Three of the apps I rely on most on my iPhone and iPad have all been recently updated with new features and improvements. The biggest update goes to Instapaper (now v2.3), which is an indispensable app for those who wish to save articles on the web for later offline reading (see our review). On the iPhone, users will now see the first few lines of text from articles in each row (previously only available to the iPad). New to both iPhone and iPad, the list now shows the approximate article length and progress read with rows of dots, much like on the Kindle’s home screen. The other new feature is the ability to enable “dark mode” automatically based on where you are (the app is now location-aware). So depending on what time it is on your iDevice, the app will invert the color scheme of the background (black) and text (white).
As reported by the Associated Press, Hasbro Inc. will bring direct competition to Nintendo and their handheld 3DS gaming market with the release of my3D Glasses for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch.
Expected to release in the spring of 2011 for the low price of $30 (Nintendo’s 3DS releases in March of the same year for an expected retail price of $299), my3D has the added advantages of not only playing games in 3D, but giving you full 360 degree travel and entertainment experiences.
Like many publications that have recently joined the iPad revolution, The New Yorker has now released their own app. For long time readers, this should come as a much welcomed addition to the App Store. In case you’re not familiar with the popular weekly magazine, here’s a description from iTunes:
The New Yorker offers a signature mix of reporting and commentary on politics, international affairs, and the arts, along with fiction, poetry, humor, and cartoons. Founded in 1925, The New Yorker has received more National Magazine Awards than any other magazine.
The app is free to download, though initially, you’ll only have access to the Table of Contents. Each weekly subscription will then cost you $4.99 and can be purchased from within the app. Oh, and Jason Schwartzman also stars in the promo for its launch. It’s an absolute hoot and definitely worth watching. Video right after the gap…
CondeNet, The New Yorker Magazine, 1.8 MB – Free
I don’t know if you are as addicted to news as I am, but if you have an iPad or iPhone and find yourself checking your RSS feeds several times a day – AND you’re not using Reeder to read these words, then stop right now, go buy Reeder (for iPhone) or Reeder for iPad (or both) and finish reading this article on the app.
Just when you thought you’ve seen the last of the iPhone 4 antenna spoofs (see Darth Vader calling AppleCare), the guys over at JLE Productions have taken another stab at the iPhone 4’s reception issues. This is actually their third release after the Banned iPhone 4 and iPad promos and it’s one of the funniest Apple parodies out there. If you missed it earlier and want a good laugh, head on inside for the full vids.
Apple has officially responded to the widely reported problems of reception dropping when the bottom left corner of the iPhone 4 (essentially, the antenna) is covered by the naked skin. Rather than blaming the possible faulty design of the antenna, Apple claims that the entire issue is caused by an incorrect display of the signal strength.
Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.
To fix this, we are adopting AT&T’s recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.
We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula. Since this mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.
While Apple’s explanation may placate some users, those who have experienced dropped called and data degradation will likely question how fixing the signal display can actually solve this matter. We’ll just have to wait and see in a couple of weeks if Apple’s telling nothin’ but the truth or just passing the buck. Full press release after the gap.
Shortly after the release of iOS 4, Apple updated the popular iBooks app with v1.1 and it can now be enjoyed on an iPhone as well. Besides the universal support, this update allows users to add notes to their ebooks/pdfs AND wirelessly sync all bookmarks, notes and current page between all iDevices using the app. This feature alone could convince loyal Stanza and eReader users to make the switch over to iBooks. Here’s what’s new in 1.1:
- In addition to iPad, iBooks is now available on any iPhone or iPod with iOS 4.
- Open and read PDF documents from Mail. PDF documents will be added to your library and appear on the PDF bookshelf. You can even search PDFs for words or phrases and bookmark your favorite pages.
- Take advantage of new ways to bookmark. In addition to highlighting a word or a passage, you can now also add notes or bookmark an entire page with the new page ribbon.
- Keep your bookmarks, notes, and your current page wirelessly in sync between iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with the new automatic bookmark syncing feature.
- See your book pages in a new font, called Georgia.
- Read your books on white or sepia colored pages.
- Choose left or fully justified text layout from Settings.
- Read pages with greater ease by increasing to even larger font sizes.
- Enjoy greater stability and better performance.
If you’ve already purchased ebooks from the iBookStore (US only) on your iPad, you can re-download them on to your iPhone for free. And if you’re wondering how to convert and upload all your old (non-epub) ebooks onto iBooks with your iDevice running iOS 4, you can check out our previous tutorial right here (ebooks can be uploaded in the same manner as the iPad via iTunes).
Apple Inc. , iBooks – Free
Rimelands: Hammer of Thor – a hotly anticipated turn-based RPG by Dicework Games in collaboration with Crescent Moon Games – has just launched a dedicated website with in-depth information both about the game mechanics and the world itself. I have interviewed the developers at length about their upcoming title and was left hungry for the game itself.
The game is nearing the first phase of beta-testing so it’s about time to start reading up on the backstory in preparation. The video should also be out soon – so stay tuned for more teasing. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited!
You can check after the gap for some additional screens and artwork from the upcoming title.
Even after the HTC & Google VS Apple bad patent press, Apple and the iPhone are still doing well. But if you’ve had enough of great apps, games, and general compatibility, why not drop AT&T and head to the nation’s next-next-next best carrier? T-Mobile have as much as 350$ for you if you do:
…trade in your iPhone through participating T-Mobile dealers, through 1-800-TMOBILE and if you know how to find them, your Business Direct Sales Representative. Now let us be clear, this offer IS NOT good at corporate locations, only PARTICIPATING T-Mobile dealers. Start with a minimum $100 credit and you can get as much as $350 toward the purchase of an HD2.
With Copy and Paste and MMS Support now out of the way, Multitasking on the iPhone (non-jailbroken) remains one of the most sought after and desirable features for the next major OS update. While it has been rumored that OS 4.0 will implement some form of multitasking, AppleInsider has just reported that the 4.0 software will indeed allow 3rd party apps to run in the background. To switch between apps, users will experience something similar to Mac OS X’s Expose interface:
Those familiar with the design of iPhone 4.0 said that the user interface will resemble Apple’s desktop Expose feature, in that a key combination — reportedly hitting the Home button twice — will trigger an expose-like interface that brings up a series of icons representing the currently running apps, allowing users to quickly select the one they want to switch to directly. When a selection is made, the iPhone OS zooms out of the Expose task manager and transitions to that app.
When Multitasking does come to fruition for the iPhone, users will no longer have to complain about lagging behind other smart phones that DO support it. So, will Apple eventually cave in and allow for flash on the iDevice? Only time will tell.