In anticipation of this week’s release of the movie Toy Story 3, Disney has launched an official Toy Story 3 app for iPhone and iPod touch users. The new app is designed as a portal to the entire Toy Story franchise and provides a collection of games and other activities for fans of the series. The free application includes a feature to create personalized greetings from Woody, collect virtual Toy Story pins by unlocking achievements and a Toy Story Community where users can share game scores, pins and achievements with their friends. The iOS app also allows users of the Mac version of Toy Story 3: The Video Game to control their gaming experience from their iOS device. Additional premium games and content are also available as In-App purchases, with three premium games available right now ranging from $1-$4 in price. Disney has also stated that it plans to update the app with new features throughout 2010. Disney-Pixar’s animated film “Toy Story 3” opens in theatres on June 18, 2010. The Toy Story 3 app is available from the App Store as a free download.
A brief Apple-produced video that highlights Apple’s iOS development tools—while taking veiled shots at Google’s Android OS—has been posted online. The video, presumably made for use at the company’s WWDC conference, features a number of notable developers talking about their experience developing for iOS, as well as other platforms. “We’ve actually spent some time working with other platforms,” said Calvin Carter of Bottle Rocket. “It’s a night and day difference. They’re more difficult for the user. They don’t have the power or the tools available. They don’t have the distribution network. They don’t have the standards, both in hardware or in software.” Later, Tom Conrad of Pandora added, “It’s really evident in Apple’s APIs, in the developer tools, that you’re working with something really mature, not something that was invented two years ago.” The full video is available for viewing on YouTube or can be seen in embedded form below. [via Fortune]
iOS Developer Mario Baluci of The App Machine has released some screenshots of his Make Coffee application for the iPhone 4, illustrating how the higher-resolution version will scale and render on an iPad device. Baluci notes in the company’s blog that the iPhone 4 native resolution application looked “terrific” on the iPad and actually runs at an almost full-screen resolution. The resolution of the iPhone 4 is 640 x 960 as compared to the 320 x 480 display used on prior iPhone models. By contrast, the iPad uses a 768 x 1024 resolution screen. Make Coffee is a virtual coffee machine novelty application for iOS devices. Version 2.0 will provide higher-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4, more advanced 3D animations and sound effects and Twitter integration.
Sprouter, the well-known social networking service for entrepreneurs has released an application for iPhone and iPod touch users. The Sprouter app provides a native interface for Sprouter members to connect with other startup founders around the world for networking, collaboration and knowledge-sharing. The app includes all of the functionality from the Sprouter website including the ability to post updates, access pre-defined and custom filters, view replies, send and receive private messages, star posts, view and RSVP to events, and search the service. Users can also seamlessly switch back and forth between the iOS application and the Sprouter website to follow feeds and events on whichever platform is most convenient. Sprouter is available from the App Store as a free download. A free Sprouter membership is required; users can sign up from within the app.
Google has released a Universal version of its free Google Earth application for iOS devices. Google Earth 3.0 adds native support for the iPad, including full resolution imagery and a new iPad-specific interface redesign. The update also adds a road layer for iPad and iPhone 3GS devices. Google Earth is an iOS version of Google’s popular application that allows users to navigate and view satellite imagery of Earth simply by using touchscreen swipe gestures. Google Earth also allows users to via millions of geo-tagged photos and Wikipedia articles from around the world and integrates with Google Local search for find cities, places and businesses anywhere on the globe. Google Earth 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Coinciding with the problematic launch of pre-orders for the iPhone 4, Apple has launched an official, free Apple Store application formatted for the iPhone and iPod touch, but also compatible with the iPad. The application is designed to let customers “buy Apple products and accessories, read customer reviews, find an Apple Retail Store, stay up to date with in-store events, and make Personal Shopping, Genius Bar, or On to One appointments,” and is billed as “the easiest way to buy or reserve your new iPhone—right from your current iPhone.” It also uses push notifications to provide updates for as yet unknown purposes.
Like the Apple Store web site, the application’s main screen currently displays a “We’ll be back soon” post it note graphic, seemingly related to the iPhone 4 ordering outage currently affecting the Store. Screenshots show the application offering five bottom-of-screen buttons to toggle between Featured, Products, Stores, Search, and Cart screens that are not yet available. This is Apple’s fourth separate selling app for iOS devices, following iTunes, App Store, and iBookstore within the iBooks application.
Update: The Apple Store app became functional shortly after 9:30AM. It notably offers iPhone 4 pre-ordering only for existing iPhone customers who wish to replace current iPhones with iPhone 4 models, and only reservations for customers who intend to create new accounts or add lines.
Microsoft is currently offering money to iPhone developers if they port their games to the company’s Windows Phone 7 platform, which will launch later this year. Citing an unnamed developer that was contacted by Microsoft, PocketGamer reports that Microsoft is contacting “successful” iPhone developers, offering them cash to port their games to the new platform. Although the amounts being offered are said to be substantial, they’re reportedly not enough to offset the costs of porting the games over to Microsoft’s programming languages; however, the developer speculated that Microsoft still might be able to woo some developers by tweaking their development tools to make it easier to port from iOS. Sony followed a similar developer recruitment strategy prior to the launch of its PSPgo gaming system.
Apple has updated its iPhone Developer Program License Agreement to allow for a more relaxed stance on interpreted code inside apps. Section 3.3.2 of the agreement previously stated that “[n]o interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s).” The new revised version notes that with Apple’s prior written consent, “[a]n Application may use embedded interpreted code in a limited way if such use is solely for providing minor features or functionality that are consistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the Application.” The new terms should open the door for a number of possibilites for developers, including for games to use third-party rendering engines and libraries.
Good.iWare has released another update to its highly popular PDF reading application for the iPad, adding a number of enhancements to PDF reading. GoodReader for iPad 2.8 introduces horizontal page turning for PDF files for a more book-like reading experience. The new version also provides the ability to rotate PDF files, automatically crop margins for a full-screen view of text and display two-page spreads in landscape view. GoodReader also now pre-caches PDF files for better performance when turning pages and adds support for Apple’s iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter, allowing documents to be displayed on a secondary monitor, TV or digital projector. GoodReader for iPad is available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for existing users.
Silvio Rizzi has released an iPad version of his popular Reeder RSS client for iOS. Reeder for iPad brings over all of the features from the iPhone and iPod touch version, including Google Reader sync, browsing by feed or folder, starring and sharing items, image caching, and integration with third-party services such as Instapaper, Twitter, Delicioius and Pinboard. The iPad version introduces a redesigned interface for the iPad with a split-screen reading view and feeds and folders shown as thumbnails. Users can open folders using a pinch gesture—individual feeds appear as thumbnails and expand outward with the same effect as opening albums within the iPad Photos application. Reeder for iPad is available from the App Store for $5.
Syntonetic has released an update to its Moodagent music app for the iPhone and iPod touch, adding support for longer playlists and sharing via Twitter and Facebook. Similar in concept to iTunes’ own Genius feature, Moodagent allows users to generate playlists from their device’s music library based on mood as determined by a series of touchscreen sliders for Sensual, Tender, Happy, Angry and Tempo. Users adjust these sliders to automatically create a playlist of music or simply choose a specific song to generate a playlist based on the mood of that song. The Moodagent 2.0 update now allows users to adjust the length of their playlists to include up to 50 songs, lock specific tracks to ensure that they remain in a playlist and specify tracks or artists to be excluded from playlists. The update also provides the ability for users to share any of their playlists via Facebook and Twitter. Moodagent 2.0 is available from the App Store in two different versions: A free, ad-supported version that is fully functional and an ad-free version that sells for $5.
Electronic Arts has released a minor update to The Sims 3 for iPhone and iPod touch users, adding nothing more than a new cheat code. Users can download the latest version and get unlimited money by pressing the Pause button during gameplay and then selecting the “Gardening Tips” from the “Help & About” section and shaking their device. The Sims 3 is available from the App Store for $5.
Amazon has released an update to its Kindle application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Kindle 2.1 adds larger fonts and more font sizes for iPad users, improves navigation between home and archived item sections on the iPad, and adds a download progress indicator. The new version also provides iPhone and iPod touch users with the ability to search inside their Kindle e-books; the release notes indicate the search feature will be coming to the iPad version in the next release. The next version also promises a built-in dictionary and the ability to look up words in Google or Wikipedia. Kindle 2.1 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Developer Ricky Bloomfield has released an update to his popular G-Whizz client for Google applications. G-Whizz 1.1.1 adds support for sending links to Instapaper, copying to the clipboard or opening in the Safari browser. In addition to bug fixes and memory optimization, the update further improves the help tab, adds cosmetic changes to the in-app browser and provides Google Talk and Tasks support for Google Apps users. G-Whizz is a universal app for both iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users and is available from the App Store for $3.
Apple has released iTunes Connect Mobile, a new iPhone and iPod touch app designed to allow developers to access their sales and trend data from the iTunes Store directly on their devices. iTunes Connect Mobile allows users to view daily and weekly sales data related to application updates, paid apps, free apps, and In-App purchases. Although iTunes Connect Mobile provides sales numbers in terms of actual downloads, this version does not provide any reporting on more detailed information available from iTunes Connect such as actual dollar revenue, sales history, chart positions or customer reviews. iTunes Connect Mobile is available from the App Store as a free download.
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.
FileMaker has released an update to its Bento database application for the iPad. Bento for iPad 1.0.1 adds the ability to view Adobe PDF documents stored in media fields and resolves a number of issues related to Address Book integration and videos, pictures, encrypted fields and calculation fields. The update also includes several improvements related to searching, navigation, orientation support and performance and adds three new themes. Bento for iPad is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for existing Bento for iPad users.
Slacker has released an update to its popular Slacker Radio streaming music application, introducing the ability for users to listen to Slacker Radio content without an active Internet connection. With Slacker Radio 2.0 users can now cache their favorite stations on the device for offline listening, regardless of whether a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection is available. The offline station caching feature requires a $5/month Slacker Radio Plus subscription; free Slacker Radio Basic users can try the caching feature free for 14 days. Slacker Radio Plus subscriptions also provide users with ad-free listening, access to song lyrics, unlimited song skipping and unlimited song requests. The application also provides both free and paid subscribers with access to artist biographies and album reviews, unlimited online listening and custom radio stations. Slacker Radio 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download; Slacker Radio Plus subscriptions may be purchased from within the application.
Pangea Software has released a universal update to its game, Antimatter, bringing native iPad support. Antimatter 2.0 is a unique physics-based arcade game where users must direct a stream of glowing antimatter blobs to affect cosmic strings in order to advance through the game, while collecting power-ups and bonus points as well. Antimatter 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download and is a free update for existing users.
U.S. antitrust regulators are preparing to launch an investigation into Apple’s decision to effectively bar AdMob from its iOS devices. The Financial Times, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that it’s currently unclear whether the Federal Trade Commission or the Justice Department will handle the investigation. Apple recently changed its iOS developer terms to forbid the sharing of user information with “an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple,” effectively barring AdMob from all iOS applications. Notably, the company also added language that bars third-party analytics services. Apple is already facing antitrust scrutiny from the Justice Department in relation to its digital music business and its blocking of Flash software from its iOS devices.