Popular online music service Spotify has released an update to its iOS app adding native iPad support. Spotify 0.5 is now a universal app providing a new user interface designed specifically for the iPad, including Retina Display graphics with high-definition album art and a single, unified view for searching, browsing and exploring music. A full-screen view has also been added which along with AirPlay integration allows the app to more effectively be used in a living room stereo environment. The update also adds gapless playback and cross-fading support and fixes issues with offline synced playlists and crashes related to updating playlists and starring tracks. Spotify requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Incase has introduced its new Hammered Snap Case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Designed to resemble hammered steel, the snap-on-style case features hardshell construction, a soft-touch coating, open access to all ports, controls, and cameras, a metallic finish, and an included stand. Incase’s Hammered Snap Case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available now in four colors and sells for $35.
Apple has been sued by a New York-based iTunes customer who claims he was double-billed for a song. Justia reports that Robert Herskowitz was charged twice for the song “Whataya Want from Me”, and Apple refused to refund him for the extra charge. “Your request for a refund for “Whataya Want from Me” was carefully considered; however, according to the iTunes Store Terms of Sale, all purchases made on the iTunes Store are ineligible for refund,” Apple’s response read, according to the lawsuit. “This policy matches Apple’s refund policies and provides protection for copyrighted materials.” Herskowitz is seeking class action status for the suit.
The new, cheaper model of the iPad 2 has been found to have better battery life than its predecessor thanks to its smaller A5 processor, according to a new set of tests. Anandtech reports that the iPad 2,4—Apple’s internal reference for the new iPad 2 variant—offers significant battery life improvements over the prior iPad 2, with the increase ranging from 15.8 to 29 percent depending on the task. For example, the iPad 2,4 was able to playback a 720p video file for over fifteen hours on a single charge, easily besting the thirteen hours of the prior model. Notably, there have been conflicting reports as to how big an improvement users can see from the revised iPad 2; prior tests showed a far smaller improvement over the previous version. There appears to be no way to tell whether or not an iPad is a 2,1 model or a 2,4 model from outside the box, so consumers are currently left to guess as to which model they might be purchasing.
Cynapse has released an update to Localscope adding support for new location information sources and refinements to existing Google Places integration. Localscope is a location browser for the iPhone that allows users to explore the area around them for people, places, photos and other information collected from multiple search engines and social networks. Localscope allows users to search manually or look up information for what is around them, including geo-tagged photos and videos and points of interest, view results on a map, share that information with their friends and even integrate with many third-party navigation apps to get directions. Information is aggregated from a variety of sources including Google Local and Places, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Panoramio, Flickr, Picasa, Bing and several others.
The latest update adds Wikipedia and CitySearch to the list of information sources, allowing users to discover landmarks, historical locations and other points of interest from Wikipedia and find restaurants, local business and services using the Citigrid yellow pages info base. The new version also brings back Google Local search in tandem with the Google Places introduces in the last update, allowing users to choose the best of the two Google services for their own particular needs. Three new pre-defined search terms have also been added for Lawyers, Plumbers and Bakeries along with new and improved icons and updated Facebook API integration. Localscope requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.
Electronic Arts has updated Flight Control Rocket with new levels, a new game mode and four new power-ups. An evolution of the popular hit Flight Control game, Flight Control Rocket takes players into outer space where they must direct and dock space craft by tracing paths on the touchscreen. The new update adds ten new motherships for expanded game play that can be used in all game modes and adds a new “Rescue” mode where players are challenged to guide similarly-coloured ships to save floating astronauts. Four new “Bot” power ups have also been added: Swift Swarm, Resurrection, Dopper and Personal Trainer to help players achieve higher scores. The update also limits continues to 3 per game, offers additional game modes unlocked by landing ships and includes a number of other small fixes and performance improvements. Flight Control Rocket is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $1.
With over 3,000 votes from iLounge readers, our most recent poll—“Do you plan to purchase the third-gen Apple TV?”—has ended. Both positive and negative responses were provided for owners of first- and second-generation Apple TVs, as well as for those who don’t yet own an Apple TV.
Overall, 42 percent of readers said they plan on buying a third-generation Apple TV. 43 percent of those said that it will be their first Apple TV, while another 25 percent said they would be adding a third-generation unit alongside a first- or second-generation unit, 19 percent said they would be upgrading from a second-generation unit, and 12 percent said they were upgrading from a first-generation model. 27 percent of respondents said they own a second-generation Apple TV and plan to continue using it instead of upgrading, another 27 percent said they have no interest in the Apple TV—a surprise, given the device’s increasing utility for users of iOS devices—and 4 percent said they’re happy with their current first-gen units. Thanks for all your responses!
Our new poll returns to a topic we’ve covered several times in our poll, most recently in late 2010. We’d like to know what Apple device you’re currently using as your primary device for media playback. Are you using an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod touch, a more traditional iPod model, or an Apple TV? Our new poll—“What do you use today as your primary Apple device for media playback?”—lets you answer that question. You can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge.com home page. Cast your vote today!
Apple has announced that it has added support for 10 new languages to iTunes Connect. “We have expanded language support in iTunes Connect, so you can localize app metadata, keywords, and screenshots in 10 new languages: Traditional Chinese, Norwegian, Turkish, Finnish, Danish, Indonesian, Malay, Thai, Vietnamese, and Greek,” reads a notice on Apple’s Developer site. iTunes Connect, the suite of web-based tools developers use to submit and manage apps on the App Store, now offers support for more than 25 languages.
Bowers & Wilkins has announced its new P3 headphones. Available in white or black, the P3s are on-ear models, built from aluminum and rubber, and feature custom drivers with terminals that have been positioned to ensure uniform airflow and reduce distortion, custom ultra-light acoustic fabric on the ear pad covers, memory foam cushions, a collapsible design, an included hard-shell carry case, and two included cables—one that’s designed to work with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod, and a standard 3.5mm cable. Bowers & Wilkins’ P3 headphones will be available in June and are priced at $200.
Apple increased its share of the worldwide tablet market in the first quarter of 2012, according to the latest data from IDC. Apple shipped 11.8 million iPads during the quarter, good for 68 percent of the market, as sales of Android tablets declined sharply. Amazon, which had captured 16.8 percent of the market in Q4 2011 with its Kindle Fire tablet, saw its share of the market fall to just 4 percent in Q1 2012, allowing Samsung to pass them for second-place; Amazon was the third-largest tablet maker in the quarter, and was followed by Lenovo and Barnes & Noble.
iBattz has rolled out its new Mojo Treble Keychain cable and Mojo Removable Power Card Wallet for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad. The Treble is a compact, keychain-friendly accessory that combines a 30-pin cable, USB connector, SIM ejection tool, and microSD card reader in a single, small body. It supports 2.1 Amp fast charging for the iPad, and comes in white or black for $25. The Removable Power Card Wallet is a credit card-sized external battery that features a removable 1500mAh lithium battery module, a full-sized USB port for connecting a standard Apple 30-pin cable, and support for 1 Amp fast charging of the iPhone. It is also available in white or black and sells for $40. Both accessories are available now.
Chillingo has released an update to its highly-acclaimed physics puzzler Contre Jour HD (iLounge Rating: A) adding support for the iPad Retina Display along with 20 new levels. Contre Jour HD challenges players to move a small creature through a variety of levels consisting of resculptable platforms, ropes and slingshots to collect glowing lights and reach the exit while avoiding various obstacles and pitfalls. The latest update adds 20 new levels set in a jungle environment along with new movable tentacles and platforms; a bonus ending sequence is also now available for players who manage to collect all 300 lights in the game. In addition, players can now purchase the Contre Jour Soundtrack, produced by David Ari Leon, from directly within the game. Contre Jour HD is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $3.
Logitech has unveiled its new Solar Keyboard Folio case for the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad. As the name suggests, the Solar Keyboard Folio is a folio-style case, featuring a built-in Bluetooth keyboard that is powered via integrated solar panels that charge the battery when exposed to light, built-in magnets that activate the automatic sleep/wake functionality, and two different stand angles. Logitech’s Solar Keyboard Folio will be available later this month and sells for $130.
Ilium Software has added iCloud support in an update to its eWallet secure information management application. eWallet allows users to securely store information such as passwords, account info and credit card numbers on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with strong 256-bit AES encryption and integration for launching web URLs from directly within the app. The application provides a rich graphical user interface with the ability to layout information as virtual cards with pre-defined or custom backgrounds and photos and organization into categories and subcategories. With eWallet 7.3 users can now automatically keep their data in sync between multiple iOS devices using iCloud, making it much easier to use the universal app between an iPad and iPhone without needing to sync via a desktop application. iCloud sync is presently available only in the iOS version; synchronization with the Windows or Mac version of eWallet still requires a local Wi-Fi connection. eWallet 7.3 is available from the App Store for $10.
PopCap has released a minor update to Plants vs. Zombies HD to address an issue with some customers losing coins in the prior version. To compensate users for the glitch, all players will receive a free 50,000 coin bonus when updating to the latest version. Version 1.9.4 also fixes problems with Survival mode not being properly unlocked for users who have completed Adventure mode. Plants vs Zombies HD 1.9.4 is available from the App Store for $7.
Parallels has updated Parallels Mobile, its iOS remote control app for Macs running Parallels Desktop, adding iOS 5 and third-generation iPad compatibility and several UI improvements. Parallels Mobile allows users to control both the host Mac and any Parallels virtual machines running on it remotely from an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. The updated version fixes problems with scrolling on both Windows and Mac, allowing a two-finger gesture to be used to scroll properly within windows, particularly for Lion users. Support for international keyboard layouts is now available when working in Mac applications and and Mac sign-on screens have been re-designed to simplify the connection process. Parallels Mobile is available from the App Store for a limited time price of $5.
Bang & Olufsen has debuted its new Beoplay A3 speaker system for the iPad. Triangular in shape, the A3 extends past the bottom and top of the iPad, and serves as both a speaker system and stand for the device. It features three 1/2” tweeters—two of which are active at any time, based on orientation—plus a two-inch woofer, a built-in battery with 5 hours of playback life, ABS plastic and aluminum construction, and an integrated dock connector. Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay A3 system is compatible with all iPad models and is priced at £449, or roughly $730.
Micron/Crucial has entered the iOS accessory market with its new PoP Video projector. Designed specifically for use with an iPhone or iPod touch, the PoP Video is a pocket-sized projector with a built-in Dock Connector on top. Measuring roughly half an inch think, the PoP Video offers 960x540 resolution, and features a built-in rechargeable battery good for two hours of playtime, the ability to charge fully in about four hours over Micro-USB, and compatibility with the companion PoP Video app. Micron/Crucial’s new PoP Video projector is available for pre-order now for $99; a release date has yet to be announced. [via Cnet]
Luxury hotel chain The Ritz-Carlton has released an official free app for the iPhone, providing reservation, local guide, and concierge features for all of its worldwide hotels and resorts. Like other hotel apps, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts app allows users to make, view and edit upcoming reservations at any of the hotel’s locations, browse hotel information along with photo galleries and amenities, and view interactive maps and directions. Additionally, users can access or enroll in a Ritz-Carlton Rewards account, receive special offers while staying at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, learn about events at the hotel, and receive recommendations and tips for nearby attractions, dining, entertainment and more.
In a novel touch, the Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts app also integrates the company’s Foursquare World Concierge service. Launched last spring, this service provides information and recommendations via Foursquare, posted and curated by The Ritz-Carlton’s famous concierge service. Location services integration allows the application to determine when a guest has arrived at a Ritz-Carlton location, then provide appropriate destination and landmark tips assembled by The Ritz-Carlton Concierge team. In addition, the app provides access to exclusive Presidential Tips and other information that can be accessed by using the iPhone camera to scan QR codes located throughout the hotels and resorts; for example at The Ritz-Carlton Berlin, guests can enjoy a digital scavenger hunt led by QR codes and clues at each stop. The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts app is available from the App Store as a free download.
RockBandAide reports that Electronic Arts’ Rock Band for the iPhone and iPod touch will be shutting down at the end of this month. Originally released in October 2009, the original Rock Band has not seen an update since November 2010, shortly before the release of the Rock Band Reloaded sequel, suggesting that EA was placing its focus on the newer version. A mobile adaptation of the popular console game, Rock Band included 32 songs with the option to purchase additional premium tracks via in-app purchase for $1 each, allowing players to invest considerably more money in the game beyond the original $5 purchase price.
Players now see a message upon launching the app indicating that “Rock Band will no longer be playable on your device” after May 31st. EA’s own Service Updates page does indicate that “Connected features” for a number of products will be discontinued on May 28, 2012, including “Rock Band for Android, iPhone, Palm and feature phones,” but makes no reference to the usability of the game in general. Rock Band for iOS does not require an online connection to play, however the message stating that it will “no longer be playable” suggests that the game will be disabled entirely rather than merely losing access to its online features such as music purchases and leaderboards. While there do not appear to be any technical reasons that would require the game to stop working entirely, it has been speculated that the expiry of licensing agreements for music within the app may be a factor.
Notably, the original Rock Band remains on sale on the App Store for $5 with nothing in its description suggesting an impending shutdown of the game or even any aspect of its online components. [via Touch Arcade]