Google Play Books, Spotify, Cut the Rope

updated 12:14 pm EDT, Mon April 15, 2013 | Posted in iPhone Apps

Google Play Books 1.5 (free) - Google Play Books for iOS allows users to access Google's library of more than 4 million digital books. A number of options for customizing the reading experience are included, along with support for syncing all books and page positions across multiple devices. The update offers substantial improvements in performance and stability, as well as support for fixed layout EPUB books and Japanese vertical layout flowing text books. Additionally, user scan now tap and hold on a place name in flowing text mode to see a description and map of the location. [Download - 11.4MB]

Spotify 0.6.3 (free) - Spotify is a music streaming service that provides users with access to more than 15 million tracks. Radio streaming is a free service offered to all US residents, while on-demand streaming can be unlocked by upgrading to Spotify Premium. Version 0.6.3 is now offered in Traditional Chinese and Latin American Spanish translations, and a temporary fix for a crash that can occur when trying to playing music has been implemented. Anyone who is experiencing the issues should go to the Social page in the Settings menu and disable "Show Activity." [Download - 23.6MB]

Cut the Rope 2.2.1 ($1) - Cut the Rope is the iPhone version of Chillingo's popular puzzle game where players attempt to feed Om Nom candy. The game includes 350 levels that are broken down into 14 boxes, each with its own theme and gameplay elements. This minor release fixes a number of known issues. [Download - 25MB]

SugarSync 4.0 (free) - SugarSync is a tool for syncing any file or folder from a computer to an iOS device. The v4.0 update introduces a simplified design and new navigation options. The new navigation system includes a device filter, which provide the ability to either view all of the folders in a users SugarSync Cloud or only the folders syncing to a specific computer. Additionally, a new Cloud Search feature allowing users to search for any file synced to the SugarSync Cloud from any computer or device. [Download - 4.9MB]

Rayman Jungle Run 1.2 ($3) - Rayman Jungle Run is a platforming game where players must attempt to guide Rayman through each level as fast as possible. The game's levels are divided into four worlds, each which introduces its own unique gameplay mechanic. Version 2.0 introduces a Pirate Ship section featuring 20 brand new levels. The update also includes a new Boss Plant chapter and two new Land of the Livid Dead levels. [Download - 49.4MB]

Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )

WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily

WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX

IPhone apps  21h

Adele's '25' album now streaming

Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu

Audio  1d

SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage

A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu

IPhone  1d

Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30

The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT

Apple  1d

Apple Music bug bites very short songs

There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l

Developer  1d

Walmart Pay expands to 15 states

Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu

IPhone apps  1d

Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle

Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R

Gadgets  2d