Already-approved games available now for first time in the two regions
On Thursday, Apple notified developers that the iOS App Store in Costa Rica and Qatar has finally opened a Games category, making the dedicated section available in the two different countries for the first time. "All apps in the Games category that are cleared for sale [in the two regions] will be automatically available," Apple said in its email. Developers should check territory availability settings if they do not see an approved game available on either of the two stores.
Apple's Remote app sees update, adds iTunes Radio support
On Thursday, Apple updated its remote-control app for Mac or PC iTunes control, called Remote, to version 4.1 (free). The only listed improvement is a significant one: the ability to control iTunes Radio as well as music library, Apple TV and other playback. Apple had previously updated the app to the iOS 7 last month. The free app now handles both user-created and pre-programmed iTunes Radio stations, a service that is available currently only to US account holders.
Evernote gets easy contact conversions
Popular notetaking app Evernote saw an update on Thursday, bringing it to version 7.2.0. The new version of Evernote gives users limited access to a Premium feature with the ability to scan business cards into their iOS devices and have the app automatically log the information on the card as a contact. Added contacts can then be synced to a user's LinkedIn, Facebook, or Address Book.
Watercolor sketch simulator Waterlogue released in App Store today
Photo editing app Waterlogue has been released for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, offering users the ability to alter images to simulate the appearance of watercolor sketches. Aimed at users who are not artists, Waterlogue provides easy-to-use preset tools to convert standard photos into watercolor paintings by controlling "wetness," pen outlines and color.
SDK available for developers
Developer Fleksy has released an SDK that aims to bring the company's custom keyboard to a wide range of iOS apps. The keyboard had been available as a standalone app, promoted as a better alternative for users with visual impairments, however Apple's less-restrictive iOS 7 code finally enables such features to be implemented across multiple apps.
New feature available on mobile apps
Instagram has introduced a new feature, Instagram Direct, that enables users to privately share messages, photos and videos. The announcement marks a shift from the company's previous system, which was designed solely for public sharing. Users can now choose to send content to another individual or groups of up to 15 people.
Yahoo Mail issue claimed to be harder to fix than initially believed
Yahoo has acknowledged that a number of users were not able to access Yahoo Mail for part of this week, with the company apologizing for the outage on the official blog. The mail downtime commenced on Monday, with the company claiming to have fixed the issue for the majority of affected users last night, though support teams are apparently still working on some loose ends.
Facebook app for iOS autoplays videos in news feed
Facebook has updated its iOS app to automatically play videos that appear in a user's news feed. Version 6.8 of the app does have the videos set as muted by default, reports TUAW, and though there is no option to turn off the autoplay aspect of the videos, there are settings to allow it to work just on Wi-Fi connections rather than cellular. Both videos from users and advertising will be affected by the change, though it is not known when it will appear in versions on other software platforms.
RealPlayer Cloud now integrated with Chromecast
RealNetworks' RealPlayer Cloud, a dual-purpose video player and cloud service, has announced its new partnership with Google's Chromecast. Consumers can now watch their personal video collection on their TV by accessing content on the RealPlayer Cloud through its own app, pushing the content to a TV using the Chromecast dongle.
Tablets, smartphones gain free Spotify service, Led Zeppelin albums
Spotify has rolled out its free music streaming service to tablets and smartphones, just as speculated by reports last week, along with a number of other announcements. While the tablet version of the app will have a similar service to that of the free desktop version, smartphone users will be forced to use a new free "Shuffle" mode instead.
HandHold and CrossWay wallet iPhone cases for iPhone 5 and 5s released
Felix has released its latest phone cases for the iPhone 5 and 5s today: the HandHold, and the CrossWay. Designed to be minimalist, the cases protect the phone as well as store thin items such as credit cards, a license, or cash.
App Store gets new Angry Birds racer
Rovio has released the latest addition to its Angry Birds series of Apps on iOS with Angry Birds Go! The new entry in the popular franchise is a Mario Kart-like downhill racer with the eponymous fowls facing off against each other, as well as their ever-present porcine nemeses. The entry also brings into play a number of physical toys that open up new items in the game's virtual world.
Rdio opens service to another 20 countries, covers a total of 51
Rdio has expanded its reach to include 20 more markets, bringing its total coverage to 51 territories across six continents. The areas the streaming audio service now operates in include Argentina, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Panama, South Africa, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Monaco, and Hungary. It is not clear if Rdio will be offering a free account option alongside the subscription version in these countries, something users in the United States, Canada, and Australia already enjoy.
Google wins on 'most improved,' Siri gains upper hand on OS commands
An annual shootout between Google's Google Now and Apple's Siri voice-assisted virtual assitants conducted by Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray has resulted in a virtual tie, with both services receiving the same overall grade. Siri barely edged out Google Now by virtual of its better integration with OS commands -- an advantage that comes with the program's deep OS integration -- but both programs got the same overall grade (C+) and percentage of questions correct (79 percent).
Twitter sees redesign, new features with version 6.0
Twitter on Tuesday released updates for both the iOS and Android versions of its mobile app, bringing a redesign and new features for users. The updates pack a number of enhancements, and they give users the ability to share photos via Direct Message. The updates also add new capabilities with regard to push notifications, letting users keep better track of their closer friends on Twitter.
Yahoo snaps up another app team for video features
Internet giant Yahoo has acquired yet another small company, this time QuikIO, which provided cross-platform video streaming services, as well as an app for Apple's iOS platform. Pando Daily confirmed the acquisition this week, pointing out that the service will be shutting down by December 31 of this year. The acquisition is the latest in a string that has seen Yahoo snapping up smaller companies as it attempts to retool for a push to regain mindshare in the coming months.
Aereo-style service from NimbeTV requires cable service authentication
A startup offering cable TV streaming over the Internet has opened its service to everyone in New York, following a successful test period in the city. In a similar manner to Aereo's service, NimbleTV will offer cable subscribers access to the same channels but over the Internet, along with the ability to record programs via the cloud-based DVR.
Microsoft-created social network gets its own mobile apps
Microsoft's own work-in-progress social network now has its own mobile apps, something the other large social networking sites have already implemented. Apps for Socl, the site opened for testing by Microsoft's Future Social Experiences Labs (FuSE Labs) this time last year, are now available to download on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
Five ways to read and watch beyond the storage of the iOS device itself
(This is the first of a new series to showcase apps the staff at MacNN and Electronista use and recommend) This house was an early adopter of iOS, seeing it on first-generation iPod Touches. At the time, it was more of a novelty than anything else -- and of little actual value to us other than as a slick interface to play back our iTunes music and the limited amount of video we owned. Fast-forward six years, and the house is now replete with iDevices and users, ranging from toddlers to senior citizens. As the years have passed, one of our principal uses of iOS is now as a media extender for remotely stored media and files: PDFs, music and video alike. Here are our five apps that make sharing, viewing and enjoying mixed media easier.
Amazon updates Cloud Drive Photos for iOS with video support
The Amazon Cloud Drive Photos app for iOS has received an update, bringing support for videos. Appearing on iOS months after Android, TechCrunch reports that the app allows for videos up to 2GB or 20 minutes in length to be uploaded, with the Cloud Photos Auto-Save also updated to allow existing videos on an iPhone or iPad to be automatically uploaded to the service. Other tweaks include a "large upload mode" that disables the iOS lock screen to let uploads finish, and an indicator in the Settings screen showing the usage of Cloud Drive by media.
Traditional freebies from App Store vary by region
Apple has again launched its "12 Days of Gifts" app to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, but this year it is including the US for the first time. The app, which celebrates the period between Christmas and the traditional date of the baptism of Christ, will make available to iOS users a free download (an app, movie rental, e-book or song) each day beginning December 26 and running to the 6th of January. It was previously called "12 Days of Christmas," but has seen a name change this year.
MailDeck e-mail client now available on iTunes for iPad
Released at the end of last week, Crono officially launched its email application MailDeck for iPad. The app offers effective email organization based on the relevant content the user receives. Featuring three view modes -- list, preview and decks -- users can choose to view email content by scrolling through multi-line preview, full-screen preview, or scanning through messages on small cards, with conversations stacked.
Pandora adds alarm feature for iPhone
Pandora on Monday released an update for its iPhone app that adds a number of new features. Version 5.1 of Pandora for iOS allows users to start their day with their favorite Pandora stations at a time of their choosing. It also features a sleeker redesign, meant to bring the app more in line with the aesthetic of iOS 7.
BaseJump's software updated for Mavericks, including headphone detection
Twelve South has announced that its portable sound system, BassJump, has received a MacBook software update for OS X Mavericks compatibility. BassJump offers users additional audio speakers for one's MacBook, powered by a USB cable.
Tech already supported in Apple Store iPhone app
Apple is today deploying iBeacons at all 254 of its US retail stores, according to the Associated Press. At the Fifth Avenue store in New York City alone, the company has 20 iBeacons; some of these are reportedly just iPhones and iPads, but, like regular iBeacons, can communicate with a visitor's iPhone as they walk around the store. To receive notifications a person needs to have Bluetooth enabled, and the latest version of the Apple Store iPhone app, which must be allowed access to location data and push notifications.
Photo repository FedExing printed wood slab to invitees
Instagram has used FedEx to send physical invitations printed on a wooden slab to press venues for an event in New York City on December 12. The media has been invited to "Share a Moment" with the Instagram team, including CEO Kevin Systrom, but no other details are apparent.
Apps were previously English-only
Google has updated its Android and iOS Search apps with voice support for French, German, and Japanese. The upgrades let people both speak commands and hear responses in the new languages. Previously, non-English speakers had to type in any search requests.
Timely app allows logged hours to be scheduled in advance
New time-tracking app Timely has been launched this week on iTunes. Aiming to minimize the effort involved with logging one's work for invoicing, Timely allows users to schedule and plan work while simultaneously logging the hours. Its layout is like a calendar, though simplified to not display time stamps.
Further refines look for iOS 7
Check-in service Foursquare has released a major update of its iOS app, v7.0. Building on earlier releases, the interface has been evolved to bring it further in line with iOS 7. The most significant addition however may be an expanded push notification system, capable of alerting people to the most interesting things about a new location without having the app open. At a restaurant, for example, notifications may point out the most popular menu item, or food on discount.
Users can add credit cards simply by taking a picture of it
Google has updated its Google Wallet application for iOS, allowing users to add credit or debit cards simply by taking a picture of it using the built-in camera on a user's iPhone. The update also adds instant sign-in if users are already logged into any other Google service or site that supports single sign-on, and users can utilize the physical Google Wallet card at most MasterCard locations as well as withdraw cash from any ATM. The app also stores various loyalty and reward cards and can be disabled online if the users' phone is stolen.
Remote record expanded to include on-demand programming
British broadcaster Sky has made a number of updates to its online services. The Sky+ app for iOS and Android has received some usability updates, Sky Go for Android now has a version specifically made for tablets, and its Sky Store streaming rentals service has been opened up to all of the UK, including those not subscribing to Sky's satellite TV offering.
iPad app so far going without free downloads
Apple is now giving away Christmas music via the Apple Store iPhone app, users observe. Some of the songs made available this week include "The First Noël" by Mary J. Blige, "Silent Night" by Kelly Clarkson, and "Ave Maria" by Il Volo. The music is only available in the US, and is missing from the recently-launched iPad app. The offer will expire on December 31st.
App gets iOS 7 makeover, in-app 'Pro' upgrade, more
Video software maker FireCore has debuted a major upgrade to its Infuse multi-format video player for iOS, now at version 2.0. The update introduces an iOS 7-compliant UI redesign, network streaming from almost any drive or device without syncing, additional supported media formats, integrated Dolby Digital Plus mobile surround sound, and better 1080p and AirPlay support. The app is free but many of the new features are only available with a new "Pro" upgrade that costs $5.
New devices have 37 velocity sensitive keys, expandable with sustain pedal
Mobile music-making apps developer IK Multimedia has announced the expansion of its iRig Keys line with two new products for mobile musicians: iRig Keys Pro and iRig Keys with Lightning connector, compact MIDI keyboard controllers with 37 velocity-sensitive keys.
Ember offers image file organization, sync via iCloud
RealMac Software has launched its latest app for iOS, imaging organizer Ember (formerly known as LittleSnapper). Allowing users to collect images and organize them into projects, the compiled library can be synced via iCloud for accessing on a Mac, iPhone or iPad.
Design gets shareable themes, drag-and-drop data
Having leaked it yesterday, today Apple-owned FileMaker has formally announced FileMaker 13, the next major edition of its database creation software. One of the major additions is WebDirect, an HTML5-based method of publishing databases to the web without special programming. When developing iOS frontends, users can now generate them in a single step, and add things like slide controls, popovers, gesture controls, custom keyboards, and barcode capture functions.
Mac, PC, iOS, Android versions all available to qualified institutions
After a reveal in October, Microsoft has launched the Student Advantage program, giving free access to Microsoft Office software. The Student Advantage program is an initiative by Microsoft that gives attendees of schools and universities that have site licenses for Office 365 access to current software Office releases. Office 2011 is provided for Mac students, with a version of Office 2013 available for Windows users.
Free iOS apps today, including Wikilinks, Walking Dead Assault
Cyber Monday has brought many deals, and this includes notable discounts on apps. Here is our Cyber Monday round-up of iOS apps currently free on iTunes.
TomTom's GPS watches' new MySports mobile app, offering easy data upload
TomTom, a GPS gadget producer, has announced its latest software release to compliment its GPS watches. TomTom MySports offers flexibility to runners, cyclists and swimmers in respects to their interactions with their performance data. Users of the Sports Watch can upload and access their key performance information to the app without needing to connect to a computer.
Feature additions go unmentioned
Various editions of FileMaker Pro 13 have gone on sale at Apple's UK online store ahead of an anticipated official announcement. The listings don't make mention of specific feature upgrades, but in screenshots the OS X release appears to have a new "Share" button, while the companion iOS app - FileMaker Go -- has been given a visual overhaul for iOS 7. Still missing is a matching FileMaker Server update.
Side Tree Software's programs on Mac App Store $1 throughout December
Side Tree Software has announced that all of its programs available at the App Store will be $1 each through the month of December. Starting today, apps such as Abuzzle, Equal, Mymyry, SlidePuzzle and Tribbi are available for the $1 sale price.
Reduced up to 50 percent or more this weekend, including $1 apps
Black Friday sales aren't exclusive to tech gear and shopping malls -- there are plenty of discounts to be had on iTunes and the App Store for Mac OS X and iOS users.
Mega releases cloud storage app for iOS, iPad version due in future
Mega, the cloud storage service operated by Kim Dotcom, has launched an official iOS app. The free download allows users to browse their account, preview and stream specific documents and files, and to send links to files and folders to other people. Support for the iPad as well as photo synchronization are touted as future upgrades.
Skulls of Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition now ported to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Originally released for Xbox 360, Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Steam, Skulls of Shogun is now available for iOS users. The Bone-A-Fide edition of Skulls features five episodes of single-player content, and 36 multi-player maps, playable over the Internet through the turn-based Skulls Anywhere mode, or pass-and-play with up to four people.
Plaintiffs could not prove any data breach, actual harm
US District Court Judge Lucy Koh -- who just concluded a damages retrial between Apple and Samsung and will preside over the next round in the two companies' ongoing patent battles -- dismissed a consumer protection lawsuit on Wednesday that charged that iOS' "geotracking" data -- discovered in iOS 4 in 2011 to be an unprotected file that could theoretically have been accessed by third parties was deliberately designed to collect personal data without consent.
For the second time this month, Tapbots has released an update to its full-featured Twitter client for iOS, Tweetbot 3. Entirely redesigned in October for iOS 7, Tweetbot 3 offers users native push notifications, customizable navigation, and a synced timeline position.
Fifty per cent off Black Friday sale on Garmin's premium navigation apps
Garmin has announced that its premium navigation apps for iOS, Navigon and StreetPilot, will be available at a 50 percent discount on Black Friday. Garmin's premium apps offer a range of features not included in its free app versions, such as being able to store map information locally on the iPhone.
ChronoSync backup and mirroring tool takes 25 percent off regular price
Well-regarded synchronization, backup and mirroring tool ChronoSync will be going on sale between November 28 and December 2 in what the developer, Econ Technologies, says is its "Thanksgiving-Black Friday-Small Business Saturday-Cyber-Monday" event. The program, which normally sells for $40 but includes free lifetime upgrades, will be discounted by 25 percent to $30 during the sale. Unlike Apple's own Time Machine solution, ChronoSync can be customized to backup only selected items, create bootable backups, and works across platforms, external drives, network drives and even iOS devices. A demo and the full program are available directly from the developer.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to be released in December for iOS
First released for consoles in 2004, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is set to be launched for iOS in December, according to Rockstar Games. Set in the early 1990s, GTA: San Andreas is centered around Carl "CJ" Johnson, the protagonist, and his involvement in the Grove Street Families gang fighting with the Ballas and Vagos.
Chair makes original Infinity Blade free for limited time
The three-year-old but still highly-regarded game Infinity Blade for iOS has been made free for a limited time in celebration of Black Friday -- only the second time the game has gone free since its debut. The game, the first in the series, is compatible with iPhones from the 3GS on up and all iPad models, as well as the third-generation or later iPod touch. The game -- in which players take on the role of a knight and his descendants battling the God King and his minions in a single-player campaign marked by lush, cinematic graphics -- normally sells for $6.