updated 09:00 pm EDT, Thu August 9, 2012
Fallback capability found in iOS 6 beta
Researchers investigating iOS 6 have found a new toggle in the settings of the coming-this-fall update that allows iPhones to automatically switch to cellular data if the Wi-Fi signal in use is not functioning or the signal becomes too weak. While the iPhone and most smartphones can move to cellular when Wi-Fi isn't present at all, the new feature in iOS 6 allows the automatic change even if Wi-Fi is present but doesn't have a good Internet connection, or when the signal is too weak to work reliably.
The feature, called "Wi-Fi Plus Cellular," should make launching Internet-dependent apps more reliable immediately, and allow for continuous use as users shift environments. The forthcoming iOS 6 also adds some level of Bluetooth data sharing, and will no longer require users to put in an Apple ID if the app they are downloading is free, among other features.
Atari brings classic 8-bit game Pitfall to iOS
Game maker Atari has raided its vaults and created an updated and expanded version of its own 1982 game Pitfall, the progenitor of games such as Temple Run (from which it ironically borrows in the update). Pitfall was one of the earliest "run, jump, swing" type games and has been upgraded to styled, cell-shaded art and multiple camera angles that improve on both the original 1982 game but more recent genre games like Temple Run.
In the new version, Pitfall Harry is always running, but also has a whip that he can crack to fend off enemies. The game also now has checkpoints, changing angles of view and accelerometer support to allow Harry to pick up treasure as he tries to outrace the angry volcano. Players can amass in-game cash to buy upgrades or purchase power-ups directly through in-app purchases.
The game is available in a universal iPad and iPhone version, and costs $1. The game requires the processing power of the iPhone 4 or later, iPod Touch fourth generation or iPad 2 or later.
Podcast app for iOS gets second stability update
Apple has released a second update to its Podcasts app for iOS, which works as a podcast player and manager, moving the free broadcasts out of iTunes for iOs and into its own application. The new 1.0.2 version continues to patch bugs and improve stability, specifically addressing an issue that could cause the program to quit unexpectedly upon launching it.
The previous update, released in late June, added or fixed numerous problems early users were having with the app, including not showing the number of unplayed episodes, subscribe buttons not being available, Top Stations artwork not appearing and playback speed preferences not sticking. The update is available now through the App Store.