National Geographic has released a new educational iOS app, Look & Learn: Animals. Based on the popular early National Geographic learning books series, the app teaches preschoolers about animals and the alphabet through a collection of beautiful animal photography and sounds with three age-appropriate learning games. Children can play animal matching games and practice shape recognition, bounce animals around and try to imitate their sounds, guess animal names while learning the alphabet and view animal photos and listen to fun facts about each animal. Look & Learn: Animals Vol. 1 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $3.
Open Door Networks has released an update to Art Authority for iPad, its virtual art museum and library for the iPad, adding support for the third-generation iPad Retina Display. Art Authority provides users with access to a collection of more than 50,000 works from over 1,000 of the western world’s greatest artists, organized into virtual rooms by period. Users can browse works of art by period, choose a specific artist to view an exhibition devoted to that artist and search for and compare different artists’ works by areas such as subject and location. The latest update to Art Authority for the iPad now provides high-resolution artwork throughout the app, from the virtual room presentations to the actual works of art. The new version also adds highlights buttons in all rooms, an “Art Like This” shortcut to view works similar to the one currently being displayed and iOS 5 Twitter support for tweeting out links to works. Art Authority for iPad is requires iOS 4.2 or later, with iOS 5.0 or later requires for Twitter support, and is available from the App Store for $5.
iSkin has rolled out its new Fuze and Fuze SE cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Both the Fuze and Fuze SE are hybrid-style cases, featuring a soft inner core and a hard exterior, as well as push-through protection for the sleep/wake and volume buttons, a removable 30-pin port cover, and open access to all other ports, controls, and cameras. The Fuze offers a tro-tone color scheme of a matte black rear panel, a blue, pink, or grey front, and white trim around the screen, while the Fuze SE sports a black and grey color scheme accented by a brushed aluminum front plate that also adds push-through coverage for the Home button. iSkin’s Fuze and Fuze SE cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are available now and sell for $50 and $60, respectively.
Foodspotting has updated its iOS app with a new user interface based on extending the company’s general redesign from February. Foodspotting 3.5 introduces a new Place Page layout that provides personalized recommendations for a given venue along with reviews and details from Yelp, menus from Single Platform and the ability to make reservations via OpenTable. A new Profile Page allows users to see what dishes they have become an expert in, customize their user profile and see what their friends are up to at a glance. The update also provides the ability to explore the map view using photos and specify a manual location to search from and search for guides. Foodspotting 3.5 is available from the App Store as a free download.
IK Multimedia has announced that it is now shipping its iRig Mix DJ and audio mixer for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Recipient of an iLounge Best of Show award at the 2012 CES, the iRig Mix features full EQ adjustment, a crossfader, a headphone cue and a mic input, dual stereo inputs, standard RCA outputs, and a microUSB-based charger. It works in conjunction with the DJ Rig app to allow the iRig Mix to mix two audio sources from a single iOS device, and offers X-Sync, a unique feature that can beat match audio from two separate iOS devices when using the DJ Rig app. IK Multimedia’s iRig Mix is available now and sells for $100; for more information, see our full review.
Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was deeply involved in the development of the next-generation iPhone, according to a new report. Citing multiple people with knowledge of Apple’s plans, Bloomberg reports that Apple will “overhaul” the look of the iPhone with the next-generation model. It also claims that Jobs worked closely on the phone, which is said to sport a larger screen than past models. Earlier this month, iLounge reported that the next iPhone is slated to have a screen that’s roughly 4-inches diagonally, and that’s taller than prior screens, allowing Apple to increase the screen size without needing to widen the device itself.
IIS has released a minor update to gMusic adding the ability to update Google Music track information from directly within the app. gMusic is an unofficial app for Google Music allowing iOS users to access their Google cloud-based music libraries for both live and offline listening, also adding other features unavailable in Google’s own HTML5 web app, such as “Now Playing” lock screen integration. With gMusic 2.4 users can now edit track data directly within the app and non-English characters are also now supported for grouping tracks. In addition, Google users with two-factor authentication enabled can now use application specific passwords for authentication. gMusic is a universal app requiring iOS 4.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.
Griffin Technology has updated iTalk Recorder Premium adding support for uploading records directly to SoundCloud for sharing. iTalk Recorder Premium is a full-featured voice recording app for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows users to quickly and easily record audio, including the ability to append to existing audio recordings and choose from three different quality levels. The application supports background recording allowing users to access other apps while a recording is in progress and supports automatic noise cancellation on the iPhone 4/4S. Recordings can be sent out via e-mail, uploaded to Dropbox, or accessed through iTunes File Sharing, and with the latest update, can now also be uploaded directly to SoundCloud. iTalk Recorder Premium is available from the App Store for $2.
Ravensburger Digital has launched Scotland Yard, bringing the popular board game to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In Scotland Yard, players take on the role of one of five Scotland Yard detectives or the elusive Mister X. Detective players must work together to travel throughout London using a limited number of taxi, bus and underground tickets in an attempt to locate and capture Mister X, who must in turn attempt to evade capture by the detectives, leaving only occasional appearances and his discarded transit tickets as clues to his whereabouts.
The iOS adaptation remains largely faithful to the original classic board game, adding a few new twists such as a new night-themed London setting along with HD graphics for the iPhone and iPad Retina Display. The game is designed for 3-6 players who can participate via pass-and-play on a single device or using local Bluetooth/Wi-Fi or online Game Center multiplayer across multiple devices; a single player mode is also supported with other pieces being played by the AI. Voice and text chat is also supported in multiplayer games allowing players to easily coordinate their moves and strategy, and an integrated tutorial provides new players with easy instructions for getting started in the game. Scotland Yard is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $5.
Apple has announced that it plans to power its Maiden, NC data center using nothing but renewable energy. Reuters reports that Apple is building two solar array installations nearby, which will produce roughly 84 million kWh of energy annually, with a separate bio-gas fuel-cell plant to supply the rest of their energy needs. “I’m not aware of any other company producing energy onsite at this scale,” said Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer. “The plan we are releasing today includes two solar farms and together they will be twice as big as we previously announced, thanks to the purchase of some land very near to the data center in Maiden, which will help us meet this goal.” Apple plans for the Maiden facility to be coal-free by the end of 2012.
Readdle has released a major update to the iPhone version of PDF Expert adding the ability add signatures to documents, attach audio notes and more. PDF Expert is a professional PDF document reader for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows users to read and add annotations to PDF documents as well as filling out PDF forms. Users can open documents from other iOS apps, online services such as Dropbox, and Google Docs or directly via iTunes File Sharing or Wi-Fi. Version 3.0 allows iPhone and iPod touch users to now sign documents—a feature already been available in the iPad version—as well as create and attach audio notes to documents and play back embedded video from within PDF documents. Users can also now use stamps and seals on PDF documents, preview files on a “Shelf View” mode and sort, organize and find documents. Microsoft SkyDrive support has also been added for accessing and sharing PDF files. PDF Expert 3.0 requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $10.
Sprint will soon begin a promotion in which customers can trade in any iPhone model and receive $100 off an iPhone 4S in return. TechnoBuffalo reports that starting May 18, Sprint will offer $100 on any iPhone trade-in—assumedly including the original model—towards a new iPhone 4S. The offer will reportedly be available for current and new customers alike, but requires a new line of service and a two-year commitment. According to the article, the offer is set to expire on June 30th.
Apple has started to censor out the word “jailbreak” on all listings on the iTunes & App Stores. MacRumors reports that the filtering extends to even song and album titles, including an entire album from Thin Lizzy and two episodes of The Roy Rodgers Show. Apple has long been opposed to jailbreaking, which the company has argued is tantamount to copyright infringement.
Sensopia has released a minor update to MagicPlan adding support for sharing finished plans via Facebook and Twitter. Designed to allow users to easily create floor plans, MagicPlan uses an augmented reality view leveraging the camera and gyroscope to map out and measure rooms; the user can simply stand in a single convenient location in the room, capturing corners and doorway edges using the iOS camera. MagicPlan then uses this information to calculate the dimensions of the room and generate a floor plan for that particular room; multiple room floor plans can also be easily connected together to create a complete floor plan of the entire property. MagicPlan 2.1 now provides the ability to post completed floor plans as news feed items on Facebook or as pictures via Twitter in addition to the ability to export plans to PDF, JPEG or publish on the MagicPlan web site. MagicPlan is a free universal app requiring iOS 5.0 or later and an iPad 2, third-generation iPad, iPhone 4/4S or fourth-generation iPod touch; commercial use requires in-app payment of $2 per floor plan.
Cerebral Gardens has released Party Doodles, a new party game app specifically designed to combine the iPad and Apple TV using AirPlay. A drawing and guessing game designed for group play, Party Doodles uses the iPad and Apple TV as a virtual chalkboard to allow players to doodle and sketch clues and tally scores. Players can group into two teams of up to 10 players each and take turns drawing clues for items and phrases for other players on their team to guess in the allotted time for each round. Three virtual drawing boards allow players to quickly switch between drawings along with variable pen sizes and colours. Users can choose from three difficulty levels for each turn with more points awarded for more challenging answers. The free game includes a starter pack of cards sufficient for several hours of play with nine additional themed card packs available for $1 each or $7 for the whole set. Facebook and Twitter integration is also provided to allow users to share their doodles online. Party Doodles requires an iPad 2 or third-generation iPad with iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Fotopedia has released Fotopedia Morocco, the latest in its series of photographic travelogue apps for iOS. Featuring the photography of acclaimed photographer Jacques Bravo, Fotopedia Morocco allows users to explore the beauty and heritage of Morrocco from the maze-like streets of historic towns and villages to the Atlantic Ocean, Atlas Mountains and Sahara desert. Thousands of stunning photographs cover cities such as Casablanca, Marrakesh, Tangier, Fez and the World Heritage sites of Meknes, Tetouan, Essaouira or El Jadida taking users on an immersive visual tour of such sights as a mosque built on water, snake charmers, oases, the Fantasia festival and the Roses Valley. The app also includes Visual Stories published several times per week along with interactive maps and a Trip Builder for those looking to combine the virtual experience with an actual visit to the country. Users can share their favourite images via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, view slideshows and choose from a collection of free wallpapers within the app. Fotopedia Morocco is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Speaking at the J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said that the company plans to phase customers out of grandfathered-in unlimited data plans as they migrate to LTE. “Everyone will be on data share,” Shammo said, clarifying that, “a lot of our 3G base is on unlimited… [and] when they migrate off 3G they will have to go to data share.” Verizon plans to introduce new shared family data plans in the middle of the year.
Focal is now offering its Spirit One over-ear headphones. Built around an aluminum frame, the Spirit One features 40mm drivers, an adjustable headband, passive sound isolation, articulating ear cup joints, a detachable cable, and an in-line three-button remote and microphone that’s compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. It also includes a jack adapter cord, an airline adapter, a soft travel bag, and a hard storage case. Focal’s Spirit One over-ear headphones are available now on Amazon and sell for $279.
Canadian broadcaster CTV has released an update to its iPad application adding support for the iPhone and iPod touch and the ability to officially stream content via AirPlay. The CTV app provides on-demand streaming access to a variety of television shows from the CTV network along with the ability to bookmark favourite episodes, share links via Twitter and Facebook and view local CTV broadcast schedules. The app also provides an interactive CTV Social Screen feature that allows users to engage in moderated online chats during select live broadcasts using their Twitter or Facebook IDs. The prior, iPad-only version of the CTV app allowed AirPlay streaming on iOS devices that supported AirPlay Mirroring—specifically the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad—however older devices without AirPlay mirroring support were limited to streaming audio only. The latest update allows any device with AirPlay support to send video to the Apple TV via AirPlay. CTV is a universal app, requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the Canadian App Store as a free download.
Flipboard has released an update to its social news magazine app for iOS devices adding support for SoundCloud and a new Audio category in the Content Guide. In Flipboard 1.9 users can connect to SoundCloud to access sounds created and shared by friends and other people they follow and explore a whole new set of recommended audio feeds in the Content Guide’s new “Audio” category. The new version also improves accessibility for visually impaired people, adding support for Apple’s VoiceOver feature for navigating Flipboard and listening to articles. Additional new features include Japanese localization, support for saving articles to Readability and the ability to view related sections for social networks in the iPhone version. Flipboard 1.9 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.