Archive for May, 2012

Fantastical for Mac Gets Ability to Create and Edit Reminders

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Fantastical, the calendar assistant app developed by Flexibits, has gained a significant new feature in an update that hit the Mac App Store this morning. Fantastical now offers the ability to create and edit Reminders, which will then synchronize via iCloud and appear in the Reminders app on your iPhone or iPad.

The full list of what’s new in version 1.3 is as follows:

  • Reminders! Create, edit, and view iCal and iOS reminders in Fantastical!
  • Outlook: Editing or deleting an event with invitees now sends an update notice to the invitees
  • Various bug fixes and improvements

Fantastical lives in the menu bar of your Mac where it can be invoked with a click of your mouse or a keyboard shortcut of your choosing. It can recognize natural language to create events in your calendar, making this normally tedious task go a bit faster. For example, you can type in “Lunch with boss at noon tomorrow” and Fantastical will create an event on your calendar titled “Lunch with boss” at 12:00 p.m. tomorrow. The new Reminders functionality within Fantastical works the same way when it comes to creating items, and these are synchronized automatically with your iPhone or iPad via iCloud.

Fantastical first debuted in the Mac App Store a little over a year ago and it’s seen several updates since then that add new features and fix bugs. I purchased Fantastical shortly after its release and it’s an app I use almost every single day to add items to my calendar (I’d be using it even more if my schedule wasn’t so tame to begin with). The ability to create reminders with it adds significantly to its functionality and appeal for me since I do use the Reminders app on my iPhone to prompt me to accomplish tasks at specific times.

If you’re looking for a more streamlined and efficient way to create and edit calendar events and reminders on your Mac, I highly recommend Fantastical. It’s available in the Mac App Store for $19.99 but if you want to try it out a little before laying down one fifth of a Benjamin to buy it, you can download a 14-day trial version directly from Flexibits’s site here.

[applink url=”435003921″]

Scalado PhotoBeamer Lets You Display iPhone Photos on Any Browser, Anywhere

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

If you’ve ever tried to show off pictures on your iPhone to a group of people, you know that giving everyone a good look at them on a 3.5-inch display is less than ideal. Scalado, a Sweden-based imaging technology company, aims to make it dead simple to share your iPhone photos in any web browser instantly and easily with today’s release of of Scalado PhotoBeamer.

The $.99 app is very straightforward. When you open it, you’re prompted to select a photo from your Camera Roll for sharing. Once you’ve chosen a photo, the app switches to show the camera’s viewfinder with instructions to navigate to on the computer or other device where you’d like to display the selected photo. Navigating to this URL on the selected computer or device reveals a QR code, which you then scan using the app. This “connects” the two and the selected photo on your iPhone will be shown on the other device.

This promotional video shows the sharing in action though it skips the pairing process just described:

As shown in the video, you’re not limited to the single photo you selected to share since you can simply flick your way backward and forward through your camera roll and these pictures will be shown on the other device. The limitation to photos only in the Camera Roll rather than any photo album on your iPhone constitutes my only gripe about PhotoBeamer.

PhotoBeamer doesn’t require a direct wired or wireless connection via Wifi or Bluetooth between your iPhone and other devices. Both devices simply need to have an internet connection via WiFi or 3G and the QR code that you scan with your iPhone is what handles the web-based connection to link the two together.

There are three themes to adjust how your pictures are shown on the connected device: fit to screen, fill screen and old fashioned. Other than this, there are no settings or anything to monkey with, making it easy to use even for the most technically-challenged.

I’ve tested Scalado PhotoBeamer with my iPhone 4S and MacBook Air and it works fantastically. This is one of those apps that can wow others with its ease of use and simplicity and if you ever like to show your iPhone pictures to others and I highly recommend it.

Scalado PhotoBeamer debuted in the App Store this morning and costs $.99. It requires iOS 5 and is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, 3rd-generation iPod touch and higher. Though it lacks an interface optimized for the iPad’s larger screen, PhotoBeamer also works on all iPad models but you won’t be able to scan the QR code as needed with the first-generation iPad since it lacks a camera, of course.

[applink url=””]

Memorial Day App Sales Galore

Friday, May 25th, 2012

The Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. is on Monday and app developers are again joining in with brick and mortar stores to drop prices and there a ton of apps on sale this weekend. It would take me several pages to list them all so I’m going to try to tackle the most notable sales here and then you can dive deeper through a few links.

First up, gamers should rejoice since EA has put 49 (yes, 49) of their titles on sale for the weekend at up to 90% off. The biggest price drops are on the following iPad games:

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To see all of EA’s games, click here and be sure to sort the list using the Update button at the top to see those apps with the most recent price changes at the top of the list.

There are also a bunch of indie games on sale as pointed out by our sister site, TouchArcade. The “Because We May” event kicked off yesterday and runs through June 1. This promotion event centers on the belief that “developers should have the freedom to price their games how they like.” While Apple doesn’t tell developers what to do when it comes to pricing their apps (aside from requiring that all prices end with “.99″), I’m still happy to see that developers have found a reason to drop prices. And you should be too.

Some of the biggest iOS titles on sale in the Because We May event are:

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Mac apps are also included in this sale and a few of the more prominent titles are:

[applink url=”408054320, 438933033, 403964567″]

For a full list of all iOS games on sale under the Because We May promotion, click here. For a full list of all Mac games on sale, click here.

If you’ve been looking for an app to help you get in shape, you can get’s Couch-to-5K training plan on your iPhone at 50% off its regular price this weekend.

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Imaginary Spinor’s Netflix DVD queue management app for the iPhone and iPad, which we took a closer look at recently, is also on sale at 50% off its regular price this weekend.

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Again, this is only a partial list of apps that are currently on sale. To find all recent app price drops, toggle the selection buttons at the top of our home page to select Price Drops and choose the platform (iOS or Mac), categories and other items to suit your needs. To find all paid apps that have gone free, see the detailed instructions in this article.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

MacPaw Releases CleanMyDrive Utility for Mac

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

MacPaw, the Ukraine-based software development company, released CleanMyDrive in the Mac App Store today. CleanMyDrive is a free utility that can automatically remove junk files from drives connected to your Mac, eject all drives with a single click, and more.

We extremely love how OS X is built. But still, there are things like mounted drives handling that can be further improved. As laptop users we face such issues while working with removable media as the necessity of regular trash bin cleanup, removing unwanted and annoying service files, inability to eject all drives in one click if needed. That had made us think how the ideal experience of using mounted drives should look like, and eventually we came up with the CleanMyDrive application”, said Oleksandr Kosovan, MacPaw’s CEO.

CleanMyDrive lives unobtrusively in your Mac’s menu bar. Clicking on its icon reveals a list of all drives currently connected to your Mac with a graphic display of how much space is used and free on each. Clicking on a drive’s icon will open a Finder window to show its contents, making it easy to find what you’re looking for if you don’t already have a Finder window open.

CleanMyDrive offers an Eject All function that can safely eject all connected drives from your computer all at once, a handy feature that can streamline your “undocking” process when you’re using a portable Mac in a desktop set-up to speed up leaving your desk. The app also recognizes when a specific drive has multiple partitions and lets you eject all partitions at the same time with a single click.

CleanMyDrive’s clean-up capabilities can automatically remove unnecessary files to free up space on your drives upon ejection. Unsurprisingly, CleanMyDrive also has hooks into MacPaw’s other offering, CleanMyMac ($14.95/29.95, available here), if you have it installed, offering to open the utility directly if you want to do a deeper review and clean-up of your internal hard drive.

CleanMyDrive is free and I can’t see any reason for you to not install it, particularly if you’re using a Mac laptop that you connect to external drives when you’re at home or the office. CleanMyDrive makes it much easier to keep an eye on your connected drives, remove unnecessary files, and eject them all at once to make escaping the office a little faster.

[applink url=”523620159″]

iTranslate Voice for iPhone Does Language Translation on the Fly (Mostly)

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Though it’s not the first voice-to-voice language translation app in the App Store, Sonico’s iTranslate Voice is currently topping the paid charts in the App Store and is earning a wide range of ratings so far. I’ve always been intrigued by voice translation apps (see my reviews of Trippo Voicemagix and Vocre) and I thought iTranslate Voice, which debuted in the App Store a little over a week ago, was worth a closer look.

iTranslate Voice’s main screen is pretty bare, presenting only two microphone buttons to kick off dictation of the language you want to translate. The default languages are English and Spanish when you first open the app but you can choose between 15 languages (plus regional variations and dialects of a few of them) for voice translation in the app’s settings, along with eight more languages that can be translated via manual text input only.

Tapping on a microphone button yields a Siri-like beep to prompt you to speak and it can auto-detect when you’ve finished speaking and start translating. The translation is spoken aloud and shown in text on the screen in the selected language. Tapping on a bubble of text on the screen brings up a keyboard so you can refine or correct it for translation. You can turn off the option to automatically detect when you’ve stopped speaking and the automatic speaking of the translation results in the app’s settings if you’d like.

iTranslate Voice works, for the most part at least. Testing it with English and French (the only two languages I speak since I don’t count the mangled Spanish I can put out when pressed) yields reasonable results. For the tourist traveling abroad, iTranslate Voice will absolutely help you interact with others who don’t speak your language and, barring any exceptionally odd situations, should not get you into any trouble. Translations are reasonably quick on both Wi-Fi and 3G though they’re not “instant” as claimed in the app’s description.

iTranslate Voice also has a dictionary function that will display word definitions, a handy feature if you’re stuck on a single word when you understand the rest of a sentence or something printed on a sign.

Where iTranslate Voice has difficulty is where the previous translation apps I’ve tried have also provided incorrect results: idiomatic expressions. Though I’m a native English speaker, I’ve heard from several who have learned English as a second language that the idiomatic expressions are particularly difficult to comprehend. And French has its fair share of idiomatic expressions as well. Without an exceptional language database and perhaps even some human intervention, I wouldn’t expect any app to be very good at handling these but you should be forewarned if you plan to rely on iTranslate Voice, or any other language translation app available to date, as a 100% accurate translator.

The other consideration here is data usage. The actual translations are done remotely so you’ll need a data connection to use the app. If you’re traveling abroad, you’ll need to be mindful of your data usage to avoid racking up some exorbitant roaming charges or ensure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.

If data connectivity is not an issue you’re worried about and you understand its limitations with idiomatic expressions, iTranslate Voice is one of the better voice translation apps I’ve seen and at its introductory price of $.99, it’s a good value to boot.

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Flight+ Puts Comprehensive Travel Information at your Fingertips

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

While many airlines offer their own apps to provide easier access to flight status and other information, keeping one for every airline you fly can clutter up your iPhone quickly. An app that provides flight information across multiple airlines and airports can be more practical and a quick trip out of town this week gave me an easy opportunity to check out Flight+, a new app that offers just this.

For this trip I wanted to keep an eye on my flights, an easy task with Flight+. You can search for and save specific flights and choose to receive push notifications if its details change, such as the gate, terminal, arrival or departure time and more. Flight+ also displays current weather information for your arrival and departure cities, a nice touch to help you pack accordingly.

Beyond this, Flight+ will also show you much more detail about flights including a path maps, information about the airplane and even a seat map if available.

If your needs are less specific and you want to know more about an airport or a specific airline, the Airports and Airlines tabs let you take a deep dive to see comprehensive information about the airports near you and all flights for every airline. Airport information includes general information and facts, current weather, terminal maps and a complete list of all arrivals and departures, which are constantly updated. Airline information also includes airline general information and facts plus direct access to an airline’s Twitter feed (if the airline has one) and a virtual Flight Board to show all flights for the current day.

The app’s interface features a design that mimics the look of old-style airmail envelopes. While I’m not usually a fan of analog style interfaces like this (the torn paper look of iCal in Lion drives me crazy), it lends Flight+ a level of cuteness that doesn’t interfere with its functionality. The virtual pages of each view can be slid left and right easily to backward and forward, a smooth navigation element that’s a welcome change from apps driven by virtual buttons alone.

Flight+ debuted in the App Store last month and is offered in two versions – one for the iPhone and iPod touch ($2.99) and one for the iPad ($4.99). This demo video shows the iPad version in action:


If you’re a frequent traveler or even just an occasional traveler who wants constantly-updated airport and flight information for every major airport in the world, Flight+ is a worthy purchase.

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Slow Feeds Makes Reading RSS Feeds More Manageable

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Though RSS feeds are meant to make it a little easier to stay on top of new items posted on your favorite websites, the sheer number of articles published by some sites can overwhelm others, making this task more difficult in reality when you go to catch up in your favorite feed reader. Zozi Apps created Slow Feeds in an attempt to help you parse through your feeds and make sure that high volume sites don’t drown out sites that publish new items less frequently.

Stefan Pauwels of Zozi Apps said that he created Slow Feeds for two reasons: to avoid worrying about post frequency when subscribing to a new feed and to avoid manually managing feeds with folders and tags.

Slow Feeds is made to work explicitly with Google Reader, so you’ll need a free Google Reader account to use it. Once you’re logged in to your Google Reader account in Slow Feeds, you’ll see the feeds you’ve subscribed to broken down into three tabs: Slow Feeds, High Volume, and Starred.

The High Volume tab shows you all items from feeds that are updated frequently. This list shows you only the article titles to cram more onto the screen so you can scroll through them more quickly. I find that viewing this list in landscape orientation enables me to read the complete titles more often than not. Tapping on a title takes you to a separate view showing the article or whatever amount of information the publisher chooses to display in the feed.

The Slow Feeds tab separates out those feeds that are updated less frequently than those shown on the High Volume tab. A bit more information is shown in this view for each item as well so you can get a better sense of the contents of each item at a quick glance. Tapping on an item in this list will also bring you to a new view that shows more of the selected article (or, again, as much as the publisher chooses to display in the feed).

There are no other bells and whistles in Slow Feeds. You can’t create folders or view your feeds by folders you’ve created in the past, nor can you subscribe to new feeds or edit your existing subscriptions. The only controls let you refresh the view and toggle between viewing only unread items or showing both read and unread items. A sharing button that’s visible when viewing an individual item lets you share a link to the selected article via Twitter or Facebook or save it for later reading via Instapaper.

I like the concept of Slow Feeds a lot since there are many feeds I subscribe to that can inundate my Google Reader account and essentially hide the articles from sites that publish new content less often. It has a straightforward and clean interface and while I’m not a fan of the color scheme, Slow Feeds does a good job of separating my feeds so I’m less likely to miss articles. I do wish for one additional feature in Slow Feeds: a “mark all read” button so I can clear out the contents of the High Volume tab once I’m done going through it. Or at least once I’ve had enough and want to stop before my eyes start bleeding.

Slow Feeds debuted in the App Store in late March and was updated with a few new features earlier this month. It’s compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (though it does not have an interface optimized for its larger screen) and requires iOS 5.0 or higher.

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Official TouchArcade iPhone App Available Now

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

There are thousands of games for the iPhone and iPad and finding the true gems among the existing offerings in the App Store –not to mention the new titles that are released every day– can be a daunting task. If you’ve ever looked around for unbiased and reliable game reviews to help you make your purchasing decisions, you’ve probably come across our sister site TouchArcade. While accessing TouchArcade is hardly a chore from any device with a web browser and an internet connection, it’s now even easier for iPhone owners with today’s debut of the official ToucArcade app.

The TouchArcade app offers instant access to the most recent reviews and articles posted on the site, which is staffed with writers around the clock to catch new releases as soon as they hit and offer exclusive previews of upcoming titles. The app also offers access to the site’s forum where more than 140,000 members discuss games and share tips and strategies.

The app’s main view provides links to the most recent posts on TouchArcade’s home page, accessible through the News & Reviews link. Recently-reviewed games that earned the highest ratings from TouchArcade staff are accessible from the Top Reviews link. The scrollable Hot New Games strip on the right (the same list is accessible through the Hot New Games link in the main menu) has some extra goodness behind it – this list incorporates feedback from TouchArcade’s forum members, showing the most highly-rated games that have generated the most feedback and discussion.

If you want to do a little more digging among the most highly-rated games, you can customize what’s shown in the Top Reviews list. This list can be modified by timeframe to show the high-rated games reviewed within the past week to every single one since TouchArcade was founded in 2008. You can also change the view to narrow down the genre and paid or free status.

If you’re already familiar with how our own Wish List feature works here on AppShopper (if not, check out this article), then the Watch List feature in the TouchArcade app will be familiar to you. When you look at the details for a game or a preview article about an upcoming title not yet available in the App Store in the News & Reviews category, a Watch List toggle is available. This toggle will let you add the game to a list so you can stay on top of its release and any price changes or updates it receives, and be notified of any new articles published on TouchArcade about it.

You can create an account in the TouchArcade app, which is free. This account will let you post in the TouchArcade forums and will save the contents of your Watch List so you don’t lose everything if you switch devices.

If you’d rather use AppShopper to keep track of the apps you want or have using our own Wish List feature and already have the AppShopper app installed on your iPhone, there’s an “Open in AppShopper” link at the bottom of each app detail screen. Tapping this link opens the AppShopper app so you can add the selected app to your Wish List there.

The TouchArcade app’s settings also let you receive push notifications so you can be alerted when new articles are published or when there’s a change to an game on your Watch List. A Notifications Times setting lets you specify hours during which you don’t want to receive notifications so the app won’t interrupt your beauty sleep.

While the TouchArcade app is currently for the iPhone and iPod touch only right now (it works on the iPad though does not have an interface optimized for this device’s larger screen), a universal version is in the works.

There are plenty more features in the TouchArcade app that I haven’t covered here but I don’t want to delay you any longer from going to the App Store to download it. Which you should do. Right now. Because the official TouchArcade app is awesome and free. So get to it!

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Apple Releases iOS 5.1.1 to Fix Bugs

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Apple has released iOS 5.1.1 today to fix several bugs involving HDR photos, Airplay video playback, Safari bookmark and Reading List synchronization, and the iPad’s ability to switch between 2G and 3G networks.

  • Improves reliability of using HDR option for photos taken using the Lock Screen shortcut
  • Addresses bugs that could prevent the new iPad from switching between 2G and 3G networks
  • Fixes bugs that affected AirPlay video playback in some circumstances
  • Improved reliability for syncing Safari bookmarks and Reading List
  • Fixes an issue where ‘Unable to purchase’ alert could be displayed after successful purchase

For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:

iOS 5.1.1 is free to download and is compatible with the iPhone 3GS and up, the 3rd- and 4th-generation iPod touch and all iPad models.

Apple previewed iOS 5 at last year’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June and released iOS 5 in October. Apple is expected to preview the next major iteration of iOS at the WWDC keynote event next month on June 11.

Pandoras Box, a Capable Pandora Client for the Mac

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Pandoras Box by developer Francisco Garza is a Mac client for the Pandora music streaming service. It lives in your Mac’s menu bar and offers easy access to all of your existing Pandora channels and playback controls, plus the ability to create new channels, tweet what you’re currently listening to, and go directly to iTunes or Amazon to purchase songs.

(In case you’re wondering, the name of this app appears to be missing an apostrophe to denote the possession of said Box, which kills me to type but what can you do?)

If you’re not already familiar with Pandora, it’s an online music service where you can create your own personal radio stations based on music you like. Pandora has offered its own official Pandora Radio iPhone and iPad app in the App store for several years now. Pandora is free and ad-supported, with the option to upgrade to a premium account that removes all ads and offers higher quality audio and more. Pandoras Box works with both free and paid premium accounts and uses the higher quality audio files available to those with premium accounts.

Pandoras Box also offers Growl integration, showing notifications on your screen according to your personalized Growl settings each time a new song starts to display the artist, song title and album name, a useful feature that helps me take note of new artists and songs I haven’t heard before without pulling my focus entirely away from what I’m doing.

Though it’s possible to listen to Pandora through your web browser right on the Pandora site, I keep far too many browser windows open as it is and prefer a standalone app that offers customizable keyboard shortcuts and quicker access to give current songs a thumbs up or down and see what’s currently playing and Pandoras Box does exactly this with no problems.

If you want to get really fancy, Pandoras Box works with Airfoil app, Reemote, so that you can control playback on your Mac through your iPhone. Using Reemote requires Rogue Ameoba’s Airfoil app ($25, available here) for your Mac and reemote Server (free, available here). I haven’t tried this set-up but it’s a nice option if your Mac is a central part of your music listening set-up at home.

If you listen to Pandora often and want a quicker way to control playback and be aware of what’s playing in a more streamlined way, Pandoras Box is a good purchase, grammar issues with its name aside.

[applink url=”454320479″]