Archive for July, 2011

Unhappy With the New Calvetica? Get Notvetica!

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Earlier this month developer Mysterious Trousers released a major update to its popular calendar app for the iPhone, Calvetica. The update brought several new features and views, including an iPad-specific interface, but also removed a popular way to access the week view and some simplicity. In reaction, several users left 1-star reviews complaining about the changes. To respond, Mysterious Trousers has released the previous version of Calvetica, now cleverly dubbed Notvetica, in the App Store for free.

Notvetica’s description contains a message to those unhappy with Calvetica 4.0:

Dear customers,

We still believe the new version of Calvetica is the best calendar app out there but we also believe that making customers happy is important. So we’re releasing this old version of Calvetica for free for one month. We won’t be adding any other features to it and we won’t be supporting it. But you’re free to get it back on your phone. We hope that in the meantime, you’ll at least give the new version a fair shake. Not only is it faster and simpler (no more switching back and forth between the month and day, etc) but it does a LOT more without sacrificing the heart and soul of Calvetica. We’ve got a lot more big plans for the new version and would love to have you along for the ride, but if you don’t want to ride this train, well here’s our olive branch.


Rob & Adam

Mysterious Trousers

P.S. If you left a scathing review on Calvetica 4.0, stating you wanted 3.7 back, perhaps you’ll notice we listened.

While we’ve definitely seen responsive developers before, this move by Mysterious Trousers stands out. At the same time, we also feel for users who have seen a favorite app change in ways that make it less intuitive or easy to use. Cheers to Mysterious Trousers in trying to find a way to satisfy its users! And for those of you who wanted the previous version of Calvetica back, here’s your chance to get it and we also hope you’ll reconsider any negative review you’ve left for Calvetica 4.0.

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Skyfire Labs Releases ‘Skyfire VideoQ’ for Your Flash Video Viewing Pleasure

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Skyfire Labs, a California-based start-up company focused on mobile computing, has released a new app to enable iOS users to view Flash videos on the web. Skyfire VideoQ hit the App Store today and is not a web browser like the company’s previous iOS apps and instead focuses only on Flash video content available on the internet.

Skyfire has created a demo video to show how the new app works:

Skyfire VideoQ offers a neat feature where you can email links to, which will then appear in a queue within the app (this requires you to register your email address with Skyfire first). Alternately, you can simply copy and paste the URL to a Flash video you want to watch from Safari or another app in Skyfire VideoQ in order to watch it. It also features “channels” that list the most popular videos in various categories being watched by other Skyfire users.

Skyfire first became well-known in the world of the App Store in November when it released its self-named browser app that allowed iPhone users to view Flash content on web pages. The Skyfire apps download Flash content to the company’s own servers and then convert it a format that can be played on an iOS device. The app was so popular at its release that Skyfire’s had to remove it from the App Store temporarily and then put it back up for sale in batches due to server overload.

The iPhone and iPad are notorious for not being able to access Flash content on the web due to Apple’s explicit decision to disallow it, seeing Adobe’s format as a “closed system” with poor reliability and security (see this open letter about Flash posted by Steve Jobs in early 2010 for more background on this decision).

If using a different browser on your iPhone or iPad just to see Flash video on the web has not been an attractive option to you, Skyfire VideoQ provides you with an alternative at a slightly lower price ($1.99)  compared to its browser apps ($2.99 for the iPhone version and $4.99 for the iPad version). Additionally, Skyfire VideoQ is a universal app, making it a good value for those who own both an iPhone and iPad.

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BBC Pilots ‘iPlayer’ for iPad in Select European Countries

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

The British Broadcasting Corporation announced the release of a global version of its iPlayer iPad app in a handful of European markets today. Available in 11 countries to start, BBC iPlayer offers on-demand streaming of several shows in BBC’s line-up of current and classic programs including East Enders, Top Gear, Doctor Who and more.

The app’s features include the following:

  • Watch live TV – Listen to live radio – Scroll through and find Featured and Most Popular programmes
  • Add programmes to your favourites and have them ready and waiting when a new episode or series is available
  • Drag and drop programmes to Favourites with one easy move
  • Browse through the schedule for upcoming programmes

The app itself is free to download while access to programming is by paid subscription only, priced at €6.99 per month or €49.99 for one year. BBC iPlayer is available in the App Stores in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. The Guardian reports that the app and subscription service will be available in the U.S. later this year.

Note: AppShopper only shows apps available in the U.S. App Store for the moment so you won’t find this new BBC iPlayer app here. However, here’s a link to it in the UK App Store.

Ebook Reader Apps Updated to Comply with App Store Rules

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Several ebook reader apps, including those of Amazon (Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook), and Kobo, have removed in-app links to their online ebook stores in order to comply with App Store guidelines. Updates for the Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Google Books app hit the App Store in the past few days, the timing of which suggests a deadline not announced to the public.

Kobo sent out an email to customers noting this change yesterday:

Last month Apple revised its App Store Review Guidelines, removing a requirement that all apps that accessed content purchased elsewhere also offer the ability to purchase that content within the app at the same or a lower price. In conjunction with this removal, Apple clarified that apps that include a link to purchase content outside of an app that is not also available for purchase within an app — and therefore subject to Apple’s 30% cut — would be rejected.

The enforcement of these guidelines leave Apple with the only ebook store easily accessible from its iOS devices through its own iBooks app.

I purchase ebooks from Amazon and Barnes and Noble and I am disappointed to see these handy in-app links to their respective ebook stores go away, though it’s an inconvenience easily remedied by simply bookmarking them in Safari.

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Facebook for iPad Hidden in iPhone App Update

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Early this morning self-proclaimed iOS enthusiast Marvin Bernal tweeted a way to access a hidden iPad version in the latest update of the Facebook iPhone app. The most recent Facebook iPhone app update hit the App Store over the weekend, bringing the version number to 3.4.4 with the restoration of the Send button for comments, chat and messaging and bug fixes.

Enabling the iPad version of the app requires either a jailbroken iPad or Macroplant’s free iPhone Explorer application. The method to activate the iPad version of Facebook is detailed for non-jailbroken iPads using iPhone Explorer are available on Flo’s Weblog here.

Image courtesy of TechCrunch

TechCrunch took a closer look at the iPad version of Facebook, praising its navigation system and posting an extensive gallery of screenshots. TechCrunch also learned from an anonymous source that the hidden version now revealed is what Facebook plans to release for the iPad. There had been reports nearly a year ago that Facebook was working on an iPad app though CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared that the iPad wasn’t a mobile device at a press event in November, quashing rumors that an iPad version was a priority for the social networking giant.

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Mac Apps on Sale to Celebrate the Release of Lion

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Lion, the latest version of Apple’s operating system for the Mac, debuted this week and a few developers have elected to celebrate its release by decreasing the prices of their apps – a very welcome gesture in our view here at AppShopper. Here’s a rundown of some of the bigger price reductions we’ve seen.

Realmac Software, the developers of several high-quality applications for the Mac, has made some drastic price reductions specifically to mark the release of Lion. Rapidweaver, a website creation and publication tool, is down $40 to just $39.99 from its regular price of $79.99. LittleSnapper, a digital scrapbooking tool for web designers, has also been reduced significantly down to $19.99 from its regular price of $39.99.

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Working on documenting your family tree as a summer project? Nova Development wants to help you and acknowledge Lion’s release with a price drop of $30 to bring the price of its family history documenting application, Family Tree Maker, down to $69.99. The application also includes a 6-month membership to where you can access census records, draft cards, and more.

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Feel like toasting the debut of Lion with a little fun instead of work? Aspyr Media has knocked $10 off the price of its turn-based strategy game, Civilization V, bringing its price down to $39.99 from $49.99.

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To see all current Mac app price drops, click here or you can also subscribe to this RSS feed to stay on top all Mac app sales.

Apple Releases iTunes 10.4, iWork Updates

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Following the release of Mac OS X Lion this morning, Apple has released updates for iTunes and its iWork suite for the Mac.

iTunes 10.4 is available for download via Software Update on the Mac or directly from Apple’s site, offering specific compatibility with Lion. Additionally, iTunes is now a 64-bit Cocoa application for improved performance on compatible machines. Keynote, Pages, and Numbers also get Lion-specific features to utilize the new full screen, Resume, Auto Save, and Versions features in the latest version of Mac OS X.

Additional information about iTunes 10.4 can be found on a dedicated Knowledge Base page on Apple’s site here.

iTunes remains a free download and the updates to Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are free to existing users of iWork 9.0 and later.

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Mac OS X ‘Lion’ Now Available in Mac App Store

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

The latest version of the Mac operating system, Lion, is now available in the Mac App Store. The release of Lion was announced last month at Apple’s WWDC keynote event though an exact date for the release had not been specified at that time. It was just during Apple’s quarterly earnings call yesterday that CFO Peter Oppenheimer revealed that Lion would be available today.

Lion is the best version of OS X yet, and we’re thrilled that users around the world can download it starting today,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Lion makes upgrading a Mac easier than ever before; just launch the Mac App Store, buy Lion with your iTunes account, and the download and install process will begin automatically.

Lion includes over 250 new features compared to Snow Leopard, the last version of Mac OS X, including multi-touch gestures, full-screen apps, a new application and window manager called Mission Control, several updates to Mail and more.

Lion is currently only available as a download from the Mac App Store at the price of $29. Your Mac must be running OS 10.6.6 (Snow Leopard) or higher in order to update to Lion. A broadband connection is highly recommended to download the update since it weighs in at 4GB. Apple states in its press release that Lion will be available for purchase for $69 on a USB thumb drive in August at Apple retail stores.

Apple also announced several product updates today, including updated MacBook Air models with Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors and Thunderbolt connectivity as well as updated Mac mini models and a 27-inch Cinema Display with Thunderbolt connectivity.

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Google+ Now Available for iPhone

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

The app for Google’s new social networking service, Google+, is now available in the App Store. Google+ debuted late last month and offers a way for users to connect online by posting comments, sharing photos and videos, creating group chats for up to 10 people at a time and more. It has been likened to Facebook since it focuses on sharing information among friends online offers a similar stream view of updates.

Google+ for mobile makes sharing the right things with the right people a lot simpler. Huddle lets you send super-fast messages to the people you care about most. And no matter where you are, the stream lets you stay in the loop about what your friends are sharing and where they’re checking in.


* Circles let you share the right things with just the right people.

* Stream is where you can get updates from your circles or see what people are saying about things nearby.

* Huddle is super-fast group messaging for everyone in your circles.

Google+ is compatible with the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4 only and requires iOS 3.1 or higher.

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CNN Adds Live Streaming to iPhone and iPad Apps

Monday, July 18th, 2011

CNN, the 24-hour cable news channel, has released updates to its iOS apps adding live streaming of its content for those who subscribe to cable television service from a handful of providers. At the same time, CNN is debuting live streaming through the web to the same audience at

AT&T, Comcast, Cox, DISH Network, Suddenlink and Verizon are the participating cable television service providers at the debut of this new service. Accessing a live stream, available for the CNN Newsroom and CNN Headline News channels, requires the entry of your log-in and password for your cable television account within a CNN iOS app or on the web.

I have cable television service through Comcast and tested the new streaming feature in the CNN iPhone app and found that it works as promised. The live stream was shown at only a slight lag behind the live broadcast on television over my home Wi-Fi network.

Streaming works over 3G networks as well as over Wi-Fi. If you’re one in of the 50 million households who subscribe to cable television service with one of the participating providers according to CNN’s announcement today and you’re a news junkie, this probably makes you a happy camper. Personally, I’m just thrilled to have an alternative to the lackluster news programs shown in airports and the daytime talk shows on constantly at the salon where I get my hair done. Thank you, CNN.

The updates to CNN’s iPhone and iPad apps hit the App Store early this morning. Both apps remain free and require iOS 4.0 or higher to access live streaming.

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