Bolt Creative has released the latest update to Pocket God, its popular episodic microgame for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Pocket God, players assume the role of an all-powerful deity that rules over a group of primitive islanders, exercising a variety of god-like powers to play with, amuse or torment the natives. First released over three years ago, Pocket God has continued to expand and evolve with new features such as powers and characters added in the form of regular, free episodic updates.
The latest update, episode 45 in the series is dubbed Dance Dance Execution and allows players to take their pygmies into a new Dance Room, deep within the Apocalypse temple, and let them boogie on the dance floor, shake it in the go-go cage or inhale gas from organic party balloons. The update also incorporates a mini-game in the style of Tap Tap Revenge and Dance Dance Revolution where the player taps to the rhythm of a dance loop to make a selected pygmy literally dance for his life. A custom dance pack is also available as a $1 in-app purchase providing additional dance tracks and moves for the pygmies to enjoy, including the Elaine Dance, Kony Guy Naked Dance, Hammer Time, Double Dream Hands, Bad Zombie and the YMCA, along with an exclusive track, “The Pygmy Theme,” written and performed by “Nerdcore” punk superstar Parry Grip of Nerf Herder fame. Pocket God is available from the App Store for $1.
App Savvy has released an update to Agenda Calendar introducing a new fast event creation screen and a number of other enhancements based on user feedback. Agenda Calendar is a universal calendar app for iOS devices that provides additional themes and views along with enhanced features over the built-in iOS Calendar app such as advanced gesture support, sharing of events and status updates, custom alerts and more. Agenda Calendar 3.0 showcases a new “super fast” event creation screen with a simplified layout and adds that ability to set highly customizable repeat options during event creation. Users can also now add contacts to events for use with status taps and set defaults for alerts and event duration. iPad users can also now swipe left or right to change views and choose a smaller modal view if desired. Additional enhancements include an expanded number of alert times, the ability to hide text from All Day events and toggle to the native iOS event creation screen, along with a number of stability and bug fixes. Agenda Calendar is a universal app requiring iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $1.
Apple has released Apple TV Software Update 5.0.2, the latest update for its black set top box. Available for both the second- and third-generation Apple TV, it is currently unclear what changes the update might include, as Apple has yet to update its Apple TV Software Update page with information on the release; however, point updates such as this normally include only minor bug fixes and changes. Apple TV Software Update 5.0.2 is available now via the Software Update feature of the Apple TV’s Settings menu.
Mophie has announced its new Juice Pack Pro, an oversized, rugged battery case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Touted as having the largest battery ever built into a Juice Pack, the Pro offers a 2,500 mAh capacity battery, which the company claims is good for a 150% boost over the built-in cells of the iPhone 4/4S, as well as a rugged, multi-layer case—comprised of a high-impact polycarbonate inner shell, a silicone protective wrap, a waterproof speaker cover and anti-glare screen protector—that exceeds military specifications (MIL-STD 810G) for resistance to rain, sand, dust, and shock exposure. Other features include pass-though controls for the Home button, volume, and sleep/wake buttons, a pass-through USB port that allows for charging and syncing of the device without the need for removal, a 4 LED battery charge status indicator, a dedicated on/off switch for the battery, and an included quick-draw, shatterproof rotating belt clip. Mophie’s Juice Pack Pro for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available now and sells for $130.
Virgin Mobile, a pay-as-you-go brand of Sprint, will soon announce plans to offer the iPhone on its network starting as soon as July 1, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the company’s plans, MarketWatch reports that Sprint is expected to make an announcement about its plans this week. The report suggests that the launch of the iPhone on Sprint’s pre-paid brands may help satisfy its substantial purchasing commitment with Apple. Notably, a report from earlier this week claimed that another Sprint pre-paid brand, Boost Mobile, would begin offering the iPhone in early September; that report was quickly refuted. Pricing for the iPhone on Virgin Mobile remains unknown, although pre-paid carrier Leap Wireless—who will launch the 16GB iPhone 4S on June 22 for $500—may provide a clue as to what to expect from other pre-paid iPhone launches.
PhatWare had updated PhatPad for the iPad adding a new search and replace feature that includes the ability to search for handwritten text in documents. PhatPad is an advanced drawing and writing application for the iPad that allows users to sketch, draw and hand-write notes in digital ink that are then converted into digital text and properly formed geometric shapes. In version 2.2 users can now search handwritten text for characters or words, with the search performed directly within the app on the iPad rather than requiring an Internet connection to an external server. The handwritten recognition quality has also been improved in the latest update and users can also now change vertical and horizontal gridline spacing and snap objects to the grid for easier alignment. PhatPad requires an iPad running iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.
Incase has introduced two new leather cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The Leather Snap Case is a hardshell snap-on case that features a premium leather exterior colored with semi-transparent aniline dyes to preserve the unique characteristics of the leather and allow the case to develop a unique patina over time. It is available in two colors and sells for $50. The Leather Snapshot Clutch is a folio-style case, featuring an integrated hardshell case that slides up to expose the rear camera, four interior slots to hold cards, ID, and cash, a removable wrist strap, and a snap closure. It is also available in two colors—a glossy piano black or metallic gold—and sells for $60; both cases are available now.
PowerA has debuted its new lineup of officially licensed Star Wars cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The limited edtion lineup includes four character-inspired Collector Cases—representing R2-D2, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and Darth Vader, each with its own unique details—and two Saga Cases featuring original poster art. All of the cases offer open access to all ports, controls, and cameras and will be available later this year; the Collector Cases will run $40, while the Saga Cases will cost $30.
Apple has quietly posted a new iOS Security guide (PDF Link) online. Seemingly aimed at businesses and other organizations considering the adoption of iOS devices, the 20-page document addresses several broad topics related to iOS security, including system architecture, encryption and data protection, network security, and device access. For those interested, the full document is available as a free download from the link above. [via MDN]
iPont has updated FlickrStackr with support for Flickr’s new iPad optimized photo sizes, allowing users to view Retina Display quality photos on their iPad without having to download the original full-resolution photos; the new feature improves performance and saves bandwidth, although the new image sizes are currently only available for photos uploaded after March 1, 2012. Users can also now use iCloud to save Stacks and Accounts and synchronize them across multiple devices for a consistent user experience. The update also adds a number of other enhancements including redesigned accounts, home and user screens with a better presentation and layout and user-configurable colour themes, performance and UI navigation improvements and a number of other fixes and optimizations. FlickrStackr requires iOS 4.0 or later with iOS 5 required for iCloud support; it is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $2.
ALK Technologies had released an update to its original CoPilot Live series of applications, providing users with a much-delayed, albeit free upgrade offering the features introduced in last year’s new CoPilot Live Premium app. Last summer, ALK revamped its CoPilot Live series of apps, splitting them into a separate Premium and Standard tier and releasing them as separate and entirely new applications. The new Premium application was initially sold at a discount in consideration of users who had already purchased the prior version, but still required users to spend money to purchase what was essentially an upgrade and install it as an entirely new application. Further, users of the original applications who chose not to purchase the new Premium version were left with outdated map data.
The new update to the original CoPilot Live applications now provides users with a free upgrade to the new generation of CoPilot Live applications along with an update to the most current 2011 Q4 map data. New features include a redesigned and more intuitive user interface, support for alternate routes, drag-and-drop route editing, speed limit displays and warnings, lane indicator and signpost information and integration with Wikipedia and Bing Local Search for finding points of interest and looking up additional information about them. The upgrade also preserves data such as favourites, recents and subscriptions for existing users. Although the original CoPilot Live applications remain available for sale on the App Store, new users should purchase the CoPilot Live Premium apps, which are available in a number of region-specific apps with prices ranging from $20-$60 for the iPhone only versions depending on the region; universal “HD” versions are also available in the $25-$70 price range.
At its media event to kick off the Electronic Entertainment Expo—better known as E3—Microsoft showed off a new technology that will allow the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch to interact with content from the console. As explained by the company, SmartGlass will be a standalone app that runs on portable devices like tablets and smartphones and enables deeper interactivity with select games and content. For example, a football game might allow a player to draw up a play on their iPad and then perform it in the game, or a TV show or movie might show extra content related to the current scene. In addition, Microsoft also announced a new game/virtual trainer called Nike+ Kinect Training, which uses the Kinect motion sensing accessory to track the user’s movements and ensure they are performing exercises properly, and Xbox Music, an all-new music streaming service coming to all Microsoft devices.
Griffin Technology has rolled out its new WoodTones earbuds for the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and other portable devices. WoodTones feature lightweight housings that are made with wood reclaimed from other manufacturing processes, 8mm neodymium magnet drivers, three sizes of included silicone ear cushions for a proper fit, smooth black cabling, and an included natural hemp fiber carrying pouch. Griffin’s WoodTones earbuds are available now and sell for $30.
Apple is preparing to bring Siri to the iPad in iOS 6, according to a new report. Citing trusted sources, 9to5Mac reports that Siri on the iPad will offer the full slate of features offered on the iPhone 4S—minus phone call dialing, obviously—and will rely on the iPad’s built-in microphone, which the report claims is fully capable of handling Siri queries accurately. The report goes on to claim that Siri’s interface on the iPad will not be full-screen, as on the iPhone 4S, but will instead slide up from below the display using a “clever” animation, and will appear to float atop the current interface. While the feature has apparently been tested on both the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad, the report suggests that it will likely be exclusive to the latter in an effort to limit the strain put on the still-in-beta feature’s servers. The report claims that it is still unclear whether the feature will be announced next week at WWDC or at an assumed fall event to announce the next-generation iPhone.
In a separate report, 9to5Mac claims that iOS 6 will also bring several small improvements over from OS X Mountain Lion, including support for syncing open Safari tabs between Macs and iOS devices using iCloud, Mail VIPs, a feature that puts a star next to emails received from a specific group of people—this list would also be synced across devices using iCloud—and a Do Not Disturb toggle for Notification Center that will disable alerts and banners while on, and will be located near the Airplane Mode toggle in Settings.
UNu has unveiled its new Ex-Era battery case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Sporting a slide-on, detachable design, the Ex-Era allows users to remove the battery housing when not in use in order to maintain a lower profile. Other features include a swappable 1,700 mAh battery module, an included screen protector and cleaning cloth, and open access to all ports, cameras, and controls, save for the Dock Connector. uNu’s Ex-Era battery case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available for pre-order now and sells for $80.
Marco Arment has released an update to Instapaper adding Background Update Locations, a new feature that allows users to configure the app to automatically download new articles when a user arrives at or leaves specific locations. Using a technique pioneered by News.me, the new feature leverages the Region Monitoring API introduced in iOS 5 which allows third-party applications to perform tasks when users enter or leave a location. With Instapaper 4.2.2 users can add up to 10 locations and Instapaper will update automatically whenever the users arrive at or leave any of those locations. Arment notes in his blog that these locations are used only within the app itself and not shared or sent to Instapaper’s servers or any other web service. He also indicates that the use of the geofencing feature by Instapaper does not appear to have any impact on battery life on either the iPhone or iPad. Instapaper 4.2.2 is available from the App Store for $5. Background Update Locations requires an iPhone 4/4S, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G or third-generation iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular.
iOS 6, the upcoming version of Apple’s operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, will offer rewritten versions of the stock applications and Facebook integration, according to a pair of new reports. Citing a source with deep connections to Apple, iDownloadBlog claims that iOS 6 will offer stock applications that feature improved capabilities and some “major surprises”, but will look nearly identical to iOS 5 when looking at the lock or Home screens. “Basically, you wont know it is iOS 6 until you launch apps”, said the source. Separately, TechCrunch reports that iOS 6 will offer Facebook integration. The report claims that the sharing options and interface will likely be very similar to the Twitter integration found in iOS 5, and that the move should allow for more seamless handling of Facebook authentication within applications. Apple is expected to introduce iOS 6 during its keynote address at WWDC on June 11.
Vonage has updated its Vonage Mobile calling app for the iPhone and iPod touch adding Bluetooth support and several other messaging related enhancements. Vonage Mobile allows iOS device users to place free voice-over-IP calls to other Vonage Mobile app users and make calls directly to landline phone numbers for low, per-minute rates with up to 3,000 minutes per month of free calls to phone numbers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico for a limited time. Version 1.5 adds the ability to use any iOS-supported Bluetooth headset for making calls with the app and adds text messaging improvements allowing users to share address book contacts and include photos, locations and contacts in a single message. Users can also now open received locations directly in the Maps app and send website links to other Vonage Mobile users. The update also simplified the registration process and improves call quality, connectivity and performance. Vonage Mobile is available from the App Store as a free download. Calls to International and some domestic U.S. and Canadian numbers may require credit to be purchased via in-app purchase.
Apple has begun sending out e-mails to current and former MobileMe subscribers as a reminder of the service’s scheduled shutdown on June 30, 2012 and advising users to ensure that they download any Gallery photos and iDisk files and move any iWeb sites that are still hosted on the service before that date.
The subscription-based MobileMe service was replaced by the free iCloud service last fall with the release of iOS 5; at that time Apple announced the MobileMe sunset date of June 30, 2012, providing users with the option of migrating their MobileMe accounts over to iCloud at their own pace. Not all of MobileMe’s services were transitioned to iCloud, however, so users who migrated their MobileMe accounts to iCloud were allowed to continue using the Gallery, iDisk and web publishing services from their former MobileMe account up until the scheduled MobileMe shutdown date. An Apple support article provides additional guidance on saving content from the MobileMe service both for users who have already migrated to iCloud and for those who are unable to migrate to iCloud due to using non-iCloud-compatible devices.
The Verge reports that the European Telecommunications Standards Institute has adopted a proposal for a new nano-SIM format. The new design will be approximately 40 percent smaller than the existing micro-SIM format and will be packaged in a way designed to be backward-compatible with existing SIM card designs in much the same way that micro-SIM cards are currently distributed.
Today’s announcement follows several weeks of discussion and conflict between two major proposals for the new standard put forward by competing mobile groups; Motorola, Nokia and RIM had proposed their own design in opposition to a proposal made by Apple. Both designs were revised throughout the selection process with the resulting final designs now very similar to each other with exactly the same exterior dimensions. ETSI has not yet published the specifications for the new standard and has declined to comment on which group’s design was selected. [via Mac Rumors]