Google has released Google Currents, a new content aggregation and reading app for iOS devices. Google Currents provides access to top content from a wide range of publishers such as CNet, AllThingsD, Forbes, Saveur, PBS, Huffington Post, Fast Company and more delivered in a format optimized for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Users can also add their own RSS, video and photo feeds and integrate their Google+ streams and Google Reader subscriptions to provide a customized content experience. Google Currents also provides a Trending Editions section that leverages Google search technology to build a customized collection of the five top trending stories in categories such as world, entertainment, sports and science, updated hourly and presented as a compiled edition of articles, videos and pictures. The application also provides offline reading support so that users can browse and read their customized magazines even without an active data connection. Integration with Google+ allows users to easily share articles or videos with their circles; Facebook, Instapaper, Pinboard and Tumblr are also supported as additional services. Google Currents is currently only available from the U.S. App Store and is a free download.
Microsoft has released My Xbox Live, a universal iOS application that allows Xbox users to access their Xbox Live accounts while on the go. The application allows gamers to connect with their Xbox Live friends, track and compare achievements and even change their 3D avatar dirtily from their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Users can review recent games that their friends have played or jump into the games hub to learn more about the latest Live games and apps. The app also provides access to Xbox Spotlight feeds, breaking news from Xbox Live, game tips and tricks and more. My Xbox Live requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
A U.S. District Court in San Jose has rejected an Apple request for a preliminary injunction barring the sale of several Samsung Galaxy tablets and smartphones. The San Jose Business Journal reports that Judge Lucy Koh denied the request, saying that “It is not clear that an injunction on Samsung’s accused devices would prevent Apple from being irreparably harmed.” Samsung issued a statement on the ruling, saying, “We are confident that we can demonstrate the distinctiveness of Samsung’s mobile devices when the case goes to trial next year.” Despite the ruling against Apple, Koh also said that Apple has proven that it’s likely to succeed in proving that Samsung’s products infringe its patents.
An Australian court earlier today extended a ban on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the country by at least a week, according to a Reuters report. Earlier this week, Samsung won an appeal in its case versus Apple, which would have seen the sales ban lifted today. Apple will now have a week to make its appeal to the High Court, which will decide whether Samsung will be allowed to resume sales ahead of a final hearing expected to take place next year, by which time the current Tab 10.1 model may be obsolete.
BBC Worldwide has released its BBC iPlayer Global Edition for Canadian users, continuing the worldwide rollout of its video-on-demand service which began last summer with fourteen European countries and then to Australia in September. The free BBC iPlayer app provides an on-demand selection of classic and contemporary British television shows including such popular titles as Doctor Who, Top Gear and The Naked Chef. Users can enjoy selected clips and taster episodes for free or subscribe to a full unlimited package for $9/month or $85/year. In addition to providing streaming video-on-demand over Wi-Fi or 3G, the BBC iPlayer app also allows users to download shows for offline viewing within the application; downloads do not have a specific expiry—they are retained on the device for as long as the user’s subscription is valid and the episode is otherwise available online. The BBC iPlayer app also includes a parental controls feature to lock out content that may not be suitable for younger viewers in their household. BBC iPlayer Global is currently available from the App Store in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Australia and Canada. A U.S. release is said to be coming later this year. [via The Globe and Mail]
Chair Entertainment has released Infinity Blade II, the much anticipated sequel to last year’s highly acclaimed sword-fighting action game, Infinity Blade (iLounge Rating: A). Infinity Blade II continues the epic story from the prior game with the God King defeated and the player now on a quest to discover the secrets of the Infinity Blade, descending deeper into the world of the Deathless tyrants and their Titan armies. Originally unveiled at Apple’s iPhone 4S Event in early October, Infinity Blade II was shown as a demonstration of the higher performance hardware in the new iPhone 4S; the game has been optimized for the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 to provide extremely detailed and high-resolution graphics and lighting effects to create an immersive and dynamically changing environment with graphics and animation described as beyond what is being done on high-end gaming consoles.
Infinity Blade II expands on the gameplay of its predecessor adding three new styles of combat with multiple classes of weapons, armours and spells that include specialized capabilities such as Dual Wielding and Two-Handed in addition to the standard Weapon and Shield classes. The character customization has also been further expanded from the original, allowing players to use mystical objects that they discover in their travels to create and forge more powerful weapons and providing a richer storyline as the player explores and discovers the story of the Infinity Blade. iCloud support has also been included to allow players to synchronize game status between multiple devices. Infinity Blade II is available from the App Store for $7 and is a universal app supporting the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S, the iPad and iPad 2 and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. iOS 3.2 or later is required, iOS 5 is recommended.
Samsung has won its appeal in a case versus Apple lifting a ban on the sale of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. Bloomberg reports that an Australian federal appeals judge ruled that sales of the iPad competitor can begin on December 2nd, after a three-member panel said unanimously that a lower-court judge made a mistake in grant Apple’s request for a ban. Apple will need to file an emergency appeal against the verdict in High Court to extend the sales ban; the High Court would need to decide before the end of business on Dec. 2nd whether to grant Apple’s request for an extension, after which Apple will have 28 days—starting today—to file a request to appeal the ruling.
Code referencing next-generation versions of the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV has been found in the iOS 5.1 beta released to developers last night. According to a report from 9to5Mac, iOS 5.1 contains references to an iPhone5,1—the iPhone 4S is listed as iPhone4,1—as well as an iPad 3,3, a full number higher than the iPad 2’s 2,x designation. A separate report indicates that iOS 5.1 also reveals the codename for the next-generation Apple TV, which is said to be J33. While such references do indicate that Apple is working on such hardware, they are not indicative of an impending—or even planned—release.
Apple has seeded its first beta version of iOS 5.1 to developers. According to the company, the update—listed as build 985117b—provides improved dictation support for text input views on “supported devices”. In addition, Apple warns that devices should be backed up either using iTunes or iCloud prior to installation, and that devices updated to iOS 5.1 beta will not be downgradable back to prior versions of the operating system. iOS 5.1 is available now to registered developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple is adding Sharp as a supplier of LCD panels for the next-generation iPad, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the situation, the Wall Street Journal reports that Sharp’s Kameyama No. 2 plant will manufacture panels for the device, which is expected to launch next year. In addition, Apple is said to be investing in facilities at Sharp’s panel making factories, although the size of the investment is unknown. Sharp already supplies panels for the iPhone, and will be supplying panels for the next-generation iPhone, which is also expected to launch next year, according to the report.
Apple is expanding its in-app subscription model to include game titles, according to a report from Bloomberg. Seattle-based game publisher Big Fish Games has received approval from Apple to offer users access to multiple game titles for a single recurring monthly fee. Dubbed Play Instantly, the subscription service will be offered through a single iOS app that will deliver unlimited access to a number of the company’s popular game titles streamed to the user’s device via Wi-Fi, allowing the player to easily switch between different games without having to download each title individually. Big Fish Games has also announced plans to offer a free, ad-supported version of the game service that will limit play to 30 minutes per day. Paid subscriptions are expected to initially cost $5 per month with an increase to $7 per month as more titles are added. The application and subscription service are initially available in the U.S. only. Big Fish Play Instantly is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download. [via Mac Rumors]
Update (5:00 EST): The application is no longer available on the App Store. No explanation has been given as to the reason for its disappearance. We have reached out to the developer for comment and will update the story as more information becomes available.
Update (6:30 EST): According to another report from Bloomberg, Play Instantly was removed by Apple earlier today, after having been available on the App Store since November 18th. Paul Thelen, founder of Big Fish Games indicates that the company was “notified [by Apple] that the app was removed,” and is “trying to follow up with Apple to try to figure out what happened.” Thelen indicated to Bloomberg that “Apple had even signed off on a press release issued earlier today.” The Bloomberg report also notes that Tom Neumayr, an Apple spokesman, declined to comment.
The National Film Board of Canada has released NFB PixStop, a new app designed for shooting and scoring stop-motion animation films on the iPad 2. NFB PixStop allows users to capture up to 10,000 images to create stop-motion films up to 13 minutes in length and add background music titles and descriptions. Finished videos can be exported to the iOS camera roll for sharing via e-mail or uploading to YouTube. Inspired by the stop-motion animation workshops offered at the Toronto Mediatheque and Montreal CineRobotheque, NFB PixStop is designed to be educational as well as creative, offering three short tutorials by NFB experts covering principles of animation, creating a flipbook and storyboarding; integrated help also explains all of the application’s functions and a sample movie is included to get users started. NFB PixStop is available from the Canadian App Store as a free download, or from the U.S. and other International App Stores for around $3.
Apple has posted a teaser image on its online store, informing customers of an upcoming sale this Friday. The teaser page indicates that the one-day shopping event will be held this Friday, November 25, at which customers can “discover amazing iPad, iPod, and Mac gifts” for everyone on their shopping list. At past Black Friday events, Apple has offered modest discounts on its iPod and iPad models, as well as more substantial savings on Macs and select accessories.
Apple has started to air a new television ad for the iPad 2. Entitled “Love”, the 30-second spot continues Apple’s recent trend of showing the device being used in different ways, while a narration track plays in the background. “For some, it’s a lifelong passion. For others, it’s something discovered yesterday,” the narrator—Peter Coyote—says. “We all have things that speak to us. They drive us to get up early, and stay up late. Getting lost in the things we love has never felt quite like this.” The new ad is available for viewing now on Apple’s website.
Google has released an update to its Google Search app for iOS providing a significantly redesigned user interface for the iPad. The latest update adds support for Google Instant, delivering search results as text is entered and now loads pages on a slide-in panel layered over the search results. The new split panel allows users to see both the selected page and alternative results side-by-side and even continue scrolling through the results while the selected web page loads. A new image browser presents a carousel view of image results that allows users to swipe through images and view them full-screen and users can also bring up a visual presentation of search history presenting snapshots of pages previously visited, stacked and organized by search terms. Instant Previews have also been added for iPad users to quickly preview web pages for each search result without having to actually visit the page and wait for it to load. Additional enhancements include the ability to highlight found text within web pages and an integrated +1 button for recommending pages. Google Search is available from the App Store as a free download.
Loud Crow Interactive has released A Charlie Brown Christmas for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Based on the 1965 animated classic, the app presents the tale in an interactive storybook form narrated by Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown along with the original dialog and digitally remastered illustrations, animation and music. The app provides interactive features on every page as the story unfolds allowing users to perform such tasks as playing Schroeder’s piano, finger painting and going carolling; users can also participate in the Super-Colossal Neighborhood Christmas Lights and Display content to unlock rewards and decorations for their very own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. Word and note highlighting helps children improve reading and musical skills and individual words are repeated with the tap of a finger. A Charlie Brown Christmas is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $7.
New code found within iOS 5 suggests that Apple is considering releasing a unified iChat client for its mobile platform. RazorianFly points to a series of tweets from developer John Heaton, who found references to a variety of services, all consolidated under an IMService banner. Specifically, the code references iMessage, FaceTime, Jabber, and AIM; consolidating all those various messaging protocols under one application would substantially simplify messaging on the devices. Such a move could also lead to similar changes to iChat for Mac, which currently handles only the latter two protocols, while FaceTime is a separate app, and iMessage is currently unsupported on the Mac. [via Mac Rumors]
Samsung is looking to avoid a ban on sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany by introducing a redesigned version of the device. Bloomberg reports that the company has changed the frame and the location of the speakers in the new model, dubbed the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, which will go on sale as early as this week, according to Samsung spokesman Jason Kim. A German judge ruled in September that the prior Tab 10.1 was too similar to the iPad, upholding a previous injunction against the device and banning its sale in the country; Apple and Samsung, despite ties in component deals, have been engaged in a variety of patent disputes in several countries worldwide.
Navigon has released a major update to its line of navigation apps for iOS devices adding a redesigned user interface and new map management capabilities. The Navigon 2.0 apps, available in several region-specific versions now provide a refined and more intuitive user interface, reducing complexity and making the application easier to use, especially while on the go. Users can now easily switch between different pages with animated menus and multi-touch gestures, rotate and zoom maps in any direction when in 3D mode and tap points of interest on the map to instantly add them to a route.
Navigon 2.0 also adds a new MyMaps function allowing users to manage which maps are loaded onto their device for more efficient use of on-device storage. For example, users who own the North America version can select specific U.S. states and Canadian provinces they want stored on their device with the ability to download additional regions at a later time as needed. This also reduces the size of the Navigon download and app installation package as maps for selected regions are downloaded over the air after installation using a Wi-Fi connection. In conjunction with MyMaps, users can also subscribe to a new FreshMaps feature for a one-time fee that delivers quarterly map updates with the latest verified navigation data and points of interest. Navigon 2.0 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.3 or later and available from the App Store in several versions for specific regions: Navigon North America ($40), Navigon USA ($30) and Navigon Europe ($75) as well as numerous other regional editions.
Google has re-released its official Gmail app for iOS devices as an updated version properly enabling push notifications. First released two weeks ago, the application presented a push notification error when starting up, causing Google to subsequently pull the application from the App Store and promise to release an updated version. Gmail 1.0.1 is otherwise identical to the prior version, except that users will now be prompted to enable Push Notifications when first opening the app and will be able to see badge counts and receive sound and vibration alerts when new mail is received. Gmail is available from the App Store as a free download.