News | iLounge

2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

Apps: Haunted House, Microsoft Remote Desktop, Real Racing 3 1.4 + Uniqlo Recipe

StoryToys is back with another interactive pop-up book — Haunted House ($2), just in time for Halloween. Though the theme may seem scary, most kids won’t be frightened looking through this book with eight pop-up scenes. Haunted House includes full voice narration in English, French, German, and Spanish. A number of games are included within the pages, letting kids have the opportunity to seat at ghosts and mix a witch’s brew.

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Microsoft’s brand new Microsoft Remote Desktop (free) app lets users connect to a remote PC to access Windows from anywhere. Users can access remote resources through the Remote Desktop Gateway. Microsoft promises a secure connection to data and applications, simple management of connections, and high quality video and sound streaming. An easy connection to external monitors and projectors helps those business types who need to make presentations.

New iPhoto, GarageBand icons suggest iOS 7 redesigns

Redesigned icons for Apple’s GarageBand and iPhoto appeared briefly today in iCloud storage management, seemingly alluding to an impending redesign of the two apps. It’s possible the icons weren’t meant to be uploaded yet, as they have disappeared.

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As would be expected, the new icons are flatter and more basic, matching the look of iOS 7. While Apple may solely have changed the icons, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a revamped GarageBand and iPhoto debut at next week’s iPad event, as Apple historically debuted those apps alongside iPads before adding smaller-screened iPhone support. iMovie, another of Apple’s iLife apps, could also receive a similar makeover. [via 9to5Mac]

Apps: ARC Squadron: Redux, Batman: Arkham Origins, Google Maps 2.3.4 + Square Cash

Just released by Psyonix, ARC Squadron: Redux is a reboot of last year’s free Star Fox-style shooter, which puts you in control of a spaceship that flies through 60 levels of gun- and missile-firing action. Unreal Engine graphics optimized for Retina displays are an immediate attention-grabber, but the game has 20 different environments, and nine boss battles. Players can upgrade the ship and weapons as they shoot their way through the galaxy with tap and swipe controls. The music and voice samples are extremely impressive.

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Batman: Arkham Origins (free) is a new one-on-one Batman fighting game from Warner Bros. Basically a sequel to Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, Arkham Origins offers new opponents, backgrounds and costumes. The game features swipe-and-tap gameplay, high-resolution graphics, and places an emphasis on increasing Batman’s abilities as you proceed through the game—not surprisingly, many in-app purchases are available to offset the initially free download, which uses a “stamina” bar to limit your play sessions. It’s also possible to connect the game to the console version of Batman: Arkham Origins for exclusive content.

After iOS 7, dev recommends publishers avoid Newsstand

In a new blog post, digital magazine app developer Marko Karppinen recommends that publishers avoid Newsstand, the periodical section of the App Store and iOS. Karppinen writes that there are many misconceptions about Newsstand apps, which are really just apps published in the Newsstand section. He argues that Newsstand publications are too hidden within the app, especially in iOS 7. The redesigned app icon is described as something “so horrible that it’s hard to avoid thinking it was done maliciously: if someone was tasked with hiding away a set of unwanted apps, they would be likely to come back with a design that was something very much like the iOS 7 Newsstand.” As Karppinen also points out, automatic content downloads aren’t exclusive to Newsstand, and apps published outside Newsstand can always be moved into Newsstand later — but not vice versa.

Apple offers iTunes credit to recent iWork, iLife customers

Apple has sent out emails offering iTunes credit to certain customers who bought iPhoto, iMovie, or the iWork apps — Keynote, Pages, and Numbers — on Sept. 1 or later, before the company’s recent iPhone announcement. Those customers must have also purchased a new iOS device after Sept. 1. During the September iPhone announcement, Apple said they’d be offering those apps for free. Customers who purchased any of those apps on or after Sept. 1 are now being offered credit, based on the apps they purchased. The credit can be used toward any iTunes purchase. [via MacRumors]

Users reporting iWork-related crashes on iPhone 5s

A number of reports have popped up relating to a “blue screen of death” error when multitasking on the iPhone 5s. The topic has been discussed in Apple user forums, as the issue seems to stem from using iWork on the 5s. Forbes has a video of the malfunction in its report.

We tested the 5s using iWork and got the same results. In one test, the phone wasn’t truly rebooted — Touch ID could still be used to log in after the glitch occurs. On another occasion, the 5s did undergo a full reboot. It’s possible that Apple will solve the issue when updating iWork for iOS 7, or a fix could come via a software update. Some users have reported that disabling Pages, Numbers, and Keynote from Settings, iCloud, Documents & Data seems to resolve the problem.

Apps: Flickr 2.30, Foursquare 6.4, TripAdvisor 8.0 + XCOM 1.3

Flickr (free) from Yahoo! updated to version 2.30.1503, enabling auto upload in iOS 7. Users can now automatically save their photos in Flickr’s 1TB-per-user storage space in full resolution. The app also now features auto straighten, letting users automatically straighten photos using the Flickr editor. Google sign-in issues have been fixed in the update, as well.

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Foursquare (free) has made more major changes to its iOS app. Version 6.4 adds a “nearby” button to see what friends are around. Each friend’s most recent check-in is also shown, and more information can be accessed through their profiles. The app is also rolling out real-time recommendations to more iPhone users each day — checking in at a restaurant can show you a top menu item or daily special, for instance.

Apps: Camera+ 4.2, Real Boxing 1.4.1, Uniqlo Calendar 1.0.8 + Yahoo! Mail 2.0

Camera+ ($2) from tap tap tap has upgraded to version 4.2. The update fixes and enhances burst mode shooting on the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s. Additionally, a new effects pack has been added that includes all the filters in Apple’s iOS 7 Camera and Photo apps. The developer’s oddly punchy, not particularly Apple-friendly description of the update on the iTunes preview page is actually worth a read, as well.

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Real Boxing ($5) from Vivid Games is now at version 1.4.1, which offers new iPhone 5s support within the Unreal Engine. This comes only a week after version 1.4, which gave players the ability to bet on their fight outcomes and win in-game currency. An enhanced multiplayer mode and global leaderboards were added, as well as Korean, Chinese, and Japanese language support.

Apple criticized for pulling private browsing app in China

Apple has drawn criticism for pulling an app from China’s App Store that circumvents firewalls and allows access to restricted sites. OpenDoor, which is still available in other markets, is a free app that uses a randomized IP address to browse anonymously. It was removed from the Chinese App Store for containing “illegal content,” CNN reports. The app’s anonymous developer said Apple provided no notification of pulling the app — the developer learned the news from customers. After the app was pulled, a number of Chinese users of microblog site Weibo accused Apple as showing too much loyalty to the Chinese government.

Apps: The Cave, Goodnight Mo, Hulu Plus 3.3 + Snapchat 6.0

Sega’s The Cave ($5) is an adventure game from Double Fine Productions and Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert. The Cave was previously released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U, just now making its iOS debut. Players explore a sprawling cave using a team. Users pick three explorers out of seven, all with their own personalities, talents, and motivations. The gameplay dynamics are similar to Gilbert’s Maniac Mansion, an absolute classic from 1987.

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Goodnight Mo ($3) is a new interactive pop-up book from StoryToys Entertainment. The short book shows a little monster named Mo getting ready for bed. He takes a bath, goes to the bathroom, and brushes his teeth before settling down for the night. It’s designed to help establish a bedtime routine for youngsters, who can have fun interacting with the various elements of the book. The app can read the book aloud to kids, or let them read it for themselves. Narration is available in English, French, German, and Spanish.

Apps: Flixster 6.6, Navigon N.A. 2.6.1, NBA 2K14 + Paper 1.4

Flixster’s free app with the lengthy title — Movies by Flixster, with Rotten Tomatoes — has upgraded to version 6.6. The update brings HD streaming to select titles. The app also features a brand new design for iOS 7. Flixster notes those who are having issues with streaming movies due to the update should log out and log back in to fix the problem.

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Navigon North America ($40) from Garmin has updated to version 2.6.1. As one might expect, it’s been updated to support iOS 7, and there are some bug fixes, but the big change is the app is now compatible with Garmin HUD. Garmin’s HUD — for Head-Up Display — projects navigation information onto a driver’s windshield from the app. HUD is an interesting concept that keeps eyes on the road while using navigation data, but the $150 device is a separate purchase from the already pricey app.

Apple motion against Lodsys dismissed

Apple’s motion to intervene in a patent infringement lawsuit Lodsys filed against numerous iOS developers has been dismissed by US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, according to a report. Lodsys originally sued seven third-party iOS developers, which prompted Apple’s motion to intervene more than two years ago. Apple proposed to claim alleged infringements by iOS developers were covered under its existing license to Lodsys’s patents. Lodsys’ original claims were related to patents involving in-app purchases and “upgrade” buttons. Martha Stewart, who was just in the news recently for tweeting about her broken iPad, recently sued Lodsys after the patent troll demanded Stewart pay the holding company for each of her company’s apps. Lodsys’ case is still on track for trial. [via Ars Technica]

MLB to use iOS 7 iBeacon mapping in stadiums

Major League Baseball plans to utilize Apple’s new iBeacon indoor mapping feature in its At the Ballpark app. The app will use the new iOS 7 feature in MLB stadiums. “Essentially, we want to create micro-locations within the stadiums where you can get different experiences,” said MLB iOS developer Marc Abramson. It’s possible the app could load a ticket through Passbook when a spectator approaches a stadium gate, and present a map which can show spectators to their seats.

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A number of other possible features were revealed, including discounts and loyalty cards at concession stands, and historical information about the park. The New York Mets are currently testing the Bluetooth LE-powered iBeacon for in-stadium use, but Abramson said, “A lot of teams have expressed interest so far.” [via Mashable]

Apps: 2K Drive 1.6, Lens Tutorial 1.4, Memoir + Pocket Casts 4.0

2K Drive ($5) from 2K Sports has updated to version 1.6. The new British car pack brings four new cars from Land Rover, Vauxhall, and Jaguar to the game. New events have also been added to 2K Drive, and users who were completely unable to play the game before can now get past the tutorial level and purchase cars. Additionally, vehicle control improvements have been made, including steering sensitivity tweaks, though the default steering is pretty challenging.

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Lens Tutorial (free) from Smart Learn Apps isn’t the prettiest-looking app around, but it makes up for its lack of aesthetic appeal through education. The app, now updated for version 1.4, shows how to use a variety of camera lenses, demonstrating visually how their aperture, distance from subject, and width/zoom level change their depth of field. More than 3,400 digital cameras are now included after the most recent update. The app also offers a high-contrast scheme with large fonts for outdoor use.

Strava, MotionX-24/7, Argus apps now support iPhone 5s M7

The first three apps to support the iPhone 5s’s M7 motion co-processor — Strava Run (free), MotionX-24/7 ($3), and Argus (free)—are now available in the App Store. All of the apps are fitness-based, though features differ from app to app. Due to these apps now using the M7, some privacy permissions and dialog boxes that haven’t been seen within the iPhone 5s have now been revealed.

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Motion Activity appears by default in privacy settings, with all apps requesting motion data appearing in that category with on/off switches. As the M7 is allowing for more motion data reporting than ever before on an iPhone, each app must request motion-tracking permission, notably separately from access to GPS functionality.

EA claims, then denies Apple paid to delay Android PvZ 2

Following claims that Apple paid “a truckload of money” to delay the Android version of Plants vs. Zombies 2—a quote that was apparently accurate, spoken by an EA executive and noted by a reported—EA has issued a statement denying a “paid relationship” with Apple, stating that “a comment from an internal meeting taken out of context has created an unfortunate misunderstanding.”

Apple had said the initial claims were “not true,” after which EA said that reports of a paid relationship are “factually inaccurate.” It’s likely that Apple offered EA special promotional considerations in the App Store, including prominent placement in its promotional banners, which guaranteed EA a substantial early flow of revenue for the iOS version of the game. Plants vs. Zombies 2 was released in the U.S. App Store in August. [via PocketGamer]

Apps: djay 2 2.1, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, FIFA 14 + TiltShiftGen2

Algoriddim’s djay 2 ($10) is now ready for iOS 7 in version 2.1. The music mixing app has a new library, and new sample packs from Snoop Dogg and DJ Qbert. DJ Qbert also has his name on new built-in scratch tools within the app. djay 2 has also added support for inter-app audio, and tracks now load faster in iOS 7. On the iPhone 5S version, Harmonic Match has been added to enable automatic key matching of two songs in realtime.

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PBS Kids recently released a newer Daniel Tiger app, but Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Play at Home ($2) is still in the App Store. Play at Home lets kids play with five different games, including Doctor, Bedtime, In Daniel’s Bathroom, Feel the Music, and Sticker Book.

Apps: Angry Birds Star Wars II, Evernote 7.0, Kindle 4.0 + Pocket 4.6

Rovio’s Angry Birds Star Wars II ($1) has arrived in the App Store. The anticipated game lets users “join the Pork Side” by letting them fling pigs — like Darth Vader and Darth Maul pigs — into the birds. More than 30 playable characters are featured in the game. Achievements are another big part of Angry Birds Star Wars II, as players can work their way up to becoming a Jedi or Sith Master. The previously announced Telepods can bring characters into the game using physical toys, but that feature is strictly optional.

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Evernote has updated to version 7.0. The free app has been completely redesigned for iOS 7 with a new layout. A new audio recorder gives users space to type while listening, and it’s easier and quicker to access some of the app’s most used features. Most notably, notes are always kept up-to-date now, as the app syncs in the background. AirDrop also allows users to share notes with others around them. It’s also possible to add arrows, shapes, and text to images and PDFs with the Markup feature.

Apple lets developers decide on legacy app downloads

Apple has told developers they can now manage the availability of previous versions of their apps. As noted earlier this week, the iOS App Store is now allowing users of older versions of iOS to download specific legacy versions of apps. Users are asked if they would like to download the “last compatible version” of an app. However, developers of these apps are now able to choose whether or not they want to make these older versions available.

Apple increases cellular app download bar to 100MB

Apple now allows App Store downloads up to 100MB over cellular in iOS 7—the limit was previously 50MB. Apps larger than 100MB must be downloaded over Wi-Fi. [via MacRumors]

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