Instagram has released a major update to its iPhone app featuring a significantly redesigned camera experience. Instagram 2.0 includes a complete re-write of all filters to provide much faster performance, allowing users to now view live filters and linear or radial tilt-shift when taking photos. Four new filters have also been added—Amaro, Rise, Hudson and Valencia—along with the ability to turn borders off for any filter. Further, photos are now saved to the device’s photo library in much higher resolution—1936x1936 on the iPhone 4 or 1536x1536 on the iPhone 3GS; a lower-resolution 612x612 photo continues to be used for uploading. Additional improvements include the ability to rotate photos with a single click, better support for large numbers of comments, improved feed load times, and a more polished icon. Instagram 2.0 requires iOS 4.2.1 or later and available from the App Store as a free download.
A T-Mobile USA executive has reportedly said in no uncertain terms that the carrier will not be offering the iPhone 5 this year. TmoNews, citing an image that purportedly came from an internal T-Mobile site, reports that the company’s Chief Marketing Officer Cole Brodman told a town hall meeting of T-Mobile employees that “we are not going to get the iPhone 5 this year.” Interestingly, a prototype iPhone compatible with T-Mobile’s 3G network that was photographed earlier in the year carried an internal model designation of “N94”, which is widely believed to represent the so-called “iPhone 4S”; as such, T-Mobile could in theory begin offering such a handset later this year while not disproving Brodman’s statement.
Desk Pets has announced that its TankBot remote control toy for iOS and Android is now available. First revealed in January, the TankBot is a small interactive toy that features three modes to navigate mazes, roam freely, or allow for user control via a headphone jack-connecting remote control module and a dedicated iOS app. The TankBot also features IR sensors to let it maneuver around obstacles, a built-in speaker with dedicated sounds for certain situations, and a built-in battery that recharges over USB and provides 15 minutes of play time per charge. Desk Pets’ TankBot for iOS is available starting today at Radio Shack and Toys R’ Us locations nationwide and sells for $25.
Pixily has released an update adding iPad scanning support to OfficeDrop, its document management app for iOS. OfficeDrop is a digital filing system that allows users to scan paper documents using their device’s camera and upload them to an online, searchable document portal. Optical character recognition provides full-text indexing of digitized documents and users can search and manage their document library directly from within the app or online at officedrop.com. The application also supports taking, cropping and rotating photos that can be sent directly to OfficeDrop, useful for capturing handwritten notes, receipts and business cards on the go. The service also provides the ability to upload existing electronic documents for online storage and searching along with integration with Evernote, Google Docs and FreshBooks.
OfficeDrop 2.0 adds support for the iPad 2 camera and a redesigned interface for iPad users to provide easier capture and management of documents. OfficeDrop is available from the App Store as a free download. An account at OfficeDrop.com is required to use the app; free plans are available with 1GB of storage and top 3 search results returned or users can opt for paid plans starting at $10/month for 10GB of storage and unlimited searching.
Social entertainment network GetGlue has released an update to its iPhone and iPod touch application with a redesigned user interface that places more of an emphasis on social interaction with other users. GetGlue allows users to highlight forms of entertainment they are currently enjoying such as TV shows, movies, music and books by posting “check-ins” for those items that can be shared with other GetGlue users and posted to Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare.
The latest version adds a new conversation view to allow users to discuss their favourite items in real-time and respond to other user’s comments and check-ins along with leaderboards to allow users to compare fan standings with their friends. The check-in process has also been streamlined for faster check-ins and to present more relevant information and the check-in button now occupies a more prominent position in the centre of the button bar. Additional UI optimizations provide a more focused stream view for friends and followers and more detailed check-in screens showing unlocked stickers, other checkins, and leaderboard positions in comparison to friends. GetGlue for the iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store as a free download. An iPad version is also available, although it has not yet received this most recent update.
South Korean carrier KT has announced that it will roll out a mobile payment service for the iPhone. According to the Korea Herald, the service will be based around a customized iPhone case that integrates near field communication (NFC) technology, allowing users to make payments by simply swiping their phones over electronic readers. The report states that the case, which was developed by Canada-based Wireless Dynamics, has been certified by Apple. The iPhone is offered in South Korea by KT and rival carrier SK Telecom.
Logitech has introduced its new Harmony Link universal remote for iOS. The Link is a small device that communicates with the free Logitech Harmony Link apps for iPhone/iPod touch and iPad over Wi-Fi, enabling them to control up to eight home entertainment devices at once via a built-in IR blaster. The Link also includes an IR mini-blaster accessory for controlling components stored inside a cabinet, and offers the ability to connect with multiple devices at one time, personalized program guides with one-tap channel switching on the iPad and information provided by Rovi, over 5,000 supported component brands, the ability to learn IR commands from other remotes, an AC adapter so there’s no need for battery replacement. Logitech’s Harmony Link universal remote solution for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch is available for pre-order now and is expected to ship next month for $100.
Nurogames has released the iOS version of its popular Android game, Tiny Bee, an action arcade game where players take on the role of a weakened bee that must collect food for the hive. Tiny Bee finds flying very difficult so players must slide the bee down a series of hills to accelerate and glide across the playing field, landing smoothly and collecting as much honey and pollen as possible along the way. The game includes twenty levels with specific challenges, an endless play mode and OpenFeint integration for tracking achievements and high scores. Tiny Bee requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $1.
An image claiming to show an iPhone logic board with an A5 processor onboard has been posted online. The image, posted to Chinese microblogging site Weibo and republished by Phone Arena, shows an A5 processor attached to a logic board that is similar in shape and layout to that of the iPhone 4 and to a leaked logic board component that appeared last month. The logic board itself is attached to a 4.2V, 1430mAh battery pack and a white front plate, both of which appear simliar to the respective components found in the iPhone 4. The logic board’s size lends credence to reports of an “iPhone 4S,” which would look similar to the current iPhone 4 but feature updated internal components; it would be unusual, but not impossible, for Apple to launch such a device alongside an even more substantially upgraded iPhone 5.
G5 Entertainment has released Stand O’Food 3, the third instalment in its popular burger-flipping strategy game series. The latest episode brings Ronnie to Tinseltown to open his latest restaurant where the player must not only sling burgers but also prepare new types of food such as lasagnas, cakes and other snacks to satisfy waves of hungry customers. A total of 90 recipes are available for the player to master along with 18 special sauces. The game provides 75 levels in five different settings plus an additional 12 bonus levels. Game Center integration provides 33 achievements to challenge players. Stand O’Food 3 is available from the App Store as a free download in trial form with the full game available via in-app purchase for $3.
Dreamfab has released Happy Hills, a new casual physics-based puzzle game for iOS devices. The game challenges players to strategically place bombs to free the Happy Hills from a series of blocks that drop onto them from above. Players are provided with a limited set of bombs to use and must consider different physical properties of the individual blocks along with specific terrain unique to each level such as chasms, fire, water and moving platforms. Bonus stars are earned by destroying blocks rather than simply moving them and special boss blocks provide an additional challenge at the end of each region. The game includes 48 grassland levels with an additional expansion pack of 48 desert region levels available as a $1 in-app purchase. OpenFeint and Game Center achievements and leaderboards are included to challenge players further and help to unlock bonus levels. Happy Hills is a universal app and requires an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, third- or fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has posted an announcement on its developer site for both iOS and Mac developers noting that it will reset all iCloud backup data on September 22nd. “On Thursday, September 22, the iCloud Backup data will be reset. Backing up to iCloud or restoring from an iCloud backup will be unavailable from 9 AM PDT – 5 PM PDT,” the message reads. “If you attempt a backup or restore during this time, you will receive an alert that the backup or restore was not successful. After this reset, you will be unable to restore from any backup created prior to September 22. A full backup will happen automatically the next time your device backs up to iCloud.” Registered developers have had access to iCloud for testing purposes during the iOS 5 beta period, as the service will launch alongside iOS 5 this fall. A report from last week—which incorrectly suggested that iOS 5 beta 8 would be released last Friday—claimed that Apple would release the Gold Master (GM) build of iOS 5 on or around September 23, which would coincide with this iCloud data reset.
Samsung plans to seek a ban on sales of the iPhone 5 in its home country of South Korea as soon as the device launches in the country, according to a new report. Citing various sources closely involved in the matter, the Korea Times reports that the move will be in retaliation to Apple’s ongoing suits against Samsung in a number of global markets. “Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung’s wireless technology related patents,” said a senior executive from Samsung Electronics. “For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights.” As noted in the report, there are at least 23 lawsuits pending between the two companies worldwide, even as they retain a business relationship covering the sale and delivery of flash memory and microprocessors.
Apple has launched new online stores in four new international markets: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and the United Arab Emirates. The launches are being celebrated with customized graphics on the main Apple homepage in each respective country, complete with national color-matching confetti for each. As noted by Mac Rumors, today’s launches bring the total number of countries in which Apple offers an online store to 37, with several of those being offered in multiple languages.
iHealth has rolled out its new iBaby Monitor and iHealth Digital Scale for iOS. The iBaby Monitor works with a dedicated iOS app to allow parents to view, hear, and monitor their child locally over Wi-Fi and over the Internet. Features include a high-res, color and night vision camera, the ability to pan up/down and left/right, motion and sound detectors, and two-way audio capability. The iBaby Monitor is priced at $200.
The iHealth Digital Scale is a Bluetooth enabled bathroom-style scale that works in conjunction with a dedicated iOS app to allow multiple users to test, track, graph, and share weight information via email, Facebook, or Twitter using an iOS device. The iHealth Digital Scale will sell for $70; both products are expected to ship in October.
Springpad has released an update to its iOS application adding new features to allow users to more quickly get information into the system. Springpad is an online notebook service that allows users to easily collect and record ideas and information in a structured manner, providing automatic organization of content and links to relevant external sources. The latest update introduces a Quick Add shortcut that can be saved to the iOS home screen allowing users to directly access the app’s new item entry screen and a mobile-optimized web clipper that can be installed as a bookmarklet in Safari. The new version also addresses some issues with international keyboards, scanning of QR codes and note editing. Springpad is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Toktumi, developer of the popular Line2 VoIP communications app for the iPhone and iPod touch has released a native iPad version of its app. Line2 HD brings voice calling and text messaging to the iPad over either a Wi-Fi or 3G data connection. Users can place and receive calls using the built-in speakerphone or connect a wired headset of Bluetooth device. As with the iPhone version users sign up for a Line2 account and are assigned their own phone number that acts a full-featured phone line to place and receive calls and text messages in the app. Calls can also be forwarded from the Line2 service to up to six other phone numbers when the iPad is out of data coverage. The app also provides caller ID support, handling of multiple calls including conference calling with up to 20 participants, visual voicemail, call waiting and call transfer features. Call history and text messages are logged and grouped in a single contact-orientation communications stream making it easy for users to get a snapshot view of communications with a given contact. Line2 HD is available from the App Store as a free download. A Line2 account is required to use the app, with a free 7 day trial available, after which a subscription is required starting at $10/month for a basic plan with unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada.
Smart Cookie Studios has released Little Farmer, a new educational app for babies and toddlers. The application teaches children the names of various farm animals and tests their knowledge of animal names in three languages: English, Spanish and Russian. An elegant backdrop of classic children’s nursery songs and hand-drawn watercolour artwork enhances the experience for toddlers and parents alike and the game provides multiple options and playing modes for various age groups, including a non-interactive mode for younger children. Little Farmer is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and sells for $2. A free version, Little Farmer Lite is also available the provides the same features with a smaller set of animals.
PopCap has released an update to Peggle for the iPhone and iPod touch adding support for Apple’s Game Center. Peggle challenges players to clear pegs by firing a ball into the playing field and hitting pegs either directly or by rebounding the ball off other objects. Special colored pegs offer additional points and power-ups and players can choose either Quick Play or progress through an Adventure mode where they train with Peggle Masters and learn to use special power-ups to master more complex shots. The basic edition of Peggle includes 55 levels and 40 Grand Master Challenges with an additional Peggle Nights expansion pack available via in-app purchase. Peggle 1.6 adds 29 new Game Center achievements across Peggle and Peggle Nights and fixes several bugs including issues with rotation, launching on iPad in 2x mode and playing through Adventure mode a third time. Peggle 1.6 is available from the App Store for $3.
Sony has debuted its new RDP-X500iP speaker dock for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. Sporting a wide, tall shape and a front-mounted dock, the RDP-X500iP features Magnetic Fluid Speakers for increased clarity, a built-in subwoofer, dual passive radiators for added bass response, Clear Phase digital signal processing, an auxiliary input, and an included remote control. The RDP-X500iP is available for pre-order now and sells for $300. In addition, it’s also introduced an updated version of its clock radio for iPod and iPhone. Dubbed the ICF-CS15iP, it offers Mega Bass and Mega Xpand sound modes, dual alarms with 2-5-7 day functionality and support for different settings for weekdays and weekends, a new flexible dock connector to accomodate encased devices, and an included full function remote. Sony’s ICF-CS15iP is also available for pre-order and is priced at $100.