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]
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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]
Amazon’s Amazon Instant Video app updated to version 2.1. Most notably, the free app now supports AirPlay to let users watch Amazon’s titles on the Apple TV. IMDB cast and director information, ratings, trivia, quotes, and goofs have also been added to the app.
Infinity Blade III ($7) from Epic Games’ Chair Entertainment Group debuted on iOS today. The game features two playable characters, Siris and Isa. As expected, the game’s graphics — powered by the Unreal Engine — are top-notch, running smoothly on all supported devices while adding additional special effects to take advantage of Apple’s latest hardware. On the other hand, the gameplay is largely more of the same, and beginning to feel stale despite the addition of potions to mix and enemies that switch weapons mid-fight. Fans of the series may enjoy the additional emphasis on the sci-fi/fantasy storyline this time around. Apart from some crash bugs we experienced on the iPad mini, Infinity Blade III is certainly worth grabbing for longtime fans of the series, and anyone looking to see what a given iOS device is really capable of.
Apple is currently in the process of releasing iOS 7-focused updates to its own apps, and we’re expecting a bunch to hit the App Store today. Here’s what’s now available.
The Apple Store app has been updated to version 2.8 — it’s been optimized for iOS 7 with a new UI.
Apple updated its AirPort Utility app to version 1.3.2. The app added support for iOS 7.
This story will continue to be updated as more Apple apps get iOS 7 updates over the course of the day.
Apple’s iOS App Store is now letting users of older versions of iOS download specific legacy versions of apps. The App Store now prompts users to ask if they want to download “the last compatible version” of a selected app. First noted on Reddit, the move is beneficial to those with older hardware, or those using older versions of iOS for other reasons. App developers will also benefit from the change, as they’ll be able to offer staggered stable versions of software to users at various stages of iOS adoption. Apple has yet to officially comment on the new feature. [via TheNextWeb]
Sega’s Go Dance ($2) is an iOS dancing game, actively tracking your body movements using a FaceTime camera. Your hand, arm, and torso motions automatically are registered by the camera, which moves the on-screen character to follow your motions, hitting or missing beat-based triggers. Songs such as LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” and Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” come pre-loaded, while other songs are available as in-app purchases. Go Dance also supports AirPlay, letting players with an iPhone 5 or fourth-gen iPad view the game on an HDTV. Although the app is universal, we found that it’s much better when played with an iPad — standing at a distance from the iPhone’s small screen while trying to follow required dance movements presents obvious problems.
Joust Legend ($2) is a jousting game, though fans of classic arcade games may regret that no platforms or ostriches are involved. Rebellion Games has brought an authentic jousting game to iOS, with warriors charging at each other on horses, using lances to knock their opponents off their trusty steeds. The graphics are striking in Joust Legend, highly detailed with excellent polygon counts that really show off Retina displays. Gameplay itself is largely timing-based, with swipe and hold gestures determining the speed of your horse and direction of your lance, though the game gives players the option of upgrading armor, skills, and tricks before the joust.
Rovio’s Angry Birds Star Wars ($1) has updated to version 1.4. The game now features 30 new Endor levels. New gameplay elements including bouncing items off drums and waking up jumping Ewoks have also been introduced with the update. A big battle has also been added, in which players must destroy a bunker to disable the Death Star’s deflector shield. Angry Birds HD ($3) for iPad has also been updated.
Epic Games debuted Infinity Blade III ($7) during Apple’s iPhone event on Tuesday. The newest adventure in Epic’s acclaimed series is scheduled to hit the App Store next Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Silvio Rizzi has introduced Reeder 2 ($5). The new RSS reader is a sequel of sorts to Rizzi’s Reeder, and it brings the reader back to the iPad — Reeder 2 is universal. Reeder 2 is a client for Feedbin, Feedly, Feed Wrangler, Fever, and Readability. It has a number of new sharing services, and its new interface has been redesigned to match iOS 7. Gesture-based navigation has also made its way into the new app.
Apple quietly announced that as of yesterday, its Cards service for iOS is no longer available, putting an end to an unusual standalone app that debuted in October 2011. A support page notes that “Cards ordered before 1 PM Pacific time on September 10, 2013, will be delivered, and push notifications will continue to work.” Previous purchases can still be viewed in the app’s Saved Cards feature. On the same support page, Apple recommends using iPhoto on the Mac for ordering letterpress cards with customized photos and text.
Apple today announced that its iWork productivity apps for iOS—Pages, Numbers, and Keynote—along with iPhoto and iMovie, will now be available for free to purchasers of new iOS devices. Previously, each app individually cost between $5 and $10. No mention was made of GarageBand, the third iLife app. Updated: This story was updated after initial publication for clarity; it remains uncertain at this point whether the apps will continue to have their old price tags for prior iOS device users.
Chug Patrol: Ready to Rescue ($5) is a new Chuggington interactive pop-up book from StoryToys Entertainment. Based on the licensed Chuggington characters, this flip-style book is lightly animated on its regular pages, but features lots of voice narration and audio samples to keep kids excited. Interactive roadside rescue/task games break up the flat pages, and kids will find it easy to play the activities due to simple tap action commands. Young fans of Chuggington will find this book charming, and the artwork is all in extremely high resolution.
Amazon’s Kindle (free) app has updated to 3.9.2. According to Amazon, it is a required update before upgrading to iOS 7. The update fixes an issue with iOS 7 that could cause customers to have to re-register and re-download books which were already purchased from Amazon.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has issued an injunction against Apple for its involvement in fixing e-book prices, Reuters reports. Cote barred Apple from entering any agreements with the five major publishers — Macmillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Hachette — that would impede its ability to reduce e-book prices or offer discounts. Judge Cote also said an external monitor would be appointed for two years to prevent antitrust behavior from Apple. The terms will expire after five years, but the judgment could be extended in one-year increments. As expected, no App Store changes were included in the injunction.
Additionally, GigaOM notes Apple may not enforce most-favored-nation clauses in any e-book publishing contracts for five years. The company must also stagger new contract negotiations with the five major publishers in an order set by the judge. Apple plans to appeal the injunction. “Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said. “The iBookstore gave customers more choice and injected much-needed innovation and competition into the market.”
Coming out of nowhere today is Call of Duty: Strike Team ($7), a premium-priced shooter from Activision. The newest title in a long line of Call of Duty games, Strike Team offers both first-person and third-person views of combat, as players can switch views during the game for traditional FPS shooting and melee combat, then tactical strategy viewed from the position of a drone. CoD: Strike Team features a single-player campaign mode, plus a survival mode which lets players fight off waves of enemies while competing against others. It’s a neat game — unfortunately, like 2K Drive below, we experienced a few technical problems with the game, as it crashed multiple times during the first level. Hopefully future updates will fix the issues.
Hello Vino, the free wine app from Drive Thru Interactive, has gotten a sizable update in version 3.0. The updated app has been redesigned and is now universal for iPhone and iPad. Hello Vino now offers insider wine deals, expert reviews from Elizabeth Schneider, audio pronunciations of wines, improvements to the “My Wines” feature and enhancements to the wine label scanner. Tens of thousands of new wines have also been added to the app’s database.
A recent update to the Google Authenticator app may be causing user’s one-time password credentials to be erased, potentially preventing them from accessing online services using two-step verification, according to several user reports in the Google Authenticator project group. Google Authenticator is an iOS app that allows users to store credentials for Google’s 2-Step Verification feature, and is also used for two-step verification with other third-party services such as Dropbox and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Although several iOS 7 beta users had reported problems with losing credentials in the app, it wasn’t until a recent update, presumably intended to address the iOS 7 issue, that the app began exhibiting the same behaviour for iOS users upgrading to the new version, resulting in users possibly losing access to some of their online services, particularly in cases such as AWS, where alternative “backup codes” are not made available. Users relying on the Google Authenticator app should avoid installing this update. Note that Google Authenticator uses an open-source one-time password generation method, so alternative apps are available, many of which were discussed in the same thread as a result of problems using the app with the iOS 7 betas.
Update: Google Authenticator appears to have been removed from the App Store, suggesting that Google may have pulled it while it works to address the issue.