Archive for January, 2011

‘IntoNow’ Brings Audio Recognition to Media Check-Ins

Monday, January 31st, 2011

If sharing your location via FourSquare, Gowalla, Facebook and other social networking services is not enough for you, you can also share what you’re watching on TV with incredible ease thanks to a new app highlighted by TechCrunch today. California-based start up IntoNow has just entered the media check-in race with its new app of the same name, one-upping other media check-in apps like GetGlue with a new audio recognition feature that identifies what you’re watching simply by listening to it.

IntoNow uses its own patented SoundPrint technology that matches what it hears to a massive index of video, including live television aired for the first time. Once matched, you can share it via Facebook or Twitter, find more information on iTunes or IMDB, and even add it to your Netflix queue. Activity and Popular tabs allow you to see what your friends and all IntoNow users are watching.

The app does require you to create an IntoNow account, a tactic we find a bit annoying since we’re not quite sure why we need yet another account for a single app but at least the sign up process is not tedious. Identifying a show is as easy as tapping the green television icon and pointing your iPhone’s microphone at a sound source – after a few moments, IntoNow will process the audio and return a result or indicate that the show couldn’t be found.

IntoNow is a free app that’s currently only available for the iPhone though the company is also working on an Android version as well.

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New on AppShopper: Mac OS Apps

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

We’re happy to announce that Mac OS applications in the Mac App Store that launched earlier this month are now included on AppShopper. As with iOS apps, you can now browse and track Mac apps on AppShopper, including adding them to your Wish List and receiving email notifications of price drops and updates.

A new toggle in the upper left hand corner lets you switch between iOS and Mac apps, and all Mac apps are clearly labeled “Mac OS” next to the version number.

A toggle to select Mac, iOS, and All apps will be added soon to sort searches and the My Apps and Wish List tabs.

RSS feeds for Mac apps will be added shortly to the sidebar on the right on the What’s New tab though these will only represent some of the RSS feeds available. Any combination of the filters in What’s New can be chosen, and the corresponding RSS feed link is displayed in the upper right corner.

The Mac App Store is still quite new and doesn’t have nearly as many apps as the iOS App Store. As of this post, there are just over 1,300 apps in the Mac App Store compared to more than 300,000 iPhone and iPad apps in the iOS App Store. While we don’t expect the Mac App Store to experience the same kind of massive growth that the iOS App Store has in the past 2 1/2 years, we’re sure there will soon be no shortage of Mac apps to suit a wide range of needs in the Mac App Store.

If you use our official AppShopper iOS app, note that Mac Apps will not be visible within the app. Also, our importer tools for the Mac and Windows will only import iOS app information from your computer to your AppShopper account at this time.

‘The Daily’ News Publication for iPad to Debut on February 2

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

The Daily, the rumored iPad-specific news publication created in partnership between News Corporation and Apple, will be officially announced at a media event in New York City on February 2 according to The Loop. Eddy Cue, Apple’s VP of Internet Services and News Corporation’s founder and CEO, Rupert Murdoch, will be on hand for the event according to the invitations sent to members of the press today.

Rumors about The Daily first cropped up several months ago and it was expected to be announced in December and then earlier this month. Apple’s preparation of a recurring billing system and automatic delivery of new content have been at the heart of speculation surrounding the delays.

The Daily is expected to be a digital-only publication available exclusively on the iPad initially, costing $.99 per week. The News Corp publication will be unique among those offered on the iPad to date with a recurring subscription option, an issue of contention among publishers who wish to have more control over digital subscriptions sold through the App Store. Apple has insisted on the same 70%/30% revenue share for publications as it does with all app purchases and the company does not share customer purchase and demographic information with publishers.

Know CPR and Live in San Ramon Valley? This App Can Help You Save Lives

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

While there are over 300,000 apps in the App Store, there aren’t any that we know of that can claim to be able to actually save lives. Today TechCrunch highlighted an app put out by the San Ramon Valley Fire Department in California which can literally do just that. Hiding behind a generic name, Fire Department is an app that will alert users who have indicated that they know CPR if there is an emergency nearby where their medical skills could be be put to use.

A rather dramatic video demonstrates how the app works:

Fire Department became available in the App Store last year but it was updated just yesterday with the location aware notification options and other features to share information about current medical emergencies.

Though Fire Department is limited to the San Ramon Valley area only, it’s an excellent example of the potential of smartphone apps to go beyond helping you fine tune a presentation or kill some time while waiting in line to actually preventing another human being from dying before medical professionals arrive on the scene.

Fire Department is a free app and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (a GPS receiver is required for the location awareness features) and requires iOS 4.2 or higher.

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Bacon Bear Provides Easier Address Entry for Navigon and TomTom Apps

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

We’ve tried many of the iOS navigation apps available and those by Navigon and TomTom are at the top of our list of favorites. Despite our appreciate of each, we find that both apps do have rather tedious destination address entry methods, requiring you to enter the state, city, street name, and numerical address on separate screens. Bacon Bear Productions has a solution for this tediousness in the form of two new address entry apps for each app – Navigon Now and TomTom Now.

Navigon Now and TomTom Now allow you to copy and paste complete addresses from another app or manually enter an address, and then each app will automatically enter the destination address entry on its own within the respective navigation app, eliminating the multi-step entry process.

Copying an address is easy with the built-in copy and paste functionality within iOS. Each app will automatically paste any copied content into the address entry field when you first open the app. You then tap on the Launch button, which will open the associated app and enter the address. Of course, you must already have a TomTom or Navigon navigation app installed on your iOS device for either app to work.

We tried Navigon Now to capture copied addresses from Google Maps and Safari, as well as entering an address manually directly within Navigon Now. Navigon recognized the address most of the time, occasionally asking us to make a selection between two final addresses, though the addition of this extra step was still generally faster than entering addresses manually directly within Navigon.

It may seem a little odd to have a separate app just for address entry for an expensive navigation app you already own, but it can be a time saver and Navigon Now will stay on our iPhones. If you’re a frequent traveler who relies on a TomTom or Navigon navigation app for guidance regularly, one of these Bacon Bear apps could invaluable to you. Of course, this clearly presents an opportunity for both TomTom and Navigon to simplify address entry in their respective apps that we hope they address sooner rather than later, but we applaud Bacon Bear for stepping up to the plate in the meantime.

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EA’s ‘Dead Space’ Released for iPad and iPhone

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Yet another console game has made it to iOS with the release of Dead Space for the iPad and iPhone. EA released two versions of the game yesterday priced at $6.99 for the iPhone/iPod touch and $9.99 for the iPad.

The Dead Space franchise began in 2008, initially available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows. Set a few hundred years in the future, Dead Space is a survival horror third-person shooter where you play a lone engineer making his way through a space colony decimated by voracious and violent aliens. Dead Space for iOS takes place in between the story line of the first game released in 2008 and Dead Space 2, which was just released today in North America.

TouchArcade reviewed Dead Space and found it to be true to its terror-inpsiring roots with rich design and engaging elements though the actual combat mechanics leave something to be desired.

If you have both an iPhone and iPad and want to play Dead Space on both devices, you’ll need to purchase each version separately. It’s unlikely EA will put Dead Space on sale anytime soon and if the price for either version feels a little steep to you, it could go on sale around the holiday season in December if you’re patient enough to wait for nearly an entire year if 2010 was any indication.

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Apple Closes 10 Billion App Download Celebration, Winner Announced

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Apple’s 10 Billion App Store Downloads contest, which started less than two weeks ago, has ended. The consumer electronics giant announced over the weekend that the 10 billionth app was downloaded by a UK resident who will receive the promised $10,000 iTunes Card as a prize.

With more than 10 billion apps downloaded in just two and a half years—a staggering seven billion apps in the last year alone—the App Store has surpassed our wildest dreams,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “The App Store has revolutionized how software is created, distributed, discovered and sold. While others try to copy the App Store, it continues to offer developers and customers the most innovative experience on the planet.

Gail Davis of Orpington, Kent was declared the winner after one of her daughters downloaded the 10 billionth app, Paper GliderCult of Mac reported that Davis initially thought that the call from Apple notifying her of her winnings was a prank call and hung up the phone almost immediately. Fortunately, an Apple executive called again later in the day and Davis was able to claim the prize.

‘iDOS’ Returns with Update That Removes iTunes File Sharing Capability

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

iDOS, the DOS emulator app for the iPad that debuted in October and disappeared from the App Store shortly afterward, has become available in the App Store again with an update that removes its ability to store and run files installed through the iTunes File Sharing feature.

With iDOS 1.0, it was possible to install and run Windows 3.0 and much more. The loss of the iTunes File Sharing feature severely reduces the app’s utility, preventing users from easily loading their own games and other files for use within the app. Though given Apple’s prompt move to remove the app on the same day it was released, this functionality was clearly a violation of the App Store guidelines.

Version 2.0.1 of the app list the following changes, along with a clear warning from its developer, FastIntelligence:



– bug fixes

– Game control improvements

– Add new games

– update credit page

If you value the ability to load files of your choosing for use within iDOS, you should avoid updating the app. While iTunes does not offer an automated way to avoid updating a specific app, there is a way around this. Though exceptionally tedious in the long run, you can simply avoid downloading the iDOS update within iTunes by choosing to download all updates for your other apps individually. Needless to say, this could result in accidentally updating iDOS in the future if you’re not careful to continue downloading app updates individually.

TouchArcade points out that there is another way to still be able to load your own files for use even within the updated 2.0.1 version of iDOS using an application available for both the Mac and Windows called iPhone Explorer. iPhone Explorer is a free utility and does not require that your iPad be jailbroken in order to use it. In case you’ve already updated iDOS or simply don’t want to go through the hassle of avoiding the update, this method is an excellent option.

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Starbucks Mobile App Payments Now Accepted Nationwide

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Starbucks, the Seattle-based coffee store chain, announced today that its mobile payment system is now available nationwide, allowing users to pay for items using the Starbucks Card Mobile app available for the iPhone and Blackberry.

Starbucks Card Mobile is a free app compatible with the iPhone and iPod touch. To make payments through the app, a registered Starbucks card is required. Obtaining a card and registering it with Starbucks is also free.

To make a mobile payment, a user simply presents the barcode on the Scan Now screen within the app to a cashier. The sale amount will then be deducted from the associated Starbucks card. Mobile payments are available in U.S. only at company-operated stores and those located within Target stores.

Starbucks Mobile Card for the iPhone was first released in September 2009, with mobile payment possible in select stores in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay area as a trial. The trial was later expanded to all Starbucks stores located within Target stores in March 2010.

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Playboy Magazine Coming to iPad, Uncensored

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Hugh Hefner, founder and publisher of Playboy magazine, announced last night via Twitter that the monthly men’s magazine would be available for the iPad in uncensored form in March. Hefner also indicated that the entire back catalog of the magazine would be available for download.

Hefner founded Playboy magazine in 1953 and it continues to be one of the most popular men’s magazines today. The magazine is distributed in the U.S and 27 other countries. It’s estimated that 1 out of every 10 men in America between the ages of 18 and 34 reads it.

A Playboy app is already available in the App Store though it is censored and contains no nude images. The availability of an uncensored version would be surprising considering Apple’s stance against apps that are not “kid friendly.” Additionally, the App Store guidelines, which were published by Apple in September, contain a clause that prohibits pornography:

Apps containing pornographic material, defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings”, will be rejected.

iOS does contain some parental restriction controls that can limit the on-device purchase of apps with age limit ratings. An uncensored Playboy app could fall under the 17+ rating as it is currently written, which is where the existing censored version of the app already falls:

Applications in this category may also contain frequent and intense offensive language; frequent and intense cartoon, fantasy or realistic violence; and frequent and intense mature, horror, and suggestive themes; plus sexual content, nudity, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs which may not be suitable for children under the age of 17.

Apple has not made any official statement verifying Hefner’s claims though the company rarely speaks out in this manner when it comes to individual apps.

If an uncensored Playboy app does make it to the App Store, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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