Verizon is following AT&T’s lead and is starting to crack down on iPhone users who have jailbroken their devices and are using unsupported software to gain tethering capabilities without paying Verizon for the feature. Forbes reports that Verizon’s new initiative detects when a user is tethering illegally, and redirects them to a Verizon webpage where they can upgrade their accounts to include the $20 wireless hotspot option. Earlier this month a report stated that AT&T was notifying users that as of August 11, any user who employs a jailbreak solution to tether their phone would automatically be switched from their current plan onto a $45/mo tethering plan.
RadioShack has officially confirmed that through Saturday, August 20, customers visiting their local RadioShacks will receive a $30 instant savings on the iPhone 4. The promotion drops the price of 16GB and 32GB units to $169.99 and $269.99, respectively; customers can also participate in the Trade & Save program which offers up to $150 on the trade in of their current iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS. New iPhone 3GS units are also part of the promotion, with pricing set at $19.99 for new or upgrade eligible customers.
Orange UK has announced that all Orange customers—including home broadband, pay as you go, monthly pay, mobile broadband, and business customers—will now get a free film rental from iTunes every Thursday at no cost. The feature, which is launching this week, requires users to text “FILMTOGO” to 85060, or visit Orange’s Film To Go Facebook page, or use the Film To Go app to receive a response code which can be entered on the company’s dedicated Film To Go website to start the download.The restrictions on the downloads are the same as standard iTunes movie rentals in the UK, with users having 30 days to watch the download and 48 hours to finish watching once playback has begun. [via TUAW]
More evidence of Nuance speech recognition integration has been found in the latest beta version of iOS 5. Citing a pair of screenshots provided by a reliable source, 9 to 5 Mac reports that the feature will be activated via a microphone button that appears on the standard iOS keyboard next to the space bar, with a microphone icon replacing the keyboard for as long as the user is talking, and the text appearing in the selected field once the speaker has finished. The report also claims that the functionality is currently planned to be included on the iPhone and iPod touch only, but notes that iPad support could technically be added. A pair of screenshots discovered in June suggested that such functionality might be included in iOS 5, and reports of negotiations between Apple and Nuance date back to early May.
Sockil has released a native iPad version of its expense tracking application for iOS. Expenses HD is an expense and finance application with an intuitive user interface to simplify management of daily expenses while eon the go. Designed for both personal and business use, the application supports tracking of multiple accounts and currencies, categorization of expenses and an easy to read monthly history display for each account and category. Users can track both income and expenses, display information in various graphs and export history and category reports to CSV via e-mail or iTunes File Sharing. Expense HD requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $5. The iPhone version is available for $3 and has been updated to add support for viewing categories and balances in pie chart and bar chart formats.
Apple has taken its MobileMe to iCloud migration tool online for registered developers, and has also revealed more information pertaining to how the transition will be handled. 9 to 5 Mac reports that the tool, found at mobileme.com/move, lets developers migrate their mail, contact, bookmark, and calendar data from MobileMe to iCloud, leaving behind data relating to the sync of Mac Dashboard widgets, dock items, keychains, mail accounts, rules, signatures, smart mailboxes, and preferences. In a separate report, Mac Rumors states that current MobileMe users will be automatically signed up for the 20GB + 5GB free tier plan in iCloud—normally a $40/year plan—at no extra charge, and are automatically signed up for recurring billing with the next payment date shown as June 30, 2012—the same day MobileMe shuts down. Apple is expected to officially launch iCloud alongside iOS 5 this fall.
Apple over the weekend released the fifth beta version of its upcoming iOS 5 operating system for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Listed as build 9A5288d and available exclusively to paid iOS developers, the release does not appear to include any major changes from prior versions, and is once again accompanied by matching beta versions of the iOS 5 SDK, iTunes 10.5, and Apple TV Software. iOS 5 beta 5 is now available to paid iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.
The Logic Factory has released an update to the iOS version of its classic strategy game Ascendancy adding several significant improvements to the ship design features. A remake of the 1995 DOS game, Ascendancy for iOS is a 4X turn-based strategy game where players take on the role of one of twenty-one unique alien species vying for galactic domination. Players must expand and manage their empire through colonization and conquest, building starships and researching new technologies while balancing diplomacy and combat to succeed in leading their race to Ascendancy.
The latest update to the game adds a new Ship Design Library where users can save and load their own standard ship designs for re-use and access a variety of pre-made ship designs in different hull sizes. Ship designs can also now be automatically adjusted as new technologies are discovered in the game and players now receive in-game notifications when they have reached the maximum number of ships their empire can support and when they are able to build new ships. The starmap has also been improved to provide new information overlays for displaying resource production in each system and pulsing icons to notify the player of systems that require attention. The update also adds a number of other smaller user interface improvements and performance and bug fixes. Ascendancy is a universal app requiring iOS 4.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.
Bluelounge has unveiled its new MiniDock charging accessory for the iPod and iPhone. The MiniDock is a small accessory that works in conjunction with Apple’s USB Power Adapter, connecting directly to a power outlet to charge an iPod or iPhone while sitting upright. BlueLounge’s MiniDock for the iPod and iPhone is available now and sells for $20.
Following its acquisition of online image service Pixlr, Autodesk has released Pixlr-o-matic, a new retro photo editing app for iOS devices. Originally a web app, Pixlr-o-matic allows users to quickly and easily edit, layer and filter photos right from their mobile devices. Users can apply colour filters and lighting effects to adjust mood, amplify tone, add surreal effects and more and finish off photos with a variety of border styles, providing a retro grunge look for photos in three easy steps. Photos can be taken directly in the app on camera-equipped iOS devices or users can choose an existing photo to work with from the device’s photo library. The resulting images can be shared from within the app via Facebook or imm.io. Pixlr-o-matic is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Ravensburger Digital has released Puerto Rico HD, an iPad adaptation of the popular board game. The retro-style game puts players in the role of a Puerto Rican governor during colonial times where they must build their town’s economy and industry to gain the most points and win the game. Users can compete against up to four other players, either AI or human players via pass-and-play or local network play and the iPad version automates many of the more tedious tasks from the board game such as resource distribution. Other features include HD graphics with new building designs and animated in-game cut scenes and a specially designed tutorial and in-game help system. Puerto Rico HD is available from the App Store for $8.
In a recent interview with IndustryGames, Epic Games President Mike Capps made several statements questioning the validity of next-generation gaming consoles in light of the advancements being made in mobile gaming, and more specifically by Apple. “Before the problem was between the consoles and PC where they had very different levels. The power of your PC could be 100 times the power of somebody else’s PC. This time the problem could be mobile. If you look at the ridiculous acceleration of iPhone hardware and technology, trying to find a sweet spot for tech to make your mobile game… I mean, what would your mobile game look like in 2015? Who knows how fast that’s going to operate, but you can bet it’s going to be faster than an Xbox 360,” said Capps.
He continued, “So I think that’s the real challenge for us now, rather than worrying about the difference between a couple consoles and some order of magnitude, whether 3X or 4X. It’s about how do we deal with iPhone 8… if you watch where the gamers are going that’s where they are. Your iPhone 8 will probably plug into your TV, or better yet, wirelessly connect to your television set to give you that big screen gaming experience with good sound. So really, what’s the point of those next-gen consoles? It’s a very interesting situation to be looking at. That’s what we’re starting to think about more… not how do we scale from some Nintendo platform to some other future console.” Notably, wireless gaming is already possible between the iPad 2 and the Apple TV via AirPlay in iOS 5. [via Cnet]
G-Whizz has released an update to its Google Apps Browser for iOS devices adding support for the Google+ social network and several other new features and improvements. In addition to a Google+, Google Apps Browser 1.5 introduces Smart Tab management which dynamically reorders tabs based on the most-used Google Apps and adds new dedicated Browser and Google Apps search tabs. The latest version also includes a number of bug fixes related to chat notifications, Tweeting links and more and updates the Picasa interface to the latest version. Google Apps Browser is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $3.
Belkin has debuted its new Keyboard Folio case for the iPad 2. This new folio-style case features an integrated TruType Bluetooth keyboard with a 60-hour active battery life, a tri-fold design to keep the screen from hitting the keyboard, a rigid backplate for stand capabilities and adjustable angles for viewing and typing, a micro USB port for charging the keyboard, and a suede-like feel. Belkin’s new Keyboard Folio case for the iPad 2 is available now and sells for $100.
Apple and China Mobile have entered into a deal that will see the carrier launch the iPhone 4 on its network later this year, according to a new report. CapitalVue reports that Chinese-language ccidcom.com, citing a company filing, claims that China Mobile will launch the iPhone 4 at the end of October. Citing an unnamed source, the report also claims that China Mobile hopes to make the iPhone compatible with its fourth-generation network to help make up for a decline in 3G users. Despite the fact that the handset isn’t officially available from China Mobile, it claims to have 6.42 million iPhone users on its network as of June 30. [via AppleInsider]
BlueAnt has rolled out its new Embrace stereo headphones. The Embrace offer a folding, metal and leather design, 40mm custom tuned drivers, conforming, sealed ear pads to help with passive noise isolation, two included cables—one straight, and one offering an integrated three-button remote and microphone—and an included carrying case. BlueAnt’s Embrace stereo headphones are available now and sell for $200.
Pioneer has announced its new flagship SC-57 and SC-55 Elite home theater receivers. Both of the new units offer full support for AirPlay over Ethernet or via the optional AS-WL300 wireless LAN converter, as well as compatibility with Pioneer’s Air Jam and iControl AV2 apps. Other features include 140 watts x 9 channels of Class D3 amplification, THX certification, direct USB connection support for media playback from the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, Marvell Qdeo video processing, and more. Pioneer’s new SC-57 and SC-55 Elite receivers are available now and sell for $2,100 and $1,700, respectively.
Square Enix has released the latest iOS remake in its Final Fantasy franchise, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. Essentially a port from the earlier GBA and PSP versions, Final Fantasy Tactics is a turn-based tactical RPG set in the Final Fantasy universe, placing players in the fictional kingdom of Ivalice where they take on the role of a highborn cadet in the middle of a war for the throne. The iPhone and iPod touch version of Final Fantasy Tactics adds intuitive touchscreen controls for the control of units by tapping directly on the units and on-screen menus and users can now rotate, move and change the size of maps using standard swipe and pinch gestures. Final Fantasy Tactics is an iPhone and iPod touch application requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $16. An iPad version is expected to be released later this year; based on Square’s earlier release of Final Fantasy III, users should expect the iPad version of Final Fantasy Tactics to be a separate app sold in the same price range, and iPad users may therefore wish to hold off on the purchase of the iPhone version—perhaps even to wait for either a sharp price decrease or a proper universal release.
Dreamfab has released an update to Demolition Dash adding two new game modes, improved game stats and OpenFeint support as well as adding iPhone and iPod touch support to the iPad HD version. Demolition Dash is a platform game where players take on the role of the tiny monster Zilla and travel through eight famous cities annihilating everything in their path while avoiding dangerous obstacles. Version 2.0 adds a new Endless Run mode where players can now run through the cities from the World Rampage game in a dynamically generated random order; the new mode provides improved replayability by providing a different game with new challenges each time. In Endless Run players must also avoid making mistakes in a city which will in turn cause Zilla to lose a piece of his tail reducing the players score and eventually ending the game.
The latest update also adds a new Training Mode providing a more casual gaming experience for beginners and adds more detailed statistics with an improved overview of the player’s achievements. OpenFeint support has also been added in addition to the existing Game Center support for tracking leaderboards and achievements. Version 2.0 also adds support for French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian languages and includes numerous usability improvements and bug fixes. Demolition Dash requires and iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, third- or fourth-generation iPod touch or an iPad and is available from the App Store in two different versions: Demolition Dash ($1) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Demolition Dash HD ($2), now a universal app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
AT&T is finally preparing to crack down on iPhone users who take advantage of jailbreak tethering solutions to avoid paying for the feature. 9 to 5 Mac reports that as of August 11, any iPhone user who uses such a solution to tether their phone and has previously received a notice from AT&T regarding their use will automatically be switched from their current plan—including grandfathered unlimited plans—and onto the 2GB/$25 plan, and will have the $20 2GB tethering option added. Users who stop tethering before the date will apparently be able to keep their current plan. AT&T confirmed similar plans in March of this year, but apparently had yet to act upon them.