Part of sea change in Apple policies
A Bitcoin trading app, Blockchain, has been allowed to return to the iOS App Store, reports note. The title was one of several removed from the App Store early this year during an Apple crackdown. The company's policy is normally to prohibit apps allowing activities which may be illegal in some countries. Although Bitcoin has become increasingly accepted, it still sits in a legal limbo in many regions.
Hotel chain rolling out iOS and Android device integration through guests' stay
Hilton Worldwide has announced that its guests will now be able to use their iOS or Android device to control most elements of a guest's hotel stay. Due to roll out this summer, the upcoming Hilton app will soon allows users to choose a preferred room, make requests, and check in and out of the hotel. Room selection is anticipated to be available by the end of the year, and will include DoubleTree and Embassy Suites. In 2015, guests' phones will also unlock their room. Most of these features focus on bypassing the physical hotel lobby. By the end of 2016, Hilton aims to integrate the majority of its rooms world-wide with these new app-based functionalities.
Review score of customers by Uber drivers pulled from view
E-on Software releases free Ozone 2014 Personal Learning Edition
E-on Software has announced the release of its Ozone 2014 Personal Learning Edition, a sun and atmospheric lighting simulator. The software produces ultra-realistic environments with volumetric clouds, accurate light dispersion, and natural phenomena such as "Godrays." Users can create new atmospheres, and load any of the included presets and modify them.
App to be discontinued
Beginning with iOS 8 beta 4, Apple is warning owners of iPhoto for iOS that some features may not make the transition to its replacement, at least at first. Much as with iPhoto on the Mac, users will eventually be migrated over to an all-new, native Photos app, a huge overhaul of the existing iOS Photos app. When trying to run iPhoto in the current beta of iOS 8, an error message now appears stating that iPhoto isn't supported; instead, people are offered the choice to migrate data to Photos, with the exception of "layouts and text added to Books, Journals and Slideshows."
NYC commission unclear as to what requirements must be met for new drivers
Lyft has conceded many of its talking points to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), but has forged an agreement to commence operation. Pickups will commence today at 7PM in all five boroughs, but all drivers need to be licensed by the TLC prior to accepting pickups. As part of the deal, Lyft will also need to shut down in Buffalo and Rochester to enhance insurance that it offers to riders and drivers.
PDF, CBZ copies of Comixology purchases available to download
ComiXology, the digital comic book retailer owned by Amazon, is now allowing users to make backups of some downloaded comics. For a number of publishers, the service will make PDF and CBZ versions of comic book purchases free of any digital rights management (DRM), effectively letting customers view the comics they own in other reader apps.
Gmail for iOS now leverages Google Drive directly for archiving and attachments
Google has updated its Gmail for iOS (free) to allow users to leverage the company's Google Drive in two new ways: users can now save attachments in emails directly to Google Drive, and users can now access Google Drive directly from within the Gmail app to add attachments to outgoing messages. The update to version 3.14159 (yes, pi) also gives users more options with account management, such as deciding which of their Gmail account is seen without removing other accounts, and changing the Gmail profile pic.
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 1,600 publishers, and offers access to a diverse library for $10 per month.
Google Maps Explore offers nearby activities based on distance, time of day
Google is adding a new option to the Google Maps app for Android and iOS, providing suggestions for nearby locations to visit when traveling. The new "Explore" button, appearing on the apps this week, will offer up a variety of restaurants and coffee shops in the immediate and surrounding area, as well as other potential activities for the user to try out.
Mac Pro for consumers?
Today in the MacNN forums, Mac Elite "PeterParker" was asking fellow forum-goers if they thought that Apple would ever create a Mac Pro in the sub-2K price range for people who aren't quite "pros" who want that style of desktop. Today, Forum Regular "Nassifer" was trying to determine why their notebook was so slow after doing a complete restore to 10.9.4, and turned to the forums looking for advice.
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.
South Korean capital aims to stop Uber over unregistered taxi services
South Korean capital Seoul could potentially ban Uber in the city, in favor of its own still-in-development app. The city government advised that it would try to ban the car-hailing app, as current South Korean law makes it illegal to provide any sort of fee-based transportation service via privately-owned vehicles not registered to do so with local authorities.
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.
Access barred to people without verified accounts
Facebook has launched a new iPhone app, Mentions. Unlike its others, however, Mentions can't be accessed by the general public. Instead users must have a verified account, restricting it to businesses and celebrities such as actors, politicians, and musicians.
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.
Update adds real-time gift card balance updates, ability to request money in Gmail
Google Wallet issued an update today that gives users the ability to add gift cards and request (or send) money through the Wallet app. The addition grants another perk to using Wallet as it allows customers to carry even fewer cards with assorted balances or perks. Requesting money from friends and family, or sending them money using a debit card is now free of charge, unlike the previous version which charged the same 2.9 percent (minimum 30 cents) fee as when using a credit card.
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.
Lyft claims NY AG making 'deliberate misstatement' about court hearing
Ride-sharing service Lyft has halted its New York City launch for the time being. While the delay was originally portrayed as amicable, with the delay blessed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission as well as the courts, a battle has erupted in the press -- with both sides pointing fingers at each other for the delay, with accusations of misdeeds and lies erupting.
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.
LinkedIn Connected released as a redesign of LinkedIn Contacts
LinkedIn, the social platform for professional networking, has released a redesigned version of its LinkedIn Contacts app for iOS. LinkedIn Connected offers users relevant updates about people in their networks, and notifications about job changes, birthdays, and more. The revamp includes the same features as the previous release, with a focus on relationships. LinkedIn Connected is free to download.
Number could be higher, as Apple broadens compatibility with makers
A new report from ABI Research suggests that as many as a third of all new vehicles sold by 2019 could be compatible with Apple's CarPlay techology, right alongside competitors such as Android Auto and potentially other systems. Just now hitting the market, Apple's CarPlay system works with automakers' built-in infotainment systems, cooperatively overriding the vehicle's native interface when users plug in a Lightning-compatible iPhone or other iOS device (Android Auto works in the same manner, but for selected premium Android phones).
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.
Parking auction app suspends service before lawsuit threat deadline
MonkeyParking has temporarily halted its service in San Francisco, just one day before a deadline set by the City Attorney. The parking app, which allows drivers to sell their spot to others, was sent a cease-and-desist by the city late last month, with City Attorney Dennis Herrera threatening a lawsuit if it did not cease operations before July 11th.
Plans for HealthKit support still in the air
Misfit, the creator of the Shine wearable activity tracker, has announced a partnership with Beddit enabling sleep tracking in the official Misfit apps for iOS and Android. Rather than relying on the Shine, there is now a Misfit/Beddit-branded sleep monitor. The device is placed on a mattress, and tracks breathing, heart rate, restlessness, snoring, and ambient sound. The apps analyze this data over a seven-day period, and can also use it to trigger an alarm during a light sleep phase, ensuring a more refreshed feeling.
Official TLC warning leaves little ambiguity as to regulatory intent
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has escalated the conflict between it and ride-sharing service Lyft. A warning by the TLC, issued yesterday, reminds residents that while the service is indeed opening on Friday and will be offering free rides for two weeks to new subscribers, that the service is unlicensed to operate, and un-investigated drivers may pose a danger to riders.
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.
Alerts passengers to air delays, offers seat upgrades or changes, more
The latest company to announce the incorporation of Apple's iBeacon technology into its company workflow is European discount airline EasyJet, which announced on Monday that it will begin installing the devices in select airports in the UK and Europe to test effectiveness. It plans on rolling out the technology on a greater scale over the summer. Users of the just-updated EasyJet iOS app can opt to receive alerts from the "indoor GPS" hardware regarding flight changes and other information.
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.