Loopt, a location-aware social network, has gained constant location updates for its iPhone users via a tie-up with AT&T. The company’s native iPhone application, like all other third-party applications, isn’t allowed to run in the background on iPhone—a limitation not enforced on other mobile phones—so Loopt reached a deal to let users constantly update their locations, even when the application isn’t running. The feature will allow users to receive updates when they are near friends or places they might interested in, and, the report suggests, will open the door for more intelligent location-based advertising. According to Silicon Valley Insider, the new always-on feature will launch in a limited 5,000 user trial, and will come at a charge of $4 a month after 14 days.
Hudson Soft has released details of its fall lineup of games for the iPhone and iPod touch. The company will be offering four new titles in the fall, including a sequel to the well-received Aqua Forest. Knights of the Phantom Castle is a hybrid strategy and action RPG game offering deep character customization including the forging of new weapons and development of new abilities, touch-screen controls, and numerous strategy decisions for the player to make in battle against the enemy. Military Madness: Neo Nectaris is an adaptation of the mobile game Military Madness 2, a sequel to the original and widely acclaimed TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine game Military Madness. In the turn-based strategy game, players will be asked to control armies via touch commands through 50 levels of tactical gameplay. Other features include upgraded visuals and an all-new musical score.
World RPS is a global rock-paper-scissors game that allows users to play the classic game against other players from around the world. The location-aware game will keep track of where the player scores wins and losses, as well as a global leaderboard to keep track of the top players worldwide. Finally, Aqua Forest 2 is a follow-up to last year’s Aqua Forest physics game, keeping the same water physics gameplay in place while adding 50 new environments, and an in-game level editor that allows players to make and share their own Aqua Forest levels, and play levels created by others. All four titles are slated for release this fall; more exact release and pricing information has yet to be announced. Continue reading to see more screenshots.
Rockstar Games has announced that it will be releasing its first two games for the iPhone and iPod touch this fall, including the platform’s first Grand Theft Auto title. Beaterator is a portable music-making application that allows people of all musical backgrounds and ability to create beats and songs, featuring thousands of loops and sounds made by both well-known producer/rapper Timbaland and Rockstar. Currently available for the Nintendo DS, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars follows the story of Huang Lee, a young Triad who travels to Liberty City after the mysterious death of his father to uncover the truth behind his demise. Both games are listed as coming this fall; more exact release or pricing information has yet to be announced.
Facebook has released version 3.0 of its application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The updated app sports a redesigned interface and several new capabilities, including the ability to write notes and read friends’ notes, upload photos to any album and manage a photo collection, zoom photos, see mutual friends, change profile pictures, and more. Facebook 3.0 for iPhone and iPod touch is available now as a free download from the App Store.
OnOne Software has released version 1.1 of its DSLR Camera Remote Professional Edition for the iPhone and iPod touch. Originally able to control select Canon EOS digital cameras with Live View support, version 1.1 adds support for select Nikon DSLR cameras, AutoFocus during LiveView, burst mode for sports photographers, bracketing for HDR photography, and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom auto-import. DSLR Camera Remote Professional 1.1 is available now from the App Store for $20; a feature-limited Lite version is also available and sells for $2.
AllergyFree Passport has released its iCanEat OnTheGo Gluten & Allergen Free application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Designed for users suffering from celiac/coeliac disease, food allergies or intolerances, iCanEat allows users to pinpoint what meals they can eat at 15 major U.S. fast food and quick service restaurants. Users can select from one or any combination of 9 allergens including eggs, fish, gluten, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat, and can browse over 1,500 food items in color-coded columns to quickly view appropriate meals. iCanEat OnTheGo Gluten & Allergen Free is available now and sells for $5.
Chilli X has introduced PlaySafe, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. PlaySafe is designed to make the iPhone or iPod touch’s music player easier, and therefore safer, to use while driving, by providing a full-screen start and stop button, with swipe gestures for changing tracks. The on-screen interface shows large album artwork, supports both landscape and portrait modes, and turns off auto-lock to prevent the device from sleeping while playing music. PlaySafe is available now and sells for $1.
The latest update to the Yelp application for the iPhone and iPod touch sports a hidden augmented feature, called Monocle, for iPhone 3GS users. The hidden feature, which is activated by shaking the device three times, allows 3GS users to see nearby Yelp-reviewed restaurants overlaid on video of the user’s surroundings, showing the aggregate rating, type of cuisine, and pricing scale information, if available. Yelp for the iPhone and iPod touch is available now as a free download from the App Store; continue reading for screenshots of the feature in use. [Picture courtesy of @modernmod]
European music subscription and download service Spotify has received approval from Apple for its iPhone application after a month-long delay, paidContent UK reports. The app lets users stream music from the Spotify service, access and edit saved playlists, save playlists for offline listening, and search for new music. It also offers album artwork and detailed information for each song. The company submitted the application to Apple in late July, and had been in subsequent contact with the company, finally gaining approval today. Some had suggested that Apple was attempting to block the app, as paid subscription services could be seen as direct competitors to the iTunes Store; Real Networks has also submitted an application for its Rhapsody service, which also offers a paid subscription model. Spotify is currently available in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France and Spain, and hopes to launch in the U.S. later this year.
Apple is forcing developers to update, or otherwise pulling, applications offering a “Free Memory” function in an apparent attempt to ban the feature from the App Store. The “Free Memory” feature is most often a button found in iPhone and iPod touch activity monitoring programs such as Bjango’s iStat, allowing users to free up RAM that remains marked for use by closed programs. According to Bjango, iStat’s Free Memory function was removed at Apple’s request, and “all other apps with Free Memory appear to have been removed or updated without their Free Memory function.” It is unclear why Apple just now decided to outlaw the feature, or if the company plans on offering a similar built-in alternative, apart from simply restarting the device; users have long reported iPhone system and application instabilities traceable to memory problems.
Metro Paris Subway 3.0 from Presselite has been released onto the App Store with augmented reality features, possibly becoming the first application released to offer such functionality. Augmented reality applications utilize the iPhone’s Internet connection, GPS, Compass, and camera to overlay information atop a stream of video showing the user’s surroundings; Metro Paris Subway allows iPhone 3GS users to see nearby subway stations and points of interest. It is unclear what method the app is using to provide the background images, as it was previously believed that APIs allowing augmented reality applications to gain access to live video from the 3GS’ camera would not be implemented until iPhone OS 3.1. Metro Paris Subway is available now and sells for $1.
Q Entertainment has revealed plans to bring the puzzle game Lumines to the iPhone and iPod touch, 1-Up reports. Originally released for the PSP in 2004 and later adapted for other consoles, Lumines is a block-dropping game in which players must align rotate 2x2 multi-colored blocks and drop them onto the playing field in order to create solid 2x2 squares, which are then cleared away by a timeline that moves in sync with the background music. According to the company, the game will include new skins and music, and will be available in September.
After a multi-month delay, burrito chain Chipotle has re-released its ordering application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Launched alongside a newly updated online ordering system, the new Chipotle Ordering application lets users order food directly from their device, securely pay with a credit card, utilize Location services to find the nearest Chipotle restaurant, view the menu and fully customize their orders, save favorites for future orders, and more. Chipotle Ordering is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Gameloft has released Gangstar: West Coast Hustle, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Gangstar is a 3D Grand Theft Auto-style game, putting players in a fully-3D reconstruction of a city with open-ended environments. Players can complete missions at their own pace, and the game offers a variety of vehicles, weapons, and in game music; players can also choose to play their own music. Gangstar: West Coast Hustle sells for $7.
PawPaw has released Farm Idol, its new application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Farm Idol is a music app in which users select from a cow, chicken, duck, pig, or sheep, and use a combination of on-screen notes and accelerometer-based pitch control to create music. Farm Idol is available now and is priced at $1.
Bump’ny Company has released Bump’ny, its first game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Bump’ny is based on an English pub game called Shove Ha’penny, in which players drag a coin to the bottom of the board and bump it so that it lands between two lines. the game offers both single and two-player modes, three levels of difficulty, varied playing surfaces, realistic gesture controls to “shove” coins into play, and accelerometer-based bump controls. Bump’ny is available now and sells for $2.
EA Mobile has released the first screenshots and details of its upcoming Madden NFL 10 football game for the iPhone and iPod touch. The game will feature complete rosters from all 32 NFL teams, authentic models of NFL stadiums such as Lambeau Field and the Metrodome, a season mode with in-depth trades, stats and individual player rewards, in-game commentary from John Madden, Tom Hammond and Cris Collinsworth, detailed roster management, the ability for players to draw up their own plays using the iPhone’s or iPod touch’s screen, and an action control mode that slows the game down to give the player more time to react to ongoing plays. The three screenshots, meanwhile, show the in-game interfaces for both passing and running, with what appears to be a color code system for indicating whether a receiver is in heavy, moderate, or light coverage. Notably, both interfaces include a mix of an on-screen analog stick and a bevy of buttons in the lower right-hand corner for handling player action and movement. Madden NFL 10 is currently slated for a September release; continue reading to see more screenshots.
In a lengthy, in-depth investigation spurred by an anonymous developer tip, MobileCrunch has revealed that the PR firm Reverb Communications has been actively posting bogus reviews on the App Store for its clients’ games, and offering the same service to potential clients. A check of the App Store, cross-referenced with information from the Internet, shows that Reverb has employed at least seven different iTunes accounts to create positive reviews for clients including IUGO, Pangea Software, which had its game Cro-Mag Rally featured prominently in a TV advertisement for the iPhone 3G, and Publisher X, which is owned by Reverb. In each case, the iTunes account in question had posted only 5-star reviews to a select number of these clients’ games, and had not posted a single review for any non-Reverb application.
In addition to the phony positive reviews, which are created by in-house writers to target select age ranges and are posted upon the game’s release, the company also promises clients “online message boards” management, and preferential placement on the App Store via its dealings with Apple. The company claims to work directly with Apple on “each and every iPhone title,” claiming to have secured on-stage Apple keynote appearances, national iPhone TV commercials, placement on the “What’s Hot,” “Staff Favorite,” and “What’s New” lists, and more for its clients. Other Reverb clients include Harmonix, International Game Technology, Realtime Associates, Playlogic, Zen Studios, Graffiti Entertainment, and MTV Games, and the company claims its clients have sold over $2 billion in product while contracted with the firm.
Over the course of a number of our own reviews of these companies’ titles, iLounge’s Editors have repeatedly noted a pronounced disparity between the quality of the apps and the App Store user comments. We urge our readers to exercise extreme caution in relying upon App Store ratings, as they continue to be subject to considerable manipulation by anonymous users.
Infinite Labs has released Mover+, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. As a paid alternative to the company’s free Mover app—featured prominently in a recent Apple iPhone commercial—Mover+ offers the same Wi-Fi-based picture and contact sharing as its free counterpart, as well as sharing via Bluetooth and e-mail, the ability to paste text, links, and other media from other applications into Mover for sharing, and support for bookmarks, which can be created by pasting in a URL or by using a new Safari bookmarklet. Mover+ is available now from the App Store and sells for $2.
McDSP has introduced Retro Recorder, its new audio application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Retro Recorder is an audio recording application with a tape recorder-like interface, and uses patent pending Audio Level eXtension (ALX) signal processing to boost the decibel level of quiet material and maintain the sound level of louder recordings, without the distortion caused by a traditional volume control. Other features include the ability to export recordings in WAV format to the Mac or PC, support for mono recordings at up to 22,050Hz sample rates, and more. Retro Recorder is available now and sells for $2. the company is also holding an audio clip contest in which users can win up to $50 of iTunes Store credit by submitting an audio clip made using the app’s ALX processing feature.
TapFactory Apps has released Stick It, its latest application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Stick It is a sticky note application, offering users 17 styles of notes, papers and objects, more than 25 backgrounds, full note customization with varied font styles, sizes, and colors, the ability to create wallpapers for one-touch note access, a preview feature to visualize the lock screen with the current Stick It layout applied, automatic saving, and the ability to share notes via e-mail. Stick It is available now and sells for $1.
WEsoft has debuted Comb, its new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Comb is a match 3-style game, in which players must touch and rotate surrounding hexagons to arrange same-colored stones in diagonal rows, in order to get three or more stones of the same kind placed in the row to clear them. Users can choose to play the game with touch- and accelerometer-based controls, or can use on-screen controls to play the game. Comb is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.
National Public Radio has launched its new NPR News application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed by the MPR Mobile team and Bottle Rocket Apps, NPR News relies on location services or a zip code search to let users locate the nearest NPR station. The app also allows users to search by station or by program, letting them connect to more than 1,000 live or on-demand streams of NPR stations, including popular programs such as All Things Considered, Car Talk, and Morning Edition. In addition, it also offers a customizable playlist feature, which lets users select, organize and time-shift their favorite NPR programs or stories. NPR News is available now as a free download.
Discovery Communications has introduced its new Discovery Channel application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The free application offers users access to a collection of video clips from some of the network’s shows, including Mythbusters, Man vs. Wild, and Cash Cab, along with a collection of quizzes, photo galleries, programming schedules and updates from Discovery News. Users may also share content via email and save favorites for later viewing. The Discovery Channel application is available now.
YinzCam has released iBurgh, a new application for the iPhone that allows Pittsburgh residents to report problems to the city. The application lets users take photographs of problems, such as graffiti, potholes, traffic issues, and more, automatically geotagging the image to allow officials to know exactly where the problem is, and sending it to the city’s 311 complaint system. iBurgh is available now and is a free download.
Announced and demonstrated during Apple’s 2009 WWDC Keynote Address, TomTom has released its navigation applications for the iPhone. The four separate TomTom apps cover the U.S. and Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, respectively, each featuring the latest Tele Atlas maps for its designated region. Features include the company’s IQ Routes technology for calculating fast, accurate routes and travel time estimates, voice instructions, automatic re-routing if a turn is missed, six million points of interest for the U.S. and Canada edition, night and day color modes, 2D and 3D display options, multi-touch gestures for zoom control, Contacts integration, and more. TomTom’s navigation apps for the U.S. and Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand are available now and sell for $100, $140, $80, and $95, respectively. A mounting cradle with GPS antenna accessory announced by TomTom for use with the apps is not required in order to use the software.
2K Games has released Civilization Revolution, its first game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Remade for the iPhone OS, Revolution puts players in control of an entire civilization, which they have to evolve by waging war, conducting diplomacy, discovering new technologies, and building an empire. The game features 16 historical civilizations to choose from, gesture-based touch controls, multiple difficulty levels, an integrated tutorial, and in-game advisors. Civilization Revolution is available now and sells for $5.
Electronic Arts has released Wolfenstein RPG, a Firemint-developed iPhone and iPod touch remake of the J2ME mobile game by id Software. Unlike the first-person shooter from which it gets its name, Wolfenstein RPG is a turn-based game, featuring a variety of different weapons, nine levels and over eight hours of gameplay, 32 different types of enemies, two built-in mini-games, hidden secrets, and a “mixing station” at which players can enhance their characters’ abilities. Wolfenstein RPG is priced at $5.
The University of Saskatchewan has released its new iUsask application for the iPhone and iPod touch. This new app allows students to get a list of their classes, read class announcements, get news and recent scores for the school’s sports teams, search for books in the library catalogue and view their library account, check assignment marks and feedback, check final grades, view a campus map, and more. iUsask is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Top Meadow has released Buggle, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. A match 3-style game, Buggle has players swipe their fingers across the screen to slide and rotate various bugs placed on the screen in order to match three or more and “free” them before they can be eaten by a spider. Features include five different “super powers,” the ability to earn award badges, and an in-game top ten list. Buggle is available now and sells for $1.
3D Realms has released Duke Nukem 3D, an iPhone and iPod touch port of the classic PC game. Though the graphics engine offers a faithful port other than certain censored risque graphics, users have discovered serious control issues, as well as problems getting the game to install on iPod touch units. According to Touch Arcade, the game’s on-screen analog sticks don’t work properly, requiring taps rather than smooth dragging motions. George Broussard, a co-author of the original game, has replied to some of the criticism on the site’s forums, saying that there was “internal miscommunication” which resulted in the game being released before he had a chance to test it, admitting that he agrees “100% on the comments on the [control] sticks,” and indicating that the company will be releasing an update that addresses “as much as possible.” Duke Nukem 3D is available now from the App Store and is priced at $3.
CourseSmart has launched its new eTextbooks application for the iPhone and iPod touch. eTextbooks serves as a reader application for CourseSmart’s eTextbook service, which offers online access to more than 7,000 textbook titles from twelve different publishers. The Textbooks are offered via a subscription at an average of 50% off traditional print versions, although the electronic versions typically expire after 180 days and require an Internet connection for access. Features of the application include access to subscribed textbooks, the ability to scan for visual aids, skim thumbnails, access full pages, and keyword search. CourseSmart’s eTextbooks for the iPhone is available now as a free download from the App Store.
USAA, a privately held bank and insurance company, plans to allow customers to deposit checks remotely using its iPhone application, the New York Times reports. The updated application, which is expected to be released this week, will use the iPhone’s camera to photograph both sides of a check, with an on-screen guide to make sure the check’s image is placed correctly in the frame. “We’re essentially taking an image of the check, and once you hit the send button, that image is going into our deposit-taking system as any other check would,” Wayne Peacock, a USAA executive vice president, told the NYT. Customers will not be required to mail the check in, and are told to void the check and either file it or discard it after it has been deposited. To reduce fraud, only customers who are eligible for credit and have some form of insurance through USAA will be permitted to use the feature, a group which includes about 60 percent of the bank’s customers.
Apple has pulled the paid version of ThinAir Wireless’ Offender Locator application from the App Store, but left the free version—Offender Locator Lite—in place. Offender Locator used publicly-available databases to help users locate sex offenders in their areas. Trip Wakefield, a ThinAir employee, told Cnet that the app was pulled for unspecified legal reasons, although readers on both Cnet and TechCrunch have suggested that the state of California prohibits the sale of criminal information for profit, which would have made the paid version of the application illegal. Wakefield also noted that a competing paid application, Sex Offenders Search, remains on sale.