Pre-encrypted wireless router now shipping
Networking hardware producer, TrendNet, is now shipping its new Extreme Performance AC1900 (TEW-818DRU) wireless router. Powered by a 1 GHz processor, high power radio amplifiers for extended wireless coverage, and Gigabit Wireless AC networking speeds. Designed to optimize wireless connections within the home, the TEW-818DRU is pre-encrypted, mitigating threat of hacking based on using unchanged default login credentials. The TEW-818DRU wireless router is priced at $260, and is available from retailers now.
E-book reader for iOS Marvin updated, adds new features, fixes
E-book reading app, Marvin, has been updated to version 2.7. Marvin is currently designed for iOS 7, offering the ability to format books as desired with high-fidelity rendering, and a selection of fonts and text settings. In v2.7.0, users have access to new German and British English localisations, a new star rating system, and greater in-app control of e-book files, bookmarks and highlights. Streamlined installation is now available, in addition to improved home screen animation and an updated Calibre connector to support rating metadata syncing and bulk locking of books using the Marvin XD Calibre plug-in. Marvin v2.7 is available in the app store for $3.
Assassin's Creed Pirates for iOS and Android adds new map area
Ubisoft has announced that its game Assassin's Creed Pirates has been updated for iOS and Android devices. The update includes a new map area and campaign missions, with three new secondary missions and new treasures and diaries available for collecting. Each map features its own "survival mission," where players can fish and hunt whales for food. The update to Assassin's Creed Pirates is free for existing users.
Nudity banned in Vine clips, though artistic and documentary nudity spared
Twitter has updated its terms of service for video sharing app Vine, banning videos of sexual content. The change, which takes immediate effect, aims to stop users from posting adult content of a sexual nature on the service, but still allows for nudity in an artistic or documentary context to be displayed, and appears to be another attempt by the company to clean up the service.
New Flagship store in San Francisco gains final approval
All obstacles have been cleared, and the long-planned Union Square flagship Apple Store has finally received final clearance from the San Francisco City Council to demolish the current standing building and begin renovations and construction on the new store. The new building will be a two-story structure with an all-glass frontage facing Union Square, utilizing a cantilevered design that features a patio and waterfall behind the store.
Warning e-mail from ComiXology states no payment details at risk
Digital comic book retailer ComiXology is asking all of its customers to reset their passwords, as a precautionary measure following an intrusion. An e-mail sent to users of the comic book store and reader app states that an "unauthorized individual" had gained access to a database containing usernames, e-mail addresses, and "cryptographically protected" passwords.
App visible in US, but downloads may be broken
[Updated: US version of the app now downloading normally] Apple appears to have released an updated iTunes Festival app, v5.0, with content support for next week's SXSW concerts in Austin, Texas. So far, though, mostly people outside the US have successfully downloaded the software; Americans trying to download it via iTunes are encountering errors saying the app is "unavailable." Likewise, the title doesn't appear in US App Store searches.
Avira Free Mac Security adds Time Machine optimization, improved real-time tracking
Avira has updated its security software for Mac, offering performance enhancements and new security features, including Avira Protection Cloud and Avira Browser Safety. Avira produces free anti-virus and security software for PC, Mac, Android and iOS. Free Mac Security now includes optimized Time Machine back-ups, and an increase in scan performance for scheduled scanning. Quarantine management is also featured, as well as real-time detection of zero-day threats and notifications through Apple Notification Center. Avira's anti-virus software can be downloaded online.
Brings CNN content into Flipboard
iOS- and Android-based news reader service Flipboard has bought its main rival Zite from CNN, the company and reports have confirmed. The deal is worth about $60 million, and beginning today has allowed Flipboard to integrate tailored CNN content into its news feeds, including not just general news but feeds from shows like Anderson Cooper 360, Crossfire, and Inside Politics. Some celebrities from the network, like Jake Tapper and Fareed Zakaria, are launching their own Flipboard magazines.
Gmail update for iOS adds background mail retrieval, simplified sign-in
Google's email service Gmail has received an update for its iOS app. The newly redesigned app provides real-time notifications, multiple account support and search across one's entire inbox. In v3.0, Gmail now includes background app refreshing, meaning that email is fully downloaded and retrieved as it arrives in one's inbox, as opposed to syncing only when the app is opened. Sign-in has been simplified, with consolidated authorization with all Google apps now enabled. Gmail for iOS now requires iOS 7 for all features to function.
Vudu adding support for Google Chromecast to mobile apps, website
Vudu has revealed it will be adding support for the Google Chromecast to the streaming service in the future. Both the mobile apps for iOS and Android will gain the extra ability, including offering remote control through the app itself, with casting through the Chrome browser for Mac and PC also touted as part of the release. Though Vudu has yet to reveal a date, it is accepting registrations for beta testing.
Facebook ignores name change request, improves article sharing
Facebook, which was asked by a prominent iPad developer to change the name of its Paper magazine-style article reader, has instead issued a minor update with the first new feature since its debut in late January. The iPhone-centric app is now at v1.0.2, which adds new ways to share Facebook articles.
Tonewood Products introduces iPhone cases made from premium wood
Tonewood Products has introduced a new line of iPhone cases. Built from guitar tonewoods such as maple, mahogany and rosewood, the company's wood-grain holders protect the phone while recreating the aesthetic of an acoustic guitar. Available for iPhone 4, 4s, 5 and 5s, the cases feature wooden volume and power buttons. Tonewood's phone case pricing begins at $80.
Uber update replaces SMS with push notifications
Uber has announced its update for its iOS app, featuring a shift from SMS message notifications to push notifications. Soon to include real-time information regarding its recently announced surge pricing, the taxi travel app now accepts PayPal as a fare payment option, meaning no credit card is required. Uber is free to download through iTunes.
New version enhances business use at cost of some personality
FileMaker Pro 13 is the first new version of the venerable database software since the company opted to kill of its consumer-friendly Bento software, and brings some of that influence into the fold -- such as new themes, easier import and a more-streamlined web-publishing feature to compliment FileMaker 12's mobile savvy. Is it worth the upgrade? Are databases still useful outside business or enterprise? Read on to find out.
Sequel to Avadon: The Black Fortress now available for iPad
Spiderweb Software's sequel to its award-winning role-play game, Avadon: The Black Fortress has been released for iPad. Avadon 2: The Corruption is the second chapter of the Avadon trilogy, and offers the choice between five different types of characters for exploring the game's large world. Gamers are charged with the goal of protecting their homeland of Avadon from foes of the "Pact" of warriors, mages, spies and assassins who have trained in the Black Fortress. The game is available through Steamfor Windows and OS X users, and can be purchased for iPad from the App Store for $10.
NBA Game Time adds classic games, videos
The NBA Game Time app for iOS has received an update this week, offering a new Classic Games section. Featuring a selection of historical content, the Classic Games component consists of video and descriptive accounts of notable NBA games throughout the league's existence. The latest version is available for download through iTunes for both iPhone and iPad.
Messaging app focusing on own network, shirks Facebook Chat, AIM, Google Talk, more
To the surprise and disappointment of most of its users, chatting application imo.im has announced that it will discontinue support for third-party networks -- including Facebook Chat, AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, Jabber and Steam -- in order to focus on building out its own chat platform, beginning March 3. According to the service, its chat apps for Android, iOS, Amazon and the web have over 10 million users.
Google+ Hangouts for iOS adds iOS7 optimization, video messaging
Messaging app Google+ Hangouts has received an update for iOS devices. Google+ Hangouts features free group audio calling with up to 10 people, and phone calls can be made through the app for free to numbers in the US and Canada. Now optimized for use on iPad, users of v2.0 can access picture-in-picture video calling as well as record and send video messages up to 10 seconds long. The app has been updated to reflect iOS 7, and has the addition of shareable animated stickers for expressing feelings and sending a map of one's current location. Google+ Hangouts is free to download, and is available on iTunes.
Original developer plans to introduce new titles to App Store
Despite efforts by Apple to prevent some of the more brazen clones of the popular-but-pulled iOS game Flappy Bird, a recent sampling of new iOS games released in a 24-hour period has revealed that one-third of them are either direct clones with different artwork and names, or at least use the same gameplay mechanic to the point that they are obviously borrowing the concept.
Bans on non-hands-free talking, texting stand; other uses not expressly forbidden
A case where a California driver was ticketed for "distracted driving" because he was consulting a map app for an alternate route while stuck in traffic has resulted in a victory for the driver. The Fifth District Court of Appeals found that a strict interpretation of the law, which bans talking or "listening" on a cell phone without a hands-free device for drivers, and also bars sending or receiving texts, did not cover other app use.
Instapaper for iOS update adds Kindle functionality, new discovery feature
Article saving and sharing tool Instapaper has been updated, offering a new Kindle functionality, an integrated web discovery feature and more. Instapaper allows users to save most web pages as text only, removing the web layout and ads and optimizing it for iOS device screens. Able to store up to 500 articles, users can store unlimited articles on the Instapaper website.
Clear for iOS enacts first free download period as part of consolidation
As per Realmac's announcement last week, the company's productivity app Clear is available for free until tomorrow morning. Confusion arose when Realmac upgraded Clear for iOS to now require payment, as well as created separate versions for iPhone-only and "universal" (iPad and iPhone) at different price points. Due to Apple not offering a way to migrate users between copies of an app, the company decided to make Clear free for a 24 hour window (as of 9AM EST), with a second 24-hour free period upcoming so that previous users (along with new users) could get the version they wanted without penalty. Those interested in being notified of the next free download period can be notified by email.
Will allow people to preorder from digital menus
Mobile payment service Square is testing out a new app called Pickup, reports say. Priceonomics notes the app is currently in beta with some San Francisco restaurants, and lets people order takeout food in advance of showing up. This is possible because the app has access to participating restaurants' menus, and lets people pay through Square.
Lets users check connection speed, aggregate national averages
The US Federal Communications Commission has refreshed a broadband speed-checking tool for iOS that was originally created in 2010, and updated it for iOS 7 and other modern technologies. The free FCC Speed Test is part of the Measuring Broadband America initiative, and is part of an FCC initiative to get a better "performance map" of US broadband. Users can view historical test data and current performance using the program.
MLB.com At Bat app updated today, features redesign, 2014 season
Major League Baseball app, MLB.com At Bat, has received an update today. Including content for the 2014 season and spring training, the app includes a redesign of the user interface to compliment iOS 7. Featuring a new inline video playback experience, the app now has a league-wide scoreboard for single-tap expansion, and new content begins with over 200 Spring Training games available as live video or radio broadcasts. Breaking news, schedules and interactive rosters and player stats are accessible for every team. Requiring a subscription to use, MLB.com At Bat is free to download. Users can acquire the entire 2014 season for $20, or $3 monthly.
GrooveMaker 2 released by IK Multimedia
IK Multimedia has announced the release of its mobile loop based music-making app, GrooveMaker 2. Designed for iPad, the app offers users the ability to create professional quality grooves, beats and songs in real time. Its library features over 3,600 available loops and over 60 collections of music genres, including House, DubStep, Hip Hop, Techno, Reggae and more. GrooveMaker 2 can be utilized as a live DJ performance tool as well as a mobile composition app. Users can set the length of individual loops and grooves down to 1/4 of a bar, providing flexibility when building and layering a track.
Allows streaming movies purchased elsewhere for free
Disney has launched a new iOS app, Movies Anywhere, with unusual hooks into the iTunes Store. The app lets people access Disney, Pixar, and Marvel videos from an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. The iTunes integration means, however, that it can stream or download videos already bought through the iTunes Store; each movie page also includes links for a preview and buying a movie via iTunes. The app can further be used to redeem digital copies included with Blu-ray and DVD versions of releases.
Soundhound update for iOS features an "Add to Spotify" button
Music search and discovery app Soundhound has launched a new feature for iOS users. Integrating Spotify, Soundhound now includes an "Add to Spotify" function, allowing users to turn discovered music into a playlists within Spotify, without leaving the Soundhound app. Users can either automatically add songs, or tap the 'Add to Playlist' icon on the Soundhound results page.
Pi Dock-It Pro case and Bluetooth keyboard for iPad to be released March 14
Parle Innovation has announced the upcoming release of the Pi Dock-It Pro case and keyboard for iPad. Both a protective case and a full-size Bluetooth rechargeable keyboard, the Pi Dock-It Pro is slim, with a 'Chiclet' style of keys. Composed of a high-grade polycarbonate blend, its anti-skid base and slide-and-pivot opening action provides stable use, in vertical or horizontal orientation. Its integrated magnets and sensors automatically put the iPad in sleep mode and activate the Bluetoth keyboard in laptop mode. Priced at $160, the Pi Dock-it Pro will be available for purchase beginning March 14.
Satechi releases F1 Smart Monitor Stand for monitor or laptop, includes 4 USB ports
Satechi has released the F1 Smart Monitor Stand, available now for purchase. Featuring a slim design, the F1 Smart Monitor Stand includes four USB ports and two integrated audio ports to simplify a user's desk layout. The USB 2.0 ports allow for data transfer rates up to 470Mbps, and its integrated audio ports feature use for microphone and headphones. The stand can support up to 22 pounds, and can be adjusted to two different preset heights for optimal ergonomic positioning. Available for the introductory price of $30, the F1 Smart Monitor Stand can be purchased through Satechi and Amazon.
Japanese pop-up book-style iOS game now available in iTunes Store
Tengami, a Japanese pop-up book-style iOS game has been released, offering an atmospheric adventure game for users to solve puzzles and discover secrets. Players experience a journey to discover the secret behind the lone dying cherry tree, featuring forests, abandoned shrines and mountain waterfalls. The Tengami world is built as an authentically folding three-dimensional pop-up book, and is intended to be replicable in real life with paper. Tengami is available in 15 languages, and is priced at $5.
Nextt app that facilitates group communication adds 'self-destruct' option
Group communication app Nextt has been updated for iOS and Android. Nextt is a private network for close friends to connect online, aiming to make social planning easier. Nextt's update includes a "self-destruct" option, intended to focus group planning to make decisions before the conversation's expiry. The update also includes improved private messaging, and notifications through email or SMS. Nextt is free for both iOS and Android users.
Former jailbroken software bypasses App Store, poses security risk
A former "unofficial" app that required jailbreaking an iOS device to run its Game Boy emulator has attempted to "backdoor" its way onto non-jailbroken devices by hijacking a legitimate certificate, which has now been disabled by Apple. The app, GBA4iOS 2, offered emulation of Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games on iOS 7 devices, and included a built-in browser to allow users to pirate ROMs.
Vemo updated, introduces Bluetooth detection of fellow users for mobile payment
Mobile payment app Venmo has released an update today, featuring a new method of sending a prompt money transfer to friends. Venmo facilitates mobile sending and receiving of money, ideal in situations such as splitting a dinner bill with friends, or for any other payment need. By using Bluetooth, Venmo can detect other Venmo users and provide a list of who is nearby. Though the app has not yet been updated on iTunes as of this writing, Venmo is free, and requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Font manager offers new typography options, more templates
Extensis has released a new update for Suitcase Fusion 5 today, featuring a wider font selection and organizational tools. The professional-grade font manager now includes additions that focus on generating design inspiration, such as a new "Fontspiration" panel, which showcases current typography trends. The panel features examples of real-world projects, as well as fonts that were popular in previous eras. Doubling the collection of "QuickComp" templates, users can experiment with a greater variety of fonts, and pair typefaces in print or Web templates.
Phlo iOS app that allows multiple simultaneous website searches now available for free
Phlo has announced its decision to change its search app pricing to be free. Previously $3, Phlo allows its users to search multiple websites and services simultaneously, and those who have already paid for the app will receive free access to Phlo Sync--an additional feature for syncing collective search history across devices. Users who download the app for free can access Phlo Sync by purchasing a subscription for $2 annually. Phlo for iOS now has additional features, including a quick filter for one's sites list that lets users jump to one's preferred search site. An added refresh button is now in the browser, and the app's overall performance has improved speeds.
Realmac Software rectifies confusion with Clear by offering it free for limited time
Realmac has announced an upcoming, limited-time offer, making Clear free, as part of its consolidation process. A new version of productivity to-do list app Clear was released last year, called Clear+. Built as a universal app for iOS 7, Clear+ was structured as a paid upgrade, with the original version removed from the App Store. Clear customers, according to Dan Counsell of Realmac Software, reported confusion and frustration over the switch to charging for the update version, so Realmac updated the old version of Clear for iOS 7 and reintroduced it.
Software that saves iTunes audio streams now available for Mac
DoubleTwist has announced the release of its AirPlay Recorder for Mac. Able to capture iTunes Radio streams for offline play, DoubleTwist offers a download for OS X users, as it has for capturing Google Music and other streaming services on Android devices. By selecting the app as an AirPlay device, the software starts recording when a song or station is played. The application download is free, but only records ten songs --the full version of AirPlay Recorder is $10.
Gives developers insights into sales patterns, useful for targeting
On top of a new beta of OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 delivered ahead of schedule, Apple on Monday also issued a new version of its iTunes Connect Sales and Trends Tool. The program aids developers in understanding more about when and where sales are occurring as well as app data such as how buyers react to price hikes or sales and other insights. The update includes the ability to group sales by territory or across a specified time period.
QuickerTek releases upgrade option for Apple Base Stations' wireless antenna
QuickerTek, a producer of antennas and RF products for Apple computers, has released an upgrade for the current Airport Extreme and Time Capsule base stations. The replacement wireless antenna offers dual-band 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz Wi-Fi, and triples the built-in range of the two devices. Users can arrange and use their Apple wireless device wherever desired, and easily position the upright and articulated antennas for optimal use. The upgrade is capable of boosting Apple TV as well as any other wireless networking task. The standard Airport Extreme base station does not have a built-in port to connect to the antennas, so QuickTek has a special attachment for its installation. Pricing starts at $400 for the Extreme Base Station antenna upgrade.
Pop for iPhone combines photos, videos and GIFs in messaging service
Pop, a visual messaging app for iOS, has been released, offering users the ability to create photo and video combinations to relay a message. Each image-based message is called a "Pop," and upon receipt users press down on the first image to reveal secondary content. The format lends itself to a two-part structure that works well for relaying jokes or surprises, and is conducive to ongoing chatting. Users can share a "Pop" with via the Pop social feed and comment, or build off of, any shared "Pop." Available for devices running iOS 7 or later, Pop is free to download.
iTunes and Google Play putting a stop to more flappy clones
Applications trying capitalize on the success of Flappy Bird in order to jump to the top of the charts on iTunes and Google Play will have to take another approach today, as both Apple and Google has started to reject applications that contain the word "flappy" in the title and descriptions. In the wake of the original game being pulled by developer Dong Nguyen, both services have been flooded with clone applications trying to fill the void left by the game's departure.
Outline and Outline+ offers compatibility with Livescribe 3
Livescribe has announced its first SDK partner app to integrate with its device. The Livescribe 3 smartpen allows users to transfer handwritten notes into digital form on one's smartphone or tablet. Notes appear immediately within the companion Livescribe+ mobile app for iOS via Bluetooth. Third-party developer Gorillized, makers of Outline and Outline+, now offers compatibility with the pen. Other developers are being welcomed by Livescribe to apply for access to the SDK. The Livescribe 3 smart pen is priced at $150, with its Pro edition available for $200.
Frontback for iOS updated, adds new notifications, self-timer, and more
Frontback has released v1.7.0 of its camera app that captures using both front and back cameras. Users can capture moments using both front and back cameras, write short captions to accompany them, and share instantly via SMS, e-mail and social networking. Frontback v1.7.0 has added a self-timer feature for easier photo-taking, as well as new social network notifications. Support for full screen photo view is also now included. Available as a free download, Frontback requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Touch ID troubles and solutions
This week in the MacNN forums, discussion topics range from Touch ID problems, to free apps. Forum members continue to discuss problems they have had with Touch ID, and trade tips on how to overcome such issues. One Forum Regular with an early 2009 Mac Pro is trying to get their computer to read a MP3 disk, but isn't able to, so they turned to the forums looking for help.
Official Tetris game app now being promoted through the Apple Store app
The Apple Store app for iOS has updated its app promotion to feature Electronic Arts' Tetris available for free. A classic spatial problem-solving game, Tetris for iOS is normally priced at $1. The Apple Store app offers free books, apps and other content for a limited time period, with its offers differing from the traditional App Store's "App of the Week" sale, which is available to all users and not just those who have the Apple Store app. The Tetris promotion expires April 7.
Process sheds light on Apple's response to copying complaints by developers
As part of a relatively-accessible developer ecosystem, like Apple's App Store, there needs to be a process for developers (and users) to report potential plagiarism of applications and other materials. Apple does have a process, and comic reader app iComic's developer Tim Oliver, regrettably, has experience with it. He has offered to tell us about the process from the start.
iTranslate Voice redesigned for iOS 7, improves AirTranslate
Voice-to-voice translator for iOS, iTranslate Voice, has been re-released as iTranslate Voice 2. The app offers users the ability to speak into their phone in one language and have the app translate and respond with the translation as audio playback. Available in 42 languages, iTranslate Voice 2 uses AirTranslate to connect devices together, and engage in conversation with other people. Definitions and translations for common words and phrases can be accessed by voice command, and translations can be sent by email, SMS, Twitter or Facebook.
Marriott Hotels rolls out mobile check-out feature
Marriott Hotels is introducing a new mobile checkout feature, allowing its guests to check out of their room by using the Marriott Mobile App. As early as 4AM on the day of scheduled departure, guests will be notified on their smartphone that mobile check-out is available. App users provide their email address to receive their bill, and can leave room keys in the room. The new feature accompanies the already-available mobile check-in function that was launched last July on the Marriott Hotel app in the US and Canada. The Marriott Hotel app can be downloaded free for iOS and Android devices on iTunes and Google Play, respectively.