Following a report from last week suggesting that Apple was banning “overtly sexual” content from the App Store, Apple offered a brief statement on the matter in response to an inquiry from iLounge. “Whenever we receive customer complaints about objectionable content we review them,” said Apple representative Trudy Miller. “If we find these apps contain inappropriate material we remove them and request the developer make any necessary changes in order to be distributed by Apple.” The statement references an application removal notice from Apple previously posted online, stating that the company had received “numerous complaints” about sexual content on the App Store, and that it had changed its guidelines appropriately. After publication of the notice, application tracking site AppShopper.com released a graph showing over 5,000 application removals from February 17-20.
Bell Mobility has released a Mobile TV app for iPhone owners on the Bell 3G network in Canada. The Bell Mobile TV application allows Bell iPhone users to subscribe to and view streaming live TV over a 3G data connection. Three subscription packages are available: Live NHL Games coverage is included in several Bell Mobility package bundles while seven channels of standard live TV are available for $8 per month and coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games is available for a one-time fee of $10. The Bell Mobile TV service is available only on the Bell 3G network and data usage is charged in addition to the subscription packages, with data usage estimated at 9MB per one minute of streamed video. The Bell Mobile TV application is available on the Canadian App Store as a free download.
Apple has ranked third in Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s fourth annual customer service awards. The Cupertino-based company placed behind only catalog/online outfitter L.L. Bean, and insurance/banking company USAA, which coincidentally launched an update to its iPhone app in August 2009 that lets customers deposit checks remotely by using the iPhone’s camera to photograph and then electronically submit images of both sides of the check. Apple received “A+” ratings for its quality of staff and efficiency of service, with 66% of respondents saying they would recommend the brand and 58% saying they would definitely repurchase from Apple. The results come from a combination of data from J.D. Power & Associates and survey results from BusinessWeek readers. [via Mac Rumors]
Konami Digital Entertainment has released Draw Parking, a new puzzle game that challenges players to park virtual cars using the touchscreen. Players must draw a path to a parking spot while avoiding obstacles like pedestrians and other vehicles, racing against the clock to advance to the next level and gain points based on accuracy and neatness. The game includes 20 distinct vehicle styles and 30 different levels spanning the US., Europe and Asia. Draw Parking is available on the App Store for $1.
Despite last week’s statement from CBS CEO Leslie Moonves that “certain shows” would be sold on the iTunes Store for $1, many networks remain wary of cutting prices in order to boost sales. The New York Times reports that Apple has been pushing for lower TV show pricing—sometimes desperately so, according to private remarks from some TV executives—in an attempt to line up content for the iPad. The networks, meanwhile, are said to be interested in making their offerings more attractive to Apple’s 125 million iTunes account holders. “We’re willing to try anything, but the key word is ‘try,’” said a TV network executive who requested anonymity. The report also states that Apple’s $30 a month subscription proposal has not been ruled out entirely, according to executives at two of the networks, although Apple has encountered significant reluctance to the plan due to its position as a direct competitor to traditional cable and satellite services.
Dynamo Games has released The Crystal Maze for iPhone and iPod touch, a video game adaption of the cult UK game show of the same name. Featuring appearances by the show’s host, Richard O’Brien, The Crystal Maze recreates the experience of the TV game show, providing the same theme music and sounds and four challenging games from the original zones: Medieval, Futuristic, Aztec and Industrial. Players can choose to play in either a full TV Show Campaign mode or try individual games in Challenge mode and post their best times to a global OpenFeint leaderboard. A soundboard mode provides 16 classic quotes and sounds from the TV show that can be played on demand for fans of the original TV show. The Crystal Maze is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch devices running OS 3.0 or later and is available on the App Store for $3.
Google has released an update to its Google Mobile App, adding support for Search by Voice for second- and third-generation iPod touch models. Originally released in late 2008, the Google Mobile app is supported on all iPhone OS devices, however the ability to search by voice was originally limited to the iPhone only. This latest update allows iPod touch users with an external microphone to access Voice Search and provides other related stability improvements. Google Mobile App is available on the App Store as a free download and is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch devices running OS 2.0 or later. The Search by Voice feature requires an iPhone or a second- or third-generation iPod touch.
Apple has started airing two new television ads for the iPhone 3GS. While both commercials feature the same white background as other recent iPhone ads, these new advertisements feature different narration voices, and are more testimonial in nature, telling how the narrator uses the iPhone. In “First Steps,” a mother tells how she recorded her son’s first steps using the iPhone, then sent the video to family members and initiated a three-way call with them to discuss the footage. “On Hold” features a male narrator explaining how he doesn’t mind being on hold since he can use his iPhone in the meantime to check email, pay bills, and purchase and play games. Both of Apple’s new iPhone TV advertisements are available for viewing on Apple’s website.
We’ve been busy developing our new iLounge company store so you can get your hands on official iLounge gear. We’ve got fresh new designs on just about everything from t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, buttons, stickers, and even the Flip mino HD video camera. We’ll be adding new designs frequently and also focusing on special edition designs per product. Stop by the store and send us any feedback using our contact form.
We’re coming up on the final two weeks of the Uncommon Custom Case Giveaway, so if you haven’t yet entered, now’s your chance. In this unique giveaway, iLounge and Uncommon are giving away 200 custom cases for the iPhone 3G, 3GS, or iPod touch. With such a large number of prizes available, we are splitting the cases up over four weeks, with 50 to be awarded each Monday, on February 22 and March 1. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—Good luck!
Apple has expanded its browser-based iTunes Preview service to include category listings for both music and apps. Unlike the category pages found within the iTunes application, the browser-based listings instead offer text-based lists of links to popular apps or artists. Apple first launched its iTunes Preview music listings in November 2009, added song previews to the service in January, and expanded it to include iPhone and iPod touch applications earlier this month.
With over 2,600 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“Phone calling aside, what’s the most important feature of your iPod or iPhone that you could not live without?”—has ended. Readers could choose between audio or video playback, games, e-mail and web access, other non-game apps, or the camera.
Perhaps signaling a shift in usage patterns for Apple’s portable devices, 45% of readers said e-mail and web access was the most important feature of their iPod or iPhone, followed by audio playback with 36% of the vote. Other non-game apps came in third with 8% of the vote, followed by games with 5%, video playback with 4%, and camera functionality with only 2%. Thanks for all your votes!
Our new poll focuses on sexual content in the App Store—should Apple be banning such content? Should it remove the content altogether, move it into a dedicated “Adult” area, or leave it where it is? Or do you not have an opinion on the matter? Whatever your feelings, our new poll, “Should Apple remove sexual content from the App Store?” lets you answer that question. You can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge.com home page. Vote today!
Apple has modified its iPhone SDK agreement to allow for both sweepstakes and contests within applications. The new rule, found in section 3.3.17, states, “Your Application may include promotional sweepstake or contest functionality provided that You are the sole sponsor of the promotion and that You and Your Application comply with any applicable laws,” adding that developers must “clearly state in binding official rules for each promotion that Apple is not a sponsor of, or responsible for conducting, the promotion.” The first application to take advantage of the new rules is available in the App Store for $1, and is tied to a sweepstakes running through March 16 in which one winner a day will receive “up to $1,000.” Notably, the app’s description says that the actual amount is dependent on sponsor discretion, and as the app otherwise offers little to no utility, we would advise readers to exercise extreme caution before purchasing or participating in promotions of this kind. [via TUAW]
Open Door Networks has released Art Authority, a new application that allows users to view a comprehensive collection of artwork directly on the iPhone or iPod touch. Art Authority provides access to works from over 1000 major artists, organized by period from ancient times to contemporary, with a database of over 40,000 paintings and sculptures. Device-optimized images are stored on Open Door’s servers and downloaded on demand, conserving space on the iPhone and providing a catalog that can be updated as needed. The application also provides detailed captions for each image and in-depth information on the periods and artists. Users can zoom and rotate images, save images, or display a full-screen slideshow with their own background music. Art Authority is compatible with the iPhone and iPod touch using OS 3.0 and available on the App Store for $10. An iPad version is also being developed.
The latest edition of our iPodweek newsletter, recapping the week’s iTunes, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV developments, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes later today. In addition to highlighting the best news, reviews and feature articles we’ve published throughout the week, it also features giveaways and occasional iPod accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.
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WaKi Apps has released a new Travel Health guide for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed in collaboration with renowned Australian Travel Medicine Specialist Dr. Deborah Mills, Travel Health provides a comprehensive reference guide specifically designed to help users look after their health when travelling overseas. The application provides information on common medical conditions encountered by travellers, a drug reference table with generic and brand names for various medications around the world and guidance on when professional medical advice should be sought. Users can also quickly search for common symptoms, perform advanced searches and bookmark pages for quick reference. Travel Health will sell for $10 and is available on the App Store as a free download for a limited time.
Apple has launched a redesigned version of its Me.com splash page for the iPhone and iPod touch, adding new download links for its MobileMe iDisk and Gallery applications, as well as access to the Find My iPhone feature. Previously, the page contained only one link, providing setup instructions for setting up Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Find my iPhone on an iPhone/iPod touch; the new page retains this link, but adds the others mentioned above. Following the Find My iPhone link prompts the user to enter his or her MobileMe username and password, and then takes them to a frame-less version of the Find My iPhone page, complete with location map and links to send a text and/or audio alert, or remotely lock/wipe the device. An Apple support document suggests accessing the service “from a friend’s iPhone/iPod touch if you need to locate your lost iPhone/iPod on a map, display a message, play a sound, or remotely lock or wipe it.”
Monster has introduced its new Butterfly by Vivienne Tam In-Ear Headphones. The result of a collaboration between Monster and fashion designer Vivienne Tam, the Butterfly headphones feature a gold-colored meetal housing and cord, with a butterfly graphic on the outer end of the earbuds. Other features include a variety of eartips in multiple shapes and sizes for a comfortable, secure fit, a cable slider and clip for cord management, and Monster’s ControlTalk in-line remote offering music playback control and an integrated high-grade microphone. Monster’s new Butterfly by Vivienne Tam In-Ear Headphones will sell for $200 and are expected to be available soon.
VeriCorder Technology has released VC Audio Pro, a multi-track sound editing application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Designed for broadcast and podcast applications, VC Audio Pro allows users to record and edit high-quality audio and transmit it over a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. The application provides full multitrack editing capabilities with advanced tools for sound mixing and volume normalization. Developed by Gary Symons, a former mobile journalist for CBC News, VC Audio Pro aims to fill what he felt was a growing need in the broadcast industry for a powerful and simple sound editor that can be used anywhere. The application is designed to be compatible with most major newsroom systems for instant integration and playout but can also be easily used for radio networks, universities and podcast hosting sites. VC Audio Pro is available from the App Store for $6.
An application removal notice sent by Apple to a developer suggests the company is cracking down on sexual content in the App Store. In the e-mail, published online by TechCrunch, Apple explains that the app “contains content that we had originally believed to be suitable for distribution. However, we have recently received numerous complaints from our customers about this type of content, and have changed our guidelines appropriately.” Apple goes on to say that it has “decided to remove any overtly sexual content from the App Store.” The report notes that attempts to purchase other sexually charged applications, such as “Exotic Positions” and “Sexy Women,” were met with errors indicating the apps were no longer available, while other applications, such as “Beautiful Boobs” and “Sex Strip” were still available for download, suggesting that Apple’s removal process of such applications may still be ongoing.