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Opera previews iPhone browser at MWC

Macworld UK reports that Opera has shown a preview of its iPhone browser at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Opera co-founder Jon S. von Tetzchner briefly demonstrated the Opera Mobile for iPhone app, showing pages rendering very quickly due to page optimization on Opera’s own servers. Tetzchner indicates that Opera “compress[es] data up to 90 per cent” and is claiming that Opera should be “up to six times faster on 3G networks.” Other Opera Mobile for iPhone features include a tabbed browsing interface and support for saved passwords and bookmarks as well as the ability to automatically zoom in on text columns. Tetzchner notes that Opera has not yet been submitted to the App Store and speculation remains as to whether Opera Mobile will be accepted by Apple, although the new version of Opera has been written using native iPhone code rather than simply being a port of the original mobile app. Alternative browsers have been available on the App Store for almost a year, however Opera Mobile is unique in that it does not use the iPhone WebKit engine. Opera has not yet announced an expected release date for Opera Mobile for iPhone.

Meebo releases native iPhone Instant Messaging app

Meebo, developers of the popular web-based Instant Messaging application, have released a native IM app for iPhone and iPod touch users. Prior to the advent of the App Store, Meebo was one of the few iPhone optimized web applications for instant messaging on the first-generation iPhone. Released yesterday, the new Meebo app provides a native iPhone application with support for over 100 IM networks through the Meebo service. The Meebo app also includes push notifications, support for multiple conversations, landscape keyboard support, searchable chat history and an integrated buddy list. Chat history is synchronized between the iPhone and the meebo.com web-based chat service, and users can seamlessly switch between the web-based chat and the iPhone app in the same chat session. Meebo requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Street Fighter IV coming to iPhone

IGN reports that Capcom is planning a March release of Street Fighter IV on the iPhone and iPod touch. Reportedly still under development, the game is expected to be specifically optimized for the iPhone platform, with Capcom having taken a great deal of time and effort to develop controls suitable for the touchscreen interface. Further, Capcom plans to use artwork assets from the current generation Street Fighter IV code to provide a visual experience similar to the console version and has confirmed that both classic brawlers and new characters will be available in the game. Street Fighter IV will also support multiplayer gaming to allow two players to fight it out over Bluetooth just like the arcade and console versions. No specific availability date or price has yet been announced. More information and screenshots can be found on IGN.

 

Hog Bay Software releases TaskPaper for iPhone

Hog Bay Software has released TaskPaper for the iPhone and iPod touch, a mobile version of its popular TaskPaper to-do list application for the Mac. Like it’s desktop counterpart, TaskPaper on the iPhone focuses on a simplified, paper-like user experience, providing basic list elements for users to create flexible outlines and task lists. TaskPaper includes searching, filtering and tagging capabilities and can synchronize with TaskPaper on the Mac via the SimpleText.ws online service. TaskPaper is available on the App Store for $5 and includes a $5 discount code for TaskPaper for Mac.

iPad anticipation driving app development

According to new data from application analysis service Flurry Analytics, the announcement of the iPad has led to a huge spike in iPhone development. Flurry saw over 1,600 new iPhone OS application starts in January, compared to under 600 in December. In addition, this spike in new iPhone OS applications has helped the iPhone gain in percentage of overall application project starts versus Android, which accounted for nearly 30% of new project starts in December, compared to under 20% in January. According to the company, “the recent spike in Apple iPad support has swung the pendulum back in Apple’s favor to a level not seen at Flurry in six months. The unprecedented surge in support for iPad is a positive early indicator for its commercial potential.” Flurry tracks over 20,000 live applications and over 2 billion user sessions each month, across the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and J2ME platforms. Apple is expected to launch its first iPad models in late March.

PreFlight update now provides NOTAMs

Roeland van der Spek has released an update to his flight planning application, PreFlight, adding support for looking up and downloading aviation notices (NOTAMs) from the FAA database. NOTAMs are available for most countries worldwide and downloaded automatically for origin, destination and alternate fields identified in the user’s flight plan as well as any relevant fields or flight information regions (FIRs) en-route. NOTAMs containing coordinates will be shown on the map along the user’s intended route. PreFlight is a multi-leg flight planning application for pilots that provides flight computer calculations, navigation and route planning. The app can automatically look up wind information to provide proper wind correction and cruise altitude data for each leg of a flight. PreFlight is available on the App Store for $17. For users who only want an application to look up NOTAMs without the extra flight planning features, the developer also provides a separate app, NOTAMs for $6 on the App Store.

Fring reports video calling accounting for 40% of traffic

Fring, developer of the popular Voice-over-IP communications app, has reported that mobile video calling now makes up more than 40% of its worldwide calling traffic among supported devices. Fring first introduced video capabilities last November, allowing users to conduct video calls with other fring users and Skype contacts from supported mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPod touch. The company reports even higher usage rates of 60% of call traffic throughout Western European countries—more than double the usage of leading PC-based video calling services. Fring is available as a free download on the App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch, however only incoming video is supported on these devices due to the lack of a front-facing camera.

Wired to launch digital edition for iPad

Wired Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson, speaking at the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) 2010 conference, has revealed that the publication plans to release its content for the iPad by summer. “I’m from the media world,” Anderson said, “and as you may have heard, we have lots of questions about our future. The good news is I think we found part of the answer…. We think this is a game changer.” Anderson explained that the iPad allows periodicals for the first time to offer digital content with the same values and artistic range of print magazines. The new digital edition was demonstrated on a large touchscreen-capable display, and offered both single and two-up page views, depending on orientation, as well as a thumbnail view, and interactive media and advertisements. Interestingly, Wired’s creative director, Scott Dadich, worked with Jeremy Clark of Adobe to developer the iPad edition, a process which has been ongoing over the last six months. Pricing for the iPad edition of Wired was not announced.

Update: Wired has posted a video of the interface in-action online; it is available in embedded form below.

Interview magazine planning iPad-formatted issues

Interview magazine, founded in 1969 by artist Andy Warhol and John Wilcock, has unveiled plans to launch new iPad-formatted versions of its issues. The Huffington Post reports that the company announced the new digital initiative at its 40th anniversary party; a video preview of the new iPad editions accompanies the article. Interview’s iPad editions will integrate photography and text with both audio and video features, and it will launch the 40th anniversary, December/January 2010, February 2010, and March 2010 issues simultaneously. The new iPad versions of Interview are expected to be available next month.

“When Andy Warhol founded Interview four decades ago, he did so with an ethos that embraced the new,” the magazine said in an announcement. “As with his art, Warhol re-wrote the rulebook with Interview, creating an innovative, intelligent, sophisticated, cutting-edge magazine that was culturally impactful, pushed the boundaries of the medium, and reinvented what a magazine could be. So it’s entirely fitting that Interview is once again at the forefront of reinventing the magazine experience for Apple’s iPad, combining the benefits of the digital age with the familiar advantages of Guttenberg’s printing press to deliver a groundbreaking, knock-out reader experience. One could call Interview magazine on the iPad ‘an affordable Warhol screenprint.’”

Oceanhouse Media releases new Dr. Seuss apps

Oceanhouse Media has announced the release of three new officially licensed Dr. Seuss iPhone applications. The Cat in the Hat and Dr. Seuss’s ABC are interactive eBooks providing professional narration, background audio and original text and artwork from the popular Dr. Seuss children’s titles. The two eBook applications also include the ability to highlight words as the story is read and to read back words as pictures are touched. Both titles sell for $4 each on the App Store. The third application, Dr. Seuss Camera - The Cat in the Hat Edition allows users to create Dr. Seuss themed photo cards using the iPhone’s camera or existing saved photos. Users can pose for pictures either with Dr. Seuss characters or become those characters in the photos. Resulting photo cards can be e-mailed or saved to the photo library. Dr. Seuss Camera - The Cat in the Hat Edition sells for $3 on the App Store. All three applications are supported on both the iPhone and iPod touch and Oceanhouse Media has announced that they will also be available for the iPad.

Clickgamer updates Angry Birds with new content

Clickgamer has announced an update to its popular Angry Birds catapult destruction game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Angry Birds 1.2 adds 42 new levels, two new worlds and new graphical themes for the levels. The new version also adds support for Crystal leaderboards and provides users with the ability to listen to their own iPod music library while playing. Angry Birds 1.2 is available on the App Store for a new price of $1, and is a free update for existing users.

Joby updates Gorillacam

Coinciding with yesterday’s annoucnement of its new Gorillamobile stand for the iPod touch, Joby has released an update to its Gorillacam companion application. Gorrilacam 1.1 adds tap-to-focus on the iPhone 3GS, 4X digital zoom capabilities and selectable image sizes. The new version also introduces an anti-shake feature that uses the accelerometer to detect when the device is steady before capturing an image. Gorillacam 1.1 is available on the App Store as a free download.

First iPhone OS 3.2 app appears on App Store

Following Apple’s announcement of iPhone OS 3.2 in late January, the first application update boasting compatibility with the iPad-ready operating system has appeared on the App Store. The release of TextExpander 1.1.3 lists only “updates for iPhone OS 3.2” in its release notes, without citing additional features. Taking directions from Apple in new iPad Human Interface Guidelines, numerous developers are updating their applications to provide improved compatibility with the iPad upon its release, including higher-resolution graphics and in some cases entirely new user interfaces.

 

Packing travel app gets major facelift

Quinn Genzel has announced a major update to his popular Packing and Packing Pro applications. Packing is designed to help iPhone and iPod touch users with their packing lists when preparing to travel. The applications allow the user to create fully customizable packing lists from scratch or based on sample lists designed for typical travel scenarios. Users can track which items have been packed or not, tally up packed items and even calculate the size and weight of their luggage. Packing Pro provides additional organization features and an expert list assistant that can automatically create packing lists based on criteria such as number of travellers, weather conditions and food and clothes washing preferences. The latest versions of Packing and Packing Pro include a complete redesign of the application with new artwork and a redesigned and simplified layout. Both applications are currently on sale on the App Store, Packing selling for $1 and Packing Pro for $3.

Rockstar Games announces 30% off sale on GTA: Chinatown wars

Rockstar Games has announced a special price promotion for its highly-rated Grant Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars game (iLounge rating: A-). From Friday, February 12th until 11:59pm EST on Sunday, February 14th, the game is being offered at 30% off its normal $10 price. GTA: Chinatown Wars is a sandbox-style driving, shooting, and adventure game that puts the player in the role of a Triad gang member who must battle his way through a dangerous and morally bankrupt city in search of honor, riches and revenge. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is available on the App Store and our review can be found here.

Mobiola Headset transforms iPhone into wireless PC headset

SHAPE Services has released Mobiola Headset, an application that allows iPhone and iPod touch owners to use their device as a wireless headset for a PC. The Headset app connects with the free Mobiola Headset Desktop PC application over Wi-Fi to provide two-way audio communications between the device and PC applications such as Skype and MSN Messenger. Users can also record, pause and playback audio sent and received by the headset application. The desktop application requires Windows XP (SP2) or later and the iPhone app is compatible with iPhone and second-generation iPod touch devices running iPhone OS 3.0 or later. Mobiola Headset is available from the App Store for $2.

iBooks app to be optional on iPad

According to text found on Apple’s iPad features page, the iBooks app for iPad will be an optional download from the App Store, instead of a pre-installed application. The iBooks application serves as a virtual library and reading application, and also offers access to Apple’s upcoming iBookstore for purchasing new e-books. “Download the free app from the App Store and buy everything from classics to best sellers from the built-in iBookstore,” the passage reads. Apple is expected to begin shipments of Wi-Fi only iPad models in late March or early April. [via Daring Fireball]

AIM update adds Facebook integration

A recent update to AOL’s AIM instant messaging application has added Facebook integration. AIM users can now log in to their Facebook account and chat with their Facebook friends, who will appear integrated into the buddy list alongside other AIM users. Status updates from Facebook friends can also be viewed in the Lifestream section of the app and users can comment on their friends’ status updates. AIM continues to also provide access to AOL, AIM, ICQ, .Mac and MobileMe accounts, AOL’s Lifestream, support for multiple identities, SMS messaging and push notifications. AIM is available from the App Store either as a free ad-supported version or an ad-free version is available for $3 which also provides landscape support.

PAW releases Spotlight GPS Pet Locator app

Positioning Animals Worldwide has released a free app to allow users of its Spotlight GPS Dog Collar to locate and track their pets using their iPhone. The SpotLight GPS Pet Locator application allows the user to locate one or more pets, plot their locations on a map and use the iPhone’s GPS to provide real-time tracking and turn-by-turn directions to their pet. Users can also toggle the Dog Collar’s LED beacon on or off from within the app to help find their pet at night. The Spotlight GPS Pet Locator application is available on the App Store as a free download.

TouchCopy updated, 50% off sale for iLounge readers

Wide Angle Software has released an update to TouchCopy, a utility that allows Mac or Windows users to transfer media content from their iPods or iPhones back to their computers, complete with playlists, ratings and play counts. Featured in our tutorial on Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer, TouchCopy also provides the ability to copy and manage calendars and voice memos, and allows the iPhone and iPod touch to be used as external storage devices for any type of file. Version 9.5 adds support for copying SMS messages, contacts and notes from the iPhone.

To coincide with the update, iLounge readers have been offered a substantial coupon savings for the application. Normally, TouchCopy is sold for $25, with a free 15-day trial version also available; through April 30th, iLounge readers can use the coupon code 8E503286A at the developer’s web site to receive 50% off the normal price.

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