its end, but data is only vulnerable to interception when using a public WiFi network, so Strafach simply recommends turning Wi-Fi off and using the phone’s cellular data when dealing with sensitive information away from home. [via 9to5Mac]

Microsoft updates Outlook for iOS with support for third-party add-ins

Microsoft has announced a major update to its iOS email and calendar app, Microsoft Outlook, bringing support for third-party add-ins, and celebrating two years since the release of an iOS adaptation of the company’s venerable e-mail client. The new add-ins feature allows users to integrate with third-party apps such as Trello, Evernote, and more directly from email messages in their Outlook inbox. Microsoft has announced partnerships with Evernote, GIPHY, Nimble, Trello, and Smartsheet for an initial set of Outlook plug-ins, and has indicated that they are producing several of their own add-ins available for the platform as well, with Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Translator available out of the gate, and “many more” promised to follow. The new add-ins for Outlook on iOS complement the versions already available for Outlook on Windows and Mac and on the web, extending their functionality to iPhone and iPad users. The new add-in features are available for Office 365 today, and Microsoft indicates that they’re “rolling out gradually” to Outlook.com users.

IBM announces Enterprise iOS app collaboration with United Airlines

IBM and United Airlines have announced a new collaboration to develop a new suite of iOS business applications to help drive the airline’s digital transformation, as part of IBM’s MobileFirst partnership with Apple. United Airlines currently has more than 50,000 iOS devices being used by its front-line employees, and this new collaboration will see IBM developing a set of both market-ready and custom iOS apps for improving a number of aspects of United Airlines’ customer-facing operations, such as providing flight attendants and gate personnel readily available access to customer travel data at their fingertips without being tied to a fixed workstation or podium position.

Nintendo plans to release 2-3 mobile games a year, delays Animal Crossing

Nintendo told investors it plans to release two to three mobile games a year for the foreseeable future, Reuters reports. While the company said at least 70 game makers are producing an estimated 100 titles for the upcoming Switch console, Nintendo delayed the release of the upcoming Animal Crossing game by at least a month—it’s now slated for April at the earliest—to ensure the release of Fire Emblem: Heroes later this week. Nintendo roared to success in the mobile game industry with the wildly popular Pokémon GO, but it’s subsequent release of Super Mario Run didn’t generate the same revenue boost due to its one-time only payment structure.

Facebook reportedly developing video app for Apple TV

Facebook is developing a “video-centric app” for devices like the Apple TV, looking to open up a new platform for its video content and compete with traditional television providers for ad revenue, The Wall Street Journal reports. People familiar with the development said the app is one of many projects centered around turning Facebook into a “video-first” company, with the company going so far as to discuss licensing “TV-quality programming” from various media companies. With Facebook’s ad revenue growth slowing, employees have begun to see the company’s future as becoming a type of “mobile TV” that cuts into the time most people spend watching traditional live television broadcasts. Media executives familiar with the discussions said Apple is expressing interest in “scripted shows and sports and entertainment content created specifically for the platform,” although that content is expected to be capped at around 10 minutes in length.

iOS 10.3 to improve in-app rating experience, allow developers to respond to App Store reviews

Apple has revealed plans to allow developers to respond to customer reviews on both the iOS and Mac App Stores as of the public release of iOS 10.3. The “What’s New in iOS” section of Apple’s Developer Documentation notes that developer responses will be posted “in a way that is available for all customers to see,” presumably allowing developers to counter negative reviews with official explanations. Little other information is given, such as whether customers will be able to respond in turn to comments from developers, or what other moderation processes may be implemented. Apple also notes a new API being introduced in iOS 10.3 will allow developers to more efficiently handle in-app review requests without having to take the user out of the app and send them to the App Store. A new option in the iTunes & App Store settings in iOS 10.3 will also allow users to opt out of being prompted for in-app ratings and reviews, although it’s likely this setting will only affect apps that are updated to use the new iOS 10.3 API for requesting reviews.

Pokémon Duel released for iOS

Today The Pokémon Company today released Pokémon Duel, a new iOS game where players choose six Pokémon to fight against an opposing player while moving toward their goal on the game board. As players progress, their Pokémon will level up and the game will provide access to more powerful Pokémon. Players can hone their skills in the game’s Training Center, playing against an instructor to learn how various themed decks work. The game is free to download, but the in-app store offers boosters for purchase that allow users to obtain special Pokémon, and “plates” that allow players to swap out Pokémon positions or grant them various abilities for a single turn. Pokémon Duel is available for free on the App Store.

Nintendo officially announces Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS, coming Feb. 2

Nintendo has posted a video announcing its next game for iOS, Fire Emblem Heroes. Originally announced last April, Fire Emblem Heroes is a tactical RPG designed specifically to work on smaller screens, and it’s designed for a quick pick-up-and-play style. Players undertake strategic battles in the fantasy world of Fire Emblem, leveling up their characters and taking advantage of character attributes to plan attacks and match heroes and enemies appropriately. The game is played across multiple 8x6 maps designed to easily fit on a smartphone and allow for short burst play. Players drag-and-drop or select locations to move their party around the map while attacking, with the goal of defeating all of the enemies on the map to win each level. While the controls have been kept simple, maps get more challenging as players advance through the game, requiring them to plan their moves carefully and factor in terrain. In-game orbs can be found during gameplay or purchased as in-app purchases that will allow players to summon heroes as their allies to fight alongside them in specific battles. A Training Tower mode allows players to practice combat and gain experience and rewards, Special Maps provide seasonal events, and Arena Duels allow players to compete for high scores in multiple battles. Fire Emblem Heroes is expected to be available on the App Store on Feb. 2. No pricing details have been announced yet.

GarageBand 2.2 adds Logic Pro X integration, Alchemy synth, Multi-Take Recording

Apple has released an update to GarageBand for iOS, adding new integration with Logic Pro X 10.3, along with a number of more sophisticated music creation options. With GarageBand 2.2, Logic Pro X users can now create GarageBand-compatible versions of Logic projects in iCloud that can be opened on iOS devices to add new recordings while on the go, with new recordings automatically synced back to the original Logic project the next time it’s opened on Mac. The new update also includes the Alchemy synthesizer well-known to Logic Pro users, with a rich collection of more than 150 Apple-designed patches across a variety of genres. Alchemy’s Transform Pad also lets users morph between eight sonic snapshots in real-time for more expressive performances.

 

Apple raising UK App Store prices by more than 25 percent

Apple is raising App Store prices in the UK by more than 25 percent in response to the country’s sharp currency devaluation after the Brexit vote, the BBC reports. Apple raised the prices of iPhones and iPads in the country by a similar margin in September, then upped the price of Macs in October. UK customers will now pay 99 pence for apps that cost 99 cents in the United States, an increase from the 79 pence the same apps cost previously. The increase also affects in-app purchases, but hasn’t changed subscription charges. “Price tiers on the App Store are set internationally on the basis of several factors, including currency exchange rates, business practices, taxes, and the cost of doing business,” Apple said in a statement. “These factors vary from region to region and over time.”

U.S. appeals court resurrects App Store antitrust lawsuit against Apple

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that iPhone users are free to sue Apple for its alleged App Store monopoly on iPhone apps, Reuters reports. This latest ruling resurrects a legal challenge that was originally filed back in 2012, which accused Apple of engaging in anticompetitive behavior by restricting iPhones to only run apps purchased from Apple’s own App Store, thereby artificially inflating the prices of apps by stifling market competition. In response, Apple argued that users did not have any standing to sue Apple because apps are sold by individual developers, and that Apple simply provides the storefront for developers, in return for a cut of app sales. A lower court originally sided with Apple on the matter, however, Judge William A. Fletcher of the appellate court ruled this week that since iPhone users purchase apps directly from Apple, iPhone users have a right to bring a legal challenge against Apple.

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