Google wins on 'most improved,' Siri gains upper hand on OS commands
An annual shootout between Google's Google Now and Apple's Siri voice-assisted virtual assitants conducted by Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray has resulted in a virtual tie, with both services receiving the same overall grade. Siri barely edged out Google Now by virtual of its better integration with OS commands -- an advantage that comes with the program's deep OS integration -- but both programs got the same overall grade (C+) and percentage of questions correct (79 percent).
Twitter sees redesign, new features with version 6.0
Twitter on Tuesday released updates for both the iOS and Android versions of its mobile app, bringing a redesign and new features for users. The updates pack a number of enhancements, and they give users the ability to share photos via Direct Message. The updates also add new capabilities with regard to push notifications, letting users keep better track of their closer friends on Twitter.
Yahoo snaps up another app team for video features
Internet giant Yahoo has acquired yet another small company, this time QuikIO, which provided cross-platform video streaming services, as well as an app for Apple's iOS platform. Pando Daily confirmed the acquisition this week, pointing out that the service will be shutting down by December 31 of this year. The acquisition is the latest in a string that has seen Yahoo snapping up smaller companies as it attempts to retool for a push to regain mindshare in the coming months.
Aereo-style service from NimbeTV requires cable service authentication
A startup offering cable TV streaming over the Internet has opened its service to everyone in New York, following a successful test period in the city. In a similar manner to Aereo's service, NimbleTV will offer cable subscribers access to the same channels but over the Internet, along with the ability to record programs via the cloud-based DVR.
Five ways to read and watch beyond the storage of the iOS device itself
(This is the first of a new series to showcase apps the staff at MacNN and Electronista use and recommend) This house was an early adopter of iOS, seeing it on first-generation iPod Touches. At the time, it was more of a novelty than anything else -- and of little actual value to us other than as a slick interface to play back our iTunes music and the limited amount of video we owned. Fast-forward six years, and the house is now replete with iDevices and users, ranging from toddlers to senior citizens. As the years have passed, one of our principal uses of iOS is now as a media extender for remotely stored media and files: PDFs, music and video alike. Here are our five apps that make sharing, viewing and enjoying mixed media easier.
Amazon updates Cloud Drive Photos for iOS with video support
The Amazon Cloud Drive Photos app for iOS has received an update, bringing support for videos. Appearing on iOS months after Android, TechCrunch reports that the app allows for videos up to 2GB or 20 minutes in length to be uploaded, with the Cloud Photos Auto-Save also updated to allow existing videos on an iPhone or iPad to be automatically uploaded to the service. Other tweaks include a "large upload mode" that disables the iOS lock screen to let uploads finish, and an indicator in the Settings screen showing the usage of Cloud Drive by media.
Traditional freebies from App Store vary by region
Apple has again launched its "12 Days of Gifts" app to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, but this year it is including the US for the first time. The app, which celebrates the period between Christmas and the traditional date of the baptism of Christ, will make available to iOS users a free download (an app, movie rental, e-book or song) each day beginning December 26 and running to the 6th of January. It was previously called "12 Days of Christmas," but has seen a name change this year.
MailDeck e-mail client now available on iTunes for iPad
Released at the end of last week, Crono officially launched its email application MailDeck for iPad. The app offers effective email organization based on the relevant content the user receives. Featuring three view modes -- list, preview and decks -- users can choose to view email content by scrolling through multi-line preview, full-screen preview, or scanning through messages on small cards, with conversations stacked.
Pandora adds alarm feature for iPhone
Pandora on Monday released an update for its iPhone app that adds a number of new features. Version 5.1 of Pandora for iOS allows users to start their day with their favorite Pandora stations at a time of their choosing. It also features a sleeker redesign, meant to bring the app more in line with the aesthetic of iOS 7.
Microsoft updates Bing app for iPad
Microsoft has released an update to its Bing app for iPad that contains a number of tweaks and improvements to the search app. The update, bringing Bing for iPad to version 2.0, introduces a cleaner, simpler user interface to match Apple's "flatter" iOS 7 aesthetic. It also includes the ability to save Bing's colorful daily images for use as a wallpaper on one's device.
BaseJump's software updated for Mavericks, including headphone detection
Twelve South has announced that its portable sound system, BassJump, has received a MacBook software update for OS X Mavericks compatibility. BassJump offers users additional audio speakers for one's MacBook, powered by a USB cable.
Photo repository FedExing printed wood slab to invitees
Instagram has used FedEx to send physical invitations printed on a wooden slab to press venues for an event in New York City on December 12. The media has been invited to "Share a Moment" with the Instagram team, including CEO Kevin Systrom, but no other details are apparent.
Apps were previously English-only
Google has updated its Android and iOS Search apps with voice support for French, German, and Japanese. The upgrades let people both speak commands and hear responses in the new languages. Previously, non-English speakers had to type in any search requests.
Timely app allows logged hours to be scheduled in advance
New time-tracking app Timely has been launched this week on iTunes. Aiming to minimize the effort involved with logging one's work for invoicing, Timely allows users to schedule and plan work while simultaneously logging the hours. Its layout is like a calendar, though simplified to not display time stamps.
Users can add credit cards simply by taking a picture of it
Google has updated its Google Wallet application for iOS, allowing users to add credit or debit cards simply by taking a picture of it using the built-in camera on a user's iPhone. The update also adds instant sign-in if users are already logged into any other Google service or site that supports single sign-on, and users can utilize the physical Google Wallet card at most MasterCard locations as well as withdraw cash from any ATM. The app also stores various loyalty and reward cards and can be disabled online if the users' phone is stolen.
Remote record expanded to include on-demand programming
British broadcaster Sky has made a number of updates to its online services. The Sky+ app for iOS and Android has received some usability updates, Sky Go for Android now has a version specifically made for tablets, and its Sky Store streaming rentals service has been opened up to all of the UK, including those not subscribing to Sky's satellite TV offering.
App gets iOS 7 makeover, in-app 'Pro' upgrade, more
Video software maker FireCore has debuted a major upgrade to its Infuse multi-format video player for iOS, now at version 2.0. The update introduces an iOS 7-compliant UI redesign, network streaming from almost any drive or device without syncing, additional supported media formats, integrated Dolby Digital Plus mobile surround sound, and better 1080p and AirPlay support. The app is free but many of the new features are only available with a new "Pro" upgrade that costs $5.
New devices have 37 velocity sensitive keys, expandable with sustain pedal
Mobile music-making apps developer IK Multimedia has announced the expansion of its iRig Keys line with two new products for mobile musicians: iRig Keys Pro and iRig Keys with Lightning connector, compact MIDI keyboard controllers with 37 velocity-sensitive keys.
Ember offers image file organization, sync via iCloud
RealMac Software has launched its latest app for iOS, imaging organizer Ember (formerly known as LittleSnapper). Allowing users to collect images and organize them into projects, the compiled library can be synced via iCloud for accessing on a Mac, iPhone or iPad.
Design gets shareable themes, drag-and-drop data
Having leaked it yesterday, today Apple-owned FileMaker has formally announced FileMaker 13, the next major edition of its database creation software. One of the major additions is WebDirect, an HTML5-based method of publishing databases to the web without special programming. When developing iOS frontends, users can now generate them in a single step, and add things like slide controls, popovers, gesture controls, custom keyboards, and barcode capture functions.
Free iOS apps today, including Wikilinks, Walking Dead Assault
Cyber Monday has brought many deals, and this includes notable discounts on apps. Here is our Cyber Monday round-up of iOS apps currently free on iTunes.
TomTom's GPS watches' new MySports mobile app, offering easy data upload
TomTom, a GPS gadget producer, has announced its latest software release to compliment its GPS watches. TomTom MySports offers flexibility to runners, cyclists and swimmers in respects to their interactions with their performance data. Users of the Sports Watch can upload and access their key performance information to the app without needing to connect to a computer.
Feature additions go unmentioned
Various editions of FileMaker Pro 13 have gone on sale at Apple's UK online store ahead of an anticipated official announcement. The listings don't make mention of specific feature upgrades, but in screenshots the OS X release appears to have a new "Share" button, while the companion iOS app - FileMaker Go -- has been given a visual overhaul for iOS 7. Still missing is a matching FileMaker Server update.
Side Tree Software's programs on Mac App Store $1 throughout December
Side Tree Software has announced that all of its programs available at the App Store will be $1 each through the month of December. Starting today, apps such as Abuzzle, Equal, Mymyry, SlidePuzzle and Tribbi are available for the $1 sale price.
Reduced up to 50 percent or more this weekend, including $1 apps
Black Friday sales aren't exclusive to tech gear and shopping malls -- there are plenty of discounts to be had on iTunes and the App Store for Mac OS X and iOS users.
Skulls of Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition now ported to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Originally released for Xbox 360, Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Steam, Skulls of Shogun is now available for iOS users. The Bone-A-Fide edition of Skulls features five episodes of single-player content, and 36 multi-player maps, playable over the Internet through the turn-based Skulls Anywhere mode, or pass-and-play with up to four people.
For the second time this month, Tapbots has released an update to its full-featured Twitter client for iOS, Tweetbot 3. Entirely redesigned in October for iOS 7, Tweetbot 3 offers users native push notifications, customizable navigation, and a synced timeline position.
Fifty per cent off Black Friday sale on Garmin's premium navigation apps
Garmin has announced that its premium navigation apps for iOS, Navigon and StreetPilot, will be available at a 50 percent discount on Black Friday. Garmin's premium apps offer a range of features not included in its free app versions, such as being able to store map information locally on the iPhone.
ChronoSync backup and mirroring tool takes 25 percent off regular price
Well-regarded synchronization, backup and mirroring tool ChronoSync will be going on sale between November 28 and December 2 in what the developer, Econ Technologies, says is its "Thanksgiving-Black Friday-Small Business Saturday-Cyber-Monday" event. The program, which normally sells for $40 but includes free lifetime upgrades, will be discounted by 25 percent to $30 during the sale. Unlike Apple's own Time Machine solution, ChronoSync can be customized to backup only selected items, create bootable backups, and works across platforms, external drives, network drives and even iOS devices. A demo and the full program are available directly from the developer.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to be released in December for iOS
First released for consoles in 2004, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is set to be launched for iOS in December, according to Rockstar Games. Set in the early 1990s, GTA: San Andreas is centered around Carl "CJ" Johnson, the protagonist, and his involvement in the Grove Street Families gang fighting with the Ballas and Vagos.
New look for iOS 7, streamlined gallery, improved performance, more
One of the most well-regarded illustration apps for the iPad, Procreate, has now been upgraded to version 2.0 with a new iOS 7-inspired UI redesign and GPU-accelerated filters and adjustments as the primary new features. The program, which offers realistic digital pencils, inks and brushes, offers layer compositing and a work environment as similar as possible to the traditional paper-based drawing workflows. It utilizes a "4K" canvas size (4096x4096 on the iPad 3 and higher) and 1080p video capture.
Chair makes original Infinity Blade free for limited time
The three-year-old but still highly-regarded game Infinity Blade for iOS has been made free for a limited time in celebration of Black Friday -- only the second time the game has gone free since its debut. The game, the first in the series, is compatible with iPhones from the 3GS on up and all iPad models, as well as the third-generation or later iPod touch. The game -- in which players take on the role of a knight and his descendants battling the God King and his minions in a single-player campaign marked by lush, cinematic graphics -- normally sells for $6.
Full 3D sequel offers classic characters with new heroes and ten playable tales
Nearly 20 years after Final Fantasy IV's release, a full 3D remake sequel has been released for iOS. Final Fantasy IV: The After Years includes classic characters alongside new heroes, such as Ceodore, son of King Cecil and Rosa of Baron. Another moon has appeared in the sky, as well as new destructive monsters that threaten the world.
Google adds location sharing, high-res photo backup
Google has updated its Google+ app for iOS, adding multiple new features and changing the design. Version 4.6.0 of the Google+ app adds the ability to store full-resolution backups of a user's photos. It also adds a new location sharing feature, giving a visual representation of where one's friends are.
New app serves as Evernote alternative
Livescribe recently introduced its third-generation smartpen and its first iOS app, Livescribe+, which aims to serve as an alternative to Evernote. We met the company this week in New York City, where we put the digital pen to task against our hastily scribbled notes. The concept is certainly promising, but does the new software and hardware really serve as an effective note-taking system for iPhones and iPads?
Embedded video a first; app previewed at iPhone 5 launch
Fourteen months after its debut during the iPhone 5 launch in 2012, the anticipated game Clumsy Ninja (free) has finally arrived in the iOS App Store - but in some countries, the game's preview page includes a one-minute video trailer, the first of its kind to appear in on an app page. The video preview is not yet available in the US store but is able to be seen in the UK and Canadian stores (among others) where the game appears as an "Editor's Choice" pick.
Keynote gets substantial improvements, others get back customizable toolbars
[Updated with additional information] As promised by the company in response to user feedback, updates have been made to Apple's iWork suites of apps for Mac and iOS. Apple has released v2.0.1 updates for the iOS versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. The iOS versions of, Pages and Numbers have only received minor bugfixes, but the Mac versions gained back a feature removed from the v10 remakes - customizable toolbars. The Mac and iOS version of Keynote also added a series of new transitions and builds.
Allows easier editing of Office documents
Microsoft has released a v4.0 iOS client update for SkyDrive, its cloud storage service. The centerpiece of the update is Camera Backup, which like Dropbox or Google+ can now automatically upload new images saved to a device's Camera Roll. The app has also been given a visual overhaul, bringing it into line with iOS 7.
HBO content now viewable on Chromecast
Just as previously hinted in Google's support pages, HBO has updated its app for both Android and iOS, adding the ability to play shows through the Google Chromecast dongle. The updated HBO Go allows for streaming to the Google media player while simultaneously allowing the app to be used for controlling playback.
Tumblr app gives visual overhaul, new UI for user interaction
Visual blogging service Tumblr has updated its iOS app for iPhone and iPad to version 3.5, bringing with it a complete overhaul of the look - now using the iOS 7 design language - as well as a handful of new features. Users will discover a completely new user interface for composing, reblogging and post style selection, alongside the redesigned Dashboard. The reblogging feature is now faster as well, and the update also offers tagging auto-completion.
Tablet long ignored in support
Having long only supported the iPhone, Apple has introduced a native iPad version of the Apple Store app. The iPad interface sports unique features, above all a menu bar-based layout better suited to the extra screen space; whenever the bar is hidden, a quick swipe down can bring it back. Another addition is high-resolution images, which let users pinch to zoom in on product shots.
App interfaces with console rather than Microsoft server, limiting latency
Preceding the Xbox One console release, Microsoft has rolled out a new SmartGlass app for iOS. Simply titled "Xbox One SmartGlass," the new app will carry the same basic features as the current version for the Xbox 360. Gamers will also be able to take advantage of multiplayer matchmaking from their mobile device on the new console, or tap a Help button to get contextually-aware assistance during a game.
Search results now show all relevant tweets, adds trending timeline
Twitter has pushed out an update to its iOS and Android apps, offering a revamped search function, related trending tweets, improved login verification and more. Users can now search tweets by media type (photos or videos) in a grid or list layout, and the search function can also separate "news" tweets from those from a users' friends. In addition, the search now offers a "everything" view, and the ability to see all tweets rather than "top tweets."
Find My Friends gets flattened with new look
Apple has pushed out an update to its Find My Friends app, giving it a new look that is more in line with the flat aesthetic of iOS 7. Version 3.0 of Find My Friends bears little, if anything, else in the way of changes. The app still allows users to locate friends on iOS devices based on their Apple IDs.
LinkedIn Pulse responds to feedback, enhances 4.0 update
LinkedIn Pulse, formerly Pulse, was released last week on iTunes and Google Play as LinkedIn's "main vehicle for [its] social news experience". Version 4.0 was met with criticism, leading the company to hurriedly issue version 4.0.1 to respond to complaints. The update includes full screen reading on iPad, increased density on the home screen, the ability to swipe to go back after reading a story, and several smaller fixes and performance improvements.
Apple outperforms Google, Amazon in app store ranking
Apple's App Store was rated the most mature overall, according to a new analysis from Pfeiffer Report. The App Store, which changed the mobile landscape upon its introduction, got higher overall scores than both Google's Play Store and Amazon's Appstore. The Play Store placed second behind Apple's offering, and Amazon's app repository came in last.
Harper's joins the digital age with new iOS app
Harper's Magazine has taken a step into the new publishing paradigm, as the magazine released last week a new full app for Apple's iPhone and iPad. The move is a sizable one for the venerable publication, as it has in the past been fairly resistant to adopting new technologies. The development illustrates the growing importance of publications built for mobile devices, as Apple's can now boast that the oldest continuously published general-interest monthly in America now has a presence on its iOS platform.
Acase releases Tip Top and F1 cases for iPad Air
Acase, a designer and manufacturer of mobile device accessories, has announced the availability of two lightweight iPad Air cases: the TipTop, which emphasizes functionality, and the F1 Case, that focuses on style. The TipTop can prop the tablet in six distinct angles, and includes a hand strap for preventing drops while holding it. The F1 provides users with a cover that also can prop the tablet for adequate typing usage, and sports a black and red aesthetic that likens itself to an Italian race car. Both cases are made of premium leather, and feature magnetic covers that automatically turn the iPad on or off. Available on Amazon, the F1 Case and TipTop are each regularly priced at $40 and currently on sale for $25 and $20 respectively.
United Airlines app offers iOS 7 redesign, quick access 'travel card' format
Airline United released an update for its United Airlines app, offering a new design and additional features. Available on iTunes, its quick-access 'travel cards' interface allows users to easily view a flight status, airport map, book or check in for a flight. Its travel wallet feature provides a shortcut to the user's United Airlines customer information, such as upcoming reservations, mobile boarding passes, and more.
Gmail for iOS updated for iOS 7, improvements for iPad
Google's official Gmail app for iPhone and iPad received an update yesterday, offering a visual update for iOS 7, and improvements for iPad use. Users of the Gmail app can access their Gmail account (and can accommodate switching between up to five different accounts), receive notifications, read mail as threaded conversations and more. Version 2.7182 offers iPad users a new navigation bar for landscape viewing, a new full-screen view of messages in portrait, improved scrolling and a full-screen view for composing new messages. Available for download from iTunes, Gmail for iOS is free.