Archive for April, 2011

‘Groupon HD’ for iPad Arrives

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Groupon, the group buying website that offers daily deals in several cities across the United States, has released a version of its app for the iPad. Groupon HD hit the App Store last night and offers the ability to purchase deals and redeem them electronically, much like the Groupon app that debuted for the iPhone and iPod touch early last year.

Groupon currently provides deals in more than 170 cites across the country. It is one of several new companies offering group buying services along with BuyWithMe, LivingSocial and others. Facebook is also joining in on the action with its new Facebook Deals feature which is being piloted in handful of cities to start.

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‘HBO Go’ Debuts in App Store

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Either Apple was quicker to approve it than expected or HBO got antsy and jumped the gun since the official HBO Go app is now available in the App Store a few days earlier than the planned release date of May 2.

The new universal HBO Go app lets subscribers to the premium channel through a handful of cable service providers stream over 1400 shows from the channel’s lineup on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. The app was initially teased earlier this month through a video on HBO’s YouTube channel:

Through HBO Go, users can watch shows from original HBO series like True Blood and Game of Thrones and more:

  • Keep up with your favorites. Watch everything you love about HBO, including HBO original programming, hit movies, sports, comedy and every episode of the best HBO shows, including True Blood®, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire®, Entourage®, The Sopranos®, Curb Your Enthusiasm®, Sex and the City®, The Wire® and more. Plus, get bonus features and special behind-the-scenes extras!
  • Take it with you. Get instant access to HBO GO whenever you want, wherever you are—and never miss a moment of your favorite HBO shows.
  • Make it your own. Create a customized Watchlist to catch up on all your favorite HBO shows and hit movies at your convenience. Plus, set a Series Pass® to automatically load your list with all the HBO Original Series you love.

According to HBO’s site, HBO Go is currently available to subscribers with cable television service from the following companies though this list is expected to be expanded over time as new providers are added:

  • AT&T U-verse
  • Cox Communications (beta)
  • DISH Network
  • Suddenlink
  • Verizon FiOS

    The app’s description notes that a 3G cellular data connection is required at a minimum so EDGE or less is not an option if you’re in an area with poor 3G coverage.

    [applink url=””]

    All A-Twitter: ‘TweetyPop’ Debuts for iPad, ‘TweetDeck’ Gets Major Redesign

    Thursday, April 28th, 2011

    Yes, we love Twitter. No, we’re not ashamed to admit it. We’ve tried a good number of the iOS apps for Twitter available in the App Store and while some don’t prove to be particularly impressive, a few catch our eye every now and then. The recently-released Tweetbot by Tapbots is one and another hit the App Store today: TweetyPop by TapFactory.

    TweetyPop, which is for the iPad only, uniquely presents your tweets as blurbs floating in space that you can fling away once read (you can also choose a more traditional list-view). You can move forward and backward through your timeline using virtual buttons and perform standard Twitter actions as well like sending replies and direct messages, retweeting, view trending topics, search, and more.

    TapFactory has created a demo video showing how TweetyPop works:

    The only feature we miss so far is the ability to capture an image with the iPad 2’s camera to attach to a tweet – you can only choose existing photos already saved in the Photos app.

    TweetyPop is available at a special introductory price of $1.99, which is 50% off its regular price. TapFactory is also running a contest to celebrate the launch of TweetyPop with an iPad 2 as the grand prize – you can find more information on their site here.

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    TweetDeck is an iOS app that has been available since the early days of the App Store in the summer of 2009 and it recently got a major overhaul. TweetDeck 2.0 is a completely new app that must be downloaded separately (don’t worry, it’s still free) and will not be available as an update to users of the previous Tweetdeck app.

    TweetDeck 2.0 features a streamlined interface and Facebook integration so you can have your Facebook feed incorporated into your Twitter timeline. Demo videos seem to be the preferred method to showcase new features these days and TweetDeck obliges in this area:

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    Okay, we’re all done talking about Twitter apps this week. We promise.

    ‘Evite’ for iPhone Arrives

    Thursday, April 28th, 2011

    Evite, the free online service for creating events and sending and managing invitations, has arrived for the iPhone. The official Evite app debuted in the App Store last week and allows users to create new events, send invitations and receive push notifications for invitation responses, comments, and more.

    Evite has been around for a while – since 1998 to be exact. According to its site, Evite has more than 22 million registered members who send more than 25,000 invitations every hour. Clearly there are more parties going on in the world than we had ever dreamed. We’re betting a good chunk of those 22 million-plus members have iPhones (or iPads or iPod touches) so this app will be very handy for many.

    Android users shouldn’t feel left out, though, since Evite has also announced that an Android version of the app is in the works.

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    ‘Fring’ Now Offers 4-Way Video Calling

    Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

    Fring, a free communications app available for a number of platforms, now offers 4-way video calling through its iOS and Android apps. Fring announced the feature in its blog today and the update to its iOS app just hit the App Store this afternoon.

    Fring added 2-way video calling for the iPhone 4 last summer and has clearly upped the ante with this update to let users talk with even more people at the same time. Fring also recently added the ability to buy fringOut credits, which allow users to make low-cost calls to regular phone numbers around the world, via in-app purchase. fringOut calling became available for iOS devices in December.

    Fring has created a video showcasing the new 4-way video calling feature:

    Despite what the video shows, remember that it’s never, ever kosher to do a video call while you’re in the bathroom.

    The current version of Fring ( is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and requires iOS 3.0 or higher.

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    D’oh! Homer Simpson’s Voice Comes to TomTom Navigation Apps

    Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

    TomTom, the maker of personal navigation devices and apps for a variety of platforms, released an update to its line of iOS apps today that includes the ability to purchase and use custom voices. The first voice available via in-app purchase for $5.99 is that of Homer Simpson, the not-too-bright father in the long-running animated series “The Simpsons.”

    The full list of what’s new in version 1.7 is as follows:

    HOMER SIMPSON VOICE: Directly from Springfield, America’s most popular Dad makes his way to TomTom. With the original Homer at your side, even the shortest drive will transform into a journey to remember. You’ll see, driving with Homer is as easy as 1,2 … doh! Available via in-App purchase.

    LATEST, UPDATED TOMTOM MAP: Because roads are constantly changing, on average 15% of roads change every year, your TomTom App update comes with the latest and most up-to-date map.

    TomTom hasn’t posted a demo of Homer’s voice for its iOS apps but you can hear what it sounds like on this demo page for the version available for the company’s personal navigation devices.

    Unfortunately, Homer’s voice does not work with the app’s text-to-speech capability to pronounce actual street names to provide more explicit spoken directions. Despite this, Homer will be our default voice in the TomTom app going forward – though we’re a tiny bit ashamed to admit it, we never seem to get tired of Homer and his particular brand of cheerful dumbness.

    For a full list of all of TomTom’s iOS apps, click here.

    [applink url=””]

    First of Many ‘Tweetbot’ Updates Arrives

    Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

    Tweetbot, the Twitter app by Tapbots that debuted earlier this month to much acclaim, has received an update that brings integration of additional services and bug fixes.

    Version 1.0.2* of Tweetbot hit the App Store this morning and while it’s called only a “maintenance release” the app now includes support for Posterous and Readability. Posterous is a free blogging platform focused on quick and easy sharing of a wide variety of flies, including photos, videos, and more. Readability is a service that allows users to saves articles on the web and read them later in a clean and uncluttered format.

    Tapbots published its roadmap for updates to Tweetbot in its blog last week, indicating that landscape support is planned for version 1.1:

    The main focus in this release is going to be Landscape mode. One of the thing that makes our apps special is that our entire UI is custom. This means our apps look like nothing else, it also means that we can’t just add a couple lines of code and get landscape support. We have to redesign a number of elements in our UI so that they work properly in landscape mode. This takes time and it’s the reason it didn’t make it into the 1.0 release. Once this is done we’re going to support landscape mode on the Post, Media and Web screens.

    Tapbots also addresses the possibility of native push notifications though notes how difficult this would be because of the cost involved. While Apple makes its push notification service available to developers, it is up to developers to host and manage their own servers to communicate with Apple’s push notification gateway, which can be costly given the high volume of notifications needed for a service like Twitter.

    In the meantime, Tweetbot works with Boxcar, a push notification app we use ourselves with Tweetbot and other apps and services. Boxcar is available in the App Store for free with ads and can be upgraded via in-app purchase to remove ads for $4.99.

    *We know that version 1.0.2 is technically the second update made to Tweetbot though the first was simply a quick crashing fix that came out on the day the app was released.

    [applink url=””]

    ‘iFootGauge’ Measures Your Feet, Takes You Shoe Shopping on Amazon

    Monday, April 25th, 2011

    We’ve seen apps that can help you measure distances using sound (Sonar Ruler) and apps that will measure your heart rate using the iPhone’s camera (like Instant Heart Rate and others) but this is the first time we’ve seen an app that will measure your feet for you. Developer Mindskate Limited’s iFootGauge promises to find your correct shoe size and link you directly to Amazon where you can shop for your favorite brand of shoes.

    To be clear, we think there are easier ways of finding your shoe size (and who doesn’t already know their own shoe size?) so iFootGauge clearly falls into the novelty app category but we gave it a quick whirl to see how it works.

    Before you do any measuring, you need to prepare a plain sheet of paper in a certain way and adjust some settings to define the paper size and shoe size standard to be used. You then place your foot on the paper with your heel and the edge of the paper against a wall and take a picture of them, which is sent to Mindskate’s server where it “analyses the image to make a shoe size measurement for you!”.

    It took several tries for iFootGauge to show our feet at the correct size though this could have been a result of incorrect camera positioning in taking the necessary pictures. We were able to browse available shoes of the brand of our choosing on Amazon’s site right within iFootGauge.

    Mindskate has posted a video demonstrating how iFootGauge works:

    iFootGauge is free at the time of this post though it won’t be for much longer since this price reduction was an Easter holiday special (it debuted at $9.99 but was most recently priced at $2.99). We can’t imagine that many people really need an app to find their shoe size, but iFootGauge could be a neat way to show off your iPhone 4’s capabilities (the app will also work with the fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad 2).

    [applink url=””]

    Joby Releases ‘Frame X Frame’ Stop Motion Camera App

    Monday, April 25th, 2011

    Joby, the manufacturer most known for its flexile tripods, has released an all-in-one camera app that features the ability to create stop motion videos from multiple still images. The free Frame X Frame app joined Joby’s existing camera app, Gorillacam, in the App Store late last week.

    Frame X Frame has the following features:

    • Stitch together your Time Lapse images into a Stop Motion video with the simple touch of a button
    • Share your awesome pics with your family, friends and people you don’t even know with easy social sharing to Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even email.
    • Geotagging –automatically attaches exif data to your pictures
    • Get the perfect shot (even if your subject is running all over the place) with Self-Timer, Bubble Level, 3 Shot Burst & Press Anywhere
    • Clean and simple picture taking: Digital Zoom, Anti-Shake & Tap To Focus
    • It’s all new. From beginning to end and optimized for your iPhone 4 – incorporating new photography features like flash and front and rear facing cameras.

    While there are other stop motion video creation apps in the App Store, few of them are free  and feature advanced image capture controls like Frame X Frame. We don’t see Frame X Frame replacing tap tap tap’s Camera+ as our favorite camera app but it’s a good and economical option if you like to capture multiple images and create video montages of your adventures.

    Note that Frame X Frame is compatible only with the iPhone 4, fourth-generation iPod touch and the iPad 2 and requires iOS 4.2 or higher.

    [applink url=””]

    Easter Sales Hop Into the App Store

    Friday, April 22nd, 2011

    While we’re still not sure why Easter is the right time for app sales (though you’ll never find us complaining about it), several developers have drastically reduced prices on their iOS titles and we wanted to highlight a few of them for you.

    Most notably, EA Mobile has discounted the prices of several games drastically, including Dead Space for the iPad and iPhone, which has gone from $9.99 for the iPad version and $6.99 for the iPhone version down to just $.99 each. That’s one hell of a sale and worth a purchase if you’ve even vaguely thought of checking it out.

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    That’s not all EA has done to help iPhone and iPad owners celebrate Easter – Tetris, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Reckless Racing HD, The Sims 3 Ambitions, Madden NFL 11 (for the iPad and iPhone), Command and Conquer Red Alert, and more are all down to just $.99 for this weekend.