Archive for August, 2011

Apple Removes Financial Times App from App Store

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Remember how Apple said that developers needed to give Apple a 30% cut of sales for content sold within apps (and that this content had to be available for purchase at the same or a lower price outside of the app) and then backtracked on it all in June?

Though Apple no longer requires price parity between content purchased within an app and externally, any content available for purchase within an app is still subject to Apple’s 30% cut and developers can’t provide links to external stores where content can be purchased. Several ebook sellers updated their apps accordingly in July.

However, the London-based Financial Times is most definitely not in agreement with this requirement and never updated its app to allow users the ability to purchase subscriptions using an iTunes account (and therefore give Apple its 30% cut) by the June 30 deadline. Apple has now removed the publication’s app from the App Store, according to paidContent.

iPad and iPhone users aren’t left out in the cold completely though since the Financial Times began offering an HTML5 web app to access its content earlier this summer.

EA Releases ‘Madden NFL 12′ for iPhone and iPad

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Football (the American version, that is) season is upon us again and EA has marked the time of year appropriately with the release of its popular sports game for the iPhone and and iPad. Madden NFL 12 debuted in the App Store today in two flavors–one specifically for the iPad and its larger screen and another for the iPhone and iPod touch.

From the description for both apps:

  • BOOM! The most authentic NFL game franchise on Earth is back on mobile for a new season – and better than ever! With harder hitting action and beefed up rosters (over 2,500 real NFL players!) get your football fix now!
  • GET IN THE GAME Feel the impact of every game-changing tackle with smoother, harder hitting collision effects. Go deep with sharper gameplay and cleaner graphics than ever before.
  • AUTHENTIC NFL ACTION Choose from the 32 NFL teams and battle it out in their true-to-life stadiums. Make trades, track stats, and launch winning strategies from in-depth playbooks, unique to every team.
  • GO FOR GRIDIRON GLORY ON ORIGIN! Register for Origin and take your favorite NFL team to the top spot of the leaderboards. Savor every victory as you rack up challenging achievements.
  • MULTIPLE MADDEN NFL MODES Jump right in with Exhibition Mode, play through an entire 16-game NFL season in Season Mode, or relive the 2010/2011 playoffs.

There are some active threads over in the forum of our sister site, TouchArcade, discussing the iPad version and the iPhone/iPod touch version if you want to get a feel for how users are finding the game.

If you’re not sure if you want to plunk down $6.99 or $9.99 for one of these apps, EA offers a free version of the 2011 edition, Madden NFL 11, which lets you play a one-quarter exhibition game between the Saints and Colts. From what I’ve seen so far, game play has not changed much in the new version though it features updated rosters to accurately reflect players and teams in the 2011-12 season.

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‘Tweetbot’ Gets Cross-Platform Timeline Sync via Tweet Marker

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Tweetbot, the popular Twitter client released by Tapbots a few months ago, has received an update adding Tweet Marker support to synchronize timeline read status across platforms and devices. Tweetbot follows in the footsteps of the Iconfactory’s Twitterrific, which got the Tweet Marker treatment earlier this month.

Tweet Marker is a new service for ”setting and getting the ‘last read’ tweet for a given Twitter user” according to the service’s site. This setting is off by default in Tweetbot, so you’ll need to go into your Twitter account’s settings within the app to enable it first. Once enabled, your last read tweet will be marked with a small blue tab in the top right corner and when you go to another Twitter app that also uses Tweet Marker, it will automatically scroll to this tweet.

The full list of what’s new in version 1.6 is as follows:

  • Improvements to username search in the compose view
  • Tweetmarker support (enable in the account settings)
  • Location improvements
  • Fixed Egyptian timestamp issue- Bug fixes

Tweetbot is still one of my favorite Twitter apps for the iPhone and the Tweet Marker feature works perfectly between it and Twitterrific for the Mac, which is currently the only application for the Mac that uses Tweet Marker.

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Track Hurricane Irene with Your iPhone

Friday, August 26th, 2011

With Hurricane Irene threatening the east cost of the U.S., interest in tracking her progress has clearly been top of mind for AppShopper readers as several hurricane watching apps have recently made our Popular list. Hurricane tracking apps differ from most of the standard weather apps available in offering information specifically about hurricanes and tropical storms, often featuring information directly from the National Hurricane Center, a division of the National Weather Service.

First up are a few free ones:

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The current highest-rated paid hurricane tracking apps are:

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If you’re looking for a general weather alert app that will let you know when any severe weather is expected for your area, Weather Alert USA is worth a look. It offers a wide range of alerts and lets you set which alerts trigger an audible push notification, plus in-app access to a number of NOAA radio station streams across the country.

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Please stay safe this weekend!

Notable New Apps: ‘Post-it PopNotes’ and ‘SB Nation’

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Yesterday day was a crazy day on the internets following the news of the resignation of Steve Jobs from Apple but as I’m sure you’ve guessed, Apple and the App Store keep on ticking despite his departure from the company’s CEO position. New apps and updates continue to flood the App Store and a few caught our eye today.

You know those yellow sticky notes that are a staple in every office environment? Well, you can now use them on your iPhone or iPad with the free, official Post-It PopNotes app from 3M Company. PopNotes lets you create and place notes virtually at any location using your device’s GPS capabilities and an in-app map, as well as share them with friends and make them visible to anyone browsing notes around them with the app.

Notes can have audible reminders triggered at the date and time you specify. You can also set notes to generate a reminder for you when you get close to their designated location, providing a bit of an unexpected twist on the digital note concept compared to other notes apps I’ve seen.

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If your a sports fan, you’ll want to check out the new SB Nation app that debuted in the App Store yesterday. SB Nation aggregates sports news from the company’s more than 300 sports blogs and includes the ability to let you select the teams and sports you’re most interested in to customize your news feed.

SB Nation has been around since 2003 and its blogs have millions of readers around the world. If you also follow tech news, you may have heard that SB Nation also owns The Verge, a new tech news and review site set to debut this fall and helmed by former Engadget Editor Joshua Topolsky.

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‘LogMeIn Ignition’ on Sale at 50% Off for Limited Time

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

LogMeIn Ignition for the iPhone and iPad is on sale at 50% off for a limited time as a back-to-school special. This brings the app down to $14.99 from its regular price of $29.99. LogMeIn Ignition is a remote control app that lets you access your PC or Mac when you’re away from home (or even just in another room) to control it and browse and copy files between your computer and iPhone or iPad.

We reviewed LogMeIn Ignition and found it to be an incredibly useful utility that works exactly as promised. LogMeIn Ignition remains a staple on my iPhone and it has saved me some heartache when I’ve forgotten files saved on my desktop computer. LogMeIn Ignition has also been a favorite among many iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners given its regular presence in the Top 200 Paid Productivity apps and an overall 4.5 star rating in the App Store at the time of this post.

Now is the time to get LogMeIn Ignition if its regular $30 price has been a bit high for your tastes. This is the lowest we’ve seen its price go so I wouldn’t recommend you try to hold out for an even lower price at another time.

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Square Releases ‘Card Case’ for Mobile Purchasing, Updates Payment App

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Square, a growing mobile payment service company based in San Francisco, has released Card Case for the iPhone. Card Case acts as a virtual wallet that allows users to make payments directly through a Square account at local businesses, doing away with the need to present a credit card to make purchases.

Using Card Case requires a Square account, which is free. The app will automatically list local participating businesses using the iPhone’s GPS capabilities. Selecting a business from the list will show its menu and other information. To make a payment, you must tap the “Use Tab” button to essentially check in to the business and then simply tell the cashier your name. The business will then charge the purchase to your Square account.

Square has created a video demo to show how Card Case works:

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Square also updated its existing Square app this week, most notably eliminating the signature requirement for transactions under $25.00. The full list of what’s changed in version 2.1 is as follows:

  • Improved transaction speed
  • No signature required for transactions less than $25.00
  • Improved tipping interface
  • Added support for $0.00 price points

Square first debuted in the App Store in April 2010 for the iPad only, receiving an update the following month to add compatibility with the iPhone and iPod touch.

Both Square and Card Case work with the free credit card reader accessory available at no charge with a Square account. The card reader allows users to accept payments via credit card from anyone.

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Notable New Apps: ‘Five Guys Burgers & Fries’ and ‘Obscura’

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

The App Store doesn’t take a break on the weekends and there were a few notable apps that debuted over the past couple of days. First up is an app for the Five Guys Burgers & Fries chain. The company’s self-named app will locate the nearest restaurant for you and even let you place an order for pick-up once you create an account or log in with credentials for an existing account at the chain’s online order site.

I’ve never tried the burgers at Five Guys but I hear they’re pretty good. I’m already a rather avid fan of In-N-Out Burger’s offerings (who also has a free locator app, sans any ordering capabilities, though). If you’re not familiar with either restaurant, check out this article at A Hamburger Today for a pretty comprehensive comparison of the burgers from these two chains plus the Shake Shack.

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Also debuting over the weekend was ‘Obscura, developed by Famous Interactive for La Fille D’O, the Belgian lingerie design company. ‘Obscura is a photography app that includes editing features specifically to obscure or hide portions of the captured image, the perfect tools to allow you to take a risqué photo and blur your face to hide your identity before sharing it with others. The app’s description talks about why La Fille D’O created it:

Belgian born lingerie brand La fille d’O is all about skin. The best way to talk about skin is to show it, but that is not alway easy. The boundaries of today’s chastity have never been so obscure. Therefore one is swiftly caught in the web of censorship, dictated by online community’s police. La fille d’O was tired of following those skinless rules. So Belgian based advertising agency Famous created ‘Obscura, macGyver’s paperclip to share your love for the beauty of skin. Go! Create your own doors of perception.

You can share pictures right from the app through Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook or save them to the Photo Album on your iPhone and share them another way. While we neither encourage nor condone sexting, ‘Obscura at least gives you an easy way to do it and hide your true identity.

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Exclusive Preview: ‘Paperless’ Gets Dropbox Syncing, iPad Compatibility

Friday, August 19th, 2011

When the iPhone first debuted in 2007, it came with a paltry handful of apps installed out-of-the-box. The glorious App Store was still a year away at that time and if you wanted to capture basic notes or lists, you were stuck with Apple’s simple Notes app. Notes recorded everything in that obnoxious Marker Felt font and you couldn’t make a bulleted list or do any other formatting. I used it because I had no choice and eventually grew to like it a little. But then I found Paperless by Crush Apps and now Notes is stuffed in a folder somewhere on my iPhone and I have no desire to dig it out.

Paperless was initially released in the App Store in early 2010 and has been a regular in the Top 200 Paid Productivity Apps. It has received several updates since it was released, refining its features and adding new ones. I got a sneak peek at the latest version which adds several new features that make Paperless even more useful and attractive.

To start with its core functionality, Paperless lets you create and manage lists easily. A list can contain checkboxes or not – when checkboxes are used, ticking one moves that item to the bottom of the list and changes the font color to gray to note the item’s completion or acquisition. In the app’s settings, you can choose to keep completed items visible or hide them completely. (I find it useful to keep them visible since it makes it easy to reuse items previously added to my grocery shopping list by simply unchecking the box.)

For each item in a list, you can add a note to store additional information. When entering a new item or its note, a small plus button in the lower right corner is a shortcut to add another item to that same list, an incredibly useful feature that was added in a previous update.

Each list can also be assigned an icon and there are over 300 to choose from. I’ve found that these icons offer a valuable visual cue to more easily pick out the exact list I’m looking for among the many I keep in Paperless.

Version 2.0 of Paperless brings two significant new features: iPad support and synchronization via Dropbox. With this update, Paperless is now a universal app with an interface optimized for the iPad’s larger screen. If you have a Dropbox account, which can be had for free, you can also sync your Paperless lists across devices. Synchronization is fast and automatic, happening as you make changes to your lists.

The synchronization feature is still useful even if you don’t have a second iOS device since you’ll have a back-up of all your lists saved to your Dropbox account in case your iPhone or iPad is lost or stolen.

The full change list for Paperless 2.0 is as follows:

  • Made the app “universal”, so it has a proper full screen interface when run on an iPad
  • Added automatic backup and syncing between iOS devices via a free Dropbox account (go to Settings > Automatic Backup and Syncing)
  • Added item count “badges” to the main screen, to show how many items are in each list (can be turned off in Settings > Main Screen).
  • Added the ability to email individual list items
  • Added a choice of font sizes (Settings > Font Size)
  • Now works properly when used with an external Bluetooth keyboard
  • Sorting list items alphabetically is now case insensitive (on iOS 4 and above)
  • Completely rewritten to use Core Data for storing lists, which means:- faster performance for users with a large number of lists/items- better memory handling
  • Fixed a display glitch that occurred while editing an item’s name or note and rotating the device

I create lists for everything. Grocery shopping, books I want to read, movies I want to see, wines I like – you name it. Sometimes I like them to be checklists, where I can mark something off a list and feel that strangely thrilling sense of satisfaction when a task is completed or an item acquired. Other times I like them to be outlines when I’m thinking of an article to write. Paperless has been able to handle everything easily and efficiently (and with a clean and well-designed interface to boot) and it now has some new features that make it even more useful.

Paperless 2.0 is hitting the App Store this afternoon and is well worth its $2.99 price, especially now that it’s a universal app. Paperless has a permanent spot on the first page of my iPhone’s home screen and if you need a good lists app, it will probably earn a similar spot on yours.

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Notable New Apps and Sales: Kayak Explore, Skitch, National Geographic’s ‘The World’

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Even though summer is winding down, there’s still time to squeeze in a vacation or plan ahead to escape the winter weather that will be heading our way in this hemisphere soon and the new Kayak Explore app for the Mac can help you. Kayak Explore hit the Mac App Store earlier this month and suggests flights and hotels based on the trip type you select. It’s a very visual app, featuring a virtual paper map highlighting the locations of the presented destinations.

If you know exactly when and where you want to go, Kayak Explore may be a little frustrating for you since it’s really geared to be a fun way to browse current specials but it’s worth a look if you’re due for a vacation.

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Skitch, an image editing and sharing utility, was recently acquired by Evernote and is now free. Previously, Skitch was priced at $19.99 and it sounds like Evernote is going to keep Skitch free for the forseeable future. If Skitch has been on your Wish List, feel free to grab it at its new, fantastic price of $0.

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National Geographic released a new iPad app yesterday, putting The World by National Geographic in the App Store to provide a virtual globe for exploration by iPad users. The app includes photos from National Geographic’s impressive portfolio and information about various countries and points of interest, making it a bit more comprehensive than an app like Google Earth.

The World works only on the iPad and requires iOS 4.2 or higher.

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