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Apple adds Food & Drink category to App Store

As expected, Apple today took its new Food & Drink category live in the App Store. The category was revealed in an earlier email from Apple to select developers, informing them of the change. According to that email, the category includes “apps that help users cook and bake, mix drinks, manage recipes, find new restaurants and bars, and learn what their friends like to eat and drink”, excluding “diet, grocery shopping, coupon-clipping, or food-related game apps.” Currently, the category holds 1120 apps; you can see the listings by following the link above.

Speakeasy Cocktails now universal

Open Air Publishing has released a universal update to its Speakeasy Cocktails app providing a native iPad user interface with Retina Display support. Speakeasy Cocktails is an interactive instruction book designed to inform users on how to mix the perfect drink, complete with video tutorials, graphics, recipes and expert advice from two award-winning bartenders. The app includes over 90 minutes of HD video tutorials featuring Jim Meehan and Joseph Schwartz, founders of New York City’s famed speakeasy revival bars and a unique collection of 200 fully interactive recipes created by 58 professional mixologists from leading cocktail bars in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia.

Additional features include recommendations for more than 100 spirits, liqueurs, bitters and other ingredients, a buying guide for common mixology tools and equipment, an interactive map of speakeasy-revival cocktail bars, and a history of the speakeasy. In addition to universal iPad support, the new version provides an updated Guided Tour of world speakeasies for 2012 with 17 new cocktail bars across the U.S. and U.K. and three new videos from Joseph Schwartz. Speakeasy Cocktails requires iOS 5.0 or later is available from the App Store for $10.

NBC Universal releases official Olympics apps

NBC Universal has officially launched two universal iOS apps to allow users in the U.S. to follow coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Summer Games. NBC Olympics (free) will provide users with news, video clips and photos for every sport and information on all Team USA athletes, along with social media integration to follow favourite sports, teams and athletes on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well as engage with other fans. The app provides real-time results and schedules, medal counts, and TV and online listings as well as a second screen experience for users following the NBC televised nightly Primetime Show. Push Notifications will provide breaking news, programming reminders, and results for selected team sand athletes.

NBC Olympics Live Extra (free) is a universal app that will provide live viewing of the 2012 London Olympic Summer games for verified cable, satellite and telco customers, complete with alternate camera views and full replays. Users can similarly follow their favourite events and sports and receive Push Notifications to be reminded of event start times. Users can browse by event, watch simulcasts of Olympic programming from NBC television cable channels and access DVR capabilities for most live streams and all full event replays. Users of the NBC Olympics Live Extra app must verify an existing cable, satellite or telco subscription at a tier that includes both CNBC and MSNBC to get access to the full collection of live stream content. Both of the NBC Olympics apps require iOS 5.0 or later, with video features accessible only to users in the U.S. and certain U.S. territories.

IMDb adds Social Features

IMDb has updated its iOS app adding new social features such as check-ins and message boards along with several other improvements to available information and discovery. IMDb 2.7 now allows users to “check-in” to Movies and TV shows and share what they are watching via Facebook and Twitter and access a variety of online message boards for topics ranging from general discussions to specific topics such as people, movies and shows.

The new version also increases the amount of IMDb data accessible within the app, including filming locations and soundtracks and adds a “More Like This” feature to help users discover new similar movies and TV shows while browsing through the app. New navigation buttons have also been added when viewing TV show episodes to allow users to quickly browse through episodes sequentially without having to navigate back and forth from the season listing. Additional enhancements include improvements to Watchlist support and a full History list along with various bug fixes and performance improvements. IMDb Movies & TV is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Rovio releases Amazing Alex

Rovio Entertainment has released Amazing Alex a new physics puzzler representing the company’s first departure from its venerable Angry Birds franchise. The new game puts players in the role of a whiz kid with a boundless imagination and a houseful of toys where they are challenged to build creative, chain reaction solutions to accomplish various tasks ranging from battling cardboard robots to cleaning up Alex’s room. Players build elaborate Rube Goldberg devices from a collection of toys that bounce, pop, ricochet, bash and crash into each other; most puzzles can be solved in more than one way and users can share their most creative solutions with their friends and see what their friends have come up with as well.

Amazing Alex includes 100 built-in levels and users can also design their own levels and share them with friends or worldwide using 35 different interactive objects set in four different locations. A gallery of user-contributed levels is expected to add to the replayability and Rovio also promises regular free updates with its own new level packs. Amazing Alex is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $1.

Otterbox rolls out Studio cases for iPhone 4, 4S

Otterbox has rolled out its new Studio Collection cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Based on the company’s Defender Series case, each of the new Studio Collection cases features custom designed artwork—Monique Maloney and Evan Mann are the first featured artists—on the rear, while maintaining features such as a three-layer design with an inner polycarbonate layer, an outer silicone layer, a built-in screen protector, push-through coverage for the volume, sleep/wake, and Home buttons, water-resistant covers for the ring/silent switch and headphone and 30-pin ports, and open access to all cameras. The new Otterbox Studio Collection cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are available now and sell for $60 each.

Klipsch intros S4i Rugged earphones

Klipsch has introduced its new S4i Rugged earphones. Based on the company’s earlier Image S4 earphone, the S4i features an 8.5mm dual magnet micro-speaker, rubberized moldings on the surface of each ear bud, moisture resistance, an oversized, in-line three-button remote and mic, four included sizes of oval ear tips, a clothing clip, and an included nylon zipper case. Klipsch’s S4i Rugged earphones will be available later this month and will sell for $100. [via Engadget]

iStabilizer launches Dolly mount for iPhone, iPod touch

iStabilizer has launched its new Dolly adjustable mount for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Dolly is a camera mount for iPhone featuring four large wheels for smooth tracking shots, an 11-inch adjustable arm to allow for changes in angle and position, an included iStabilizer Mount that can be used on any tripod with a standard camera mount, and compatibility with iPhones and iPod touches in a large range of cases. iStabilizer’s Dolly mount for the iPhone and iPod touch is available now and sells for $60.

Apple CEO Cook to meet with media executives

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been spotted this week at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, a well-known executive meetup. According to The New York Times, Cook was spotted having coffee with Paul Sagan, CEO of Internet content delivery company Akamai. Cook has reportedly lined up a number of one-on-one meetings with media executives who are also attending the conference, perhaps working on partnerships for a larger move into the home entertainment market. When asked what he was most looking forward to at the conference, Cook replied “all the private discussions I’ve set up this week.” Apple has been rumored in recent months to be working on a TV initiative, possibly including the introduction of an Apple-branded HDTV.

G-Form debuts Edge, Hydro sleeves for iPad

G-Form has debuted its new Reverse Ballistic Edge and Extreme Hydro sleeves for iPad. The Reverse Ballistic Edge sleeve offers open access to the front of the iPad, protection for the back, which is covered in the company’s Reactive Protection Technology (RPT) material and ballistic fabric, and open access to the rear camera. It is priced at $40. The Extreme Hydro Sleeve is a traditional sleeve, made from RPT material for maximum impact absorption, offering a zippered closure and an abrasion and water-resistant design. It sells for $50; both sleeves are available now.

Proporta teams with National Gallery on iPhone, iPad cases

Proporta has teamed up with the National Gallery in London to create a new line of iPhone and iPad cases featuring artwork depicting classic London scenes. Two snap-style cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are available, featuring a postcard print of Trafalgar Square and Monet’s “The Thames below Westminster”, respectively; both cases offer full access to all ports, controls, and cameras, and sell for $20 each. Also available are leather style folio cases for the third-generation iPad and iPhone 4/4S, featuring black exteriors and the aforementioned Trafalgar Square postcard print on the inside. They also offer full access to all ports, controls and cameras, and sell for $68 and $34, respectively. The full National Gallery line is available now.

Purported ‘iPad mini’, next-gen iPhone case molds pictured

New images of case molds claiming to be for a smaller iPad and next-generation iPhone have emerged online. The so-called iPad mini case mold as slightly thinner than the current iPad, but roughly two-thirds its size, with speakers flanking either side of a 19-pin dock connector on the bottom. GottaBeMobile claims that the images of the smaller iPad case mold come from a “trusted source inside the Apple supply chain”, who also supplied images of a next-generation iPhone case mold, which appears to match prior part leaks, and reinforces the idea that it will be taller than the current model, with a metal plate on the backside. Strangely, both reports refer to the molds as “engineering samples”. Apple is widely expected to introduce its next-generation iPhone later this year, and it appears increasingly likely that it may also announce a smaller iPad model at the same event.

Pure unveils Contour 100i speaker for iPhone, iPad, iPod

Pure has unveiled its new Contour 100i speaker for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. The dome-shaped Contour 100i features a rotating, iPad-compatible dock that hides away when not in use, two 3” drivers receiving 10W of power each, a rear bass port, a 3.5mm auxiliary input, a USB port for software updates, a 3.5mm headphone output, a custom auto-dimming LCD display, FM tuner, an included remote control, and two alarms with a snooze option. Pure’s Contour 100i speaker is available now from Brookstone and sells for $190. [via Engadget]

Readability adds Top Reads and Longform Picks

Readability has released an update to its iOS app with significant improvements to syncing performance, integrated third-party reading lists and YouTube and Vimeo support. Readability 1.1 now includes reading lists from both Top Reads and Longform Picks to help users discover new content along with a time-to-read display to help users choose the appropriate content for their reading preferences. A new double-tap action allows users to intelligently page up or down while reading and users can also now watch YouTube and Vimeo videos directly within the app, both for individual video links as well as videos embedded in articles. Readability is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Twitter adds Expanded Tweets, Notification Improvements

Twitter has released an update to its official iOS app adding support for its new Expanded Tweets feature and improving notification options along with several other user interface enhancements. With Twitter 4.3 users will be able to view extended content within Tweets containing links to selected partner websites such as content previews, images, videos and more. Selected events will also now provide an enhanced experience highlighting the best Tweets and photos from specific users involved in the event.

Twitter 4.3 also provides more options for Push Notifications, allowing users to now choose to receive notifications any time someone they follow posts a tweet or retweet to their timeline and provides less intrusive “ambient notifications” in the status bar when using the app. Additional enhancements include improvements to search autocompletion for users, tappable avatars that link directly to user profiles, notification of new information on the Discover tab, Hungarian language support and numerous bug fixes and performance improvements. Twitter 4.3 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Griffin rolls out MIDIConnect for iOS

Griffin Technology has rolled out its new MIDIConnect adapter for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Originally debuted at the 2012 CES, MIDIConnect connects to an iOS device via the 30-pin port, adding a standard MIDI input and output. Users can use the input to use MIDI-compatible instruments and controllers in a wide variety of MIDI-capable apps, including GarageBand, or alternately use the output from a controller app to perform music. Griffin Technology’s MIDIConnect adapter for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch is available now and sells for $80.

Google+ for iPad now available

Google has released a universal update to its Google+ app for iOS devices adding a native iPad user interface, support for Google+ Events and improvements to Google+ Hangouts. Announced last month at Google’s I/O conference, the Google+ 3.0 update introduces a new user interface designed specifically for the iPad with gestural navigation, easily tappable actions and a full screen stream and media viewing experience. New Google+ Hangout features have also been added with the ability to start a Hangout with up to nine friends from within the iOS app along with support for streaming a Hangout to an Apple TV via AirPlay.

This latest version also adds support for Google+ Events, allowing users to create and manage new events directly from their iOS device along with posting comments, uploading photos and viewing guest lists and RSVP status. Users can also browse through past event invitations with all of their accompanying photos and posts. Users can also now easily attach Instant Upload photos to new posts. Google+ 3.0 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.3 and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Ego & Company ships Hybrid USB Case for iPhone 4/4S

Ego & Company has announced that it is now shipping its Hybrid Series USB Case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Originally announced in December 2011, the Hybrid Series USB Case is a snap-on hard case featuring a removable USB stick for portable storage, as well as open access to all ports and controls. In addition, customers ordering the case online will have the ability to mix and match stick and case colors, for a total of 42 possible color combinations. Ego & Company’s Hybrid Series USB Case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is available now in 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB capacities, and sells for $35, $40, and $50, respectively.

Apple launches third-gen iPad in China on July 20

Apple this morning announced that it will launch the third-generation iPad in China on July 20. Both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi +Cellular models will be available through the Apple Online Store, from select Apple Authorized Resellers, and by reservation from Apple retail stores. According to the company, reservation requests will be accepted daily from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. beginning Thursday, July 19 for pick up the following day. As with the device’s launch in other locales, the arrival of the third-generation iPad in China will see the starting price of the iPad 2 lowered to $399 US.

eNotify adds advanced alerts, VoIP support

Josh Pressnell has released a major update to eNotify, his advanced e-mail notification app for iOS devices. Designed to provide a wide array of customizable notifications for incoming e-mail, eNotify runs in the background on iOS devices rather than relying on Push Notifications from an external server, directly monitoring e-mail accounts for new messages and providing fully customizable notifications. Users can configure rules based on account, priority, sender, subject line or recipient, scan multiple accounts and configure a Do Not Disturb schedule to silence alerts during specific times.

Version 3.0 provides a completely redesigned user interface that simplifies the setup process along with more advanced customization options for alerts, including the ability to create profiles for common alert configurations and easily switch between them. The new version allows the user to create high priority alerts that override the iPhone silent switch and combine criteria to create alerts with multiple triggers such alerts for messages with a specific subject received only from a given sender. Schedules can also now be set for additional alerts separately from the global Do Not Disturb setting. An alert history has been added to quickly see previous alerts along with an in-app marketplace for downloading additional alert tones. Users can also now re-order alert priority manually using drag-and-drop gestures, select specific folders to use as IMAP push triggers and make outbound VoIP calls directly from with the app. The update also improves battery life under certain configurations. eNotify is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.

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