Amazon.com has purchased Lexcycle, developer of the iPhone book-reading application Stanza. Stanza allows users to read e-books on their iPhone or iPod touch in the “epub” format, which is an open standard supported by the International Digital Publishing Forum that many publishers use to create e-book files. Amazon’s Kindle device doesn’t currently support “epub” files; nor does its Kindle for iPhone app let users download content from within the application, a feature Stanza offers. According to a post on Lexcycle’s blog, the company is “not planning any changes in the Stanza application or user experience as a result of the acquisition,” adding that they are “excited to join forces with a company that has innovated on behalf of readers for over a decade and is a pioneer in ebooks. Like Amazon, we believe there is a lot of innovation ahead for ebooks and we could not think of a better company to join during this exciting time.”
Ageasoft has released its new iWine application for the iPhone and iPod touch. iWine allows wine enthusiasts to track vintages that they own, taste, purchase, and recommend. The app offers attribute fields for winery, vintage, varietal and varietal type, region, rating pairing, price, and tasting notes, and also allows users to store both thumbnail and full size images of wine bottle labels. Other features include the ability to favorite wines, two separate rating systems, the ability to sort by any field, and provides a customizable library of wine varietals, varietal types, and regions. iWine is available now from the App Store and sells for $3.
Weather information service WeatherBug has introduced its WeatherBug Elite application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Devoid of the advertising found in the company’s free application, WeatherBug Elite features full radar animations, six additional contour layers including infrared satellite, humidity, air pressure, and wind speed, enhanced seven-day and hourly forecasts, full presentation of National Weather Service alerts, unlimited location settings, and an enhanced current conditions section. WeatherBug Elite is available now and sells for $1.
Frogameleon has released its new Uggles game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Uggles, players attempt to catch ball-like characters, called Uggles, utilizing touch- or accelerometer-based controls. The speed of the game increases as the player catches more Uggles. Other features include the ability to collect and display Uggles that have been unlocked, three levels of difficulty, high score listings for each difficulty, and the ability to listen to the iPod while playing. Uggles is available now and is priced at $1.
iPhone developer Rod Cambridge has released Top-Tens for the iPhone and iPod touch. Top-Tens lets users to keep tabs on multiple “top ten” lists at once, allowing them to keep up with trends in their favorite interests, hobbies, or pastimes. Categories include books, movies, video games, music charts and sales, coupons and deals, websites, blogs, and more. Top-Tens is available now from the App Store and sells for $3.
Gameloft has released Assassin’s Creed - Altaïrs Chronicles, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the Nintendo DS game of the same name and previewed last week, Assassin’s Creed puts players in control of a master assassin named Altair, sent to Jerusalem in the year 1191 AD to steal a chalice in order to end the Crusades. The game offers a mix of stealth, problem solving, and action, and features skill-based mini-games, cinematic cutscenes, the ability to upgrade Altair and his six different weapons, and 3D graphics. Assassin’s Creed - Altair’s Chronicles is available now from the App Store and sells for $10.
Electronic Arts has released its new Trivial Pursuit game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based on the popular board game of the same name, Trivial Pursuit features over 3,500 questions, including 2,900 text and 600 picture questions, both Classic and Pursuit game modes, Wi-Fi multiplayer for up to four players and pass-and-play multiplayer support for six, and touch-based controls. Trivial Pursuit is available now from the App Store and sells for $5.
According to graphics placed on Apple’s home page and Billion App Countdown page, the App Store has officially passed the one billion download mark. The countdown page now reads “Thanks a billion. Over 1 billion downloads in just nine months. Only on the App Store.” In smaller text, the page also advises that the Billion App Countdown promotion has ended, and to please come back to the page “soon” to see who won.
Apple has issued an official apology for allowing the application Baby Shaker onto the App Store. “We sincerely apologize for this mistake,” Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said in a statement, adding that the game was “deeply offensive” and should not have been approved for sale. Appearing yesterday on the App Store, Baby Shaker urged users to stop the crying of a baby pictured on screen by shaking the iPhone or iPod touch, until the crying stops and two red “x” marks appear over the infant’s eyes. Apple removed the app from the Store yesterday afternoon; this is the first time Apple has publicly apologized for the publishing of an offensive application.
Konami has released Silent Scope, a new version of its sniper game for iPhone and iPod touch. Originally released as a gun-operated arcade game, Silent Scope puts players in the shoes of the world’s top sniper, who must defeat terrorists and rescue the abducted President and the first family. The game offers nine stages, two gameplay modes—arcade and training—three gameplay stages within arcade mode, including story, shooting range, and time attack, multiple difficulty levels, 3D graphics, touch-based controls, and power-ups hidden throughout the game. Silent Scope is available now from the App Store and sells for $6.
Apple continued to lower its standards for acceptable App Store content this week with the approval of two new applications, one designed to simulate violent, life-threatening acts on an infant. The object of Baby Shaker from Sikalosoft is to stop the crying of a baby pictured on screen by shaking the iPhone or iPod touch, until the crying stops and two red “x” marks appear over its eyes. Jennipher Dickens, whose son Christopher was injured by being shaken by his father, told Cnet, “As a mother of a child who was violently shaken at 7 weeks old, causing a severe brain injury, and the founder of a national organization for Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention (as well as the communications director for a national organization helping children with brain injuries), I don’t have to tell you how much this horrifies me!!!”
Update: Baby Shaker was removed from the iTunes Store shortly following the publication of this story.
Meanwhile, the scatalogical Poop the World from SWS Digital is designed to let iPhone and iPod touch users share details of their bowel movements, including time, place, consistency, and smell, with other users across the globe. Users are encouraged to select from one of 20 shapes that best approximate their most recent output, then a scent from a long list of possible smells. Details, including location, are then uploaded to SWS’ servers, allowing other users to track the details. Promoted by the developer with toilet paper rolls that feature the App Store logo, the app even offers trophies to users who accomplish set “goals.” Poop the World and Baby Shaker are available now from the App Store and sell for $2 and $1, respectively.
Konami has released the completed version of Metal Gear Solid Touch for the iPhone and iPod touch. Expanding upon the 12 stages included in the “Initial Release” version of the game, the new complete version — listed in the App Store as version 2.0.0 — includes eight additional “Mission” stages, 20 new wallpapers, and language support for French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Metal Gear Solid Touch is available now from the App Store and sells for $8; the complete version is a free update for those who purchased the initial release.
Nationwide Insurance has released its new Nationwide Mobile app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Designed for use by Nationwide customers, the app helps users find local resources and document accidents. The app can help find local authorities and emergency services, as well as local towing services, Nationwide Blue Ribbon Repair Service Facilities and Nationwide agents. In addition, it provides an interface for entering the other driver’s insurance and contact information, and users can also store photos of the accident taken with the iPhone’s camera and automatically record the exact location of the accident using the iPhone’s built-in GPS. Other features include a flashlight function and a tool to help non-customers locate a Nationwide agent. Nationwide Mobile is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Edovia has introduced Currencies, its new currency conversion tool for the iPhone and iPod touch. Currencies offers a one-pane interface, with support for over 75 currencies, a customizable rate refresh delay, the ability to refresh exchange rates on the fly by shaking the device, the ability to reorder the currency list to display them in the user’s desired order, and the ability to drag amounts to switch the conversion order. Currencies sells for $1 and is available now.
Com2uS has released 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2009, its new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. The baseball simulation game offers users four play modes, including season, tournament, exhibition, and homerun modes, eight different teams and managers to select from, and on-screen controls. In addition, the developer promises to add auto fielding, auto running, a pitching guide, and enhanced artwork and effects in a future update. 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2009 is available now from the App Store and is priced at $5.
The counter for Apple’s billion app countdown, which currently occupies the front page of Apple.com, has revealed the company’s timing forecasts for the sale of the one-billionth app from the App Store. TechCrunch reported that the image was tied to the time and date on the user’s computer, making it possible to adjust one’s time settings forward in order to see the image Apple will display once the billionth app has been downloaded. This offers users an idea of when Apple estimates it will achieve its goal; it appears, however, that the dependency on the user’s own clock has since been fixed. According to the article, Apple previously had the time pegged at 1:24:06 a.m. PST April 23, but has been adjusting the exact timing based on the rate of app sales, meaning the actual one billionth download may take place slightly before or after the estimated time.
NBC’s Todayshow.com has released the official Today Show application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Developed by Zumobi, the app offers video and audio clips from the show, top stories and photos form popular Today topics, including health, food and wine, entertainment, relationships, and fashion. The Today Show application is available now as a free download from the App Store.
Digital Chocolate has released Mini Golf 99 Holes Theme Park, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. The game offers players five different characters, each with their own secret power, four unique courses, a total of 99 holes, and obstacles such as bumpers, teleporters, and spring jumps. Mini Golf 99 Holes Theme Park is available now from the App Store and sells for $5; a free Lite version is also available.
Glu Mobile has released its Cooking Star game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Cooking Star, players are asked to solve a varied set of cooking puzzles using multi-touch- and accelerometer-based controls, such as flipping kebabs, stirring soups, slicing ingredients, mixing salad, and more. Users who achieve five-star proficiency in the eight mini-games can unlock real recipes to build their cookbook; Glu Mobile also promises that new mini-games will be added periodically. Cooking Star is available now for $3.
Mac developer Steve Capps, under the company name onedoto, has released AliceX, a new iPhone and iPod touch game created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Mac. AliceX is inspired by Through the Looking Glass, a game Capps wrote for the original Mac while working for Apple; the title also has the distinction of being the only game Apple ever sold for the Macintosh. Based loosely on the rules of chess, the game puts Alice on a chess board with the objective of capturing all of the opposing pieces, and Alice begins playing as a queen but eventually moves to acting like a pawn in later levels. In total, the game offers 96 levels in four speed groups, and players must score at least 750 points to advance to the next level. AliceX is available now from the App Store and sells for $2. [via Mac Rumors]
Ngmoco has released details of its upcoming Star Defense game for the iPhone and iPod touch. A tower defense-style game, Star Defense puts players in the shoes of a starship captain, who must secure and defend an entire galaxy, consisting of seven unique worlds, each with distinct path layouts, enemy types and immunities, and weapon choices. Features include 15 weapon types, each with specific attributes, the ability to earn medals and commendations, five upgradeable tower types, three difficulty levels, and 3D environments. Star Defense is currently in development and is expected to launch in early May.
On the official website for its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference 2009 event, Apple has posted four new video profiles of various iPhone developers, explaining how the iPhone OS and SDK altered their views on what was possible on a mobile platform, and how it has affected their development processes. Included in the profiles are Dr. Ge Wang of Smule, developer of Ocarina, Werner Jainek of Cultured Code, developer of Things, Steve Demeter of Demiforce, developer of Trism, and Christina Wick of AOL, which has a variety of apps on the store, including AIM. Apple’s WWDC 2009 conference is scheduled for June 8-12 at Moscone West in San Francisco. [via TUAW]
Galcon has released Cosmic Nitro, its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch. In the game, which is based on the classic Atari game Missile Command, players must tap on the screen to “blast” enemies, with a shield option that can be deployed by swiping across the screen. Features include five different enemies, nine levels, an “apocalypse” mode, a secret level, high score tracking, and more. Cosmic Nitro is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.
MLB.com has released MLB World Series 2009, its first game for the iPhone and iPod touch. The only game for iPhone and iPod touch featuring all 30 Major League teams, the game also offers multi-touch pitching and batting controls, accelerometer targeting, three games modes, 3-D animations, skill rankings based on 2008 player stats, and four MLB ballparks, including Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Citizens Bank Park, and the new Yankee Stadium. MLB World Series 2009 is available now and sells for $8.
Orbicule has launched Undercover, a theft recovery solution for iPhone and iPod touch. Undercover works by submitting the most accurate location data available back to Orbicule’s servers, allowing both the user and the police to view its current position. The company notes that currently the thief would need to launch the application in order for it to transmit data, but that it is working with other third-party developers in hopes of building the technology into other apps. If the thief does launch Undercover after the device has been reported stolen, it pretends to load a game while determining the current location and submitting the data to Orbicule’s servers. Undercover is available now and sells for $5.
Coupon Sherpa has released its application of the same name for the iPhone and iPod touch. Coupon Sherpa lets users access both exclusive and traditional in-store coupons directly from their devices, finding coupons by searching for the store name or browsing by category or by store list. In addition, many of the coupons include bar codes that can be scanned by the stores’ optical scanners during checkout. Coupon Sherpa sells for $2 and is available now from the App Store.
Smule has released Leaf Trombone World Stage, its latest social instrument application for the iPhone and iPod touch. First previewed during the iPhone OS 3.0 event in March, Leaf Trombone is Smule’s first “massively multi-player” musical game, expanding on the iPhone-as-instrument concept seen in the company’s prior release Ocarina. Trombone features a self tutorial mode, judging capabilities which players can use to provide critiques of other users’ performances using emoticons, text, and a 1-10 scale, and a browser-based composition tool, which allows anyone to compose new music. Smule’s Leaf Trombone World Stage is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.
For more information on Leaf Trombone World Tour, see our review.
The Tiffen Company has released Cool fx, its latest image enhancement application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Cool fx offers users 172 visual presets separated into Black & White, Color, Diffusion, Grain, and Temperature groupings which simulate a variety of photographic looks, film stocks, and lab processes. Priced at $4 but currently offered for $3, Cool fx is available now from the App Store.
Pixelexip has introduced LightSource, its new lighting application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Designed for photographers and cinematographers, LightSource uses the device’s screen as a lighting tool, letting users choose from a common light source presets. The app’s light temperature presets are based on actual Kelvin readings, and include sunlight, candlelight, 40W and 100W tungsten bulbs, sodium vapor, halogen, fluorescent black light, and others. LightSource is available now from the App Store and sells for $1.
Fishing Cactus has debuted Equilibrio, a new gravity-based game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Players must rotate the iPhone in order to move a ball through an on-screen maze, with the ball shattering if it hits a wall or other obstacle while moving too fast. The game also features traps, five different balls with unique properties, three play modes, and 60 levels to play though. Equilibrio is available now for $4.
Smallrock Software has released Doomsday Terminal, a new game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Based loosely on the computer from LOST, Doomsday Terminal presents users with a computer screen and a list of numbers they must enter every 108 minutes or else the game ends. The game ties into an online scoreboard which keeps track of who has the longest streak; Smallrock promises to give a $200 gift card to the first user who breaks the one week mark. Doomsday Terminal sells for $1 and is available now.
Gameloft has released details of its upcoming Assassin’s Creed game for the iPhone and iPod touch. A direct prequel to the console game of the same name, Assassin’s Creed puts players in control of a master assassin named Altair, sent to Jerusalem in the year 1191 AD to steal a chalice in order to end the Crusades. The game offers a mix of stealth, problem solving, and action, and features skill-based mini-games, cinematic cutscenes, the ability to upgrade Altair and his six different weapons, and 3D graphics. Assassin’s Creed for the iPhone and iPod touch is expected to launch next week; pricing has yet to be announced. Continue reading for more screenshots.
Utah.gov, the official website of the state of Utah, has released two new applications for the iPhone and iPod touch to allow users to quickly and easily access various state agency information. The Utah.gov application provides users with a state agency search, including phone number, address, and web site URL, a service search, covering over 1,000 citizen, business, and government-to-government services, and a section for news from Utah.gov. The second app, Utah.gov Professional License Lookup, is a search utility that lets users verify the status of individuals with a state regulated occupation or profession, including doctors, nurses, contractors, accountants, and other state licensed professionals. It displays basic license information, and color-coded results based on active, inactive, or suspended status. Both of Utah.gov’s applications are available now as free downloads from the App Store.
Educational gaming company LeapFrog has released Number Rumble, the company’s first game for the iPhone and the iPod touch. Number Rumble is a math game aimed at six- to ten-year-olds that helps players learn basic math, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using numbers 1-12. It features three different game modes, including “Learn It,” in which players choose an operation, spin number wheels to create a math problem, and then tap the equals sign to see and hear the answer, “Quiz Time,” in which players spin the number wheels to create a problem and then shake the iPhone to select an answer, and “Random Quiz,” which lets players practice all four operations at once by shaking the iPhone to see fill-in-the-blank-style questions. LeapFrog’s Number Rumble is available now from the App Store and sells for $3.
Yelp has announced an upcoming update to its same-named iPhone application, reviewed yesterday, which currently offers restaurant reviews and a restaurant finder feature. According to a company spokesman, the new Yelp version will let iPhone users “write Twitter-length ‘quick tips’ about a business, draft full reviews, browse a Facebook-style feed of reviews, tips, photos and events” either nearby or authored by friends, as well as adding U.K. support, a large photo browser, and account creation directly from the iPhone. A video of the new Yelp version, which is expected to become available in the App Store in the next day or so, can be viewed here.
Two separate developers have released what one bills as the “first dual web browser for iPhone,” both under similar names, enabling a user to look at two web pages at once. Michal Wagner/7sql’s iBrowseTwo 1.0 divides the vertical-orientation iPhone screen into upper and lower portions, with a bar dividing the two web pages and capable of being moved to let you see more of one or the other. BIG Development’s iBrowse2 1.0 divides the widescreen-orientation screen into two halves, left and right, placing pages on both sides and letting you switch into single-page vertical mode at will. Each app sells for $1.
Direct-from-iPhone postcard-creating applications have appeared in the App Store, including the $2 CardPuppy from Wildcat Mobile and the free app Postcards from Stolen Bases. Both applications let you use iPhone photo gallery images to instantly upload and create actual mailable postcards, complete with text and addresses you enter, which are sent via the developers to recipients of your choice. While CardPuppy comes with a credit good for one postcard, selling additional credits via PayPal for $2.50 and up, Postcards gives you two cards for free and then charges $1.30 and up for additional cards, depending on quantity. Both are available now.