A new report from the Wall Street Journal highlights how Apple has been adjusting its PR efforts recently, citing the company’s press release announcing the relatively minor iOS 6.1 update last week, as well as an uptick in favorable third-party reports being sent out to members of the press—a practice common within the technology industry, and apparently increasing at Apple. According to the WSJ, a person familiar with the matter notes that these latest PR moves “represent a recognition that competition is heating up.” The report goes on to note that despite strong international growth in countries such as China, Apple stock growth has slowed and competitors such as Samsung have begun spending more on advertising and marketing to compete.
Flipboard has released an update to its social news magazine app for iOS with the addition of content from The New York Times. Designed to provide users with a personalized collection of their news and social feeds, Flipboard collects information from major media publications and social networks, presenting the information in an appealing magazine style view. With the latest update, Flipboard users can read The New York Times’ Top News section at no charge while paid subscribers can access the full paper, integrated with their other news and social feeds. Flipboard 1.9.4 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Silvio Rizzi has released a major update to Reeder for the iPhone and iPod touch featuring Fever syncing, significant improvements to Readability syncing and support for multiple Google Reader and Fever accounts. Completely rewritten, Reeder 3.0 introduces a different method for Google Reader authentication and now allows users to sync with a Fever RSS aggregator server instead of or in addition to Google Reader. Users can configure most settings on a per-account basis and settings are now accessible from directly within the app instead in the iOS Settings app.
Additional improvements include the ability to subscribe and unsubscribe to Google Reader feeds from within the app and adjust text size and line height options in the article viewer. QUOTE and Buffer have also been added as sharing services, along with a collection of new gestures for marking articles as read/unread or starred and accessing the in-app browser and readability views. Note that Facebook sharing has been temporarily removed in this update although it is expected to return in the future; users who require Facebook sharing are advised that they may want to skip this update. Reeder 3.0 now requires iOS 5.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $3.
Marco Arment has released an update to Instapaper adding Background Update Locations, a new feature that allows users to configure the app to automatically download new articles when a user arrives at or leaves specific locations. Using a technique pioneered by News.me, the new feature leverages the Region Monitoring API introduced in iOS 5 which allows third-party applications to perform tasks when users enter or leave a location. With Instapaper 4.2.2 users can add up to 10 locations and Instapaper will update automatically whenever the users arrive at or leave any of those locations. Arment notes in his blog that these locations are used only within the app itself and not shared or sent to Instapaper’s servers or any other web service. He also indicates that the use of the geofencing feature by Instapaper does not appear to have any impact on battery life on either the iPhone or iPad. Instapaper 4.2.2 is available from the App Store for $5. Background Update Locations requires an iPhone 4/4S, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G or third-generation iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular.
Acrylic Software has released an update to its Pulp newsreader for the iPad adding a new home page feature and iCloud synchronization of content between the Mac and iPad version. Pulp provides a customizable newspaper-style view of RSS feeds with articles grouped into pages designed to allow users to quickly scan through headlines, previews and photos at a glance. Users can create their own categories and pages as well as customizing the column layout and presentation of each page.
Pulp 1.5 introduces a new home page feature that analyzes a user’s existing feeds to summarize the most relevant stories on a single home page. The new version also replaces the company’s own Pulp Sync feature with iCloud sync, allowing users to more seamlessly synchronize pages, feeds and read articles between all copies of Pulp for iPad and Pulp for Mac that share the same iCloud account. A number of other user interface tweaks and improvements and performance optimizations have also been added along with support for the third-generation iPad Retina Display. Pulp 1.5 requires iOS 5.0 or later and is currently available from the App Store for $3. Pulp for Mac ($5) has also been updated to add support for the new iCloud sync features along with improved browser integration and Safari Reading list support.
Marco Arment has released an update to Instapaper, his popular offline reading app for iOS. Instapaper 4.2 adds several new user interface improvements including a new redesigned Fast Pagination mode that improves accuracy and performance when turning pages and adds new page turning animations and gestures similar to iBooks. A new draggable dot bar can also now be used in place of the scroll bar in pagination mode. A new two-finger swipe gesture has been added for closing an article view, an option is also now available to automatically switch to full screen reading view after a few seconds. The new version also allows users to manually select the Twilight Sepia colour theme; previously it only appeared during twilight hours when automatic day/night mode was enabled. Instapaper 4.2 now requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.
The service formerly known as Read It Later has just received a major redesign and a new name: Pocket. Similar to—and actually predating—services such as Instapaper and Readability, Read It Later was one of the first services to allow users to save content from the web for offline reading, although it was not as widely adopted on the iOS platform due to the early lack of an official iOS app for the service.
Read It Later has now been rebranded across the board to Pocket, with a major refresh on both the web service end and the iOS app. Version 4.0 of the app has been redesigned from the ground up to provide a cleaner and lighter reading experience along with new features for viewing and organizing content. Pocket provides a whole new UI with content displayed in an easy visual layout specifically adapted for either the iPhone or iPad versions with fewer toolbars and a new full-screen mode that allows users to focus on the content rather than the app. Filters can now be used to switch between saved articles, videos and images and users can now bulk edit, favourite and tag items in their Pocket collection for quicker and easier organization. The update also adds improvements to syncing, downloading and sharing of content along with numerous bug fixes. Pocket is a universal app requiring iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Wolfgang Augustin has released Reader X, a new Google Reader client for iPad users. Taking an approach somewhere between traditional list-based news readers and magazine-style content aggregators, Reader X presents the user’s Google Reader news feed in a large, wallpaper-style grid. All headlines are displayed in a single view, with each feed presented as a horizontal stripe with items ordered chronologically; users swipe horizontally to browse through items in a single feed or vertically to browse down through additional feeds in their Google Reader account.
Colour coding is used to differentiate unread, starred and read items with colour gradients used to represent the age of each item—newer items use more vibrant, saturated colours while older items are more faded. Users can display only unread or starred items with a single tap or zoom into a feed by tapping its title to present the individual feed in a scrollable grid view. Reader X also provides options for starring, saving and sharing articles via e-mail, Readability, Instapaper, Read It Later, Pinboard, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Users can also use Readability and Instapaper to render web pages for quick reading on the go. Reader X requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.
Google has updated Google Currents with several new features, also expanding its availability internationally with the latest release. Originally released in the U.S. only in December, Google Currents is a news content aggregation and reading app for iOS devices designed to provide magazine-style access to content from a wide range of publishers in format optimized for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. In addition to choose preselected content from major publications such as CNet, AllThingsD, Forbes, PBS and the Huffington Post, users can also add their own RSS, video and photo feeds.
Google Currents 1.1 is now available internationally in all countries where the App Store is available, translated into 44 different languages, with localized international content available for France, the U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and Australia. The update also adds a new Instant Sync feature to provide push-based content updates while on-line without having to manually press a sync button and expands options for reading offline with local image caching. Integration with Google Translate allows complete editions to be translated into the user’s preferred languages and users can now share content with select Google+ circles and customize their other preferred sharing services for quick access. Google Currents is available from the App Store as a free download.
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.
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.
Longform has released a new iPad application designed to provide access to its curated collection of the latest in-depth articles from the world’s best magazines and selected top content from across the web. First launched in April 2010, Longform.org is an online service that collects new and classic non-fiction content designed to be read beyond the web browser. Originally recommending services such as Instapaper, Read It Later and Readability, the company has now released its own iPad application tailored specifically for reading longform writing. The app features a reader-friendly design and provides full offline access to all articles. Users can quickly switch between the original web page view or a reading-optimized view and the application integrates with Readability for bookmarking articles in-app and from across the web and reading Readability content directly in the Longform app. Bookmarking via Instapaper and Read It Later is also supported, as well as sharing favourite articles via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Longform requires an iPad running iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $5.
Sollico Software has released NewsFlash, a new universal iOS app designed to provide fast and easy access to top news headlines from leading publications, aggregated into a single news feed. Focused on simplicity, NewsFlash includes a clean interface and does not require any customization or setup to begin using it; users simply launch the app and the latest news appears in seconds. Users can choose to filter by various categories such as News, Politics, World, Business, Sports and more and can also swipe across categories to view news from various aggregated world sources including the U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, France and Israel with content available in many countries in both English and local languages. The app provides customizable font sizes and removes ads and third-party links to provide a cleaner reading experience focused on the news itself. Stories can also be shared via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or SMS/iMessage. NewsFlash is available from the App Store as an iAd-supported free download with an ad-free option available as an in-app purchase.
iLounge is proud to announce the release of the official iLounge Pavilion app. The app features a news feed of our latest stories, iLounge Pavilion maps, a complete, searchable exhibitor listing, a listing of our most recent Tweets from the show floor, buttons for sharing your iLounge Pavilion experience via Facebook or Twitter, and a section dedicated to our Best of Show awards. Even if you’re not at the show, it’s the easiest way to keep up with all our coverage from the 2012 International CES on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. It’s a free download from the App Store, and is propagating through various stores right now. Grab your copy today!
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.