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iPhone 3.0 app demos highlight new features, gaming

The following is a list of third-party developers and applications that were selected by Apple for live demonstration during the iPhone OS 3.0 event today.

 

Meebo: Having created a popular web app for iPhone and iPod touch instant messaging before the release of the App Store, this developer demonstrated a multi-service instant messaging client that was capable of handling background notifications, a feature that enables users to receive messages even when the program is not open and active on the screen.

 

Electronic Arts The Sims 3: Another version of the company’s “monitor and guide peoples’ lives” game, demonstrating how characters can use real-world cash through iTunes to buy items in the game, somewhat disgustingly including a $1 stereo that lets you hear your own iPod’s music during the game. Let’s hope that one doesn’t make it into the actual title.

 

Oracle: Known for its database and enterprise software, Oracle demonstrated how information passed from Oracle’s servers to an iPhone client app can be used to provide background indicators and alerts even when the app is not running.

 

ESPN: Showed new application functionality enabling users to receive sports scores as background notifications, as well as seeing streaming sports videos that have been optimized to the bandwidth you actually have. The iPhone OS has gained support for HD-quality video and audio streaming, explained Apple, though no indication was given as to why users might need that on a 480x320 screen.

 

LifeScan Diabetes Monitor: A demonstration of how medical monitoring applications could interact with Dock Connector or wireless accessories such as a diabetes glucose meter, which could communicate to the iPhone a user’s current sugar level, track them over time, and make recommendations on proper meal planning.

 

Ngmoco TouchPets: Inspired by Nintendo’s Nintendogs, this app showed how users could invite one another to interact with their in-game pet dogs, and make purchases of in-game dog clothing as transactions through the App Store.

 

Ngmoco LiveFire: A newly announced first-person shooter, LiveFire somewhat resembles Nintendo’s and Rare’s classic Perfect Dark, and enables users to play against each other in an online multiplayer mode, complete with in-game voice chat. Again, microtransactions were shown off, with Ngmoco suggesting that it would sell individual weapons for $1 each.

 

 

Smule Leaf Trombone: World Stage: A demonstration of a sequel to the popular Ocarina application that enabled players to perform music and share it with others around the world. Leaf Trombone lets two people play together in a room using Bluetooth wireless, or multiple people play together over a global multiplayer system.

Apple intros In-App Purchase micro-transaction service

Apple has announced that iPhone OS 3.0 will offer developers the option of selling subscriptions, extra levels, e-books, or other content from within their applications using a new service called In-App Purchase. The service will utilize the iTunes Store for transactions, including payment and authentication, and Apple will take 30% of the proceeds as an operations fee, as it does for normal paid applications sold through the App Store. Free applications will not be allowed to use the In-App Purchase feature.

 

 

Notably, several third-party game demonstrations depicted the In-App Purchase feature being used for increasingly questionable purposes: one added new levels for an additional fee, while others allowed you to buy new dog clothing and in-game weapons, and the worst, in EA’s The Sims 3, sold you $1 access to your own device’s built-in music library—a way for developers to charge you for new OS 3.0 features.

Fandango launches app for iPhone, iPod touch

Online movie ticketing service Fandango has launched its new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The new app allows users to read synopses and watch trailers for both currently showing and upcoming releases, find nearby theaters using the Location feature, add theaters to a Favorites list, and order up to 10 tickets at a time from 16,000 different theaters, securely storing credit card information for faster purchasing. Fandango is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Namco releases Inspector Gadget for iPhone, iPod touch

Namco has released Inspector Gadget, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the 1980’s animated TV series of the same name, the platform-style game allows users to play as Inspector Gadget, Penny, and Brain as they travel across multiple locations, utilizing vehicles including the Gadgetmobile and Gadget ‘Copter to recover the royal jewels and defeat Dr. Claw. Inspector Gadget is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.

New York Times releases official crossword app

The New York Times Crosswords Daily 2009 has been released on the App Store. Developed by Magmic, the game allows users to play the daily puzzle from the New York Times print newspaper, as well as over 4,000 classic puzzles from the Times’ archive. Other features include the ability to send messages and compare solve times with friends online, an option to listen to the in-game soundtrack or music from the iPod app, the choice to write in “pen” or “pencil,” and more. The New York Times Crosswords Daily 2009 is available now and sells for $10.

Boxee releases remote app for iPhone, iPod touch

Boxee, developers of the popular media center software of the same name, has released its Boxee Remote application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Described as a “very basic” remote, the application offers two modes of control, one of which uses a set of six on-screen buttons for navigation, while the alternate “gesture” controls lets the user move around a Boxee logo cursor on the iPhone’s screen that corresponds with the cursor inside the Boxee program. The application also allows users to type using the iPhone’s built-in keyboard when entering text in an input field. Boxee Remote is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Sirius XM plans iPhone app for Q2

Sirius XM has announced plans to release a streaming audio application for the iPhone and iPod touch during the second quarter. The application will be available to both the company’s current 19 million subscribers and to all iPhone and iPod touch users.  “This is a large and interesting opportunity that will maintain our subscription-based economics while providing customers easier access to our content through means other than our traditional satellite-based platform,” Sirius President of Operations and Sales Jim Meyer. Pricing and and exact release date for the application have yet to be set.

EA Mobile details Tiger Woods PGA Tour for iPhone

EA Mobile has released new details of the upcoming Tiger Woods PGA Tour game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Users will get to play as or against Tiger Woods and other professional golfers including Annika Sorenstam, Vijay Singh, and Retief Goosen, on realistic 3D courses such as Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, and TPC Sawgrass. The game will employ a “touch-n-drag” swing meter with visual feedback for swing control, allowing players to swipe the screen while the ball is in the air to affect ball spin direction and intensity. Other features will include official “Bragging Rights” and achievements, and play-by-play commentary by Sam Torrance and Kelly Tilghman. Tiger Woods PGA Tour for iPhone and iPod touch is expected to launch later this year; exact release and pricing information has yet to be released. Continue reading for more screenshots from the game.

Apple makes App Store reviews version specific

In another tweak to its App Store application review system, Apple has now begun tying each review to the application’s current version number. Previously, reviews could only be sorted by date, leaving potential customers with no way to know whether or not a negative review pertained to the current version. This move follows a number of changes Apple has made since the opening of the App Store in hopes of making application reviews more helpful; last September, it began requiring users to purchase or download an app prior to review, and last month it removed older reviews from users who had not purchased the applications they were reviewing. [via TouchArcade]

Apple updates Remote with iTunes 8.1 compatibility

Apple has released Remote 1.2, the latest version of its iTunes and Apple TV remote software for the iPhone and iPod touch. According to Apple, the new release contains bug fixes and provides compatibility with iTunes 8.1. More specifically, it adds the ability for guests to select songs to add to the iTunes DJ playlist, and vote for songs picked by others. Remote 1.2 is avialable now as a free download from the App Store. Continue reading for screenshots of Remote 1.2.

Google kills free SMS messaging in third-party apps

Google will today shut down a feature of its Gmail service that allowed third-party applications to send SMS messages using Google’s servers. According to Inner Fence, developers of the iPhone SMS app Infinite SMS, Google contacted them Monday regarding their decision to shut down the feature, causing Inner Fence to pull their product from the App Store, despite the fact that it was among the Top 10 Paid Apps on the store. Google has notified Inner Fence that the service will be officially blocked starting today. Below is Google’s official statement on the matter.

“Infinite SMS is a third party app that has been using Google technology to provide free SMS for users, while we were paying for the cost of the text messages. While Google is supportive of third party apps, we’ve decided we can’t support this particular usage of our system at this time…. We’re blocking all external XMPP clients from sending SMS; we’re not singling out Inner Fence.” Inner Fence notes that Apple doesn’t offer them a way to issue refunds, saying, “[h]opefully, at 99¢ people will feel like our app paid for itself after only a few messages.”

Update to popular Twitter client Tweetie rejected by Apple

Version 1.3 of Tweetie, a popular Twitter client for the iPhone and iPod touch, has been rejected by Apple due to the appearance of an offensive word in the site’s “Trends” data. “Trends” is a list of the most frequently referenced topics or words on Twitter at that moment. A picture of the offensive language in question is available online (NSFW), while a list of the improvements expected in version 1.3 is available here. Tweetie 1.2.1 is available now in the App Store and sells for $3.

Update: Tweetie 1.3 has been resubmitted and approved, and is now available from the App Store.

Official American Idol app hits App Store

FremantleMedia Enterprises has released the first official American Idol application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed by Zumobi, American Idol Season 8 Exclusive allows users to follow the top 13 contestants from Season 8, providing contestant bios, pictures, news, and exclusive behind-the-scenes videos. FremantleMedia promises 78 original videos to be released weekly between now and the Finale episode. American Idol Season 8 Exclusive is available now from the App Store and sells for $2.

Gameloft planning ‘Terminator Salvation’ iPhone game

Gameloft has revealed that it is working on an iPhone and iPod touch game based around the upcoming film Terminator Salvation. In an interview with MTV Multiplayer, Gameloft CEO Michel Guillemot revealed little about the gameplay, but said that assets from the film are being incorporated indirectly into the game. “We worked closely with Halcyon,” Guillemot said. “There isn’t direct footage of the movie, but we do incorporate cut scenes that give a realistic rendering of the movie atmosphere.” Guillemot noted that the iPhone development team consists of Terminator fans, and that their game is not the same as the console version that’s also under development. Terminator Salvation for iPhone and iPod touch is expected to launch alongside the film on May 22.

Geppetto releases iNinja for iPhone, iPod touch

iPhone game development firm Geppetto has released iNinja, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Created by former Square Enix programmer Yoshiyuki Miyagawa, iNinja is a shooting game in which players attempt to hit enemy ninja by using a flicking motion to throw shuriken (throwing stars). The game features an air hockey-inspired two-player versus mode, various one-hit-kill traps, the ability to hold down on the screen to charge the shuriken, and 34 single-player stages. iNinja is available now from the App Store and for $1; the price will raise to $2 when the new version arrives.

Skyworks intros three games for iPhone, iPod touch

Skyworks Interactive, developers of prior iPhone titles Arcade Bowling, Arcade Hoops Basketball, and Arcade QB Pass, have introduced three new games for the iPhone and iPod touch. Mental Blocks is a block-based puzzle game in which players must tap on sections of four or more same colored blocks in order to clear them from the screen, while attempting to leave as few single blocks as possible. It features unlimited levels, four types of special blocks, and both online and local high score tracking. Mental Blocks sells for $2; our review of the game can be found here. Poker Matchup is a unique card game in which the player tries to build the best hand possible from two sliding rows of cards. It features local and online high score boards, and sells for $2. Finally, 3 Point Hoops is a basketball-oriented game in which players use their fingers to fling the ball toward the basket in order to take a shot. Speed and direction are controlled with the fling gesture, and there are a variety of shooting positions. Other features include a classic mode, sudden death mode, unique position mode, bonus balls, local and global high score listings, and two background music tracks. 3 Point Hoops is available now and also sells for $2.

SplashData upgrades File Magic to version 2.0

SplashData has released File Magic 2.0, the latest update to its file transfer utility for the iPhone and iPod touch. File Magic allows users to copy files to their device over Wi-Fi using a desktop-based client program, and supports a wide variety of file formats for handheld viewing. New in version 2 is the ability to transfer files directly from device-to-device, the ability to email files as attachments from File Magic, and the option to set a password to protect File Magic access. File Magic 2.0 is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.

Konami debuts DanceDanceRevolution S for iPhone, iPod touch

Konami has released its DanceDanceRevolution S game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the popular arcade dancing game series, the main Game Mode requires users to tap on the screen to the rhythm of the song, with upcoming arrows rising from the bottom of the screen. Two other game modes are available, including Shake Mode, in which players shake the device in the direction of the arrows, and Training Mode, which helps novice players acclimate themselves to the main game mechanics. In addition, the game offers 26 and 18 playable characters, with a soundtrack featuring both new and old tracks from past DDR titles. DanceDanceRevolution S is available now and sells for $7; a free Lite version is also available.

Zynga releases Scramble Live for iPhone, iPod touch

Zynga has released its Scramble Live word game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on what the company’s Scramble game for Facebook, Scramble Live lets users build words by using connecting letters on a 4x4 or 5x5 board. The game offers both solo and play n’ pass modes in addition to its Live mode, in which players can compete with friends or other Facebook, iPhone, and iPod touch users in real time over 3G or Wi-Fi. Scramble Live is available now from the App Store and is priced at $3 through March 8, at which point it will cost $5.

Amazon launches Kindle app for iPhone, iPod touch

Amazon has released Kindle for iPhone, a new application that lets iPhone and iPod touch users read Kindle books directly on their devices. Kindle books may be purchased from a Mac, PC, or the iPhone using a browser and wirelessly transferred to the iPhone or iPod touch, and users may also download Kindle books they already own for free, adjust the text size, add bookmarks, and view annotations created on the Kindle.  In addition, the app includes Amazon’s new Whispersync technology that saves and synchronizes users’ bookmarks across their original Kindle, Kindle 2, iPhone and iPod touch devices, so they never lose their place.

Like the Kindle itself, the Kindle iPhone app is only available in the U.S. iTunes Store, and Kindle content is likewise only available to Amazon U.S. customers, differing from competing iPhone apps eReader and Stanza, which seem to have no country-based distribution restrictions on their apps or their content. Additionally, and unlike the Kindle devices, Kindle for iPhone currently works only with books, and not with other downloadable content such as magazines, newspapers, and blogs that are supported by the Kindle and Kindle 2. Kindle for iPhone is available now as a free download from the U.S. App Store; our full review is also available.

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