- November 4, 2010
- Apps + Games
Shape Services has released Mobiola WebCamera, a new application that allows iPhone and fourth-generation iPod touch owners to use their devices as high-quality wireless webcams for a Windows PC. Mobiola WebCamera uses a free Windows companion application to establish a connection between the iOS device and the Windows PC via Wi-Fi, at which point the iOS device camera simply appears as a webcam on the computer that can be used with services such as Skype, Yahoo and Windows Live Messenger. Mobiola WebCamera requires a camera-equipped iOS device with iOS 4.0 or later and a PC running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 and is available from the App Store for $5.
- November 4, 2010
- iPad Accessories
IK Multimedia has unveiled its new iKlip microphone stand adapter for iPad. The iKlip is a thermoplastic universal stand clip that attaches to nearly any microphone stand, and features a six-point secure mounting system for the iPad, allowing the user to position the device at a variety of angles and in vertical or horizontal orientation while retaining access to all ports and controls. IK Multimedia’s iKlip microphone stand adapter for iPad is expected to ship in December and will sell for $40.
IMDb has released an update to its universal iOS application adding support for multi-tasking and Retina Display capabilities and expanding its theatre showtimes feature to 13 additional countries. IMDb Movies & TV 2.0 also now allows users to rate movies and TV shows by signing in with either their IMDb or Facebook accounts and provides links to the latest entertainment news from hundreds of media outlets, organized by category and linked to titles and names in the database. Movie theatre showtimes have now been expanded to include Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Columbia, Argentina, Chile, Australia and New Zealand. IMDb Pro subscribers can also now find representation listings and contact details from directly within the application. The new version also provides a redesigned home screen highlighting the latest trailers and entertainment news and supports Chinese localization. IMDb Movies & TV 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Griffin Technology has debuted two new docking accessories for the iPhone and iPad. The AirCurve Play is an update to the company’s prior AirCurve passive amplification dock, and features a rubber dock gasket to securely hold an iPhone 4, a metal bar on the back that allows the AirCurve to function as a vertical or horizontal stand, a coiled wavegude passive amplification system for a volume boost of up to 10 decibels, and a pass-through slot for connecting a 30-pin charge/sync cable. It sells for $20.
Also new is the PowerDock Dual, a dual-dock charging station. it features a dedicated iPad dock with 10 watt fast charging, and a separate dock with 5 watts of fast charging power for an iPhone; the second dock can also charge iPods. Other features include a side-by-side design for unobstructed views of both connected devices, an included AC adapter, and an integrated valet dish for car keys, change, and other loose, small items. The Griffin PowerDock Dual sells for $60; both products are available now.
Taito Corporation has released a universal update to Space Invaders Infinity Gene adding Game Center integration and a new Survival game mode. An evolution of the classic Space Invaders arcade game, Space Invaders Infinity Gene 4.0 adds native iPad support and support for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch Retina Display with an improved frame rate that provides better performance. The update also adds a new Survival mode that allows multiple Extra and Chimera stages to be played in sequences with branching stages and multiple endings. Version 4.0 also adds integration with Apple’s Game Center and OpenFeint allowing users to share top scores on leaderboards from either service as well as unlocking achievements. Space Invaders Infinity gene is available from the App Store for $5.
- November 4, 2010
- iPad Accessories
Incase has introduced its new Origami Sleeve for iPad. Made from black neoprene with a plush faux fur interior for scratch protection, the Origami Sleeve features a slip entry closure, form-fitting construction, and a unique design that folds into a stand offering both horizontal and vertical viewing positions. Incase’s Origami Sleeve for iPad is available now in black or pink and sells for $35.
A California woman has filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the company committed false advertising and unfair business practices by encouraging iPhone 3G users to download iOS 4. Wired reports that Bianca Wofford of San Diego is seeking class action status for the suit, and claims that the software upgrade made her iPhone unusable. “The true fact of the matter … is that the iOS 4 is a substantial ‘downgrade’ for earlier iPhone devices and renders many of them virtually useless iBricks,” the complaint reads. Apple admitted to less-than-optimal performance of iOS 4 on the iPhone 3G, calling it a “bug” to be fixed with the release of iOS 4.1.
The complaint also argues that Apple knew installation of iOS 4 on iPhone 3G units would degrade performance, and accuses Apple of releasing it for those handsets purposely to create an incentive for customers to upgrade to the iPhone 4. “Apple has falsely, intentionally and repeatedly represented to owners and consumers of the iPhone 3G that its new operating system for the device, iOS4, was of a nature, quality, and a significant upgrade for the functionality of all iPhone devices, when in fact, the installation and use of the iOS4 on iPhone 3G resulted in the opposite — a device with little more use than that of a paperweight,” the complaint argues. Wofford’s suit seeks damages and will require approval from a judge before class action status is granted.
Skyfire Labs reports that it has been forced to suspend sales of its new Skyfire app after only a few hours of sales due to extremely high demand. Released yesterday afternoon, Skyfire allows users to view online Flash video from the web by using intermediate proxy servers to transcode Flash video to an iOS-friendly format. Skyfire Labs reports that the application was received with “unbelievable enthusiasm” and became the top grossing app on the App Store within five hours, however the popularity of the app quickly overwhelmed the company’s proxy servers and bandwidth causing the video experience to degrade. As a result, the developer has suspended sales of the application, declaring the app effectively ‘sold out.’ Skyfire reports that it is “working really hard to increase capacity” and hopes to be able to resume sales of the application soon.
A supposed Apple internal document outlining the company’s procedures for replacement of devices with dead or abnormal pixels has appeared online. According to the document, a screenshot of which was posted by the Boy Genius Report, it is Apple’s policy to replace any iPod or iPhone with one or more bad pixels—referred to in the document as “pixel anomalies”—and any iPad with three or more problematic pixels. The document also lists procedures for other screen sizes ranging from 11.6 inches to 30 inches, and notes that while employees may offer a replacement unit to customers whose devices have what is considered to be an “acceptable” number of anomalies, the replacement product may have just as many if not more while still remaining within Apple’s acceptable range; the customer will not receive a second replacement device under those circumstances.
Five months after the iPad’s launch in the country, Apple has finally begun offering new release titles on the Australian iBookstore. The Age reports that the store offers titles from a variety of publishers, including Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, Hardie Grant, Murdoch Publishers and Wiley. Previously, Australian iBooks users only had access to out-of-copyright titles from the store; an Apple spokesperson said that new release titles on offer now number in the “thousands.” The report also notes that like in other countries, the iBookstore will compete the Amazon Kindle and Kobo apps already available for iOS. [via Macsimum News]
CNNMoney reports that Skyfire, a web browser app that can be used to view Flash video, had been approved by Apple and is expected to be available for download on Thursday. Skyfire will allow users to view Flash videos from the web by using intermediate proxy servers to transcode them to an iOS-friendly HTML5 and MPEG-4/H.264 standard before streaming them to the user’s device. When using Skyfire to browse to a web site containing Flash video, a thumbnail will be displayed that the user can tap on to stream the video content to their device from Skyfire’s servers. The report notes that Skyfire will be designed to translate only video content and can’t be used to translate games or other non-video Flash content. Adobe estimates that nearly 75% of online video is encoded in Flash, however other studies have noted that many of these sites encode videos in other formats in addition to Flash to provide compatibility with a broader range of devices. However, Skyfire’s CEO estimates that Skyfire will provide access to millions of web sites that were previously unavailable to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. CNNMoney also notes however that one major Flash-based service, Hulu, will not be available as the company has blocked the Skyfire service from being able to download its videos. It is unclear whether other similar streaming services may also follow suit.
Update (11/03/2010): Skyfire is now available from the App Store—a day earlier than expected.
Update (11/04/2010): Skyfire has been temporarily removed from the App Store by the developer due to excessive demand and server performance problems.
Apple has hired away a senior legal executive from Warner Music Group to join its iTunes team in Europe. Citing an internal WMG memo, Billboard reports that Elliott Peters, senior Vice President and head of digital legal affairs with Warner Music Group, is leaving the company next month to become Apple’s new corporate attorney director for iTunes Europe and Internet services. According to the report, Peters will be based in Luxembourg and will manage the European legal team for iTunes and MobileMe services. While at Warner, Peters worked on a number of corporate transactions before becoming the company’s first digital lawyer, and later helped build Warner’s Digital Legal Affairs team.
During a Q&A session following today’s Facebook event, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked whether the company had any plans for a Facebook application for the iPad. Zuckerberg’s response was simply “iPad is not mobile.” Eric Tseng, the head of Facebook’s mobile platform, clarified this statement indicating that Facebook considers the iPad to be part of a whole new class of devices, and not a mobile platform in the same way that a phone is. Tseng went on to state that Facebook is currently looking for a way to address tablet devices in general in terms of how to scale for it. Zuckerberg went on to state that “We all love Apple products” but that he considers the iPad to be a computer and not a mobile device, emphasizing that today’s event is focusing on Facebook in the mobile device space. While Zuckerberg did not rule out the eventual release of an iPad application, he did not indicate that Facebook has anything specific in the works at this point beyond simply looking at how to approach the iPad as a new computing platform; this runs contrary to recent reports from an unofficial Facebook application developer that an official Facebook app for the iPad was imminent.
At a special event today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a coming update to its Facebook app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The update will include support for the new Facebook Groups feature rolled out last month as well as enhancing support for Facebook Places first introduced to the iPhone app earlier this year. The new application will expand support for Facebook Places with a focus on improving tagging features when checking in to Places. Users will now be able to tag their Facebook friends in a Place both during and after they’ve checked-in, and can now tag friends in places from the newsfeed. A new feature in Facebook Places will also allow users to upload photos to share during the Places check-in process. The new version will also add support for Facebook’s new Deals feature, allowing users to discover deals at nearby Places.
Facebook also announced improvements to Facebook Places integration with third-party applications allowing apps to not only read Places information but now also check-in and search for Places through the Facebook APIs. Loopt and Gowalla have already been offering these features since the initial rollout of Places as part of a private beta program; this functionality will now be available to any third-party applications that wish to implement it. The updated Facebook for iPhone app is expected to appear on the App Store soon along with updates to other location-based social applications such as Yelp that will tie in tighter Facebook Places integration. There was conspicuously no mention made of an iPad Facebook application.
Update: The new version of Facebook for iPhone is now available from the App Store. In addition to adding Groups, Places and Deals support, the updated version also provides a new composer view to make it easier to upload photos, status and check-ins right from the news feed. Facebook 3.3 also adds single-sign-on integration with other Facebook-enabled iPhone applications on iOS 4, allowing users to enable Facebook Connect in other applications without having to re-enter their Facebook user ID and password, although users will still need to view and consent to the standard Facebook permissions screen in third-party apps before Facebook Connect will be enabled.
- November 3, 2010
Best Buy has announced that it will offer the iPad in its stand-alone Best Buy Mobile stores starting November 7. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that Best Buy, which began selling the iPad in its regular stores in April, is expanding distribution in hopes of capitalizing on the iPad’s popularity this holiday season. The report also states that Best Buy plans to open 23 additional stand-alone Best Buy Mobile stores before Thanksgiving, giving it a total of 158. Best Buy Mobile stores are smaller, specialty stores focused on selling mobile devices and accessories.
The U.S. International Trade Commission staff has issued a memo to ITC Judge Charles Bullock stating that Nokia shouldn’t be found liable of infringing upon Apple’s patents. “The evidence will not establish a violation” of Apple patent rights, the staff said in a pre-trial memo which was released yesterday. Apple is seeking to block imports of Nokia phones into the U.S. on the basis of patent infringement. Bloomberg reports that the memo also states that if Judge Bullock does find that there was a violation of Apple’s patents by Nokia, that he should recommend an order to block specific models of Nokia phones, as opposed to the company’s entire product line. Bullock is not required to follow the staff’s position, and is expected to release his findings on the matter in February; his ruling will be subject to review by a six-member commission.
Nokia first filed suit against Apple in October 2009, claiming that the iPhone infringes on several Nokia patents; Apple filed a countersuit claiming patent infringement in December. The lawsuits were followed by an ITC complaint from Nokia near the end of the year, alleging that Apple infringes on the Finnish company’s patents “in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers.”
The ITC launched an investigation into Nokia’s claims against Apple in late January; it announced a similar investigation into Apple’s claims against Nokia in February. In March, a federal judge in Delaware signed an order halting litigation between Nokia and Apple pending resolution of the companies’ respective claims with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC); Nokia then sued Apple again in May, alleging that the iPhone and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G infringe on five of its patents.
- November 3, 2010
- Apps + Games
Yelp has released an update to its social city guide application adding German localization and integration with Facebook Places. Yelp for the iPhone and iPod touch is a companion app for the popular online service of the same name, allowing users to search for nearby businesses such as bars, restaurants, gas stations and more based on factors such as location, hours, distance and price. Users can add photos and reviews to any business location and read the reviews and posts left by others when browsing and searching for venues. The latest update adds German language support and now allows users to view their friends’ Facebook check-ins directly within the Yelp app. Yelp is available from the App Store as a free download.
- November 3, 2010
- Apps + Games
Epic Games has revealed some additional information on its upcoming RPG for iOS devices first demonstrated at Apple’s September iPod event. Originally codenamed ‘Project Sword’ the game has now been dubbed ‘Infinity Blade’ and will deliver graphically intense sword battles and epic boss fights set in the realm of a 3D castle. The initial release is expected to include a single-player mode with an intuitive combat interface where players will gain experience, build stats and earn more powerful equipment by engaging in battles to prepare for a final encounter with the God-King. Further updates will be released for free, with an early update providing Game Center based multiplayer support. Pricing and official release date have yet been announced. [via Touch Arcade]
- November 3, 2010
- Apps + Games
Legendary Canadian rock band Rush has released a new iPad application for hard-core Rush fans providing news and info on the band’s recent Time Machine Tour and exclusive behind-the-scenes content. The application includes a cross-section of 30 of the band’s songs throughout it’s 40-year history presented in a GeFilter Time Machine interface where users can warp back in time and play songs from different eras. Other features include a Gear section where fans can discover the gadgets and artifacts that the band members use while on tour, news on Rush activities, a “Moving Pictures” wallpaper section, set lists from the band’s R30, Snakes & Arrows and Time Machine tours and an interactive bobbleheads game with Geddy, Alex and Neil that includes rare audio clips. The application also includes extended itinerary, ticket and venue information for the recently-concluded Time Machine tour, suggesting that it was intended for an earlier release. Rush Time Machine is available from the App Store for $5. [via Geeklish]
- November 3, 2010
- Apps + Games
Mind Crew has released a free update to Mayan Puzzle adding fourteen new levels and integration with Apple’s Game Center. Mayan Puzzle is a variant of a match-three puzzle game that provides both action and classic strategy play and includes impressive special effects, an original Mayan soundtrack and high-quality animated backgrounds unique to each level. The latest update adds fourteen new levels in classic strategy mode, bringing the total number of levels up to fifty. Two new achievements have also been added as well as free hints for two of the classic levels. The new version also provides full iOS 4 compatibility, integration with Apple’s Game Center for leaderboards and achievements and Facebook and Twitter integration. Mayan Puzzle is available from the App Store for $1.