Massive Damage has released an update to Please Stay Calm, its location-based zombie-hunting MMORPG for the iPhone and iPod touch. The latest update increases the in-game level cap to 41 and adds two more survivor avatars and new high-level zombies, weapons, armour and duel items. The new version also adds new exploration features for users in more remote areas, allowing players to investigate their own Safe House regardless of actual location and players to investigate “wild areas” when there are no Foursquare locations available nearby. A new friend system has also been added, allowing players to get assistance with zombie hunting and duelling and heal friends or safe house members using stamina. Several additional tweaks have been made to the in-game economy allowing weapons and armour to be purchased directly with credits as well as cash, increasing prices on lower-level weapons and armour and adding food and gold bars to the game as commodities that can be used to safeguard cash from duellers. The update also includes several other smaller features and numerous bug fixes. Please Stay Calm requires iOS 4.1 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
This week, iLounge is co-sponsoring Monster Cable’s 8X iPhone 4S Sweepstakes. In the sweepstakes, readers can register to win an iPhone 4S and a Monster Accessory Pack by visiting Monster’s Facebook page and liking the company to learn how to enter. The Accessory Pack includes Turbine In-Ear Monitors, a Monster iCable 800, a Monster Mobile PowerPlug Dual USB 700, and a CleanTouch Pen. You can enter once for a chance to win every week until December 23rd.
In addition, this week only, we’re giving away a Monster Accessory Pack on our Facebook page.
iHome has rolled out its new iP4 stereo boombox for the iPhone and iPod. Sporting a design that recalls the cassette-based portable systems of the 1980’s, the iP4 comes in pink or gray, and features a monotone design, two 4” carbon composite woofers and 1” dome tweeters, a five-band graphic EQ, an LCD display, a magnetic remote control that attaches to the system when not in use, a flexible iPhone/iPod dock that accommodates any iPhone or docking iPod model, an FM radio, an auxiliary input, SRS TruBass digital signal processing, and the ability to run off the included AC adaptor or six D batteries. iHome’s new iP4 stereo boombox for the iPhone and iPod is available now and sells for $200.
National Geographic has released 7 Billion, a new interactive application that allows users to explore the challenges of human population growth in a world of limited resources. The application includes educational and informative content such as video presentations on the demographic trends that have resulted in the current population size, interactive maps exploring population and resource issues in various places around the world and in-depth articles and photography on a variety of global population and economy issues from places such as Brazil, Bangladesh and the Albertine Rift. The application also includes educational presentations and essays exploring strategies for dealing with population growth and resource management and National Geographic plans to continue adding new content to the app, with a new section coming in December discussing how cities are a solution for lifting people from poverty and preserving the environment. 7 Billion is available from the App Store as a free download for a limited time.
Web Information Solutions has released a major update to its Pocket Informant personal information manager for the iPhone and iPod touch. Pocket Informant 2.0 introduces a completely new database and sync engine for improved reliability and performance as well as enabling additional sync options. Users can now sync with Google Tasks and sync metadata with both Google and ToodleDo; synchronization with ToodleDo is now encrypted for Pro users. The update also brings a number of other enhancements including new views for contacts and notes, support for recording audio notes, simplified editors for events and tasks and more. Pocket Informant 2.0 requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $13. An iPad version is available separately but has not yet been updated to version 2.0.
Apple will likely need a new backlight solution should it adopt a high-resolution 2048 x 1536 display in a next-generation iPad, according to a new report. Citing sources at Taiwan-based back-light unit makers, DigiTimes reports that the single LED light bar found in the iPad 2 will need to be modified to maintain or strengthen the brightness of the existing display in a higher-resolution panel. The report claims that two alternative solutions have been developed—a single light bar with two LED chips inside or a design that utilizes dual bars—with the latter described as being the one Apple is more likely to adopt, as the back-light unit makers have reportedly solved issues related to heat dissipation and battery consumption for the dual bar design.
In a written response to questions posed by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt made a brief statement about the Siri feature of the iPhone 4S. PC Magazine reports that in his response, Schmidt backtracked on a prior statement that Apple was not a competitive threat in search, and called Siri a “significant development.” He added that “Google has many strong competitors and we sometimes fail to anticipate the competitive threat posed by new methods of accessing information.” A recent non-scientific study of 40 Siri users found that the feature greatly reduced the users’ dependence on Google search, with 27 users reporting that they haven’t done a single Google search since they got the iPhone 4S and 13 reporting an average of two searches; these users would have previously averaged over 10 Google searches during the same period. [via MDN | MarketWatch]
Speaking during the company’s third-quarter earnings conference call, U.S. Cellular CEO Mary Dillion revealed that the company had been offered the iPhone and turned Apple down. According to FierceWireless, U.S. Cellular was offered the opportunity to carry the iPhone, but said that Apple’s terms were “unacceptable from a risk and profitability standpoint.” She added that potential strain on the company’s network was not a factor in the decision, and that the carrier remains open to offering the iPhone in the future. U.S. Cellular owns and operates the sixth-largest wireless network in the U.S., and serve roughly 6.1 million customers spread across 26 states.
Apple has seeded iOS 5.0.1 beta 2 to its registered iOS developers, the second beta release of the point update this week. According to the release notes for the first beta version, iOS 5.0.1 “fixes bugs affecting battery life, adds multitasking gestures for original iPad, resolves bugs with Documents in the Cloud, improves voice recognition for Australian users using dictation,” and “contains security improvements,” and also “introduces a new way for developers to specify files that should remain on device, even in low storage situations.” iOS 5.0.1 beta 2 is listed as build 9A404, and is available now as a download from the iOS Dev Center.
Case-Mate has introduced its new Tank Case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Inspired by motorcycle helmets, the Tank features a hard, shatter-resistant polycarbonate outer shell, a shock-absorbing silicone interior, a retractable screen to protect against impacts, cracking, and condensation, a soft grip texture, push-through coverage for the volume and sleep/wake buttons, plugs for the ports, and open access to the cameras and rear flash. Case-Mate’s Tank Case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available now and sells for $60.
Speaking during the company’s third quarter earnings call, CBS CEO Les Moonves said that the company turned down a TV offer from Apple. GigaOM reports that Moonves claimed CBS had decided against the offer, which was for an Apple TV service, because it was based on an ad split. Apple had previously been rumored to be working on such a service, although it obviously never came to fruition. According to the report, CBS’ decision on the matter was more philosophical than it was an indictment against Apple, as the company has repeatedly eschewed revenue-sharing agreements in favor of negotiating up-front licensing fees for syndication of its content online.
San Francisco-based Boombotix has posted a Kickstarter page to raise funding for a new accessory for the sixth-generation iPod nano. Dubbed “The Proof,” the accessory is a watch kit for the device, made from polyurethane, coated with a thick silicone wrapping. It aims to provide IP68 waterproof coverage down to three meters by plugging all ports and allowing access to the nano’s screen via an ultra thin polycarbonate lens, and using one of three adapters, the first of which blocks access to allow for use as a watch with no audio access, and the second of which offers Bluetooth audio streaming support. A third adapter will be supplied to allow for access to the headphone jack, although it will not offer waterproof protection. Boombotix is now accepting pledges towards its funding goal of $17,000, with pledges $49 and up including the watch kit with the fully sealed adapter and headphone adapter; pledges eligible for delivery of the full kit, including the Bluetooth transmitter, begin at $99.
Yamaha has unveiled its new PDX-11 portable speaker for the iPhone and iPod. The PDX-11 features a rugged, octagon-shaped body, with a top-mounted dock and metal handle, a two-way speaker setup with a four-inch woofer and a dedicated tweeter, an included remote, the ability to run off AC power or six AA alkaline batteries, and a 3.5mm stereo input jack. Yamaha’s PDX-11 portable speaker for the iPhone and iPod is available now in white, dark blue, green, or black, and sells for $100.
eBay Mobile has released a new, redesigned version of its RedLaser barcode and QR code scanning and lookup application. Released as an entirely new application, RedLaser includes all of the features of the original app and adds a number of additional integrated sharing, organizing and purchasing features. The new RedLaser app now allows users to organize their scans into lists that can be shared with friends and family for creating shopping lists, gift wish lists or simply create personal lists to organize home inventory collections. Lists and items can be shared via Facebook or sent out via SMS or e-mail. The new app also features integrated in-app checkout from select stores allowing users to not only find the best prices but directly purchase found items for home delivery or local in-store pickup. Additional new features include an improved scan history with date stamps, expanded pricing information, improved product descriptions and reviews and options to view the actual barcodes for scanned items. RedLaser is available from the App Store as a free download and is a new, separate application from the prior version which continues to be available under the name RL Classic. RedLaser requires iOS 4.0 or later and a camera-equipped iOS device.
Hog Bay Software has released an update to Bubbles making the application available for free and selling additional bubble sets via in-app purchase. Bubbles is an entertainment app designed for toddlers that allows the touchscreen to be used to manipulate and pop virtual soap bubbles as they float around the screen. Version 3.0 adds new bubble sets such as Fall Leaves, Balloons and more, each available as additional in-app purchases for $1. A 1-2-3 tap gesture is used to purchase new sets or switch between existing ones to allow toddlers to continue using the app without inadvertently triggering the controls; the bubble set list feature can also be disabled completely from the iOS Settings app. Bubbles 3.0 is a universal app, requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Opera Software has released an update to Opera Mini its alternative web browser for iOS devices. Opera Mini 6.5 adds support for predictive typing, including domain suggests and auto-correct and also now allows users to instantly bookmark URLs by starring them in the URL field. The new version also adds a data usage meter to show users how much data they are saving by using Opera’s bandwidth-optimized proxy servers rather than connecting to sites directly. Additional enhancements include the ability to conduct searches directly from the address bar, share pages via e-mail and improvements to text selection and web page compression. Opera Mini 6.5 is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Evernote has released an update to its Evernote Peek learning app for the iPad adding a new Virtual Cover feature that allows the application to be used without a Smart Cover. Evernote Peek is an application designed to help iPad users study material stored in Evernote notebooks and was originally designed to work with the iPad 2 Smart Cover technology, allowing users to lift the cover edge to view a question or clue and then lift it further to view the answer. Evernote Peek 2.1 now adds a Virtual Cover mode that allows the application to be used without a Smart Cover, thereby also adding compatibility with the original iPad; users can now swipe the virtual cover open and closed to get the same effect provided by the Smart Cover integration. The new version provides 10 different colour choices for the virtual cover and also adds five new study notebooks of European trivia provided by VisitEurope.com. Evernote Peek is available from the App Store as a free download.
iLounge has learned that Jawbone plans on adding a new, larger model to its Jambox speaker lineup. Called the Jambox Big, the follow-up to the company’s prior Jambox will retail for $300, and will be available in three colors—anthracite, red, and white. Jambox Big is expected to continue the earlier unit’s combination of rubber and textured metal design elements, with wireless speaker hardware inside. We have reached out to Jawbone for further details on the product and will update this article with further details.
In a recent meeting with Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer made several surprising statements about the Amazon Fire. Business Insider, citing Reitzes, claims that while the executives noted that the Fire’s $199 pricing appears to be disruptive and seems to be the iPad’s most important rising challenge, the product could also be the catalyst for further fragmentation in the tablet market, as it represents another platform—while compatible with Android, the apps work with Amazon products. Reitzes claims that the executives welcome further fragmentation in the Android ecosystem, as it could drive consumers—and likely developers—to Apple’s more stabile platform. Amazon will begin shipping the Amazon Fire on November 15.
Apple remained the top smartphone manufacturer in the U.S. in the third quarter, according to the latest data from Nielsen. Based on the data, the iPhone accounted for 28 percent of all smartphones in the U.S., while phones based on Google’s Android OS collectively represent 43 percent of the smartphone market. RIM’s BlackBerry accounted for 18 percent, Windows Phone for seven percent, and all other operating systems for four percent. Overall, smartphones now represent 43 percent of the overall U.S. cellphone market, and a “vast majority” of those under the age of 44 now own smartphones, with 62 percent of mobile adults aged 25-34 report owning one of the devices.