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Melcher Media releases Monty Python: The Holy Book of Days

Melcher Media, creators of the bestselling interactive book app Al Gore: Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, have released a new iPad app for Monty Python fans, Monty Python: The Holy Book of Days. Released in conjunction with the Blu-ray debut of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the interactive app provides a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the troupe’s second feature film. Melcher Media worked with John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin to provide an immersive experience for Python enthusiasts as the group takes fans along on their foolhardy quest to make an epic film in just 28 days.

Monty Python: The Holy Book of Days includes an exclusive collection of previously unreleased outtakes, rehearsals, raw audio recordings, songs, sound effects, scripts, dozens of stills and more, while also adding new illustrations, animations and the story of the filming told in the Pythons’ own words. Packed with Python history, the app includes content such as Michael Palin’s day-by-day diary of the filming, Terry Gilliam’s storyboards, the original continuity sheets covering every shot and 360-degree views of actual props and costumes from the movie.

In addition the app can also function as a rich second screen companion when used in conjunction with the new Blu-ray version of the film. Using a supported Blu-ray player synced via Wi-Fi the iPad can be used as a remote control to jump to the specific scenes in the movie that users are browsing through and reading about in the app. For a limited time, Sony is also offering a $5 mail-in rebate when consumers purchase both the Blu-ray and iPad app. Monty Python: The Holy Book of Days requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.

Next-gen iPad to be named ‘iPad HD’?

Apple will not call the next-generation iPad the iPad 3 as many had expected, according to a new report. Citing a developer who’s previously provided reliable information, Cnet reports that Apple will instead use the moniker iPad HD, calling deliberate attention to the device’s high-resolution screen. A separate report from Gizmodo, posted last week, included an alleged list of upcoming cases from Griffin Technology listed as being for the iPad HD, and the name has been seen in application usage reports, as well. The report goes on to note that both the and domains appear to be registered by companies other than Apple; Apple is expected to unveil its next-generation iPad at a special media event being held tomorrow in San Francisco.

iPad 3 shipments affecting China to US air freight rates

Two separate reports have indicated that massive shipments of next-generation iPad units from China to the United States have resulted in price hikes and reduced capacity for air freight carriers. Citing an anonymous source, AppleInsider reports that the price of shipping air cargo from China to the U.S. via DHL have seen a “big change” as Apple has taken up capacity on such flights for iPad units. In a separate report, MacRumors cites a shipping representative as saying that shipping rates have risen as much as 20 percent in a single week; the representative added that his freight broker in China has had trouble finding space for his company’s shipments, as Apple has taken up available capacity, and done so at “premium rates”. Both reports note that the timing and quantity of the shipments suggests that Apple plans to launch the next-generation iPad soon after its expected introduction on Wednesday.

US Air Force to buy as many as 18,000 iPads

The U.S. Air Force has awarded a $9.36 million contract to a Phoenix-based computer services company which will use the money to purchase as many as 18,000 iPad 2 units. Bloomberg reports that the Air Force is purchasing 32GB Wi-Fi models, which will be used as replacements for paper manuals and navigation charts used by pilots and navigators. “Aircrews fly nonstop worldwide missions and require access to flight publications both on and off the aircraft, throughout all phases of flight,” said military spokeswoman Captain Kathleen Ferrero. The contract allows for the purchase of as many as 18,000 units within the next year, although the final total will be “contingent upon funding requests and approval”.

Hi-res iPads running iOS 6 appear in server logs

iPad models sporting a resolution of 2048 x 1536 have been spotted in the server logs of a notable website. Ars Technica reports that while doing research for its monthly browser that report, it found multiple hits from devices reported to be running iOS 6, with a newer build of WebKit—535.8—than the current version, which is listed as 534.46. In addition, it found 346 visits from a device with a screen resolution of 2048 x 1536, widely believed to be the resolution of the next-generation iPad’s Retina display. As noted in the report, very few devices in current use have the same resolution. Apple is expected to unveil the next-generation iPad on March 7; iOS 6 is unlikely for a release on that date, and while a brief preview is possible, Apple last year waited until its WWDC conference to unveil iOS 5.

Flipboard adds Cover Stories for iPad, International Content Guides

Flipboard has released an update to its iOS news and social media aggregation app adding support for Cover Stories in the iPad edition and improving discovery for international users. Designed to provide users with a personalized collection of their news and social feeds, Flipboard collects information from major media publications as well as social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and presents the information in a rich appealing magazine style view. Flipboard 1.8 brings iPad users the Cover Stories view made popular in the iPhone edition, delivering a personalized feed of each day’s most interesting news, photos and updates. New International Content Guides in the latest version provide users with hundreds of recommendations for content from the U.K. and Ireland, Canada, Australia, France, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; the feature is joined by full French language support throughout the app and a new easy setup feature that lets new users pick topics of interest and get started more quickly. The update also adds a third page of tiles for users’ favourite content and new typography and photo layouts for even more display options. Flipboard 1.8 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Reflection offers AirPlay Mirroring from iOS to Mac

Reflection, a new application for Mac, promises to let users of the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 use AirPlay Mirroring to wirelessly stream their device’s content to their Macs. Features of the software include the ability to add show an iPhone or iPad frame around the streamed content, the ability to run in full-screen mode, force portrait or landscape orientation, and the ability to serve as an AirPlay audio receiver; audio is automatically sent when using Mirroring. Reflection supports OS X 10.6 or later and requires an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 for screen mirroring; it is available now as a free time-limited trial, while a full license sells for $15.

Discussion of Retina iPad outlines potential dev hardships

Kevin Ng, the developer behind the label Pixels on Toast, has posted an interesting discussion of the challenges facing game developers should the next iPad launch with a 2048 x 1536 Retina display. Ng notes that such a high-resolution screen will require four times the video memory, and will also require much larger assets, which could make the current 20MB 3G download size cap that much of a hassle, if not downright untenable; he suggests the limit will be raised for iPad apps should the next iPad launch with a Retina display.

100% crop of Food Run on non-Retina display

Ng also raises questions regarding the artwork required for high-resolution games. “So the question that us iOS developers are asking ourselves is, are we ready for this?”, Ng asks. “Not all iOS developers make their artwork using vectors. Many of the more hand-drawn titles will have pixel-based source art, meaning that unless they were working in high resolution to begin with, there is going to have to be a lot of reworking to fully support the new displays.”


100% crop of Food Run output at 2048 x 1536

He continues, “Titles using 3D graphics will be in a better state of readiness than bitmap games. It’s likely that just a few lines of code will enable these games to run on the new display. However, for best results, games developers are going to have to raise the resolutions of their textures, otherwise the 3D models will look smeary, albeit with sharply defined silhouettes.” Ng notes that games that are 2D vector in nature, including his upcoming title Food Run, are in the best shape, as they are already Retina capable. Apple is widely expected to include a Retina display in the next iPad, which it will announce at a special media event on March 7.

Readability releases official iOS app

Offline web reading service Readability has released an official native iOS application. The free universal app allows Readability users to sync and access their saved web articles on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad while on the go. Designed to focus on simplicity, the application provides a clean, minimalist reading interface with impressive typography and intuitive gesture controls for managing and navigating content. Users can access and manage their current reading list as well as starred and archived items and can share items to Facebook and Twitter from directly within the app.

Readability originally attempted to release a native iOS application last year, but the app was rejected by Apple for not using the App Store’s in-app purchasing for its Premium subscription service. Instead, Readability continued as a web-based application specifically optimized for the iPhone and iPad Safari browser and the company partnered with other developers to provide Readability integration into other news and reading apps such as Reeder, Pulse, Longform and Early Edition 2. It is also worth noting that earlier this year the company changed its subscription model to remove the requirement for a paid subscription to access the full set of Readability features; instead subscriptions are now voluntary donations to support the Readability service and writers. Readability is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or late and is available from the App Store as a free download.

MLB At Bat goes universal, free with IAP subscription has relaunched its at Bat iOS app for the 2012 season as a single free universal app for both the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad, implementing in-app subscriptions for paid features. In prior seasons, MLB provided separate apps for the iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad, sold individually for $15 each, requiring fans to either choose to use the app on a single platform or purchase both individually. The 2012 version of the app is now packaged into a single universal app available as a free download; rather than requiring payment up front for the app users can instead sign up for an At Bat 12 subscription via in-app purchase or simply log in to their account to use their existing MLB.TV Premium subscription.

The At Bat 12 subscription is priced at $15 for the entire season or $3 per month and provides live game day audio with no blackouts for any home or away broadcast, pitch tracking, league stats and in-game highlights. Subscribers can also watch a live stream of the selected Game of the Day and access Live Lookins on other games in progress. MLB.TV Premium subscribers can also view live and on-demand video of any out-of-market game simply by logging into their account, although the usual blackout restrictions apply; MLB.TV Basic subscribers must still purchase an At Bat 12 subscription separately, however. The At Bat app can also be used without a subscription to track up to the minute scores, and access news, game schedules, team rosters, venue information and tickets and promotions. At Bat requires an iPhone 3GS/4/4S, third- or fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple, Google sued over iOS Maps’ Street View

Apple and Google have been sued by Florida-based PanoMap over the iOS’ implementation of Google Maps’ Street View feature. PaidContent reports that the complaint, filed in federal court in Orlando, claims that implementation violates a PanoMap patent related to an “Interactive system for displaying detailed view and direction in panoramic images”. The suit seeks damages with interest from both parties, as well as attorney fees and costs.

From the patent abstract: “A method and system for indicating the camera position, direction, and field of view in a map or panoramic image comprises a map image window which displays a map or panoramic image of the site to be studied (house, apartment, city, etc.). A detailed view window displays a portion of the map image, taken from a point in the site. A highlighted sector in the map image represents the viewing position, direction, and field of view that the detailed view window displays. When the user changes the field of view in the detailed view window, the highlighted sector in the map image changes in synchronism. The resulting interactive windows allow a person to easily and quickly view and understand the field of view, position, and direction of the image being displayed in the detail view window.” [via TUAW]

Apple confirms iPad 3 event for March 7


As expected, Apple has sent out invitations to select members of the media inviting them to a special event on March 7. The image accompanying the invitation features a finger reaching out to touch the Calendar icon on a noticeably high-resolution iPad screen, and the tagline “We have something you really have to see. And touch”. Notably, no Home button is seen on the device, although it may simply be rotated to the side. Apple is expected to unveil the third-geneartion iPad at the event; the device is expected to feature a Retina Display with four times the pixels, as well as 4G LTE connectivity and a new chipset, all in an almost unnoticeably thicker shell that we first saw at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. The event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco and will start at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

Apple working on A6, A5X chips simultaneously?

Citing code found in a beta version of iOS 5.1, a new report claims that Apple is simultaneously developing its next-generation A6 processor, as well as an “A5X” variant of the A5 processor that currently powers the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. 9to5Mac reports that the code makes reference to both an “S5L8950X” chip—said to be the A6—and an “S5L8945X” chip, which is said to be the A5X. For reference, the original A4 was referred to as “S5L8930X”, and the A5 “S5L8940X”. A later report from the same outlet suggests that the A5X will find its way into the next-generation Apple TV, while the A6 will power the next-generation iPad.

Best Buy drops iPad 2 price by $50 as replacement looms

Best Buy is now offering a substantial discount on the iPad 2 ahead of the expected announcement of the next-generation model. A brief check of the retailer’s website shows that all models of iPad 2—including white and black models of all capacities, and Wi-Fi as well as Wi-Fi + 3G—are $50 off their standard retail price, with prices now starting at $450 and ranging up to $780. Apple is widely expected to announce its next-generation iPad next week at a special media event in San Francisco.

Vimeo adds iPad support

Vimeo has added native iPad support to the iOS app for its popular online video sharing service. The Vimeo app allows users to not only view and upload videos from their iOS device but also provides integrated video capture and advanced editing features including the ability to add transitions, titles and effects, layer background music and sound recordings and adjust volume levels. Vimeo 2.0 is now a universal app introducing a native iPad user interface. The new version also adds integration with the Vimeo Music Store and the ability to shoot video, create projects and browse featured channels without signing up for or logging into a Vimeo account. Users can also now view their subscriptions, likes, and watch later album and share, add comments and view licenses, credits and likes on other people’s videos. Vimeo 2.0 requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Adobe releases Photoshop Touch for iPad

Adobe has launched Photoshop Touch for the iPad, the first in its series of “Touch Apps” for the iOS platform first announced last fall. Adobe Photoshop Touch provides a core set of features from the full desktop version of Photoshop in an iPad optimized app, including support for working with multiple layers and advanced selection tools along with a number of professional effects and filters. Intuitive touch gestures allow users to access Photoshop tools, zoom and pan within an image and precisely select and refine parts of an image. Images can be opened from the iPad photo library or users can take advantage of an integrated Google Image search to acquire images from various online sources.

Finished results can be shared via Facebook or e-mail, printed via AirPrint or uploaded as projects to Adobe Creative Cloud and opened in Photoshop CS5 or Photoshop Touch on another iPad or tablet device.  Advanced Facebook integration also allows users to view comments on their shared photos directly within the app. Photoshop Touch also provides a collection of 13 step-by-step tutorials covering professional techniques as well as a gallery view to allow users to easily choose the styles and results they’re looking for. Adobe Photoshop Touch requires an iPad 2 with iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $10.

New app brings George Harrison’s historic guitars to iPad users

Bandwdith Publishing, in conjunction with the George Harrison Estate has released The Guitar Collection: George Harrison, a new iPad app celebrating the famous guitarist and his historical guitar collection. The new app provides a virtual guided tour of George Harrison’s private guitar collection through photographs, detailed descriptions and audio and video footage; 360-degree imaging by photographer Steven Sebring allows provides an immersive experience allowing fans a never before seen view of the classic guitars right down to every scratch, ding and worn thread. The app includes a selection of Harrison’s best known guitars such as the Gretsch G6128 Duo Jet, the Gibson J-160E, the Rickenbacker 360/12, the Fender Stratocaster named ‘Rocky’, the Ramirez Classical, the Fender Rosewood Telecaster, and the Zemaitis Lotus 12-String, with plans to add additional guitars to the app in future updates.

The application also includes personal audio recordings from Harrison himself introducing many of the guitars and playing selections of songs, along with a list of songs from his catalogue organized by the guitars used on each track. A detailed history of each guitar is also provided, including its origin, how it came to be part of Harrison’s collection and modifications Harrison made to create his distinctive sound. The app also includes video footage of Ben Harper, Josh Homme, Mike Campbell, and Dhani Harrison playing and showcasing the guitars as well as a discussion by Conan O’Brien and Dhani on what makes these guitars so exceptional and an interview with guitar great Gary Moore sharing his views on what made George Harrison such a distinctive and influential guitar player. The Guitar Collection: George Harrison is available from the App Store for $10.

Umami adds new social features in time for Oscar night

Leading up to the Oscars, Umami has added two major new social features to its TV companion app for iPad users: FreezeFrame and Dishboard. Umami is a “second-screen” iPad app designed to allow TV viewers to easily see relevant background information while watching their favourite shows. The app can automatically recognize what a user is watching from major television networks by listening to the TV and display relevant information including rich show info including cast bios along with one-click access to official show pages, fan sites and Twitter, Facebook and Wikipedia pages. Version 1.2 adds a new FreezeFrame feature that allows users to instantly share and comment on an image of what they’re seeing on their TV screen via Twitter or Facebook, allowing users to share their favourite moments, actors, recipes, products and more in real-time while they watch. The update also adds Dishboard, a new social TV dashboard that allows users to visualize conversations occurring around their favourite TV show as it unfolds, collecting the most popular links and tweets that are trending around a show and allowing users to share what they’re interacting with while they watch. Umami for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download.

Chinese court rejects injunction in iPad trademark battle

A Shanghai court has rejected Proview’s request for an injunction barring the sales of iPads in the city. Reuters reports that the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court also agreed to Apple’s request that the trademark case be suspended pending a ruling in a separate case in a higher court. Proview has sued Apple in various jurisdictions in the country claiming trademark infringement over the iPad name; Apple claims that it purchased the trademark from a Proview subsidiary in 2009.

Purported iPad 3 shell shows thicker design, larger camera

New photos comparing a claimed next-generation iPad back panel to an iPad 2 offer further evidence that the device will be slightly thicker than its predecessor and sport an improved rear camera. In a wider-reaching roundup of iPad rumors, M.I.C. Gadget has posted a number of comparison photos, which claim to show an iPad 2 and a “confirmed rear shell for iPad 3 Wi-Fi + 3G model”. Notable in the photos is a more gradual taper to the edges on the iPad 3, a much larger rear camera lens, and the fact that the new model is roughly 1-1.5 mm thicker depending on the model, although it is said to still fit inside some iPad 2 cases despite the difference. Apple is expected to announce the next-generation iPad on March 7.

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