Archive for January, 2013

PSA: ‘National Geographic World Atlas’ for iPhone and iPad Available for Free

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Yesterday, the National Geographic Society dropped the price of its World Atlas app from $1.99 to free. It’s not clear if this is a temporary change or a permanent one but it’s the first time this app has been available for free since it was released in the App Store in 2010. Though I hope that many of you haven’t been waiting nearly three years for it to go free so you could save $2, a deal is a deal so hop to it if you want to get this excellent app with maps and information for every country and major city on this lovely planet of ours for free.

National Geographic World Atlas gives you a virtual globe through which you can explore the world. You can zoom in on any location to see a more detailed map and read about the primary languages, religions, government type, currency, and much more for countries around the world. You can view the world in one of multiple map styles (classic, antique, satellite, or road) and even download maps to your iPhone or iPad so you can do your virtual exploration even when you don’t have an internet connection.

National Geographic World Atlas is a universal app with an interface optimized for the iPad’s larger screen and also the iPhone 5. If you have children who are curious about the world or if you like to do a little virtual exploration yourself, it’s a fantastic reference app from a highly respected institution.

  • Reference

    National Geographic World Atlas

    Last Changed:
    3 weeks ago
    Rating:
    4.00 (3832)
    Version:
    3.6
    iOS Universal

    The National Geographic World Atlas brings you the highest resolution map images available, delivering the stunning detail, accuracy, and beauty National Geographic is known for. ALL MAPS IN HD •...

Apple Releases iOS 6.1 with LTE Support for More Carriers and Siri Enhancement

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Apple released iOS 6.1 today for the latest iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad models, adding LTE support for additional carriers and the ability to purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri for users in the US. Also, as pointed out by MacRumors, iOS 6.1 also includes a minor change to Passbook to make it easier for users to find Passbook-compatible apps with a persistent welcome screen that remains accessible even when you already have passes loaded.

Apple lists the major changes in iOS 6.1 as follows:

  • LTE support for more carriers (complete list of supported carriers at www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/)
  • Purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri (USA only)
  • iTunes Match subscribers can now download individual songs from iCloud
  • New button to reset the Advertising Identifier

iOS 6 is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and with nearly 300 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices on iOS 6 in just five months, it may be the most popular new version of an OS in history,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iOS 6.1 brings LTE support to more markets around the world, so even more users can enjoy ultrafast Safari browsing, FaceTime video calls, iCloud services, and iTunes and App Store downloads.”

iOS 6.1 is available as a free download for the iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, 3rd- and 4th-generation iPad, iPad mini, and the 4th- and 5th-generation iPod touch. You can get it through iTunes on your computer or download it right on your iOS device through the Settings app though note that it’s coming in at over 100 MB so you’ll want to be sure you’re connected to a WiFi network.

 

Task Manager ‘Things’ for Mac Now 50% Off

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Developer Cultured Code has put its highly-rated task management Mac app, Things, on sale, dropping its price to $24.99 from its regular $49.99 until January 31. This sale is significant because Cultured Code hasn’t ever put Things on sale since it’s been available in the Mac App Store, so if it’s been on your Wish List, now is the time to get it.

Things is a heavy-duty task management app that is flexible enough to let you take a detailed approach to document multiple levels of tasks as part of a large project or create straightforward lists of single tasks you need to complete in the course of a day or week. There are companion apps for the iPhone and iPad (which are, alas, not on sale) and you can sync everything across all of your devices via Things Cloud, Cultured Code’s free synchronization service.

If you’re still not sure about spending $24.99 on Things for Mac, you can download a trial version through Cultured Code’s site. If you like it after seeing the trial or are willing to pony up the money to buy it for keeps sight unseen, be sure to do so before its price goes back up on January 31.

Editor’s note: iCloud was originally listed incorrectly as the synchronization service used for Things but this has been fixed.

  • $4999Buy Now
    Productivity

    Things

    Last Changed:
    12 weeks ago
    Rating:
    4.00 (295)
    Version:
    2.2.6
    Mac OS

    Things is a delightful and easy to use task manager. It's the perfect companion for everything you want to achieve in life, offering a great balance between ease of use and powerful features. ...

Pebble Smartwatch Manager for iPhone Released

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

If you’ve been following the smartwatch scene at all, you’ve probably heard of the Pebble, a smartwatch developed by Palo Alto, California-based Pebble Technology. Pebble made headlines last year when its funding drive to develop its smartwatch through Kickstarter blew past its goal and hit $10 million in May 2012.

The Pebble smartwatch was originally slated for release in September 2012 but the project was plagued by delays. At CES earlier this month, Pebble Technology CEO Eric Migicovsky announced that Pebble smartwatches would begin shipping to Kickstarter backers on January 23.

Smartwatches are intended to be companions to smartphones, providing quick bits of information like caller ID for incoming calls and alerts for new voicemails, emails, and text messages at a glance. In order to know what to display, the smartwatch needs to connect to the smartphone and be configured and this can be done through an app. Pebble Technology just released its smartwatch manager app in the App Store today, just in time for the recipients of the first batch of Pebble smartwatches shipping out this week.

The Pebble Smartwatch app is free and available now in the App Store. You can’t do anything with it unless you have a Pebble smartwatch, which I don’t, unfortunately. The app’s description describes four things the app does:

  • Notifies you when software updates for Pebble ready [sic] to install
  • Installs and remove custom watchfaces onto your Pebble
  • Sends ping test messages to your Pebble
  • Helps you troubleshoot issues

We covered the release of another smartwatch manager app for another company, Metawatch, who has also released a smartwatch that works with the newest iPhone models. Metawatch Manager debuted in the App Store in October 2012 as the company’s own smartwatches started shipping out to customers.

If you’re wondering about the differences between the two when it comes to software, Pebble has opted to offer an SDK so that developers can create apps for the Pebble Smartwatch and these apps are installed directly on the Pebble and run on the watch itself. Metawatch also has an SDK but it’s for developers to create new or modify existing iOS (and Android) apps to interface with the Metawatch smartwatch. So with the Pebble smartwatch, its functionality will come from apps installed and run right on the watch itself while the Metawatch smartwatch will pull information from compatible apps running on your iPhone or Android smartphone.

I was tempted by the Pebble Smartwatch but didn’t participate in the Kickstarter for it. I did fund the Metawatch Strata Kickstarter project and expect to receive it within the next couple of weeks. The two watches are very different cosmetically but that aside, I’m interested in seeing how the functionality of each works out in the long run given the constrasting approaches the two companies have taken from the software side.

  • Lifestyle

    Pebble Smartwatch

    Last Changed:
    2 weeks ago
    Rating:
    1.50 (18)
    Version:
    2.3.1
    iOS iPhone

    The official Pebble smartwatch app. Works on both the original Pebble and Pebble Steel. The Pebble smartwatch connects to your iPhone and other iOS devices using Bluetooth, alerting you to incoming...

‘Twitterrific 5’ Gets New Features and Improvements

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

The Iconfactory’s Twitterrific 5 got an update yesterday that adds a few new features and improves existing ones. New features include the ability to see a thumbnail preview of images within your timeline and a new simplified reading mode is available in the in-app browser, but it’s the improvements and bug fixes that really make this update worthy of mention.

The full list of what’s new and changed is as follows:

NEW FEATURES

  • Simplified reading mode for the in-app browser using Instapaper or Readability
  • Find tweets in all timelines via ‘History’ search (new search tab)
  • Image previews are displayed directly in the timeline
  • Photo viewer now displays images without a frame

IMPROVEMENTS

  • In-app web browser now uses the entire screen on iPad
  • Twitterrific now loads 100 tweets while refreshing or loading more
  • New gesture: Tap and hold the RT icon on a tweet to quickly retweet with a comment
  • When user avatars are hidden in the timeline, tap on a username to open a profile
  • VoiceOver now uses a relative date/time on tweets instead of an absolute one
  • Added VoiceOver accessibility to the Load More button• Searches and Lists in the sidebar are now ordered alphabetically
  • Tapping outside of popup navigation on iPad now dismisses view
  • Visual improvements to popup navigation and views• Other minor interface improvements

BUG FIXES

  • Fixed an issue where empty Twitter accounts in iOS Settings could cause a crash
  • Adjusted scroll to top area so it’s less likely to be tapped by accident
  • Foreign keyboards no longer cover up the bottom of the compose screen
  • Fixed a bug that prevented some of your friends/followers from being displayed
  • Replying to your own reply no longer loses the conversation thread

Though the version number change might make you think that this is a minor update, several issues that stood out to me when Twitterrific 5 was released have been greatly improved or resolved. First, Twitterrific 5 used to only load 50 tweets at a time upon opening or refresh, which was a painfully low number for someone like me who likes to catch up as much as possible on all the tweets I’ve missed. The bump to 100 is helpful though my ideal would be 200. Second, the tap target area that triggered the “scroll to top” shortcut has been reduced so that this happens accidentally less often, which was another issue that bugged me and even reared its ugly head in my review video.

These small changes improve Twitterrific 5 much more than you might think and it’s enough for me to bump Tweetbot off my home screen and give it a go as my primary Twitter client on my iPhone 5. It still lacks push notifications though The Iconfactory states in a blog post that work on this has begun. If you can’t go without push notifications, consider the excellent Push 4.0 app (review) that will send you push notifications for Twitter events as well as for RSS feed updates and much more.

Twitterrific 5 is still on sale at its special launch price of $2.99 so you should buy it before it goes up. I expect The Iconfactory to keep improving Twitterrific and it will only get better over time.

  • Social Networking

    Twitterrific 5 for Twitter

    Last Changed:
    2 weeks ago
    Rating:
    3.50 (16)
    Version:
    5.7.5
    iOS Universal

    Now with live streaming of tweets, Twitterrific is the award-winning, elegant Twitter client that’s easy to understand and a delight to use. The unified timeline lets you browse mentions and direct...

‘Temple Run 2’ for iPhone and iPad Debuts in the App Store

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Imangi Studios has released a sequel to its wildly popular endless runner. Temple Run 2 debuted in the App Store last night, featuring some new characters, obstacles, and environments for you to ogle as you run, slide, and jump your way to evade evil monkeys determined to stop you and get back the idol you stole from their beloved temple.

Temple Run 2 holds on to the feel of the original but includes some refreshing changes if you were getting tired of the same old stone walkways and tree roots. The landscape in Temple Run 2 is pretty damn hilly and you’ll have to navigate your way around jets of fire and even zipline your way around using strategically placed ropes. If you make it far enough, you’ll even get to an old mine and switch to steering a mine cart through dark tunnels. There may even be more environments beyond this but I haven’t made it that far.

The guys over at TouchArcade played Temple Run 2 a little and recorded it for your viewing pleasure if you want to see it in action first:


Temple Run 2 is universal and free to download, so there’s no risk to your bank account at all to try it out. There are lots of in-app purchase options to unlock new characters or get even more coins and gems to upgrade your character’s abilities or add power-ups though these aren’t necessary to play at all and you can still complete achievements and progress without them. Temple Run 2 is worth a download even if you’re not familiar with the original – its mechanics are easy to learn and it’s a great time-killer if you have a few minutes or even hours to while away.

  • Games

    Temple Run 2

    Last Changed:
    10 weeks ago
    Rating:
    4.50 (7323)
    Version:
    1.9.1
    iOS Universal

    The sequel to the smash hit phenomenon that took the world by storm! Temple Run redefined mobile gaming. Now get more of the exhilarating running, jumping, turning and sliding you love in Temple...

‘Do.one’ for iPhone Reminds You of That One Important Task Each Day

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

When it comes to task management, I believe simple is better. I’ve tried some of the complex task management approaches and apps out there and while they definitely have their uses, the last thing I need is a system that gives me even more work to do in defining, prioritizing, and categorizing what I need to get done. If you feel the same way and you want to bring a level of focus to one important thing you need to do every day, Luke Freeman’s new Do.one is an app you should check out.

Do.one is a tasks app that lets you specify one important thing you need to do or focus on each day. All you do is enter that item and you can set Do.one to give you a push notification once a day at a time you specify to remind you about it.

Do.one has two views: the note view of a single day or a monthly calendar. In the calendar view, days with items entered are marked with a pink dot. You can enter an item for any date in the future. If you tap on the month name at the top of the calendar view, you’ll see options to jump ahead to any month up to five years in the future. A “Today” button in the bottom left corner will take you to the current day from whatever month or year you’re viewing.

Click screenshots to enlarge 

The settings screen is simple, offering you the option to turn on push notification alerts and set the time they should go off each day. And you can opt to include the text of your note for each day in the push notification alert if you don’t want to open the app to see what you entered.

Do.one is all about focusing on one thing each day. There’s no option to set a repeating item for certain days of the week, so if you were looking for an app to remind you take out the trash every Wednesday night, you’ll be better served by the built-in Reminders app or something like Due or Beep Me.

I really like the idea of Do.one and how it can help you focus on what’s really important, which can go beyond plain old tasks you do regularly to more conceptual or personal things like reminding you to take a break from work to spend time with your kids or writing a chapter in your novel on a day when you know you’ll have some free time.

I do wish Do.one had a little more flexibility with the alert times to allow setting a different time for weekdays versus weekend days or even the ability to set a different alert time for every day of the week. And I have to admit that I can’t stand the default iOS system tri-tone alert sound that Do.one makes use of and I’d much rather be able to choose a more distinct alert myself.

Other than this, Do.one is a pretty, straightforward app that offers you an easy way to pare down the frenzy of your day-to-day life by encouraging you to focus on just one thing every day. If you’ve been looking for a tasks app that offers this kind of simplicity and focus, Do.one is a good purchase at just $.99.

  • Productivity

    Do.one

    Last Changed:
    18 months ago
    Rating:
    4.50 (18)
    Version:
    2.1.1
    iOS iPhone

    Do.one is not about making lists, it's about what's important. Do.one allows you to enter one thing per day. That one important, "I can't forget to do this, no matter what" thing...

Win a Digital Magazine Subscription from Zinio

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Though Zinio’s magazine subscription sale that we mentioned earlier this month is now over, you still have a chance to get a tree-free version of your favorite magazine right here through AppShopper. Zinio has given us 10 digital magazine subscriptions to give away to readers that we’re putting up for grabs right now.

To win one of these subscriptions, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post by 12:00 pm Eastern time on Friday, January 18, 2013. In your comment, tell us what your favorite magazine is. We’ll randomly draw 10 winners from commenters.

A few details:

  • When you post your comment, be sure to use a legit email address since this is how we’ll contact you if you’ve won. No, no one else will be able see your email address and we promise not to use it for anything else, evil or otherwise.
  • One entry per person, please. Duplicate or multiple comments by the same person will be ignored and/or deleted.
  • Winners will have 72 hours to respond to our winner notification email. After this, we’ll choose another winner randomly.
  • For a list of all of the magazines Zinio offers, check out Zinio’s site.

If you don’t already have the free Zinio app for your iPhone or iPad, be sure to get it (you can also browse Zinio’s magazine offerings through the app).

  • News

    Zinio – 5,000+ Digital...

    Last Changed:
    5 weeks ago
    Rating:
    4.50 (352)
    Version:
    2.7
    iOS Universal

    Browse over 5,000+ digital magazines in the world's largest newsstand or read fresh articles daily for free. The best in news, politics, technology, art, style, travel and more at your fingertips, on...

‘Keycard’ Locks Your Mac When Your iPhone Goes Out of Range

Monday, January 7th, 2013

If you’ve ever wanted a quick way to ensure that others can’t use your Mac when you step away from it and you’re the type of person to keep your iPhone with you wherever you go, developer Appuous has a solution for you with its new Mac app, Keycard.

Keycard is a tiny app that lives in your Mac’s menu bar (you can opt to keep its icon in your dock while it’s running as well) that locks your Mac when a paired Bluetooth device goes out of range. Once you and your device get back into range, Keycard will unlock your Mac automatically.

To use Keycard, you must first pair it with an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad (Appuous states that it will work with almost any other Bluetooth device as well though I’ve only used it with an iPhone and iPad mini). The pairing process with Keycard is not as involved as with a headset, speaker, or most other devices since all Keycard does is detect the device, log its identifier, and keep track of its Bluetooth signal so the Bluetooth indicator on your iOS device won’t light up to indicate the pairing.

Here’s a demo video showing Keycard in action:

After using Keycard for the past week with my MacBook Air (a mid-2011 model) and my iPhone 5 and iPad mini, I’ve found that it works as shown in that demo video. The Keycard lock screen appears when my iPhone gets anywhere from 15 to 30 feet away as the crow flies (with walls and furniture interrupting the Bluetooth signal in my house) and disappears by the time I get close enough to my Mac to type. While it’s locked, you can’t access any applications or use keyboard commands to force quit or switch applications. You can still power off a Mac and turn it back on manually, so you should enable a log-in password for your Mac for more security.

Click to enlarge

While Keycard works with multiple devices, it will trigger based on the Bluetooth signal of only one device at a time. For me, pairing it with my iPhone is the best method since that’s the device I almost always carry with me wherever I go, which is not the case with my iPad.

In situations where your iPhone or iPad is out of Bluetooth range and you still need to work on your Mac, you can designate a 4-digit passcode that will unlock your Mac. I found this passcode to work as expected but entering it was a little buggy from time to time, with the cursor skipping backwards as I entered the code for no discernible reason. Also, once unlocked this way, my Mac would periodically re-lock as if Keycard momentarily detected my iPhone on the other side of the house and then lost the signal, requiring me to enter the code again. If your iPhone or iPad are going to be away from your Mac for a while, it makes sense to just quit Keycard to avoid this.

Despite these glitches, Keycard does what it promises. If you have mischievous coworkers who might take advantage of a brief absence from your Mac to post something inappropriate through your Facebook account or if you simply want to lock down your Mac to keep its contents relatively secure when you step away for a short period of time, Keycard will be ideal for you.

Keycard debuted in the App Store yesterday and is on sale for a special introductory price of $6.99 and its regular price will be $8.99. I have a hard time reconciling its regular price when comparing Keycard to an app like Clear, which is $9.99 and offers far more functionality albeit in a different category entirely, so I’d recommend you buy Keycard now before its price goes up.

  • Utilities

    Keycard

    Last Changed:
    7 weeks ago
    Rating:
    2.00 (54)
    Version:
    1.2
    Mac OS

    Keycard is undoubtedly the easiest way to keep your Mac secure when you're not around. Using Bluetooth®, Keycard locks your Mac using your iOS device when it detects you are leaving your computer....

‘Cycloramic’ Spins Your iPhone 5 to Capture Panoramic Video

Friday, January 4th, 2013

If you’ve ever wanted to take a panoramic video of you and your friends without asking a stranger to hold your iPhone for you and turn around in a circle, there’s a new app you’ll want to check out. Cycloramic by Egos Ventures debuted in the App Store just before Christmas and cleverly uses your iPhone 5′s vibration motor to rotate it to capture a panoramic video.

Here’s a video showing Cycloramic in action:

If you’re like me, you may be wondering if that video is legit and whether or not Cycloramic really works as advertised. I purchased the app and tried it out on my kitchen counter and it really does work. You can see a sample video, made by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, of what it captures here on Facebook.

Right now, Cycloramic only captures video without sound though Egos Ventures has told us that an update is coming that will add the ability to capture panoramic photos as well.

Note that Cycloramic’s auto rotation feature only works with the iPhone 5 so if you have an older iPhone model, you’re out of luck. Also, it needs to be used on a smooth, flat surface and your iPhone 5 will need to be case-less for it to work as shown in the video. There are a few other caveats, so be sure to read Cycloramic’s full description before you buy it. Cycloramic’s novelty alone is worth $.99.

  • Photography

    Cycloramic

    Last Changed:
    14 weeks ago
    Rating:
    3.50 (34)
    Version:
    4.9.1
    iOS Universal

    Cycloramic Revolutionizes the way you take panoramic photos and videos! Guided or Handsfree (iPhone5/5s). ▶ GUIDED Mode (All iPhones and iPads): The easiest, highest resolution (40MP) panorama...