Archive for September, 2011

‘magicJack’ Brings Free Phone Calls to the iPhone

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

magicJack, the VoIP service that offers free calls to users in the U.S. and Canada, has released an iPhone app. magicJack hit the App Store this week and lets users make free calls to numbers in the U.S. and Canada and to other magicJack users anywhere in the world at no charge.

magicJack joins a number of other free VoIP calling apps in the App Store, including Skype, Viber (review), netTALK (review) and others. Refreshingly, magicJack does not require you to create a log-in before you can start making those free phone calls, offering you the option to skip account creation altogether and go right to the dialer. You can go back later and choose to create an account to get voicemail and a designated magicJack phone number, which you’ll need if you want to receive calls through magicJack without using minutes on your cell phone plan (at least in the U.S. where incoming calls count against your plan).

I made a quick test call with magicJack while connected to a Wi-Fi network and it was crystal clear on both ends. You can also use magicJack while connected to a 3G network as well. Amusingly, the app’s description states that either WiFi or a “4G network” are recommended. Are they in an alternate reality where the iPhone has 4G capability? (I know, it’s probably just a typo or error by someone in their marketing department who doesn’t know that there’s no 4G-capable iPhone yet.)

Personally, I rarely use my iPhone to actually make calls and I have more rollover minutes from AT&T than you can shake a stick at but if you are on a limited plan where minutes are precious, magicJack can at least help you make calls to others for free without dipping into your plan.

  • Social Networking

    magicApp Calling & Messaging

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    iOS iPhone

    *New with single sign-on* Turn your iPad/iPod into a mobile phone or get a second line on your iPhone! With magicApp you can choose your own phone number to get unlimited calling to the U.S and...

Disney to Release ‘Appmates’ Interactive Toys and Apps for iPad

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

All Things D reported yesterday on Disney’s upcoming Appmates toys and apps that will turn the iPad into an interactive game board. Scheduled to debut in October, the first set of toys and a companion iPad app will revolve around the characters of Cars 2, Pixar’s animated hit movie.

The Appmates iPad app will turn it into a virtual gameboard that will sense the toys on the iPad’s screen. Disney described the app’s features in its press release as follows:

  • Exploration — Drive around the world of Radiator Springs to discover landscapes and hidden secrets by simply placing the Cars toy character on the screen and turning it in any direction. Drive through mud and up ramps, visit friends at Flo’s V8 Café or check out your Car’s reflection, showing off your latest gear and gadgets.
  • Directed Game Play — Perform missions unique to each character. Completed missions — like helping bring a tow hook back to Mater — gain hubcaps, the virtual currency. Collect enough hubcaps to personalize each car with special features like a unique horn sound, customized tire tracks, and cool gear like a rocket launcher or spy vision goggles.
  • Racing — Rev up the action by racing against World Grand Prix opponents and your Radiator Springs friends. Five racetracks are available at launch. Race around Willy’s Butte, jump off Carburetor Mesa and roar through downtown Radiator Springs earning hubcaps in day or night races.

A demo video shows the game in action:

The apps will be free to download while the toy cars will be sold in pairs for $20, with four cars available at release and two more to follow in November.

While Appmates are certainly on the innovative side, you may hesitate to hand over your $499+ iPad to your child to play with. And once you do, you probably won’t see it much from that point on.

Apple iPhone Media Event Scheduled for October 4

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Apple has sent invitations to the media for a press event on October 4 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, as reported by The Loop. The invitation image features four iOS app icons and states “Let’s talk iPhone” to clearly designate this event as the much-anticipated announcement of the next iPhone model.

There has been much speculation about the design and features of the new iPhone model but with only purported 3rd-party iPhone 5 cases as a guide, there have been no leaks that provide a definitive view of the actual device. This Is My Next had posted a mock-up of the next-generation iPhone based on information from a trusted source in April, showing a device with a larger screen and a thinner and tapered casing. Our sister site MacRumors had commissioned renderings of the iPhone 5 based on the purported leaked case designs, revealing a thinner and slightly wider device than the iPhone 4.

iPhone 5 render commissioned by

When Apple previewed iOS 5 in June, its release timing was announced as “in the fall” and more news about iOS 5 is expected at this upcoming event.

It is fantastic to finally have an official date nailed down for this event and to have an end in sight to all of the iPhone 5/iPhone 4S rumors. Of course, we’ll post news of what’s announced on October 4 here at AppShopper.

WordPress for iOS Gets Major Update

Monday, September 26th, 2011

WordPress, the blogging software used by millions of sites, has released an update for its iOS app adding several long-awaited features. Version 2.9 of the universal app hit the App Store late last week and now offers an improved content editor and photo publishing capabilities.

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

A Feature-Rich Content Editor. Now you can easily format text, make bulleted lists, create links, and do all kinds of other fancy stuff. (It’s about time, right?)

Full Screen Editing. No more teeny-weeny content editor — now you can view more text at a time while you post on the go.

Reading Made Easy. Keeping track of your favorite blogs has never been easier. Browse all the latest posts on blogs you follow in one place, right from your iPhone.


  • Quick Photo will now use the post format for images (if your theme supports it).
  • You can now post pictures that you’ve already taken with Quick Photo.
  • Your stats referrer links and comment links can now be opened right from this app.

WordPress powers over 4 million sites according to trend tracker BuiltWith and its iOS app has been a regular in the Top 200 Free Social Networking apps since its release in October 2009. As announced in its blog, WordPress plans to keep improving the app, promising another update soon with additional language support and a complete overhaul envisioned for version 3.0.

I’ve used the WordPress app on my iPad to manage my own personal blog and am glad to see this update. (When I only have my iPhone, I like Express for WordPress better, which offers a more streamlined interface for making quick posts – note that it requires a compatible theme and a self-hosted WordPress site.)

  • Social Networking


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    iOS Universal

    Inspiration strikes — anytime, anywhere. Manage your WordPress blog or website on the go, from your iOS device: view your stats, moderate comments, create and edit posts and pages, and upload...

‘Vocre’ Turns Your iPhone into a Language Translator

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

We’ve seen language translation apps before, from WordLensthat will translate text using the iPhone’s camera to Google’s own utilitarian Google Translate, but myLanguage’s Vocre offers brings a unique twist to the category. Vocre is meant to be an on-the-fly translator so you can hold a conversation with someone who speaks a different language.

Does it work? Well, it’s no Babel fish but it does work relatively well. It’s not 100% accurate and idiomatic expressions stump it, which is not surprising, but it beats playing an embarrassing game of charades when trying to find a restroom in a foreign land. The interface is not entirely intuitive, requiring you to change the orientation of your iPhone to record a message, see the translation and play the translation in the selected languages (this iPhone flipping isn’t as clearcut as it looks in the demo video).

Right now, Vocre doesn’t include all of the features hinted at in the demo video and even the app’s icon, like on-the-fly translations during phone calls or a fluid cut-and-paste system for text messages.

Vocre is free to download and includes some translations for free. If you need more, you’ll need to buy them via in-app purchase at $.99 for 20 translations. A counter in the top right shows you the number of translations you have left. If you don’t want to pay for translations à la carte, check out Trippo VoiceMagix instead (and our review here), which has similar functionality.

  • Business

    Speech to Text Translator -...

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    5.00 (15)
    iOS Universal

    ON SALE FOR A VERY LIMITED TIME. BUY NOW BEFORE THE PRICE GOES UP! Have you ever wanted or needed to communicate with someone who didn't speak your language? Vocre is a fun and easy way to have a...

Quirky Brings Its Community-based Product Development to the iPhone

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Quirky, an online community where members can submit inventions and contribute to the development of products submitted by others, has released an iPhone app. The Quirky app is free and lets members complete many of the tasks available through the community’s site including submitting new product ideas and voting on products currently in development.

  • Submit your idea.
  • Browse through other ideas, review them, and vote on your favorites.
  • Earn influence for supporting ideas during Product Evaluation.
  • Use your iPhone/iPad to make sketches, take pictures, and upload them to idea submissions.
  • Follow your profile and your friends.

Several unique accessories for Apple products have come out of Quirky, including iPhone and iPad cases plus a wide variety of kitchen and other household products. Joining Quirky is free and members can earn money for “influencing” a product during development if it goes on to be sold in Quirky’s online store.

  • Lifestyle


    Last Changed:
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    iOS iPhone

    Got a better idea? Get off the toilet -- or stay on -- and get onto Quirky! This is the only place where you can turn your ideas into real products! We make products that are invented and influenced...

Apple Releases Major Update to Final Cut Pro X, Now Offering Free Trial

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

As promised in an FAQ published in late June, Apple has released a major update to its professional video editing software, Final Cut Pro X, adding back several features that were present in previous versions. Version 10.0.1 of Final Cut Pro X hit the Mac App Store today and includes the following changes:

  • Export audio and video stems as a single multitrack QuickTime movie or as separate files using Roles.
  • Import and export XML to support third-party workflows.
  • Place Projects and Events on Xsan to improve collaboration between editors.• Set custom starting timecode for your projects.
  • Add transitions to connected clips in a single step.
  • Enable full-screen view in OS X Lion.
  • Speed up delivery with GPU-accelerated export.

Final Cut Pro X had debuted in June to a mixed reception, with many users upset about the inability to import and edit projects created in earlier versions of Final Cut Pro, a lack of support for multiple cameras, and more. Additionally, with no trial version available, users had no way to test the revamped application without paying $299 to purchase it. To go along with today’s update, Apple now offers a free 30-day trial of Final Cut Pro X through its website here.

Official ‘AppShopper’ App Updated

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Our official AppShopper app has been updated, getting bug fixes to address those pesky crashes some of you may have experienced plus some general improvements. Version 1.4.2 of AppShopper hit the App Store this afternoon and is free, as always, to download. The app is ad-supported and a one-time in-app purchase of $.99 removes all ads.

The full list of what’s new in version 1.4.2 is as follows:

  • Fixed an issue with caches not getting emptied (may run a little slow of initial launch as it removes old cache data)
  • Fixed crash that could occur when tapping want or own
  • Fixed an issue with the keyboard disappearing when rotating while searching (iPad)
  • Other various fixes and improvements

AppShopper was last updated in June when several major features were added, including app rating information plus links to 3rd-party app reviews. You can also view the Top 200 lists for all or individual categories for free and paid apps.

If you have any technical issues with the AppShopper app, please email us at support at

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    The official app from the creators of AppShopper keeps you up to date on the newest App Store apps, sales and freebies. Organize apps in your own customized Wish List...

‘Cardflick’ Lets You Flick Your Business Card Wirelessly to Others

Friday, September 16th, 2011

TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference in San Francisco has seen the introduction of some innovative new apps this week, like Tonara and that were both mentioned in our blog. Another app to make an appearance at Disrupt is Cardflick, a contact sharing app that lets you create beautiful virtual business cards and “flick” them wirelessly to others.

This demo video shows how the app works:

If you want to share your Cardflick card with someone who doesn’t have the app, you can simply email it to that person. These emails include your contact information in Vcard format so that it can be easily imported into a device’s contact list.

Cardflick has been available for free in the App Store this week but will soon go back to its regular price of $.99. It’s gotten mixed reviews in the App Store so far, with many lamenting the app’s requirement for a Facebook account to log in and use the app. However, Cardflick has stated via Twitter that this requirement is going away and should be reflected in the next update of the app, which has already been submitted to the App store.

  • Business


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    Digital business cards have arrived! With over 75,000 downloads and a top 20 app around the world, CardFlick is the business card you always have with you. FEATURES • Create a card in one tap. •...

‘Tonara’ for iPad Makes Sheet Music Page Turning Easy for Musicians

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Tonara, an iPad app created by a start-up company of the same name, is a new entry in the App Store that offers a revolutionary approach to displaying sheet music for musicians. Tonara can listen to and follow along with music played and automatically turn the page, avoiding the need for musicians to interrupting playing to complete this necessary task manually.

Tonara can follow along with advanced musicians all the way to beginners who make frequent mistakes, ignore background noise and even focus in on one instrument at a time when multiple instruments are playing. The company’s demo video shows all of these capabilities and it is nothing short of impressive:

Tonara debuted in the App Store earlier this week. It is free to download and includes a few scores at no charge with additional scores available to buy via in-app purchase with prices ranging from $.99 to $3.99 each. There are only a few scores available in Tonara’s in-app store at this time but the company plans to offer more.

  • Music

    Tonara Interactive Piano Sheet...

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    iOS iPad

    *** “Something interactive like this will do to sheet music what Kindle did to hardback books.” (Wired Magazine)  Not all scores were created equal.   With Tonara’s patented interactive...