Archive for October, 2010

Apple Providing Live Video Stream of Today’s ‘Back to the Mac’ Event

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Apple is hosting a media event today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time / 1:00 p.m. Eastern time at its Cupertino, California headquarters. The event is titled “Back to the Mac” and mulitple product announcements are expected, including the introduction of the next version of the Mac OS, a significantly revised MacBook Air, an updated iLife software suite, and possibly an entirely new product.

Apple will be streaming video of the event live over the internet and has posted an Events page here. The company notes the following requirements to view the video:

Streaming video requires Safari 4 or 5 on Mac OS X Snow Leopard or Safari on iOS 3 or later. will be providing coverage of the live event (a spoiler-free page is available here). While we don’t expect any news about iOS or iOS devices, we’ll summarize today’s news for you here at AppShopper as well.

Victoria’s Secret for iPad Debuts

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Victoria’s Secret, the ever-popular American lingerie retailer, has released an iPad app offering access to the store’s catalogues, a store locator, and more. The free app hit the App Store just a short while ago, joining the company’s Victoria’s Secret All Access app for the iPhone that was released last November.

The new iPad app also provides additional photos, videos, and information about Victoria’s Secret models, known as Angels, and special events, store openings, and photo shoots. It also promises behind-the-scenes pictures and exclusive videos of the company’s annual televised fashion show which is scheduled to take place on November 30, 2010.

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Blocking Non-Western Language Apps on AppShopper

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

The App Store is a massive international phenomenon, and attracts Apps from all different languages. While Apple provides regional App Stores for different countries, the U.S. store still attracts a wide range of languages.

One frequent request we have received is the ability to block specific languages from the AppShopper lists. Language detection can be tricky, but we’ve now included a preference in your user profile that allows you to block Apps in non-western languages. This includes Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hebrew, Russian, and a few others.

This feature is only available on the website at the moment, but will trickle into the App in the next major version. We are also working on other features to be more usable in countries outside the U.S.

Comparison Review: Mi-Fi and MyMiFi Apps Monitor Your MiFi Router

Monday, October 18th, 2010

The MiFi, a mobile broadband router made by Novatel Wireless sold by a number of carriers around the world, is a popular device for getting internet connectivity on the go. If you’re not already familiar with the MiFi, it’s a small cellular modem that’s about the size of a a half of deck of playing cards and it connects to the cellular data network of your mobile carrier of choice and shares this connection via Wi-Fi with up to 5 other devices.

In the U.S., the MiFi is available through Verizon, Sprint, and Virgin Mobile and through Bell and Rogers in Canada. There’s also an unlocked GSM version of the MiFi that can be used with just about any GSM carrier in the world.

The MiFi is a fantastic device but it lacks a screen or other indicators to tell you detailed information about remaining battery life, the number of devices connected, and other useful pieces of information. While this information can be found through its web interface where you can also manage your MiFi’s settings through your browser, an app can offer more immediate access. Enter a few enterprising developers who have created apps to allow you to keep closer tabs on your MiFi’s status – we took a closer look at AppsDen’s Mi-Fi and Derek Kepner’s MyMiFi paired with our unlocked MiFi 2372 on AT&T’s 3G network.

In order to use both apps, all you need to do is connect your iPhone or iPod touch to the Wi-Fi network created by your MiFi. From here, both apps will access and display battery level, connection strength, data transfer, device connection, and IP information directly from your MiFi. Without any set-up required at all – apart from anything you’ve already done to set up your MiFi with your carrier and adjust its security settings to your liking – both apps are dead simple to use and should work with most MiFi models and the various carrier implementations out there.

AppsDen’s Mi-Fi provides graphical information about your MiFi’s signal strength and battery level at the top of the screen. Immediate below these are tallies of the data received and sent, the connection time and the IP addresses. It hides the iPhone’s status bar when it’s open s you can’t see the current time and other information.

AppDen’s Mi-Fi on the left, Kepner’s MyMiFi on the right

Kepner’s MyMiFi shows virtually the same information, although it’s displayed differently and a few more important pieces of information are included: the number of devices connected, and the current network and connection type. Unlike Mi-Fi, it does not hide the iPhone’s status bar.

We really appreciate the functionality of both of these apps – it’s wicked easy to simply open up either one to quickly check the status of our MiFi while we’re on the go. Now, AppsDen’s Mi-Fi app is free (without ads, to boot) and is therefore a no-brainer to download if you’ve got a MiFi and an iPhone or iPod touch. Kepner’s MyMiFi app costs $2.99 and it offers more information compared to AppsDen’s Mi-Fi app and we also find its icon and interface to be more visually pleasing, which does matter to us a fair amount when it comes to comparing apps that provide similar functionality. Both apps are iOS 4 compatible and have Retina Display graphics on the iPhone 4.

Though it might feel a little expensive since there’s a free app available that does just about the same thing, $3 is not a lot of money in the end and we’re happy to have such a thoughtfully-designed app like MyWiFi on our iPhones and recommend it. Those of you who are more budget-minded have a perfectly capable alternative in AppDen’s free Mi-Fi app.

[applink url=”,”] Brings Digital Catalogs to iPad

Monday, October 18th, 2010, the online catalog-ordering company founded in 1996, has released an iPad app offering access to digital versions of catalogs from a variety of retailers. The free app debuted in the App Store over the weekend. Through its site, offers more than 650 print and digital catalogs while the company’s iPad app currently features just 28 catalogs at the time of this post with new catalogs added daily.

Catalogs viewed within the app can be browsed page by page just like their print counterparts. Selecting an item to purchase opens up the retailer’s web site within the app where the purchase can be completed. The app also offers a Wish List feature where browsed items can be saved for later viewing or purchasing.

Exclusive deals like free shipping offers and discounts are also offered by

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TomTom Navigation App for iPhone Optimized for iPhone 4, Gets New Features

Friday, October 15th, 2010

TomTom, the maker of portable stand-alone navigation devices and navigation applications for a variety of mobile device platforms, released an update to its iPhone navigation app adding several new features as the company had announced in early September. The TomTom navigation apps first arrived in the App Store in August 2009 and the U.S. & Canada version has remained a regular in the Top 200 Paid Navigation apps for the entire time it’s been available.

The complete list of new features is as follows:

  • OPTIMIZED FOR IPHONE 4 (iPhone 4 only): Turn-by-turn navigation with TomTom just got even better, with high resolution graphics and sharper maps. Menus are more responsive and positioning is more accurate, even with limited GPS reception. The TomTom app takes full advantage of your iPhone 4.
  • NAVIGATE-TO-PHOTO: Got a photo of the place you want to go? Simply tap on the image and TomTom will take you there. You no longer need to enter an address to get going. What you see is where you’ll go!
  • NEW, UPDATED MAPS: Drive with the latest maps. TomTom maps include 1 million more miles of US roads than competitors and have been rated highest in quality and reliability. Your TomTom app comes ready to navigate with the most accurate, most up-to-date maps available.

A note in the description indicates that the Navigate-to-Photo feature works only when the Location Services feature is enabled for the iPhone’s Camera app so that each picture contains location information for the TomTom app to use.

As with all navigation apps that contain extensive map data, we recommend that you purchase the app or download the update on your computer and then sync it to your iPhone – at about 1.5 GB in size, it will take quite some time to download. At the time of this post, only the U.S.-only, U.S. & Canada, Canada & Alaska, and  U.S. & Mexico versions of the app have been updated to version 1.5 and the updates for other geographies will likely be available shortly. You can find a list of all of the TomTom apps here.

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New York Times for iPad Gets Massive Overhaul

Friday, October 15th, 2010

The New York Times iPad app was updated this morning to version 2.0, implementing a totally new interface and hinting at the app’s future paid status. The app had first hit the App Store at the release of the iPad itself in early April and offered only a limited selection of content chosen by the publication’s editors, which appeared to disappoint many users in its first iterations with the app earning a low overall rating of just 2 stars in the App Store.

The updated NYTimes for iPad app now offers access to 25 sections of the venerable newspaper, though some sections require a free NY Times account to view. The app’s description indicates that future access to content will requirement payment, stating that the app will be “free until early 2011.”

The full list of new features is as follows:

  • Access to all sections plus a selection of blogs.
  • Photo slideshows are now accessible within articles and in their own section.
  • Breaking News Alerts help you stay informed even when the app is closed.
  • Improved design and navigation.

The New York Times was last on our radar in June when it had complained to Apple about the use of its content in the Pulse News Reader app by Alphonso Labs, causing it to be removed from the App Store temporarily. At that time, we had also noted that in early May, Gawker had reported that Jobs himself had criticized the previous NYT Editor’s Choice iPad app with its limited content and made his displeasure known to the news company.

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RedLaser Gets QR Code Scanning, eBay Search, More

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Occipital’s RedLaser barcode scanning app got a hefty update yesterday adding the ability to scan QR codes, search eBay for matches, updated graphics for the iPhone 4;s Retina Display and more. RedLaser first hit the App Store in mid-2009 and has been a perennial favorite among iPhone users with an overall 4-star average rating and regular appearances in the Top 200 Free apps in the Utilities category.

The app’s full list of new features is as follows:

  • QR code scanning!
  • Added eBay and for even more results
  • High-res Retina display support
  • Faster scanning on iPhone 4
  • iPhone 4 LED light option during scanning

QR codes are matrix barcodes that can store text, URLs, or other data beyond just product information like standard barcodes found on the packages of most commercially-available products. For example, the QR code below contains a link to – you can test it by downloading the free RedLaser app and scanning it, which will show you a prompt to navigate to our site in mobile Safari.

The RedLaser app was previously a paid app priced at $1.99 but its price was lowered to free early this summer when it was acquired by eBay.

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Iconfactory Releases ‘Take Five’ Music Pausing App

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

The Iconfactory, developer of the popular free Twitterrific app for Twitter, Ramp Champ, Frenzic and others, has released a new music-pausing app called Take Five. The app hit the App Store today and costs $.99.

If you’ve ever paused music playback on your iPhone or iPod touch and then realized a while later that you forgot to hit play again and you’ve been listening to nothing but silence through your headphones in the meantime, Take Five will quickly become one of your favorite apps.

Image courtesy of

You can start music playback in the iPod app or in the Take Five app itself – unfortunately, it won’t work with any other music apps at this time because of restrictions imposed by Apple.

When you need to pause music momentarily to focus on another task, you can simply open Take Five, which will pause the music automatically for 5 minutes. If you started music playback within Take Five, you can just tap on the center of the slider at the bottom of the screen to pause it automatically for 5 minutes. You can also drag the slider to pause the music for any period up to 30 minutes.

If you want music to start playing before the timer is done, you can move the slider all the way to the left to essentially force the timer to zero immediately.

Take Five also works in the background on devices running iOS 4, so music will still resume after the timer is done even if you’ve left Take Five to go to another app. When music resumes, it fades in nicely to avoid startling you.

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Official AppShopper App Gets Push Notifications

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Version 1.2 of the official AppShopper app has been approved, adding push notifications for app updates and price changes. Push notifications join a list of updates the app received earlier today in version 1.1:

  • Filtering capabilities for My Apps and Wish List
  • Tell a Friend (email includes a link to the webpage for the app)
  • Settings (app device compatibility filtering, notification options, and log in/out of your account) added
  • Help section added
  • Various optimizations and bug fixes

A minor issue made push notifications unavailable in version 1.1 released earlier today, which has been addressed in version 1.2.

In case you missed it, the Importer is available and will import the complete list of apps you already own from iTunes on your computer to your AppShopper profile. AppShopper Importer is for the Mac only though a Windows version is in beta testing (if you have a Windows computer and want to help us test it, let us know) . You can download the Mac version of the application here. It will pull only the app names from your iTunes library and nothing else. The application will ask you to log in to your AppShopper account to get started. If you don’t already have an account, you can create one here (accounts are free).

At the the time of this post, the 1.2 update is still propagating through Apple’s servers and may not yet be available for all users. Reminder: Push notifications won’t work in 1.1.

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