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myStarbucks now available in Canada and the UK

Starbucks has released its myStarbucks iPhone application in the Canadian and UK App Stores. Previously released only in the U.S. myStarbucks allows iPhone and iPod touch users to locate nearby Starbucks stores, browse the menu and create and share their favorite Starbucks beverages. The original U.S. version of the application has also been updated to provide more detailed information on Canadian and UK Starbucks locations for users travelling in those countries. The companion Starbucks Card management iPhone application, Starbucks Card Mobile, remains available in the U.S. only at this time. myStarbucks Canada and myStarbucks UK are available from their respective App Stores as free downloads.

Netflix surveys interest in iPhone app

According to a recent report from Hacking Netflix, several Netflix users have received a survey suggesting that an iPhone streaming application may be in development. The survey describes a hypothetical iPhone app that would allow Netflix members to stream movies and TV show episodes over Wi-Fi at no additional fee and with no advertisements or trailers. The proposed application would also include the ability to fast-forward, rewind, pause and watch content again. Last fall Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told Reuters that an iPhone application is “likely to come over time” but that the company was not yet focusing on mobile solutions. Netflix has previously used surveys like this prior to releasing support for other platforms such as the PS3 and Wii. [via TechCrunch]

Marco Arment releases Instapaper Pro update

Marco Arment has released a major update to his popular Instapaper Pro offline reading application. Instapaper Pro 2.2 adds an in-app browser for opening links and graphical pages and the ability to scroll by page and share selected text or look it up in a dictionary. The update also provides several UI improvements such as partially-read indicators for articles, landscape view for the article list, and the ability to delete items from the archive folder. Version 2.2 also removes the full offline graphical mode, replacing it with a unified and faster text mode that includes in-article images without having to download the entire page. Instapaper Pro is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for existing users.

Ngmoco launches We Rule on Canadian App Store

Ngmoco has launched its latest game, We Rule as an initial release on the Canadian App Store. This follows the same strategy the company has used with other recent games to ensure that its Plus+ network is working properly and stable prior to releasing the game to a larger audience. We Rule is an empire-building game where players direct their citizens to grow crops, construct buildings and work at other tasks to develop their estate’s infrastructure and transform a humble castle into a sprawling kingdom. Users can invite their friends through the Plus+ network to develop their realms together and visit each other’s kingdoms. As with other recent ngmoco releases, We Rule is a free download and generates revenue through in-app purchases. We Rule is currently available on the Canadian App Store. Ngmoco has not yet announced when the game will be released in other countries. [via Touch Arcade]

Nuance announces three new medical apps

Nuance, makers of the popular Dragon Dictation application, announced today that it plans to release three new iPhone applications for medical professionals: Dragon Medical Mobile Dictation, Dragon Medical Mobile Search and Dragon Medical Mobile Recorder. These applications build on the technologies in Nuance’s consumer Dragon Dictation and Dragon Search applications to allow physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers to access clinical information and document patient encounters while on the go. A Medical Mobile SDK is also planned to allow developers to build solutions that can interface with the Dragon Medical Mobile applications. Nuance will be previewing the new applications this week at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMMS) conference. No specific release date or pricing has yet been announced. [via TUAW]

Ubisoft releases Assassin’s Creed II: Multiplayer, free for a limited time

Ubisoft has released a multiplayer version of its popular Assassin’s Creed II game exclusively for the iPhone and iPod touch. The multiplayer version of the game allows players to compete with up to three other player-controlled assassins over a Wi-Fi connection. The goal for each player is to hunt down the other players and assassinate them by using stealth and hiding in amongst non-player characters. The game provides three different playing environments from Assassin’s Creed II, six different power-ups, online leaderboards and an integrated friends system for challenging other players. As part of a 48-hour launch promotion, Assassin’s Creed II: Multiplayer is currently free on the App Store. The normal price is $3.

Associated Press plans iPad app

The Associated Press has announced that it plans to develop a native iPad application for accessing AP news content as part of an initiative to create new experiences for consuming news on various mobile devices. To facilitate this The Associated Press has created a new strategic business unit, AP Gateway that will be responsible for developing new business opportunities for multimedia news. Speaking with the Colorado Press Association, Tom Curley, president and CEO of The Associated Press indicated that their new AP Gateway unit will “allow the news industry to deliver the news directly to the consumer in a variety of exciting new ways.” The AP Gateway unit builds upon the company’s existing AP Mobile application with a goal of creating user experiences that are tailored to specific target devices such as the iPad, rather than simply displaying generic content. A release date and price for the iPad application has not yet been announced. [via Mac Rumors]

Rehearsal app helps actors learn their lines

Riptide Games has released Rehearsal, a new application designed to help actors with their scripts. Developed in collaboration with actor David H. Lawrence XVII of Heroes and LOST fame, Rehearsal allows actors to view and practice scripts on an iPhone or iPod touch. Actors can take electronic scripts in PDF or Word document forms and e-mail them to their devices for review and practice, highlighting lines and adding text, audio, photo or video comments. Users can “blackout” their lines to practice remembering them and record multiple versions of their readings for later review and playback. Individual recordings can be sent out via e-mail in MP3 format, suitable for auditioning or voice over work. Rehearsal is available on the App Store as a free download and allows the user to work with up to three of their own scripts; additional scripts are sold as in-app purchases for $2 each, with monthly and annual subscriptions also available. An iPad version is also planned.

Report: Games are 58% of App Store, puzzles top genre

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week mobile app analytics startup Distimo presented a report with some comparisons on the relative size of the iPhone App Store and the popularity of different categories of applications. Distimo reports that games presently make up 58 percent of the applications on the App Store and breaks this down further by price, category and top sellers. According to the report, the Puzzles category is the largest, consisting of 15 percent of the games on the App Store, with the Action and Arcade categories in second place at 11 percent each. The categories with the fewest titles are Casino, Dice, Music, Racing and Role Playing, with each of these categories making up less than 2 percent of the total number of games.

The Distimo report indicates that the average price of a paid game in the App Store is $2.24, with the most expensive games being found in the Role Playing category at an average price of $7.96. The least expensive games are in the Action and Arcade categories with average prices of $1.68 and $1.39 respectively. By comparison, Distimo reports that 22 percent of the top grossing games are found in the Action category, with 12 percent in the Arcade category and 9 percent in the Adventure category. The report also notes that even though it has the most expensive games on average, the Role Playing category represents only 5 percent of the top grossing games, and the largest single category of games on the App Store, Puzzles, only accounts for 6 percent of the top-grossing applications. The full report can be downloaded from Distimo (free registration required). [via TechCrunch]

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Adobe releases Connect Pro Mobile, built with Flash CS5

Adobe has released a new iPhone application for its Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro enterprise web conferencing solution. Connect Pro Mobile allows iPhone users to watch and listen to live presentations including real-time meeting webcam video and screen sharing demonstrations. Mobile users can see a list of other meeting participants and collaborate directly with others using live text chat. Connect Pro Mobile was built using Flash Professional CS5 beta and published as a native iPhone application using Adobe’s Packager for iPhone demonstrated last October. This marks the first Adobe-authored application to use this technology. Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro Mobile is available on the App Store as a free download.

Survey: iPod touch users spend more time using apps

According to a survey published in mobile advertising firm AdMob’s January Mobile Metrics Report (PDF Link), iPod touch users download more apps and spend more time using apps than iPhone or Android users. The report states that iPod touch users download an average of 12 apps per month, 37% more than iPhone and Android users, and spend an average of 100 minutes a day using apps, 25% more time than iPhone and Android users. iPod touch users are also younger on average than users of other platforms and devices, with 78% of iPod touch users surveyed below the age of 25, compared to 25% of iPhone users and 24% of Android and webOS users. According to the survey, 16% of iPhone users said they intend to purchase an iPad, compared to 11% of webOS users and only 6% of Android users; a similar percentage of Android users were instead interested in the Amazon Kindle. Finally, 91% of iPhone users and 88% of iPod touch users would recommend their device, compared to 84% of Android users and 69% of webOS users. AdMob’s January survey included 963 respondents across all of the platforms.

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Square Enix releases Final Fantasy + Final Fantasy II

Square Enix has released iPhone and iPod touch versions of the first two games in its highly acclaimed Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II are role-playing adventure games where players guide a party of four characters around a magical world, battling creatures, meeting other characters and performing quests. The iPhone and iPod touch versions use a graphical style similar to the later PSP versions and both games include the bonus dungeons first found in the 2004 Dawn of Souls release. Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II are available separately from the App Store; each game sells for $9.

NASA programmers release 3D Sun

A team of programmers at NASA have developed an application for studying the sun in a three-dimensional view. Led by Dr. Tony Phillips, editor of Science@NASA, the 3D Sun application allows users to see a live view of the sun using images downloaded from NASA’s Solar-Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) satellites. Users can rotate the view of the star and zoom in on active regions using the touch screen. News items provide information on significant solar events with associated 3D views, images or movies accompanying each news bulletin. Users can also be notified of major events such as solar flares via push notifications. In addition to the 3D views of the sun the application also provides regularly updated movies and image galleries. 3D Sun is available on the App Store as a free download.

Expedia releases TripAssist 2.0

Expedia has released a major update to its TripAssist application designed to help travellers with booking, researching and tracking travel information. In addition to syncing itineraries from Expedia.com, TripAssist 2.0 allows users to enter and track non-Expedia travel itineraries as well. Other new features in the update include free real-time SMS and e-mail alerts for any flight, a new landscape-mode “billboard” view and a “date view” that consolidates all of the user’s itineraries into day-by-day listings. Users can also quickly look up alternate flight information, view a SeatGuru seat map for any flight and add their own notes to any itinerary. TripAssist requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later and is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.

Apple adds ‘Explicit’ category to iTunes Connect (Updated)

Apple has added a new primary category named “Explicit” to its iTunes Connect backend service for submitting and monitoring App Store applications, suggesting the company may be readying a new adults-only category on the App Store. According to Mac Rumors, the new category appears in a drop-down menu found in the new submission section, alongside other already-existing categories such as “Books,” “Games,” and “Entertainment.” Although the exact reason for the new category’s appearance is unknown, it is possible that Apple plans to allow recently-banned “overtly sexual” content back into the App Store under this new category, which would allow the company to more easily hide it from underage users via Parental Controls.

Update: Wired reports that the new “Explicit” option has since been removed from iTunes Connect.

Ngmoco CEO discusses Freeverse, free-to-pay model

In a recent interview with Touch Arcade, ngmoco CEO Neil Young clarified the company’s position on the recent acquisition of Freeverse and its move toward a new free-to-pay model. In discussing why ngmoco specifically chose to acquire Freeverse, Young described the company as “wonderful people” who “shared their vision and values.” Young indicated that Freeverse will remain functionally independent and retain the Freeverse brand on their applications.

Discussing ngmoco’s shift to a free-to-pay model, Young dispelled rumours that the move was in response to high piracy rates for iPhone games. Young described the move instead as a result of a combination of other factors, with the two main concerns being significantly higher download numbers for free applications and a general trend away from higher-priced premium games. [via Touch Arcade]

Disney releases Alice in Wonderland game

Disney has released an official Alice in Wonderland game for the iPhone and iPod touch in anticipation of the upcoming theatrical premiere of its new movie. In Alice in Wonderland—An Adventure Beyond the Mirror, players take on the role of Alice and must solve a series of puzzles while exploring the world of Wonderland. Other well-known characters such as the Mad Hatter and White Rabbit appear during the game to assist Alice with their special abilities. The game also includes integration with the iPhone GPS, camera and photo library to unlock hidden objects. Alice in Wonderland—An Adventure Beyond The Mirror is available on the App Store for $5.

Daisy Mae returns to app store unchanged

At least one application has returned to the App Store unchanged following Apple’s recent purge of “overtly sexual” content. IUGO’s Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet was reportedly pulled from the App Store late last week as part of the culling of adult-themed apps. Daisy Mae is a B-movie style survival shooter game that contains a voluptuous lead character and some mildly risque elements.

Yesterday the game reappeared on the App Store, quietly reinstated without any changes from the original version. IUGO indicates that the game just quietly reappeared without any contact from Apple explaining the game’s return. Further, the game now appears as a featured title with the App Store games section. [via Touch Arcade]

Apple posts third update to iPhone OS 3.2 SDK for iPad

Apple has released the third beta version of its iPhone SDK 3.2 for iPad. Originally released on January 27 following the introduction of the iPad and updated on February 10, the new SDK is tailored specifically for iPad development. It includes support for the device’s 1024x768 resolution, other iPad-specific interface functions, and an iPad simulator application so developers can pre-test their apps in an environment similar to that of the final device. It is currently unclear what, if any major changes were made in the latest version. The iPhone OS 3.2 SDK beta 3 for iPad is available now to registered iPhone developers through the iPhone Dev Center.

Ngmoco acquires Freeverse

TechCrunch reports that following a third round of venture capital funding, ngmoco has acquired iPhone game developer Freeverse. Ngmoco is known for such titles as Rolando, Eliminate and TouchPets, and has recently announced a shift to a free-to-play pricing model. By contrast, Freeverse has a staple of popular paid games including Skee-Ball, Flick Fishing and Moto Chaser. With this acquisition Ngmoco has confirmed that it plans to move these titles over to its free-to-play model whereby the games will be offered for free and revenue generated from in-app purchases instead. Ngmoco CEO Neil Young indicates that this business model has been working well for the company, and expects that ngmoco will release approximately 20 new games this year with the newly-acquired Freeverse team releasing about the same number.

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