Popcap Games has released its Boosts & Coins update to Bejeweled 2 for the iPhone and iPod touch. The new version 1.3 expands the popular Bejeweled Blitz mode, enabling players to use coins to purchase “boosts,” power-ups that can generate higher scores. Players receive a 50,000 coin bonus the first time they play online, and then earn more coins as they progress through the game. Thousands of coins are needed to purchase several extra seconds on the clock—which last for several games in a row—or gem-flipping, mystery gem, detonator, or free multiplier boosts. Coins earned on the iPhone and iPod touch version can be used anywhere that the user plays Bejeweled Blitz, whether on their device or via the web. The latest update also improves iOS 4 compatibility and support for international player names. Bejeweled 2 + Blitz is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for current users; a Facebook account is required to play in the online Blitz mode.
Apple’s Remote app was well-received by iPhone and iPod touch users when it was released in July 2008, but after eight months with no updates, many users have wondered what the status was with its development. According to Sachin Agarwal, former Apple employee and CEO of Posterous, the Remote app is written and maintained by a single man—a good friend of his—who has been busy working on other things. Agarwal explains, “Apple doesn’t build large teams to work on every product they make. Instead, they hire very few, but very intelligent people who can work on different projects and move around as needed. One day you might be working on the Remote app, and the next day you might get pulled on to another project that needs your help.” The lack of updates to the Remote app have left it unable to take full advantage of iOS 4, the iPhone 4’s retina display, or the iPad’s larger screen; no timetable has been given for when the app might again be updated.
The winners of our V-Moda Crossfade LP Giveaway have been announced. In the giveaway, five iLounge readers won a pair of V-Moda Crossfade LP Headphones. Congratulations to all the winners! Don’t forget to enter our Slacker Radio Plus Giveaway, our Giveaway of the Month for August.
iLounge is pleased to announce the Slacker Radio Plus Giveaway. In our Giveaway of the Month for August, iLounge and Slacker are giving away 12 subscriptions to one year of free Slacker Radio Plus. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on August 31, 2010 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
Apple has had the Lala team working on an undisclosed video service instead of a music offering, according to a new report. Citing unnamed sources, Cnet reports that Apple is now telling executives at the four top music labels that any upcoming cloud-based music features will be “modest in scope” and would not include functionality such as storing users’ music on its servers. In addition, Apple has yet to negotiate the licensing deals it would need to distribute music from the cloud. Sources at major film studios have indicated that Apple is planning a “digital shelves” strategy that would enable iTunes users to store movies and other media on Apple’s servers, possibly utilizing the data center Apple is building in North Carolina.
Tableau Software has created an interactive graphic analyzing iPad data plan pricing across the world, while claiming that U.S. consumers are overpaying for cellular data access. The United States is the fifth most expensive country, and AT&T the sixth most expensive carrier, in terms of cost per gigabyte of cellular iPad data, with a cost of $12.50/1GB. Orange in France takes the crown as the most expensive iPad carrier, charging users the equivalent of $25.47 for a single gigabyte, while SingTel in Singapore charges only $0.51 per gigabyte.
A newly-released hack for jailbroken iPhone 4 units allows for FaceTime calling over 3G networks. The hack, called My3G, has also allowed for a measurement of how much data FaceTime calls use. According to 9 to 5 Mac, a five minute call with “lots of movement” used 14.7 MB of data; this averages out to roughly 2.94MB per minute for FaceTime over 3G, compared to 1.3MB per minute for a 3G voice call over Skype. As for quality, 9 to 5 Mac claims that its editor couldn’t tell the difference between FaceTime over 3G or Wi-Fi, “the quality is that good.” More information on jailbreaking the iPhone 4 and installing the My3G hack can be found here.
Handsets running Google’s Android OS accounted for a greater share of new smartphone subscribers in the second quarter of 2010 in the U.S. than did iPhones, according to the latest data from Nielsen. BlackBerry devices accounted for the most new subscribers in the U.S. during Q2, representing 33% of the market—a 3% drop from Q1—followed by Android handsets, which jumped from 17% in Q1 to 27% in Q2, enough to drop Apple into third place with 23%, down 4% from Q1. Apple’s share of overall smartphone subscribers remained steady with 28% between Q1 and Q2, placing it in second place behind BlackBerry with 35% but well ahead of Android’s 13% share. Notably, the iPhone was also the “most desired” phone amongst Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry users; 89% of current iPhone owners stated that they wanted to purchase another iPhone as their next handset, while 29% of BlackBerry owners and 21% of Android owners also want an iPhone as their next phone.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has launched an investigation into Apple’s and Amazon’s deals with major book publishers. According to a press release released by Blumenthal, the deals both companies have signed with the major publishers may be anticompetitive; letters have been sent to both Apple (PDF Link) and Amazon requesting meetings to discuss and address these concerns. “These agreements among publishers, Amazon and Apple appear to have already resulted in uniform prices for many of the most popular e-books—potentially depriving consumers of competitive prices,” Blumenthal said. “Amazon and Apple combined will likely command the greatest share of the retail e-book market, allowing their most-favored-nation clauses to effectively set the floor prices for the most popular e-books. Such agreements—especially when offered to two of the largest e-book retail competitors in the United States—threaten to encourage coordinated pricing and discourage discounting.”
Noreve St.Tropez is now shipping its Tradition B case for the iPhone 4. Made from handcrafted leather, the Tradition B is a play through-style case featuring open access to the screen, buttons, cameras, ports, and sensors, embossed interior lining, a snap closure, and an included removable belt clip. Noreve’s Tradition B case for the iPhone 4 is available now and sells for $50.
Recover has begun to offer its new line of wooden skins for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPad. Made from 100% real wood and affixed with a residue-free 3M adhesive, Recover’s skins are precision cut and feature cutouts for sensors, buttons, and cameras. The iPhone 4 and iPad skin packs include both front and back skins, while the iPhone 3G/3GS skin includes only a front piece. Recover’s wooden skins for the iPhone and iPad are available in a variety of finishes and sell for $15-$30.
According to the latest data from Net Applications, the iPhone saw its largest jump in operating system market share ever in July. The report states that the iPhone’s global usage share went from .59% in June to .7% in July. In addition, iPhone usage share grew at over twice the pace of Android over the same period. For comparison, the iPhone’s usage share was just half of July’s numbers—.35%—less than one year ago in September 2009. Net Application’s numbers are based on the 160 monthly million visitors to its clients’ websites.
One Man Left has released an update to its popular Tilt to Live shooting game for the iPhone and iPod touch adding a new gameplay mode, a new weapon and seven new awards to earn. Tilt to Live 1.4 adds the long-fabled Frostbite mode in which a blizzard of frozen enemies fall from the top of the play area toward a steaming hot spring below and the player must shatter through waves of these frozen dots. As the player smashes enemies, a meter at the bottom of the screen fills and eventually spawns a new Burnicade weapon that allows the player to draw a burning barricade by tilting. The Burnicade weapon can also be unlocked for inclusion in the user’s weapon arsenals for other game modes. The latest update also features seven new award challenges powered by the AGON social gaming platform and fixes some minor iOS4 and sound effect issues. The developer has indicated to iLounge that this is expected to be the final update to Tilt to Live as the company shifts its focus to other new projects. Tilt to Live 1.4 is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for current users.
Jet Set Games has released an iPad version of its popular turn-based strategy game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Highborn HD provides the same casual strategy game experience as its iPhone counterpart with re-designed maps and enhanced high-resolution, hand-drawn artwork optimized for the iPad display. In Highborn, players are treated to two strategy games to provide an intelligent tactical experience in a more relaxed turn-based model. Players deploy forces using an overhead map view to secure spells and combat support and then engage in 3D combat to use those advantages against enemy forces. The strategic elements of the game are set against a background storyline with wacky heroes and witty dialogue. Players can choose from many different styles of play, unlocking hero characters with different abilities throughout the course of the game. The game also provides more than 20 single- and multi-player achievements that can be unlocked and includes OpenFeint integration allowing users to compete against other players online. Highborn HD is available from the App Store for $3; the iPhone and iPod touch version is sold separately on the App Store for $1.
Apple over the weekend quietly removed its webpage dealing with competitors’ antenna performance, while leaving up the page discussing its $100+ million design and testing facility. The missing page, which had been updated as recently as last week, offered videos, photographs, and text comparing the signal attenuation of competing smartphones from manufacturers including HTC, Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung to that of the iPhone 4. Apple has left a passage concerning signal attenuation on its antenna design and test lab page, and has not pulled down its smartphone antenna comparison pages from all of its international sites—notably, Canada’s is still online. It is unclear what motivated Apple to pull down the page, or whether it has any plans to re-post the information. [via Mac Rumors]
MGS Development has released an update to its forScore app for reading and storing musical scores on the iPad, adding several UI improvements and support for new annotation and metadata features. forScore is a musical score reader that allows iPad users to take their sheet music with them in PDF format, and includes such features as an audible and visual metronome, the ability to make on-screen annotations, easily navigate through pages and associate scores with tracks in the iPad music library. forScore 1.5 adds a number of new features including pinch-to-zoom, the ability to auto-turn sequential pages using the metronome, set additional metadata for rating, difficulty and genre, adjust annotation brush sizes and stamp annotations for commonly-used symbols. Users can also now create and e-mail forScore-specific files that include all metadata, annotations and links for sharing with other forScore users. Other improvements include built-in database backup and restore capability, a redesigned integrated Setlist Builder with submenu search and batch editing capabilities. forScore 1.5 is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for current users.