E-book subscription service Oyster launches web and mobile web reader
Oyster, an e-book subscription service, has announced its launch of new web and mobile web readers. The expansion marks its second new platform in the past month (with the first launch specifically for Android users in June). Pages in the web reader will scroll smoothly from top to bottom, with five reader themes to select from. Oyster is partnered with over 1600 publishers, and offers access to a diverse library for $10 per month.
More color selection options
Savage Interactive has released v2.1 of Procreate, its professional-level illustration app for the iPad. The update is a major one, adding a number of new features, most significantly ColorDrop. Users can now simply drag and drop a color to a location to fill; before dropping, continuing to hold will bring up fill threshold controls.
Drive pricey, but in larger sizes cheaper than equivalent iPad storage
Accessory manufacturer PQI is now shipping the Gmobi iStick, an Apple "MFi" USB flash drive. The device, with a Lightning and conventional USB head, is designed for Apple's entire series of iOS devices with a Lightning port, and is available in capacities from 8GB to 64GB.
Disney's Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse released for OS X July 24
Feral Interactive today announced the upcoming release of its fairytale platforming game Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, a reworking of the SEGA Genesis and Mega Drive original. Players navigate the 3D game as Mickey, with the goal of rescuing Minnie Mouse from the evil witch Mizrabel. Players will run, jump, swing and swim through whimsical levels such as a haunted forest, and solve puzzles along the way.
Feature pulls items into central location, issues save item News Feed reminders
Facebook users no longer need to worry about trying to find a post on that interesting band or restaurant they didn't have time to read. The social media company announced today that it launched Save, a feature that allows users to collect items for later consumption into one place. The feature is rolling out to mobile app and web-based users of the social media service.
Battery powered drive aims to boost mobile storage wirelessly
Regardless of how large a tablet you buy, you always want more space. There's always one more movie or another album you'd cram on, if only there was a little more room! A line of products has surfaced, which purport to expand the capacity of a tablet by offloading media and other documents to a wireless hard drive. Patriot has a device in the class, the Aero Wireless Mobile Drive. The concept is a really good idea, but how is the execution? Read our review and find out.
DJ Player updated, adds navigation improvements, new track browser
DJ Player for iOS devices has received an update, offering redesigned, streamlined features. DJ Player aims to provide desktop-grade performance on one's mobile device, and allows users to manually beat-match and bend pitches as desired. Displaying, sorting, search and filtering one's music library can be executed with little time elapsing. DJ Player v7.2 includes a completely rewritten track browser. Its "intelligent path bar" allows for one-tap navigation between multiple playlists, and tapping on the artwork, time, comment or BPM columns can queue or "unqueue" a track.
MacNN and Electronista staff deals for July 18, 2014
Yes, its that time again! Time for another episode of "Friday Deals!" Every Friday, we're going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best bargains on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, but any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy!
Google Analytics for iOS released on iTunes
Google has released its Analytics app, optimized for iPhone 5 users. The app allows users to access web and app data from Google Analytics, and the company aims to offer a variety of marketing research tools to generate more viewers and more revenue. The mobile app eliminates the need to view account information through a browser page, and users can monitor real-time reports. Available for iOS 6 or later, the Google Analytics app is free to download.
Passbook card is refillable at Apple Stores, debuted in Japan
One day after the service initially debuted in Japan, the new "iTunes Pass" Passbook card is now available in the US and Australia. The iTunes app on an iPhone or iPad can now issue an "iTunes Pass" card for Passbook to users who click on the "Redeem" button in the iTunes app. Once in place, users can bring the device to their nearest Apple retail store, where staff can take money and instantly add it to the Passbook card by scanning the card, which in turn credits the users' iTunes account.
AirBnB revamps look of app for iOS 7, adds 'Discover' feature
Short-term housing and accommodations app Airbnb (free) has been redecorating its entire public-facing image, from redesigning its website and sporting a new logo to bringing the flatter and larger design language of iOS 7 to its latest update. The new version of the app offers larger images and fonts, but retains the main features that both hosts and would-be renters use to connect. A new "Discover" feature lets users find places to stay through less conventional means, such as by theme, as well as the traditional methods of where and when.
Natural acoustic iPhone dock Eight now available
A new acoustic amplifier has been released for iPhone, composed of a natural wood construction. The Eight is hand sanded and hand oiled, making the wood structure the center of the design. Made of walnut and Birdseye maple, the iPhone dock features a built-in microphone, and its speakers are inspired by the shape of an ear, with conically-shaped chambers that produce aesthetically pleasing sound. The iPhone is accessible for use while in the dock, and its built-in slot includes a Lightning cable that can charge an iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Priced at $300, the Eight wooden dock is available internationally.
New app versions include videos, interviews, photos and lower cost
In an unusual move, Concord Music Group and former Beatle Paul McCartney have re-worked five of the singer-songwriter's classic albums -- McCartney, Ram, Band on the Run, Wings over America and 1980's McCartney II -- as multi-media iPad apps. The re-worked iPad versions feature not only remastered audio of the albums in question, but also videos, interviews, artwork associated with the release (such as single covers) and photos from the period.
Google's Chrome browser app for iOS adds Chromecast support
Google has updated its Chrome browser app for iOS today, adding Chromecast support. Chrome for iOS syncs tabs and bookmarks across devices, can translate webpages in any language, and allows users to open as many tabs as is desired. Chrome v36.0.19 allows mobile sites that have added Cast support to work one's Cast-enabled device. Additionally included in the update are stability-focused improvements and bug fixes. Chrome for iOS is free to download and requires iOS 6.0 or later.
New update brings user interface enhancements, new graphical elements
Subscription reading service Scribd today announced key updates to its existing iOS and Android apps, and the formal launch of its all-new app for Windows phones and tablets. As part of the update, current iOS and Android readers will find a new browse and book page experience, as well as new fonts and color palettes.
Song identifier app integrates subscription Rdio streaming
Song-indentifying app Shazam (free) has introduced a new update that incorporates streaming music service Rdio into the app, allowing subscribers to Rdio to hear the full version of songs identified using Shazam. Previously, Shazam would have to switch over to a third-party app if users wanted to hear a full copy of a song they identified in the app, but now those with Rdio installed won't have to fire up the previously-installed Rdio app to hear the full track. Shazam also offers iTunes buying of tracks, and in iOS 8 will integrate with Siri so that users can simply ask what song is playing at any time.
Wunderlist 3 announced, to premiere in coming weeks
Task management app Wunderlist has announced the upcoming release of its third version, due in the coming weeks. Featuring a new design, Wunderlist 3 includes 60 new improvements, which centre around improving the app's versatility in curating and sharing lists. Those interested in being one of the first users of Wunderlist 3 can sign up, and news updates can be found on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google+.
New version offers integrated, synced one-stop PIM shop
Some users need a lot more than just what Apple's built-in Calendar, Notes and Reminders can offer in terms of organizing their life, and for them the term PIM (Personal Information Manager) becomes a familiar one. We've had a chance to work with the recent 4.0 major update of long-time PIM Pocket Informant, and have really appreciated the changes and the versatility of the app. Users looking for a one-stop app that syncs with popular calendar and related services, this just might be your Nirvana.
Jury finds Apple did not push app developers into infringing older streaming patent
Apple has scored another legal victory, this time against Israeli firm Emblaze and its charge that Apple induced app developers to infringe Emblaze's US patent on live video streaming. A federal jury found in Friday that Apple was not guilty of requiring any of the seven example apps used in the trial to use Apple's own HLS (HTTP live streaming) protocol, and thus did not foster infringement of the patent. Emblaze, a struggling audio company that had tried to sell the technology many times, is also suing Microsoft in a similar case.
Photoshop Express adds new tools, filter strength gauge, RAW format import
Adobe has followed up on its recent spate of new iPad apps with an update to the older Photoshop Express, now at version 3.4. The new version offers four specific new features: two new tools, the ability to import photos in RAW format, and a new ability to increase or decrease filter strength as desired. The two new tools are a "defog" tool to remove haziness, and a "blemish removal" tool. Photoshop Express is available free from the App Store. The app is also compatible with the iPhone.
Electronista and MacNN staff deal picks for July 11, 2014
Another week, another episode of "Friday Deals!" Every Friday, we're going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best bargains on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, but any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy!
New Explore feature points out places and activities
Google has released an update of its Google Maps client for iOS, adding several significant features. When searching for places, for instance, results will now appear directly on a map. Users can switch between this view and a more standard list.
IK Multimedia launches portable Lightning/USB iRig MIDI 2
IK Multimedia has announced that it is now shipping the iRig MIDI 2, a portable MIDI interface with Lightning and USB connectivity for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Mac and PC. The device is equipped with three standard-sized female MIDI DIN sockets -- IN, OUT and THRU -- which allow for full MIDI functionality and connectivity with any MIDI-enabled device, such as a keyboard, hardware synthesizer and more. Its two blue LED lights provide monitoring of the MIDI data passing through the In and Out sockets.
All-Star Game gets interactive content
Major League Baseball is entering into a second phase of iBeacon deployments at stadiums. Beginning this is project for the 2014 All-Star Game, which is being hosted at Target Field in Minneapolis. People with a supporting iPhone and the latest version of At the Ballpark will get extra content, including interactive material, when visiting nine different exhibits in the stadium. iBeacons are already in use at 28 other ballparks, but mostly for check-ins and discounts.
D-Link now shipping new 802.11ac Wireless Access Point device
D-Link has announced the release of the DAP-2660, a new high-power 802.11ac wireless access point. Enclosed in a low-profile white housing, the DAP-2660 can be installed on the ceiling or wall-mounted in locations that require access to a wireless signal. Its maximum wireless signal rates are up to 300Mbps using a 2.4GHz band, and 867Mbps using the 5GHz band. The access point supports advanced radio management features such as band steering, airtime fairness and load balancing.
Google Search app now features fix option for voice recognition
Google Search's voice recognition has a new feature that aims to relieve the problem of misheard words. Prior to the update, users would need to restart their verbal search query if it was originally misheard by the app - now, the command "no I said" is in effect, meaning that the new search replaces just the one word that was incorrect. The update is available for both iOS and Android versions of Google Search.
MapQuest for iOS update improve ETA feature, adds airport maps, GrubHub support
AOL's MapQuest: Maps, GPS, Voice Navigation and Traffic app for iOS has received an update, improving its ETA feature, and adding new components. MapQuest for iOS allows users to access travelling resources such as live maps, GPS, voice navigation and live traffic updates. The release of v4.4 now includes additional traffic data for improving the accuracy of the estimated arrival time. Its new volume slider helps control volume relative to other applications, so that dictated directions can be adequately heard.
NYC officials demanding drug, criminal screening for all Lyft drivers
Ride-sharing service Lyft has revealed that it intends to start operating in the outer boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens as initial launch markets in New York City. Calling the areas "vastly underserved by public transit options," the service launches on 7PM EST on Friday, July 11, but is facing significant resistance both from established cab companies and city government.
Discussions let students, teachers communicate
As promised at the end of June, Apple has released a major update of iTunes U, v2.0. On the iPad, teachers can now create and manage courses entirely on their own, including assignments, outlines, and other course materials. Custom content can be added via an "Open in iTunes U" extension in other iOS apps such as Pages and Keynote; photos and video can be captured and uploaded directly. If a teacher is associated with a qualifying institution, they can publish courses to the official iTunes U catalog.
Dropbox and MIT alumni launch Inbox start-up
A new cross-platform email application start-up has been released by Dropbox and MIT alumni, billed as a "next generation" platform. Inbox offers a way to build apps that access end users' inboxes, working with Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft Exchange and more. The platform does not require the use of IMAP, and so can support a wider range of developers who can create a wider range of email tools, such as snoozing messages, or sending emails on behalf of an end user.
Health app now leverages iPhone 5s M7 motion co-processor
Another notable change found as testers pore over the latest iOS 8 beta is that the Health app is now connected to the M7 motion co-processor found in the iPhone 5s. As a result, the app can now keep track of steps taken without the aid of any third-party apps or hardware. Upon opening the revised Health app, users will find the previous week's worth of step data (which is continuously monitored by the M7) pre-populated. Users can remove "sets" of steps if desired, and sort all Health data by day, week, month or year.
Skype rolls out iPhone app update, re-introduces voice-message support
Microsoft has released v5.2 of the iPhone version of its Skype app. Users can now receive recorded messages from when they are offline within a conversation stream, and it can be listened to directly. User profiles can be viewed from one's contacts, displaying status, username, location and more. Additionally, participants can be added to existing conversations through the main menu on the bottom right-hand side. Skype v5.2 is free to download through iTunes.
Akvis Pastel released, available as standalone app and Photoshop plug-in filter
Akvis has announced the release of Pastel, a photo-to-painting image editor available for both Windows and OS X. Offering a variety of presets as well as detailed setting options, users of Pastel can create images that appear as though they are paintings from digital or scanned photographs. Its adjustable effect parameters function as an artistic filter, with advanced brush tools that assist in refining the result.
Non-collectible card-game arcade fighting game spans genres, fan bases
Apple's iOS and other mobile platforms have occasionally been criticized for offering relatively few "deep" gaming experiences, with simplified versions of complex titles being big movers. The iPad came into its own about six months after its release with titles such as Ticket to Ride and other board game adaptations, with a bevy of other releases following. Card games, mostly of the collectible variety, are popular -- with the recently-released Hearthstone by Blizzard taking top honors. But what about deep card games without a collectible mechanic? Game designer David Sirlin has released Yomi, a genre-spanning card-based game, drawing on arcade fighting games like Street Fighter II and the like for inspiration. Does Yomi live up to its promises of a deep, strategic experience, without "pay to win" being a factor?
Electronista and MacNN staff's deal picks for July 4, 2014
Welcome to this week's installment of Friday Deals -- oh, and also America's birthday! Every Friday we're going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best bargains on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, but any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy!
Pioneer releases update for its digital music management software
Pioneer has announced the release of an updated version of Rekordbox for OS X, its digital music management software. Rekordbox is designed for DJing, and allows users to export tracks and playlists to USB devices and the Rekordbox app. During a DJing session, performance history is automatically saved, and after a set the user can review and prepare for a future performance by adding comments and ratings to an old set.
Spotify app update adds Play Queue, sorting and filtering for iPhone
Music streaming service Spotify has updated its iOS app, adding new features for iPhone users. Spotify allows users to search for any track, artist or album, make and share playlists, and build a preferred music collection. The release of v1.4 features a Play Queue for iPhone, and a new confirmation for avoid duplicates in a playlist. Within the Your Music section, users can now sort and filter music in their Spotify collection. Free to download, Spotify's iOS app can be found through the iTunes App Store.
Incorporates iPhone features in larger real estate
Facebook has updated the iOS version of Messenger, adding a native iPad interface for the first time. Functionally the interface is similar to its iPhone equivalent, mostly displaying more contacts simultaneously, and providing extra screen space for images and text. Significantly though, iPad users don't have to switch between the contact view and message threads.
Yahoo Mail adds existing iPhone features for iPad
Yahoo has released an update for its Mail app for iOS, featuring enhancements for iPad users. The service includes 1TB of free storage space, and one's inbox can be personalized with Flickr themes that sync across devices. Yahoo Mail v3.1.0 aims to offer more access to information in a consolidated space, with news, search, and snapshots of weather, sports scores and more now available. Filters can be created, edited and deleted for one's mail, and various performance and bug fixes. Free to download, Yahoo Mail requires iOS 7.0 or later, and a mail account through Yahoo.
How well does the new on-device file repository work in practice?
There are a few file storage apps for iOS devices, and they've been around since the beginning of the platform. Each one does things a little differently. Earlier today, Pocket Drive (and Pocket Drive+) was released to the world, an app that - instead of using iTunes file sharing to move files -- mounts the iOS device that the app is installed on as a file share on a user's computer, allowing for file movement across a local network, separate from iTunes. How well does this Pocket Drive + work in practice?
iFixit announces Liberation Week, offering free iPhone toolkit giveaway
Do-it-yourself repair guide company iFixit has announced that between today and July 4, it will hold a Liberation Week giveaway. Making available its iPhone Liberation toolkit for free during this time period, the tools allow users to switch out the iPhone's proprietary pentalobe screws for standard Phillips screws, making opening the device for repair far easier. iFixit has 15,000 iPhone Liberation Kits to give away this year; to acquire one, interested users can fill out a form determining which kit they require.
Start-up continues to fight courts, broadcasters over Aereo legality
Aereo is continuing its fight against broadcasters, after temporarily shutting down following a decision by the Supreme Court, by asking affected users to complain to lawmakers. An e-mail sent by Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia sent out today calls for users to vent their frustrations at representatives, with the aim of changing the law to allow the start-up to continue operating.
Teachers will be able to modify all course aspects
Apple has announced that a major update is coming to the iTunes U iPad app on July 8. The app will not only gain class discussions, but full teacher control of courses -- allowing educators to personally create, edit, and manage them. This includes adding content from iWork, iBooks Author, and educational apps, plus photos and videos captured directly from an iPad.
Feature integration with Google Drive apps prompts removal of QuickOffice
Google has confirmed it will be removing QuickOffice from both Google Play and the App Store. Set to take place in the coming weeks, QuickOffice is being taken down following Google's updates to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides that allowed the apps to work directly with Microsoft Office files without first converting them, among other new additions.
Complete note-taking app with notebook metaphor, iPad version available
Software developers Circus Ponies has been making its flagship Mac product Notebook for over 10 years (and it was originally on NeXTStep before that), only last month introducing the latest major version, 4.0. The program has been a stalwart, comprehensive note-taking app that tries to include every feature students and professionals who need more than bullet points might conceivably need, and goes well beyond typical "Note" or "Notepad" type apps. With the release of a significant bug-fix update (v4.0.3), we thought it was time to appraise this skeuomorphic scratch pad.
Philips' two new PowerSensor displays reduce energy consumption up to 80 precent
Philips has announced two new PowerSensor displays that detect user presence so as to conserve energy consumption. By automatically reducing monitor brightness when users step away from the display, the PowerSensor displays reduce energy usage by up to 80 percent. Available in 24- and 27-inch screen sizes, the displays utilize LCD backlighting for dimming control. The 24-inch display is priced at $250, and the 27-inch at $350.
Just Mobile releases ultra-fine stylus for smartphone and tablet displays
Just Mobile has announced the release of a new stylus pen for tablets and smartphones. Featuring a 1.8mm tip, the AluPen Digital aims to provide a writing experience comparable to that of a ballpoint pen on paper. The stylus is accompanied by a wider, 8mm tip, intended for use with drawing. Its charge-amplified circuitry does not require Bluetooth pairing or companion apps to function. Powered by a AAA battery, the stylus automatically turns itself off after idling for three minutes. Priced at $50, the AluPen Digital is now available.
Electronista and MacNN staff's deal picks for June 27, 2014
Welcome to this week's installment of Friday Deals! Every Friday we're going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best bargains on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, but any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy!
Overhaul Reports, FamilySearch functions
Synium has released v7.2 updates for its OS X and iOS genealogy apps, MacFamilyTree and MobileFamilyTree. Both make major changes, including scrapping and rewriting the Reports section. Users can pick from a number of different preset report types, including a new Descendancy option, and display or export them in 16 languages. Custom watermarks, borders, ornaments, and font scales can be applied, and Synium has improved aspects like printing, PDF export, and narrative reports.
Adds clarity to 'Best New Games' section, showcases recently-refreshed titles
Readers have reported that Apple is continuing to tweak the app-discovery experience in the iOS App Store, and on Thursday added a new "Best New Updates" section for iOS games, drawing user attention to recently-refreshed titles separate of the existing "Best New Games" section, which would sometimes contain updated rather than genuinely new titles. The move should benefit games that fall into both categories by clarifying updated versus all-new titles.