UC Berkeley was birthplace of BSD Unix kernel used in OS X, iOS
Apple has again expanded its Maps program for both iOS and OS X by adding 3D "Flyover" support for the east side of the San Francisco Bay Area, including the city of Berkeley and its University of California campus, which by happenstance is the birthplace of the original UNIX used as the foundation of both OS X and iOS. The 3d Flyover feature has generally been regarded as one of Maps' best features, alongside turn-by-turn driving navigation.
VLC for iOS updated, adds folders, more options
Free media player VLC has updated its iOS ported app today, offering various fixes and new features. Users can play most video file formats, and do so without the need for conversion. File synchronization with Dropbox, GDrive, iTunes, direct download and through an embedded web upload is also permitted by the app.
Facebook updates for iPhone, adds replying to comments and more
Version 9.0 has been released for Facebook's app for iOS, adding new features. Though a minor update, the biggest addition to the app is the ability for users to reply to comments on pages that have enabled it. Administrators can now review and review posts by group members, and all users will be able to view trending topic posts in the iPad's version of News Feed. Facebook's app for iPhone and iPad can be downloaded for free from iTunes.
Flickr offers new user interface, live filters, video support, more
Yahoo has updated the iOS client app for its Flickr photo-sharing service, giving it a more iOS 7-compatible "flat" look and navigation system that offers a noticeably more "Instagram-like" experience, where moving through photos is more free-form. The update now allows users to post up to 30 seconds' worth of HD video to the service, with live filters and adjustment tools available for both video and photos. Version 3.0 now sports certain kinds of object recognition beyond just faces, among other changes.
Feature deploying slowly
Facebook has announced an upcoming feature for its iOS and Android apps, Nearby Friends. The function will notify users when friends are within a certain radius, giving a chance to meet up. For security purposes the feature will be off by default, only work if both parties have it enabled, and allow restricting notifications to specific groups -- close friends, for example, or a custom list.
Likely meant to boost Carousel
Cloud storage service Dropbox has bought out Loom, a photo storage and organization service, according to a notice on the latter company's website. Additionally acquired by the file sharing locker is collaborative document service Hackpad which will continue to support its app, unlike Loom.
MLB.TV viewable on Google Chromecast with subscription
The Google Chromecast is now supported by the MLB.com At Bat for iOS and Android. The update allows subscribers of MLB.TV's Premium Subscription to stream live, out-of-market games and on-demand events, with a choice of home or away broadcasts also available. The MLB.TV subscription is $25 per month or $130 for the entire year, with access to the MLB.com At Bat app's features included in the price.
RunKeeper's step tracking app utilizes Apple's M7 chip in iPhone 5s
RunKeeper has launched a new, passive step tracking app today, entitled Breeze. By constantly tracking motion with the M7 chip found within the iPhone 5s, Breeze offers its users a personal coaching feature, in the form of push notifications and updates regarding one's activity levels. The following day, Breeze details a summary of the previous day's activities and stats. Users can share their completed goals, high activity level days, and a general activity profile with friends on Facebook, Twitter, RunKeeper and elsewhere. Free to download, Breeze requires iOS 7.0 or later and an iPhone 5s for full feature compatibility.
Bug may possibly be affecting other apps
Several UK-based iOS apps -- including BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, and Now TV -- have suddenly stopped streaming video, the BBC reports. The issue began last night, and is still ongoing; the source of the problem is so far unknown, as is whether other apps are also being affected. The director of Now TV, Gidon Katz, indicates that the issue can be temporarily fixed in Sky and Now by rewinding iOS' clock by a day, but that triggers other problems -- including preventing access to the App Store -- and doesn't solve the flaw in iPlayer.
Song-identification technology may be enlisted for Siri, iTunes Radio
Citing unnamed sources "with knowledge of the product," Bloomberg is reporting that Apple may enter into a partnership with song-identifying app Shazam to bring the music-matching feature to iOS 8. Users could, for example, ask Siri "what song is playing?" as they listen to iTunes Radio or other streaming music services, with the voice assistant enlisting Shazam's services to return an answer after a short identifying pause. This in turn would produce a link to the song on iTunes.
New apps share iOS 7-friendly interfaces
Corel has brought its previously iPad-only mobile video editing app, Pinnacle Studio, to the iPhone. The app allows for complex editing, including the ability to trim individual frames and insert elements like transitions, stills, titles, graphics, fast/slow-motion, and picture-in-picture effects. Quick clip arrangement can be done with the Storyboard, while the Timeline allows for more precise manipulation and trimming.
Google releases Helpouts app for iPhone
Google debuted its Hangouts-based video support service Google Helpouts last fall; today an app version for iPhone has been released. Users can connect over Google's Hangouts service to experts who are knowledgable in a specific subject for tutoring. The iOS app offers the ability to find, schedule, give or start a "Helpout," read reviews and listing details, receive text-message and mobile reminders, and more.
Feature tethered to cable providers
A&E has updated two of its iOS apps -- History, and the network's namesake -- with support for watching live TV. Previously users were able to watch clips and full episodes, but only after the fact. Like some other TV apps, gaining access to the live streams requires a cable subscription.
Cheaper Office 365 subscription lowers computer, tablet, user count
Microsoft has launched a new cheaper tier of its Office 365 subscription service, aimed at individuals wanting to use the productivity suite. Hinted at last month, Office 365 Personal allows for the software to be installed and used on one PC or Mac and one tablet, including the iPad version, rather than the five computers and five tablets provided in the more expensive Office 365 Home Premium, renamed to Home, subscription plan.
Pandora iOS app updated, adds alarm clock feature
Music discovery service Pandora has released an update for its iOS app, adding an alarm clock feature for iPad users. Pandora makes musical recommendations based on a particular artist, song, genre or composer, and allows for the creation of personalized stations based on the user's preferences. Pandora's alarm clock plays a preferred station as its alert, and includes a "snooze" button that provides an additional wake-up several minutes later. The iOS app is available for free download through iTunes, and requires iOS 6.0 or later. A Pandora account is free to try, with an advertisement-free option available as a $4 monthly subscription.
Printer Pro adds nine languages, currently free to download
Wireless printing app for iPhone PrinterPro has announced that it has been localized into nine languages. Now the app is available in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese as well as English. The software allows users to print attachments, documents and web pages from their iPhone on any Wi-Fi or USB-connected printer. Currently free for the remainder of its 24-hour promotion, Printer Pro can be downloaded through iTunes, and is normally priced at $5.
Dipper for iOS launches, sorts YouTube content by topic
A new app for filtering YouTube videos has been released for iOS, entitled Dipper. Users of Dipper can follow topics on YouTube, ranging from daily sports highlights to content from a particular person or TV show, or following an ongoing news topic. Featuring a bookmarking function, videos can be flagged for watching at a later time. Dipper is designed for both iPhone and iPad, requires iOS 7 or later, and is free to download through iTunes.
Mixvibes' Cross DJ 3.1 released, DJ competition announced
Mixvibes has introduced the newest version of its cross-platform software, Cross DJ v3.1.0. The software provides users with the tools needed to DJ, such as browsing track catalogues, and monitoring playing track's peaks and phrasings. The new version allows for the ability of users to record their mix and share it on Mixcloud and Youtube, as well as Dailymotion.
Deal gives Amazon exclusive control of DC online distribution
Amazon today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire digital comics vendor ComiXology for an undisclosed sum. ComiXology developed and distributes the engine used by most major comic book publishers in the United States, including Marvel and DC Comics for their privately-branded digital services.
Program seems to be in testing, wide deployment unknown
Apple is in the process of testing a new Maps error-reporting feature. Reports are surfacing that when users note errors in Apple's Maps iOS app, they given the option to receive a push notification when the error is rectified. Implementation is spotty, but has been reproduced in part by MacNN.
NBC app for iOS adds AirPlay mirroring feature
Television network NBC has released an update for its iOS app. Offering free streaming of NBC show content on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, NBC for iOS allows users to designate preferred shows as a Favorite, and share what one is viewing via Facebook, Twitter or email, and follow one's favorite series on Twitter through the app. Version 2.5.1 now includes AirPlay streaming, meaning the content can now be mirrored to a TV through Apple TV. Additionally, the app now features trending clips, where users can watch previews and highlight from NBC's late-night shows, including The Tonight Show. Free to download, NBC for iOS requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Amazon Instant Video updated for iOS 7
Amazon's video streaming service app for iOS, Amazon Instant Video, has been updated to version 2.5. Powered by Prime Instant Video, users can stream over 40,000 movies and TV episodes, including Amazon's original content. Purchased and rented content can be downloaded for offline viewing from the library, and content can be viewed on Apple TV using AirPlay. In its latest update, the app is optimized for iOS 7, featuring a revised overall look. Also included are bug fixes and stability improvements. Amazon Instant Video for iOS is available for iPad and iPhone, and can be downloaded from iTunes.
Facebook Messenger for iOS and Android adds free calling
Facebook has updated its Messenger app again, adding a free calling feature. Users can now call their Facebook friends over a WiFi connection for free, meaning that those who need to make international calls can do so easily. Available in both the iOS and Android versions of Facebook Messenger, the app is free to download on iTunes and Google Play.
IK Multimedia announces music-creation app
Accessories and music-creation app developer IK Multimedia has announced a new iPhone, iPad and iPod touch app designed to work in conjunction with the Orange Amplifier. AmpliTube Orange is a real-time mobile Orange Amplifier and effects studio, featuring digital models of five classic and modern Orange guitar amplifiers, and one Orange bass amplifier. Its four vintage-styled, Orange-inspired effects include a noise filter for keeping the hiss down when the gain is elevated; the Highway Drive, for an overdrive pedal sounds with crunch, level and tone controls; the Echo Trip delay pedal, with feedback, delay time, level and tone controls; and The Shaker tremolo pedal with rate, depth and "shape" control.
Messages can be sent to non-Vine users
Twitter-owned Vine has updated its iOS and Android apps with a new direct messaging feature. The option lets people send videos privately, regardless of whether the recipient is a Vine user. People who don't have a Vine account will instead get the videos via SMS or email.
Delivers push notifications based on IFTTT conditions
Service-linking website IFTTT (If This Then That) has updated its iOS app with its first-ever iPad support, and more significantly, its entire platform with support for iOS push notifications. That means that any recipe can now trigger notifications on an iOS device. If a weather service is forecasting a storm for tomorrow, for example, the IFTTT app can display an alert. Most recipes are said to refresh every 15 minutes, though notifications should become faster as more people use them.
PC spaceship simulation game ported for iPad 2 or later
Subset Games' PC strategy game Faster Than Light (FTL) has been ported for the iPad 2 and later. Gamers are tasked with running a spaceship trying to escape an oncoming rebel fleet. This involves managing crews and subsystems, coping with threats like fires, boardings, and depressurization. The iPad version includes the free Advanced Edition expansion, which adds new ship, enemies, events, weapons, and more. Available for $10 on iTunes, FTL requires iOS 6 or later, and is thus not compatible with the original iPad.
Reign23 Bolt portable USB wall battery charger released
Reign23 has released its combination USB wall charger and rechargeable portable battery, Bolt. Its portable battery has a 3000mAh capacity, large enough for two full charges of an iPhone or other mobile device. Initially launched as a Kickstarter project in 2013, Bolt is small, at 2.75 inches by 1.33 inches by 1.10 inches. Its smart charge technology automatically bypasses the battery when fully charged, and is available in blue and black color options. Priced at $60, the Bolt USB Wall Charger and Battery can be purchased online.
Newspaper hoping to lure readers with lower-cost subscription
A new e-reader app made its debut on Wednesday, with The New York Times releasing its newest app, NYT Now (free), intended to act as a less-expensive entry way to attract new readers. As previously reported, the iPhone- and iPod touch-only app is meant to be a scaled-down version of the regular NYT app, the latter of which is available for iPad as well.
Withings announces retail debut of its new wireless blood pressure monitor, AMGA sponsorship
Health technology producer Withings has announced the retail debut of its wireless blood pressure monitor, which has achieved FDA clearance. Additionally, Withings has joined the American Medical Group Association's Measure Up/Pressure Down hypertension campaign as a project sponsor. Users can take measurements with the Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor by wrapping the cuff around one's arm, and turning on the device.
App update removes starred tracks from Spotify for new collection system
Spotify has made drastic changes to its user interface, by introducing a new darker theme. The change in appearance of the streaming music service across all platforms is joined by a new feature called "Your Music," something the company previewed in late 2012, allowing users to collect and manage their music without requiring users to create playlists.
Sony's latest waterproof smartphone to be available in May through Bell
Sony and Bell announced today the exclusive availability of Xperia Z2 waterproof smartphone in the Canadian market. The Xperia Z2 has a 5.2-inch screen, is 8.2mm (0.33-inch) thick, offers 4K video recording, and can utilize new Xperia camera apps. Sony's Xperia Z2 will be available in black, white and purple across Canada from Bell Mobility in May 2014.
Web version also gains additional functionality, just after Office for iPad arrives
In what is probably a coincidental update following the recent release of Office for iPad, Apple has launched new versions of the trio of apps formerly known as iWork (i.e., Pages, Numbers and Keynote) for both OS X and iOS. The biggest new feature across all versions is a new "view only" setting that allows users to share documents but keep them read-only. Pages for OS X and iOS gains better support for key features such as ePub export, Numbers for OS X and iOS has improved Excel compatibility, and Keynote for both platforms now supports PPTX export, among many other new and improved features for all three programs.
Web apps get Retina display enhancements, more
Apple has made some improvements to iWork for iCloud, according to pop-up messages. All three web apps in the suite -- Pages, Numbers, and Keynote -- have been given better support for Retina displays, a new editor tab, and upgraded sharing functions. The latter let people set shared documents as view-only, and open documents directly via iCloud Mail.
New service brings Netflix-like convenience to readers
We're not sure that there's any debate about the future of subscription services for digital content. Between Netflix, Amazon Video, Next Issue, and a few other services offering near-unlimited consumption, our appetite seems voracious for digital offerings. A subscription service for e-books has recently launched for iOS called Oyster -- it purports to allows users access to over 200,000 titles offline and online. How well does it accomplish that goal, and does it give the reader a positive reading experience?
Opportunity to 'try before you buy,' earn rewards through ads seen as selling points
A new study from Wild Tangent and IHS Technology has found that iOS gamers overwhelmingly prefer free games with ads -- so called "freemium" games -- over paid but ad-free game apps. A total of 86 percent of the 500 respondents sampled in the survey said they preferred free games with ads over paid games, with 70 percent preferring advertising-support games, while the other 16 percent preferred ad-supported games that offered in-app purchases (IAPs) to buy equipment, levels and other items.
Exhibit helps Westerners understand the fear of living in area with land mines
To help promote awareness of land mines and international efforts to clear them from former battlefields around the world, a museum in New York City will be hosting an exhibit utilizing Apple's iBeacon technology, headphones and an iOS or Android app to create a "virtual minefield." The idea, part of the UN International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action being held on April 4, is to allow users to experience the fear of land mines.
Former media event lives on as accessory, app showcase
The Macworld Expo (now called Macworld/iWorld) certainly isn't the show it was five years ago, the last year Apple attended. Its a much smaller show -- maybe 25,000 attendees at best -- but with a more sustainable focus: a showcase for computer and mobile peripherals, accessories and gadgets, as well as a gathering of app developers. Because Apple doesn't make big announcements timed to the conference anymore -- and the one company that did, Microsoft, chose not to have its Office for iPad event there -- the Macworld/iWorld show doesn't make the news as often as it used to.
Shazam improves social sharing features, user interface for iOS app
Shazam, a music and TV identifying app, has been updated for iOS devices. Offering a revised user interface, Shazam features a new track page design, and new appearance for video, album and track reviews, artist biographies and more. The Auto Shazam feature is more efficient on battery life, and connectivity to Rdio and Facebook has been added. Lastly Shazam's news feed notifications can be controlled more easily. Available for free, Shazam requires iOS 6.0 or later.
Successful crowd-funded projects a fresh source of innovation
Macworld/iWorld 2014, currently going on at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, handed out its Best of Show awards on Friday, including a mix of hardware devices and software apps, many of which started life as successful Kickstarter or similar crowd-funded ideas, both from established companies and novice entrepreneurs. Winners included a portable RAID drive, a thermal camera for the iPhone, an app to get kids to do their chores, and new Thunderbolt adapters, among other useful apps and gadgets.
Renowned DJ collaborates with Philips to produce DJ-quality headphones
Philips, in partnership with renowned DJ Armin van Buuren, has launched the A5-PRO DJ headphones. Designed for audio monitoring and mixing, the headphones' replaceable bayonet-mount cushions are available in three sizes for comfort options. Its anodized aluminum form with leather headband is foldable, and its 50mm high-definition neodymium driver offer high quality low-frequency sound. Pricing and availability have not yet been announced.
Sync and backups kept separate, optionally encrypted
Online backup storage service IDrive has revamped its plans to offer more space, and a new separate sync service -- and to celebrate, it will give current and new users the same amount of sync space as they use for backups at no additional charge. The new service allows users to sync files in real time across all linked devices (on Macs, PCs or mobile devices) as well as their separate IDrive account. The sync feature can optionally be protected with private-key encryption if desired.
App aesthetics brought into line with iOS 7
Podcast streaming service Stitcher has released major update of its iOS app, v6.0.0. The app's interface has been redesigned not only to match iOS 7, but to streamline navigation. The front page, for example, now highlights new episodes from favorites, as well as headlines and other news stories. A new Mini Player provides constant access to what's playing, and the Now Playing screen has gained quick access to car mode and the sleep timer. Playlists can be accessed from anywhere in the app via a swipe gesture.
Deal worth $8 million moves founders, employees to Dropbox
Online storage provider Dropbox has purchased social reading app developer Readmill. The deal, suspected to be worth around $8 million, will see the shuttering of the Readmill app, with the team responsible for coding and development moving to assist Dropbox with its core service.
Facebook updates Messenger app for iOS, adds Groups, forwarding
Facebook Messenger for iOS received an update yesterday, offering its users access to Group features, including a forwarding function. In v4.0, users can now create groups for the people one messages the most often, and name them, and set group photos. Messages and photos can be forwarded to someone who is not in a designated conversation thread by using a tapping gesture. Additionally, miscellaneous improvements to improve the app's speed and reliability have been included in the latest update. Facebook Messenger is free to download, and requires iOS 6.0 or later to run.
Sesame Workshop announces its first digital magazine
Sesame Workshop has announced the launch of its first digital magazine, Sesame Street S'More. An interactive magazine, Sesame Street S'more will offer read-aloud narration and present educational games, puzzles, stories, videos and more. Children engaging with Sesame Street S'more can earn badges for activities found in each issue, varying from memory games to letter tracing and mazes. A parent section also provides tips associated with each activity to assist in increasing learning opportunities.
DevonTechnologies updates DevonThink and DevonNote to version 2.7.4
DevonTechnologies has released a maintenance update today for both DevonThink and DevonNote apps. Apple's colored labels for marking files are more controllable in v2.7.4, with option to use old-style tinting, a bubble around the document name, or as colored dot. All editions of DevonThink now allow one to annotate PDFs with lines and arrows. Creation date and user name are automatically added to new annotations, and sharing documents with friends can now be done through newly supported AirMail.
Government of Russia swaps iPads for customized, secure Samsung tablets
Russian government officials have opted to stop using iPads in official capacities, possible due to concerns about alleged "backdoors" that allowed for NSA monitoring (which Apple has denied). Instead the government has arranged a deal with Samsung that will see politicos using customized, secured tablets specifically designed to handle confidential information as legislators often need to have available. There was no detail on prices or the cost of dropping the iPads, and the move could be seen as part of an effort to stop supporting American companies, given the US opposition to Russia's policies in the Ukraine and Crimea. Russian officials have denied any such motivation, reports Business Insider.
Twitter for iOS and Android updated, adds photo tagging of up to ten people
Twitter announced an update to its mobile apps today, adding the ability to now tag up to ten people in a photo. Available for both iOS and Android app, tagging does not affect character count in a tweet. Up to four photos can be shared in a single tweet, and a full image in a group can be viewed by tapping on a preview. The new photo features rolled out today on iPhone, and are due soon for Android and its web version.
Exposure cannot overcome Flappy Bird phenomenon, but it helps
A new study by mobile analytics firm App Annie has quantified the idea that app developers can increase their products' visibility in the App Store and gain players through the use of TV commercials -- particularly for top-quality "freemium" titles. While the practice of developers creating their own TV ads is common in some countries like Japan, it is a fairly new phenomenon in the North America. The App Annie study showed a correlation between TV exposure and a gain in App Store rankings.