Archive for August, 2010

Barnes & Noble Revamps Reader Apps Using Nook Brand

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Barnes & Noble has revamped its ebook reader apps for the iPhone and iPad, employing the nook brand previously used only for its ebook reader device. The new apps were released this morning and while the iPhone version appears to have no new features aside from the new look, the iPad version includes the following in the What’s New section:

“BN eReader” is now “NOOK for iPad!”
You requested the ability to rate your books and sort by your favorites. Now you can!
And we’ve added a great new user guide and “first run” tutorial to show you some of the less obvious features of NOOK for iPad.
Thanks for updating!

Barnes & Noble had initially released its reader apps in May, joining in the ebook reader app fray to compete with Apple’s iBooks, Amazon’s Kindle app, followed by the release of an app by Borders in June. In rebranding its app to use the nook brand, Barnes & Noble appears to be following Amazon’s example, who uses its own ebook reader’s Kindle brand for its ebook apps available for a number of platforms.

Chaos Rings for iPad Released

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Square Enix, the makers of the Final Fantasy franchise, has released Chaos Rings for the iPad as promised just a few months ago shortly after the release of the iPhone version. Chaos Rings is an RPG  in which you control a 2-person team (out of four possible team options) to compete in a fighting tournament where immortality is the prize. Interspersed between tournament fights are character story lines and puzzles. Touch Arcade reviewed the iPhone version when it was released and found it to be impressive overall.

A video showing Chaos Rings on the iPad is available on YouTube:

To celebrate the release of Chaos Rings for the iPad, other Square Enix games are on sale for two weeks so now is a good time to snatch them up if you’ve had your eye on any of their other titles.

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Navigon MobileNavigator Half-Off Sale

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

To celebrate one year in the App Store, Navigon is offering most versions of its MobileNavigator apps at half off through August 15. Additionally, the Traffic and 3D Panorama View features available as in-app purchases are also on sale at 50% off.

We’ve tried many of the navigation apps available for the iPhone and MobileNavigator is one of our favorites. MobileNavigator for North America has been in the top 200 paid Navigation apps in terms of sales for nearly the entire time it’s been available in the App Store and Navigon claims that its apps have been installed on more than 1 million  iPhones to date.

This sale is the biggest price drop we’ve ever seen for MobileNavigator so this presents a prime time to buy if you’re in the market for a navigation app for your iPhone.

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Camera+ Removed From App Store

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Camera+ by tap tap tap has been removed from the App Store and all signs point to the VolumeSnap-enabling work-around revealed just the other day as the cause. TechCrunch reports that tap tap tap had revealed the work-around (entering “camplus://enablevolumesnap” without the quotation marks in mobile Safari, which allowed the volume buttons to control the camera shutter in the app) through its Twitter account but deleted the tweet a short time later.

Apple does not take kindly to hidden features in apps, as most recently demonstrated by the removal of Handy Light, a flashlight app that had a hidden tethering feature, just a few short hours after it debuted in the App Store.

So far, tap tap tap has said nothing about the removal of Camera+ in its blog or Twitter account. In fact, the company had only just published information on the second month sales of Camera+ in its blog a couple of days ago, noting that the app wasn’t subject to the “sophomore” sales slump apps typically see in the second month after release.

Other apps by tap tap tap, including Voices and Convert, remain in the App Store so the developer hasn’t been banned from the App Store completely and we’re hoping that Camera+ makes it back to the App Store soon.

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Review: Week Calendar for iPhone

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

For whatever reason, Apple has decided that the Calendar app that comes installed on the iPhone doesn’t need a week view and that monthly, daily, and list views are all you really need. Though we <3 our iPhones more than is probably healthy for the average human being, we disagree with Apple and think that a way to view a week at a glance would be very useful indeed. Enter Week Calendar by Wasabi Apps that was released at the end of July. It pulls all of the data from the calendars on your iPhone (and thus by default, wherever you’re getting that data, be it MobileMe, Google Calendar, etc.) and displays it in a handy week view format.

Using Week Calendar is a piece of cake. There’s no set-up at all required since it simply pulls the data from the iPhone’s Calendar app, though you can choose to show or hide individual calendars separately in Week View. True to its name, a week view is the only view that’s available in this app so if you need to see an entire month, a single day, or a list of all of your calendar events, you’ll need to switch back to the Calendar app that comes installed on the iPhone. This prompts our biggest wish for this app: if it included the other views as well, it could completely replace the Calendar app on our iPhones. Without any other view available, it’s hard to eyeball a date several months in advance to see when a holiday falls, for example, or see quickly if a single day far in the future has any appointments already scheduled.

Week Calendar doesn’t just display your calendar but also allows you to edit existing appointments and add new ones as well. Tapping on an existing appointment shows a pop-up with more details about the selected event and tapping on the blue arrow takes you to a separate screen to view additional details like the location or notes if entered, or edit the event. Overall, Week Calendar lets you do as much as the iPhone’s original Calendar app, including setting reminders and recurring events.

The week view shows best in landscape orientation but also works in portrait orientation. Color coding for each calendar you have set up in the Calendar app also carries over to Week Calendar. One feature we really like is the ability to swipe left or right to switch weeks, a navigation element that we feel is missing from the Calendar app on both the iPhone and iPad.

We have a couple of minor nitpicks that don’t really affect functionality but may matter to some. First is the app’s icon (on the iPhone itself – the one used in the App Store, shown above, is different) – we think the grid alone conveys the week and the day abbreviations, in Dutch no less, are unnecessary and make the icon look a little cluttered. Second is how text is handled in the week view since words that are too long to fit in a single line are moved to the next line in ways that don’t make sense. You can see this in the screenshot below as well as the one showing landscape orientation above. Of course, this is a challenge when you’re working with a lot of information on such a small screen but we have to think there’s a more elegant way to handle this.

Week Calendar costs $1.99 and while this isn’t exorbitant at all, it might make you pause to wonder if you really need a separate app to show your calendar in week view format, particularly since this is the only calendar view it offers. If you don’t have a very busy schedule, Week Calendar might not be as useful for you unless you really just prefer that view format over what the iPhone’s original Calendar app provides. If your schedule is full enough to make searching for open spaces for new appointments difficult, we definitely recommend Week Calendar as an alternative to help you manage your schedule a little more easily. If Wasabi Apps adds daily and monthly views to Week Calendar (and a name change for the app would be in order as well with these additions), it could completely replace the Calendar app on our iPhones.

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Apple Releases iOS 4.0.2 and 3.2.2 Updates

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Apple has just released two iOS updates for the iPhone and iPad, respectively, that address a vulnerability in how Safari handles PDF files that’s at the heart of how the latest web-based jailbreaking process put out by the iPhone Dev Team works. This jailbreaking process, which can be done simply by navigating to in mobile Safari on an iPad or iPhone, was released less than two weeks ago and opens the door to hundreds of apps not available in the App Store along with removing the carrier lock present in iPhones around the world.

Apple’s latest update will fix this issue and devices updated to the latest iOS can no longer be jailbroken using the site.

Image courtesy of

Gameloft’s ‘Gangstar: Miami Vindication’ Coming Soon to iPhone and iPad

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Gameloft announced a new game in its Gangstar line-up this morning – Gangstar: Miami Vindication. The trailer promises that the game will be released “soon” though an exact date is not given nor has pricing been revealed.

Gameloft has posted a trailer providing a sneak peek of the game:

Miami Vindication will be a sequel to West Coast Hustle that was released about a year ago. Touch Arcade reviewed West Coast Hustle at its release and noted that it offered a lot of gameplay for the price and provides a good Grand Theft Auto-like experience. Gangstar: West Coast Hustle for the iPad is currently on sale in case you’d like to get a feel for what Miami Vindication will be like.

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Madden NFL 11 Released for iPad and iPhone

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

EA Sports’ Madden NFL 2011 game has been released in separate versions for the iPad and iPhone. The game hit the App Store late last night and features all 32 NFL teams and their respective players, promising realistic game play, impressive graphics, and full season and play-off modes. Touch Arcade has reviewed Madden NFL 11, praising the GameFlow feature and noting that it tops Gameloft’s NFL 2011 game that hit the App Store earlier this month.

EA states in the description for the iPad version that free updates adding new features are coming soon:


Scheduled in time for the kick-off to the NFL regular season, you’ll also get Multiplayer Mode plus the iPAD EXCLUSIVE “Vintage Voltage Football” – an innovative throwback to retro-style electric football that must be seen to be believed!

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Apple Rejects VolumeSnap in Camera+ Update

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Last week we reported on tap tap tap’s submission of an update of its popular Camera+ app that included the VolumeSnap feature that would allow use of the iPhone’s volume buttons to control the camera’s shutter. We thought that this would be a very nice feature to have in Camera+ (and other camera apps as well, including the iPhone’s native app also to be honest) but tap tap tap posted this afternoon in its blog that Apple rejected this update.

Apple’s official reason for the rejection is as follows:

Your application cannot be added to the App Store because it uses iPhone volume buttons in a non-standard way, potentially resulting in user confusion. Changing the behavior of iPhone external hardware buttons is a violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement. Applications must adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines as outlined in the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement section 3.3.7.

While we do appreciate Apple’s desire to avoid user confusion, we happen to think that this is one area where this type of behavior wouldn’t be an issue. It’s not hard at all to remember that a volume button will activate the camera’s shutter in one app and not anywhere else, in our humble opinion. Also, it can be quite intuitive to seek out the volume buttons to use in this way when holding the iPhone in landscape orientation to frame a photo.

However, all may not be lost. tap tap tap points out one area where Apple did recently change its policy about the use of iPhone hardware: flashlight apps using the iPhone 4’s LED light (see our round-up of 9 of those apps here). If you want Apple to change its policy on the use of volume buttons as tap tap tap has tried, submit feedback to the company here.

UPDATE: Commenter wob darden points out that VolumeSnap can be enabled in Camera+ on your iPhone by going to the Safari app and entering “camplus://enablevolumesnap” without the quotes in the address bar. Entering this URL will automatically open the Camera+ app and the VolumeSnap feature will work (it took two tries for us, but it does work). Note that you don’t need to keep entering the URL to use the feature – it will be enabled for good once you enter it, though it’s likely that this setting might be changed when Camera+ is updated next and it may or may not be possible to enable it again in future versions.

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MoneyWell for iPhone Released

Friday, August 6th, 2010

No Thirst Software, the makers of MoneyWell, the  popular money management application for the Mac, has released an iPhone app. MoneyWell for iPhone hit the App Store last night and is available for $4.99, 50% off its regular price as a special introductory offer.

MoneyWell for iPhone can be used as a stand-alone app or sync with MoneyWell on a Mac over a local Wi-Fi network. MoneyWell for the Mac starts at $49.99 and can be purchased directly from No Thirst’s site.

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