Google has released an update to the Google Mobile search app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad adding support for its Google Goggles search-by-image technology. Google Goggles allows users to take a picture of an object using the camera on an iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS and perform a search based on the image. Goggles will analyze the image and highlight the objects it recognizes at which point the user can tap on the image to perform searches on those objects. Goggles is a Google Labs feature and remains in testing, although it reportedly works well for objects such as landmarks, logos, and the covers of books, DVDs and games. The feature requires an auto-focusing camera and is therefore only available on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS and requires iOS 4 or later. Google Mobile is available from the App Store as a free download.
Australia-based LYWD has debuted its new Leaf metal skins for the iPhone 4. The company’s first product for the iPhone, Leaf is a rear skin/panel for the iPhone 4, made from a single piece of stainless steel to match the phone’s external antennas and precisely cut to the phone’s exact rear dimensions. Leaf skins are available now in four distinct patterns—Wave, Maze, Fold, and Fern—and are priced at $30 each.
Gameloft has released a teaser trailer for its upcoming game, N.O.V.A. 2 Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance. The trailer provides a first glimpse of the company’s new first-person shooter for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, designed as a sequel to the original critically-acclaimed N.O.V.A. - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance which broke new ground in handheld FPS games. Little is known about the sequel beyond what is shown in the trailer which provides only a brief glimpse of the new game and that the main character, Kal Wardin will be making a return to active duty to fight for mankind’s survival once more. No release date has yet been provided; fans can follow @Nova_FPS on Twitter or check the game’s web site at http://www.near-orbit-vanguard-alliance.com for more details as they become available.
Apple has reduced the estimated wait time for new iPhone 4 orders from its online store down to 5-7 days. The reduction—which appears to be unique to the U.S. online store, as wait times in other countries remain at three weeks—could be a sign that Apple is beginning to get its supply issues with the handset under control. During Apple’s most recent quarterly earnings conference call, COO Tim Cook repeatedly explained that the company was making iPhone 4 units as fast as it could sell them; the company has since greatly expanded the number countries in which the phone is available, potentially hindering its ability to meet demand. [via Mac Rumors]
Google’s Android OS has become the most popular smartphone operating system in the U.S. among recent smartphone buyers, according to new data from The Nielsen Company. From January to August, the company recorded the OS of smartphone purchases within the last six months, and found that as of August, 32% of recent smartphone purchasers had bought an Android device, followed by both Apple’s iOS and RIM’s BlackBerry OS, which are in a “statistical dead heat” for second with roughly 25%. Among all U.S. smartphone owners, BlackBerry remains the most popular OS with 31% share of the market, followed closely by iOS with 28% and Android with 19%. [via Daring Fireball]
Calypso Crystal has rolled out its Crystal Dock for the iPod and iPhone. Handmade in Europe from crystal glass, the Crystal Dock is a manually cut and polished dock, featuring a 30-pin plug in the dock well and a female dock connector on the back for connecting a 30-pin to USB cable, which is not included. Calypso Crystal’s Crystal Dock for the iPod and iPhone is available in four styles and sells for $199-$349.
According to market research firm iSuppli, the second-generation Apple TV may have a materials cost of less than $64. Citing iSuppli’s teardown of the device, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that the Apple TV’s Samsung-made A4 processor is its most expensive part at $16.55, followed by the Toshiba 8GB flash memory chip, which is estimated to cost $14. The Broadcom-sourced Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip costs $7.65, according to iSuppli’s estimate, and a Texas Instruments $0.93 microcontroller chip also contributes to the overall cost. Overall, iSuppli found that the use of components similar to those found in the company’s other iOS devices helped to bring the materials cost down to a lower percentage of the retail price than was seen in the first-generation model. “As soon as we saw the first A4 chip in the iPad, it was pretty clear to us that Apple’s plan was to use it across several devices,” said Andrew Rassweiler, the iSuppli analyst who performed the teardown. “It makes sense to control costs across the supply chain.”
Canadian television network Citytv has launched an official application for watching streaming network content on the iPad. Citytv Video works over both Wi-Fi and 3G connections and provides free, ad-supported access on-demand to popular prime-time content such as Modern Family, Biggest Loser, Cougar Town, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother and more. Users can view both full-length programs or short clips of highlights and access both current and previous episodes. The application also provides live streaming of Breakfast Television, Citytv’s daily morning show as well as a catalog of video clips from CityLine and previous episodes of Breakfast Television Toronto. An integrated TV schedule allows users to see what’s airing on Citytv and users can also configure Push Notifications to alert them when new episodes of their favourite shows are available for streaming. The app also provides a viewing history and the ability to flag favorite episodes and share links to content via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. Citytv Video is available from the Canadian App Store as a free download and supports both the iPad Wi-Fi and iPad 3G. Citytv is owned by Rogers Media, a sister company of Rogers Wireless which provides iPad 3G data services in Canada. Unlike some of the prior iOS apps released by Rogers Media, however, a Rogers data plan is not required to use this app.
Netflix has released an update to its streaming video application for iOS devices adding the ability to output video content through the Dock Connector with the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch. Netflix was originally released in April for the iPad and added video output support for iPad users with an update in late May. In August a new version was released that introduced iPhone and iPod touch support, however despite being a single universal application, the video output feature was unavailable when running on these devices. Netflix version 1.1.1 adds support for video output on the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch, however it remains unavailable on older models. Netflix is available from the App Store as a free download in the U.S. and Canadian App Stores. A Netflix Unlimited Subscription is required to use the app.
Panasonic has announced its new MW-20 digital photo frame, which includes an iPod/iPhone dock. The MW-20 features a 9-inch high-resolution screen, a 5.6-mm Super Slim Semi Dome Speaker, a built-in digital signal processor for improved sound, an SD card slot, 2GB of internal storage, a luminance sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen based on room lighting, and the ability to play back photos, videos, and music from a connected iPod or iPhone while also charging the device. Panasonic’s MW-20 digital photo frame will be available in late November and is priced at $250.
ColorWare, known for its custom coloring services, has introduced the Grip case for iPad, its first original product. Made from aircraft-grade aluminum, the Grip is a two-piece case featuring an integrated handle, open access to all ports, controls, and the screen, the ability to have two distinct custom colors applied to the handle and frame, and included installation tools. ColorWare’s Grip case for the iPad is available now in a wide range of possible color combinations and sells for $300.
Apple was recently ordered by a jury to pay damages to Mirror Worlds LLC for infringing the latter’s patents related to the display of digital documents, but is challenging the verdict. Mirror Worlds, a software business started by a Yale University computer-science professor David Gelernter, claimed that Apple’s Cover Flow and Time Machine display methods infringed on its patents, and was awarded $208.5 million in damages for each of the patents infringed. Apple has asked U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis for an emergency stay of the verdict, claiming that there are outstanding issues with two of the three patents, and also claimed Mirror Worlds would be “triple-dipping” if it were to collect the full $208.5 million for each of the three patents. Bloomberg reports that Davis also is considering Apple’s request, filed before the verdict, to rule that the company doesn’t infringe two of the patents, which would lead him to strike the amount of damages attributed to those two patents.
The Omni Group has released a major update to OmniGraffle, its professional diagramming application for the iPad. OmniGraffle for the iPad is an iOS version of The Omni Group’s popular desktop application of the same name, and provides functionality similar to Microsoft’s Visio for Windows, allowing users to create diagram style drawings such as process charts, page layouts, wireframes and graphic designs, taking full advantage of the iPad multitouch interface. OmniGraffle 1.3 adds support for importing photos from the iPad photo library onto an existing canvas or into the application’s shape library. Users can set photo opacity, position, rotate, resize and crop photos. Integration with the Graffletopia online stencil repository allows users to download and install new stencils directly into the app, providing quick and easy access to new collections of images and shapes. The update also adds a new Line Tool and Text Tool to the palette of drawing tools, adds favorite and default styles for all of the existing tools and provides the ability to have multiple fonts and colors for text labels. The latest version also includes a number of interface and usability improvements to make working with OmniGraffle easier. OmniGraffle is available from the App Store for $50; version 1.3 is a free update for current users.
Apple has revised its original AirPrint announcement, removing promised support for the second-generation iPod touch. Announced in September, AirPrint automatically finds printers on local networks that can print text, photos, and graphics wirelessly over Wi-Fi without the need for additional drivers or software. Notably, Apple’s original release claimed that printing would only be supported on iOS devices that support multitasking, yet listed the second-generation iPod touch as compatible. The second-generation iPod touch has since been removed from the compatible device list. This is the second incident in the last few months where Apple has revised its list of supported devices before a software update’s official launch, as it removed Game Center support for the iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2G while it was still in beta testing, only to add back support for the second-gen touch shortly before the feature’s debut in iOS 4.1. [via 9 to 5 Mac]
Amazon.com has started selling the iPad directly. Previously available from the online retailer through third-parties, Amazon itself is now stocking and selling both 32GB and 64GB Wi-Fi models. It is unclear whether Amazon will start selling 16GB and/or Wi-Fi + 3G models at some point in the future; all but the 16GB with Wi-Fi + 3G models are available on the site from a third-party reseller. The expansion of iPad distribution comes just one day after Target began selling the iPad in its U.S. stores.
Athletic apparel company Adidas has reportedly pulled out of Apple’s iAd mobile advertising service due to Apple’s control over the program. Citing two mobile industry executives, Business Insider reports that Adidas decided to cancel its $10+ million campaign with Apple after the iPhone-maker rejected its creative concept for the third time. A Wall Street Journal report from August suggested that Apple was experiencing early challenges with the service, including resistance from advertising agencies over the company’s tight control; it noted that one named launch partner—Chanel SA—had already pulled out of the service. According to Business Insider, neither Apple nor Adidas responded to requests for comment.
PopCap Games has released an update to its acclaimed Peggle arcade game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Peggle, players fire a ball into the playing field with the goal of clearing pegs from the board by hitting them with the ball either directly or rebounding off other objects. Players advance to the next level by clearing all orange pegs while other colored pegs offer additional points and power-ups. Players can choose a Quick Play mode or progress through an Adventure mode where they train with Peggle Masters and learn to use special power-ups on each level and master more complex shots. Peggle includes 55 levels and 40 Grand Master Challenges and support both single and multiplayer modes. Version 1.2 adds the sequel levels from Peggle Nights to the existing iOS game, with five Peggle Nights levels available for free and the remaining game levels unlockable via in-app purchase. The new version also adds support for French, German Italian and Spanish languages. Peggle is currently available from the App Store for $1; version 1.2 is a free update for current users. The Peggle Nights expansion is available for purchase within the app for $3.
Apple has released an update to its MobileMe Gallery application adding native iPad support. MobileMe Gallery is a free app that allows iOS device users to browse through their own and their friends’ MobileMe Galleries directly on an iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The application provides features similar to the built-in Photos app including pinch-to-zoom for photos, portrait and landscape orientation and support for playing videos from MobileMe. Previously-viewed photos are also cached for offline viewing. MobileMe Gallery version 1.2 is now a universal app offering full iPad support as well as fast app switching for iOS 4 devices and support for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch Retina Displays. iPhone and iPad users can also now view friends’ galleries without requiring their own MobileMe subscription, a feature conspicuously omitted for iPod touch users. MobileMe Gallery is available from the App Store as a free download.
The NPD Group has released several new pieces of information from its second in a series of surveys about the iPad. The study found that customer satisfaction was higher among early adopters of the iPad—those who purchased the device in its first two months of availability—than those who purchased their iPad more recently, with 80 percent of early adopters very satisfied with the device, compared to 65 percent of more recent purchasers. Interestingly, this wasn’t the only metric in which the early adopters differed from new owners; early adopters were 44 percent more likely to watch YouTube videos, 50 percent more likely to watch movies, 60 percent more likely to watch TV shows, and 38 percent more likely to read e-books. Early adopters were also slightly more likely to be Mac owners, with 50 percent owning Macs compared to 45 percent of later purchasers. Overall, 38 percent of iPad users also own an iPhone, only 13 percent said they purchased an iPad instead of a PC, and 24 percent said the iPad replaced a planned e-reader purchase. NPD’s online survey was conducted in August amongst more than 500 adult iPad owners.
The App Store is holding its first major sale on popular iOS game titles, offering discounts of up to 70% off normal prices. All of the included titles are selling for $3 or less and the list includes such acclaimed titles as Peggle ($1), Mirror’s Edge ($2), Real Racing ($3), NFL 2011 ($3), Need for Speed Shift ($1), DOOM Resurrection ($2), Osmos ($1), Resident Evil 4 ($2), Civilization Revolution ($1) and many more. The sale runs until October 7th. A complete list of game titles included in the sale can be found on the App Store.