Omz:software has released a major update to its popular NewsRack RSS reader for the iPhone and iPad adding iOS 4 support and several additional features and improvements. NewsRack 2.5 now supports background task completion and fast app switching on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices and provides high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display. A new slideshow mode is also now available for iPad users. Additional improvements include much faster synchronization with Google Reader, the ability to mark articles as unread, synchronization of Google Reader shared items, Instapaper Mobilizer support and the ability to download older news items from Google Reader. The update also provides a number of user interface improvements on both the iPhone and iPad platforms, although themes are no longer available for iPhone and iPod touch users. NewsRack 2.5 is currently not compatible with the iPhone 3G with iOS 4; the developer indicates an update for this will be “follow shortly.” The iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 are fully supported, as are any devices running iOS 3.x. NewsRack is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for current users.
Resolution Interactive has released a sequel to its acclaimed Aqua Moto Racing game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Aqua Moto Racing 2 is a first-person water racing game that allows players to race one of 12 unique JetSkis in exotic locations such as the Tropics, Greece and Egypt. The game provides significantly improved graphics with dynamic waves and an improved wave physics engine for increased realism. Players can race in six different locations with unique lighting, choose from 48 different courses, and play in career mode to unlock new championships and achievements in the quest to attain Legendary Status. Players level-up their rider through 10 different ranks by performing stunts, beating target times, unlocking medals and winning championships, and can connect to OpenFeint to challenge other players and compare race results on the OpenFeint Leaderboards. Aqua Moto Racing 2 is available from the App Store for $5. A free Lite version with only three courses and three JetSkis is also available.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Citigroup has disclosed a security flaw in its free U.S. mobile-banking application for iOS devices. Citi has indicated that the iOS app inadvertently saves information such as account numbers, bill payments and security access codes on users’ iOS devices and that this information may also be saved to a users’ desktop computer as part of the iTunes backup created during the sync process. The issue is reported to have affected approximately 117,600 Citigroup customers who have registered the iPhone app with Citi since its March 2009 launch, however the bank does not believe that any personal data has actually been exposed by the flaw. Citi has sent out letters to customers advising them of the security issue and directing users to download the newest version of the Citi Mobile app as a mandatory update. The latest version of Citi Mobile addresses this issue and also provides iPod touch support for credit card customers and other bug fixes. Citi Mobile 2.0.3 is available from the App Store as a free download and should appear as an automatic update for current users. [via TUAW]
American Airlines has launched an official travel app for iPhone and iPod touch users. The American Airlines app allows users to book and check-in for flights, check flight status and schedules, setup flight status notifications and access AAdvantage program and account information. Users can also use the app to set airport parking reminders, monitor their place on standby lists, view flight gate and seat information, access a barcoded mobile boarding pass, view terminal maps and even play a game of Sudoku. The American Airlines app is available from the App Store as a free download.
AudioBox has released an official native iOS app for streaming music from its cloud-based media storage service. The AudioBox service allows users to upload and store their own MP3 files online and stream their music from the AudioBox servers to any number of desktop computers or supported mobile devices. The AudioBox app for the iPhone and iPod touch provides streaming access to the user’s online AudioBox.fm library allowing users to listen to their online media content from their device over a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. The app features support for background audio on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices, library organization by playlist, artist, album or genre, playback controls, track scrubbing and scrobbling of played tracks to Last.FM. AudioBox for the iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store as a free download. An AudioBox.fm account is required to use the app with 1GB of storage available in a free account and paid accounts starting at $4 for 11GB of storage. At the present time the iOS app can be used with a free AudioBox.fm account as part of a limited promotional period, at the end of which a paid account will be required to continue using any native client with the service. [via TechCrunch]
Nuance Communications has released an update to its Dragon Dictation app adding iOS 4 compatibility, multilingual support, direct speech-to-SMS and social networking integration. Dragon Dictation 2.0 takes advantage of iOS 4 in-app SMS support allowing users to send text messages directly from the app. The update also provides a redesigned interface with a pop-up toolbar and the ability to post dictated text directly to Twitter and Facebook. Support for Fast App Switching allows dictated text in the scratchpad to be automatically saved when leaving the app so users can resume their dictation where they left off after answering a phone call. Dragon Dictation 2.0 adds support for U.K. English and is now available in the U.K. App Store. Nuance indicates that German language support will be coming by the end of July and that it plans to provide support for French, Italian and Spanish later this year. Dragon Dictation 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download for a limited time.
Agile Web Solutions has released an update to its popular 1Password Pro password management app adding over-the-air sync via Dropbox and support for iOS 4. Prior versions of 1Password Pro synced with the desktop version via a local Wi-Fi connection and iOS devices could not sync directly with each other. 1Password Pro 3.5 now allows users to choose to sync data using a Dropbox account allowing the desktop version of 1Password and multiple iOS devices to remain in sync even when they are not connected to the same Wi-Fi network. The Wi-Fi option remains available for users who would still prefer to sync their data locally. The latest update also adds support for the iPhone 4 Retina Display and iOS 4 and adds new auto-lock options related to multitasking support including the option to leave 1Password unlocked for a limited time when switching between apps. The new version also adds support for the “Lookup in 1Password” bookmarklet on the iPad and includes several bug fixes and improvements for both iOS platforms. 1Password Pro is available from the App Store for $15 and is a free update for current users.
Skype Software has released an update to its Skype iPhone application that brings multitasking support to iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS units running iOS 4.0. The update allows users to receive Skype calls and IMs while other apps are running or even when the phone is locked, and also allows users to continue current calls when switching to another application. Curiously, the update is listed in the App Store as version 2.0.1, but the release notes refer to it as version 2.1. Skype for iPhone is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Apple subsidiary FileMaker has released its new FileMaker Go apps for the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad. FileMaker Go allows users to access FileMaker Pro databases over a local network or remotely via Wi-Fi or 3G. Users can add, modify, or delete data, find, sort, and navigate records, open windows, and switch layouts, and FileMaker GO offers support for tab controls, Quick Find, web viewers, external SQL data sources, containers, portals and many scripts. FileMaker Go for iPhone and iPod touch is $20 and requires iOS 4, while FileMaker Go for iPad sells for $40.
Good.iWare has released an update to its popular GoodReader document reader for iPhone and iPod touch devices adding iOS 4 compatibility. GoodReader 2.8.2 adds support for new features found in iOS 4 including USB file transfer, video output and Fast App Switching. The update additionally provides the ability to open documents in GoodReader from other supported apps such as Mail and Safari as well as sending documents from GoodReader into other applications that support Document Interchange. Other new features include the ability to crop margins for PDF files to save screen space, horizontal or vertical swiping of PDF pages and pre-caching of PDF pages for improved page turning performance. Users can now also import recorded videos from the iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 photo library. GoodReader for iPhone is available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for current users. A free GoodReader Lite version is also available providing all of the features of the full version with a five-document storage limit.
Mozilla has released its Firefox Home app providing iOS device users with the ability to sync information from Firefox on their desktop computer. Announced earlier this month, Firefox Home provides users of Firefox with the ability to sync and access their desktop history, bookmarks and currently open tabs on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, enabling easy access to this information while on the go. The app uses the Firefox Sync browser plug-in to securely synchronize data from Firefox on a desktop computer to Firefox Home on the iOS device. From the app, users can browse and search through their history, bookmarks and tabs and open them in Mobile Safari or share them via e-mail. Firefox Home is available from the App Store as a free download.
Yahoo! has released an update to its official Flickr app adding support for iOS 4 multitasking and several other new features. Flickr 1.2 now supports background task completion allowing in-progress photo uploads to complete after closing the app. The update now also provides support for posting uploaded photos to Twitter using a flic.kr short URL and uploading HD video. Other new features include iOS 4 Fast App Switching, enhanced full-screen browsing and the ability to clear recent searches. Flickr is available from the App Store as a free download.
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has indicated that Nintendo will not be bringing any of its games to hardware platforms manufactured by other companies. In responding to a question following a recent investors meeting, Iwata stated that “Nintendo’s software and hardware are the same thing,” and that “[o]ther companies don’t share Nintendo’s values or traditions when it comes to creating devices.” Although Iwata did not specifically mention Apple, iOS devices or the App Store, the general statement is that Nintendo only plans to release its titles for hardware created by the company itself, maintaining its current closed development model. [via TUAW]
Tech Crunch reports that Tapulous has been acquired by Disney. Tapulous is best known for its music-oriented games such as its Tap Tap Revenge series, which also included individual titles featuring specific artists such as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Nickelback and Nine Inch Nails. Disney Interactive Studios sells games based on Disney movies and characters such as Toy Story and Cars. Although many of its are for consoles, Disney has released a number of iOS applications such as its recent Toy Story 3 app. The purchase of Tapulous likely indicates a desire to more aggressively pursue iOS devices as a gaming platform and Disney also appears to be very interested in the social aspects of mobile gaming. As part of the acquisition, Tapulous founder Bart Decrem will join Disney as the General Manager and senior Vice-President in charge of mobile for Disney Interactive’s gaming group. Tapulous COO Andrew Lacy will also be joining Disney as a senior VP. Decrem indicates that his group will “continue to develop apps that live at the intersection of music and gaming” but also plans to expand into new areas of mobile social entertainment. He also indicates that his charter is to add social elements to all of Disney’s games over time while still remaining focused on Tapulous’ current portfolio of games.
Mozilla announced yesterday that it has submitted its first iPhone app, Firefox Home to the App Store. Firefox Home allows users to access their Firefox desktop history, bookmarks, and even currently open tabs on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, enabling users to easily look up information on the go and pick up where they left off from their desktop browsing. Data is synced securely from Firefox on the desktop using the Firefox Sync browser plug-in, and Firefox Home users can view sites directly in Firefox Home, open them in Mobile Safari or share them via e-mail. Firefox Home is currently under App Store review and is expected to be available as a free download once it has been approved by Apple. [via Tech Crunch]
Amazon has introduced Kindle Editions with Audio/Video for users of the Kindle application on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. The new e-book format now includes embedded video and audio clips in Kindle books, allowing readers to access rich-media content as part of the reading experience. Support for the new content was quietly added to the Kindle app for iOS devices last week with the new content appearing on Amazon’s Kindle Store yesterday. Some of the first books to take advantage of the new technology include Rick Steves’ London which provides walking tours with narration and Rose’s Heavenly Cakes which includes video tips on preparing the perfect cake. The current books are priced at $12 each and although only nine audio/video titles are presently available, Amazon notes that this is only the beginning and they are collaborating with major publishers such as Wiley and Avalon Travel to take advantage of this new functionality. Kindle for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store as a free download. Kindle Editions with Audio/Video can be found at http://www.amazon.com/kindleaudiovideo.
The first applications supporting Apple’s new iAd mobile advertising platform have appeared on the App Store. Avantar, developer of mobile search applications such as OneTap Movies, Showtimes, Munch and Yellow Pages, has updated several of its applications integrating the new mobile advertising platform. Apple’s iAd does not go live until July 1st, and at this time these apps appear to be showing either a test ad or an empty banner. The release notes for these apps originally cited iAd integration; this note has since been removed and replaced simply with “minor bug fixes,” however the apps themselves remain on the App Store and continue to display the iAd banners. Avantar’s App Store page can be found here.
Parrot has announced a U.S. release date and pricing for its much-anticipated AR.Drone. First demoed at CES 2010, where it received a Best of Show Award, the AR.Drone is a quadricopter that can be piloted by remote control from an iPhone or iPod touch device using an accompanying iOS application. Users control the AR.Drone via Wi-Fi using their device’s touchscreen and accelerometer controls while the quadricopter employs two on-board cameras, an accelerometer, gyro and ultrasound sensor to help control the device and provide first-person video. The AR.Drone will go on sale in the U.S. this September via “selected retailers” for $299. Parrot expects to announce U.K. availability soon after the E3 Expo and availability in Asia and Europe “in the following weeks.” The Parrot Free Flight control app is already available from the App Store as a free download. Parrot also has two additional augmented-reality iOS games in the works for the AR.Drone allowing users to explore virtualized environments and conduct simulated dogfights with other AR.Drone users. More information and demos of the apps can be viewed at the company’s website. Parrot has also released an open source SDK for the AR.Drone to allow other third-party developers to create their own augmented reality applications for the quadricopter. [via Engadget]
According to a Forbes Blog report, The Hershey Co. has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against Hotrix LLC, creators of the iPhone application iMilk, seeking a declaratory judgment that its own Hershey’s Chocolate Milk iPhone application does not infringe upon Hotrix’s copyright on iMilk. According to the suit filed by Hershey, Hotrix sent a notice of infringement to Hershey in December 2009, claiming that Hershey had stolen the iMilk code and modified it for its own product. In the notice, Hotrix also demanded that Hershey cease marketing its Chocolate Milk app, and threatened to sue if the Chocolate Milk application was not removed.
Both applications allow users to virtually drink a glass of milk on the iPhone and iPod touch. Hershey’s complaint argues that Hotrix LLC cannot claim to own “the unprotectable idea of a virtual glass of milk.” According to the complaint, Hershey created the application independently and notes that the two products are not substantially similar. “Although both reflect the idea of using an iPhone to create a virtual milk drink,” the complaint says, “the actual execution of Hershey’s Chocolate Milk iPhone application is very different than that of the Hottrix application, with numerous substantial differences in the actual expression of each application.” Hershey’s Chocolate Milk application includes a number of features not found in iMilk, including a virtual Hershey’s Syrup bottle, a spoon for stirring, and the iconic red and white straw from Hershey’s product labels.
Skype Software has launched a major update to its popular Skype application for the iPhone and iPod touch, introducing the ability for users to place VoIP calls over the cellular 3G network. Although Skype-to-Skype calls over Wi-Fi will remain free, Skype has indicated plans to charge a “small monthly fee” for placing Skype-to-Skype calls over the 3G network, suggesting that 3G calling will be based on a subscription service, rather than the per-minute system currently in place for Skype-to-phone calls. These fees would be in addition to data charges already levied by the user’s carrier. Skype plans to introduce this new fee structure in 2011, and will be providing free 3G Skype-to-Skype calling until that time. The new version also implements a new codec providing “near CD-quality sound” for Skype-to-Skype calls on iPhone 3GS, iPad and second- and third-generation iPod touch devices. Other improvements include an enhanced call quality indicator, improved start-up time, and faster access to the dial pad from the iPhone home screen. Skype is available from the App Store as a free download.