Nostalgia: Napster debuts on iOS with poor sound quality

With yesterday’s iPad VLC release and now Napster, iOS devices are receiving a fair amount of big, multimedia press. Of course, this isn’t the Napster you grew up with as a shifty-eyed teenager at the end of the 90′s. Napster was bought by Best Buy back in 2008 in one of the better ironic moments in history. Anyway, it’s back, and evidently, it’s out to turn up the sleeves of rental P2P music sharing – if you’re in the US of A, that is. And if you can stomach the “awful” sound quality. Napster reckon they stream both new and old tracks in 128kbps (a number that still carries the stigma of poor sound), but its customers reckon that music sounds like the radio. If Nappy wants to get its mojo on, it’s gonna have to dish out at least 128kpbs sounding files in a music app! But then, what’s Napster without complaints from audiophiles?

For the uninitiated:

Some of the things you can do with Napster plus mobile access:

• Save songs, albums, and playlists to play even when you’re offline
• Kick back with playlists, recommendations, and Billboard® charts dating back to 1955
• Create your own playlists for a customized listening experience
• Save your last 100 songs played so you can easily replay favorites
• Automix your favorite song to create an instant playlist blending similar artists

Napster® Napster LLC, a Best Buy company, Napster®, 1.85MB – Free

Full details after the gap:

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Rare Metal – a sweet-looking new slide puzzle for car geeks

Yikes, what memories flood back to this 30 year old as Rare Metal’s screens slide by my eyes. I used to be a car guy way back in 1988 (I was nine years old). I’d sit up all night looking over pictures of the then-new Ferrari F40 and Porsche 950, and dream. Geez, well Black Ice Applications (fitting don’t you think?) have just rolled out (oh the puns) Rare Metal, a puzzler for car geeks, and it looks good. Hell, combine cool metal with any puzzle game and it’s all good, but with a slide puzzle? the sort you carried around between two dirty thumbs as a child? It’s all reaaaaaaal good! This 0.99$ app features seven cars and 5 levels of difficulty. Woot!

Rare Metal Black Ice Applications, Rare Metal, 3.84MB – $0.99

Bike Repair – a new iPhone app for the tool in the saddle

Would that I had this app a week ago when brake/alignment/power train troubles rocked my wife’s borrowed steed. We got on well enough, but my inept fixes cost us an hour of time in the saddle. Bike Repair may be categorised ‘Sports’ at the App Store, but I think it occupies a higher niche altogether: a utility/sport/productivity/lifesaving God almighty blessed app. Bikers should love it especially whilst on the road and offline. From kids bikes to Cyclocross racers, just about every contemporary bicycle is covered in its tutorials. So too is all major bicycle maintenance – that is, apart from wireless iPhone bicycle speakers! There are 90 quality images to help you through mundane maintenance and lots of helpful fixing hints.

And thanks be to Colagno, Bike Repair costs a mere 199 pennies and is modelled on good ol’ Canadian bikes from designer, Opus Bike. From one former Opus rider to a current Opus rider, I say thank you Atomic Softwares, this is one hot app.

Bike Repair Atomic Softwares, Bike Repair, 5.5 MB – $1.99
Bike Repair Lite Atomic Softwares, Bike Repair Lite, 1.2 MB – Free

Piccies and more after the gap:

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English for green thumbs: Learning To Speak English: In The Garden

EasySource (Hong Kong) have some interesting English press releases, but they also have a pretty rad outlook on English educational apps. Traditionally, getting Little You to speak English instead of your native language costs thousands of pesos and robs your house of a screaming brat for hours at a time. If EasySource are to be trusted (and who wouldn’t trust a company called EasySource?), ESL education can be had for as little as 3.99$. Learning To Speak English (yep, each word cap’ed) uses traditional flashcards to coax a little of the Queen’s language from your child.

English teachers: TMA’ll keep it under wraps for your job security.

Learning EasySource, Learning To Speak English: In The Garden, 3.99$

Fonts + Mail for iPad – 114 fonts for 99 cents

Yikes! If you’re sick and tired of the paltry selection of fonts for the iPad, Yi LV may be able to help. No fewer than 114 fonts will raid your iPad’s mail app in exchange for your dearly partied 99 pennies. Unlike some native apps, Fonts + Mail for iPad gives a decent preview of each font so you don’t blindly change into important mails.

Palm Heroes YI LV, Fonts + Mail for iPad – $0.99

Screenies and more after the gap:

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Debut: Iron Man 2 for iPhone and iPad

Whether you prefer to Downey around your foes or blast them to Cheadles, Gameloft has your Iron Man 2 bases covered. This action game fights baddies while traipsing the Iron Man across the globe. And, it looks like Avatar’s engine may have been reincarnated for another blockbuster tie-in.

Play as Iron Man for speed and agility or suit up as War Machine for maximum firepower. Both suits offer easy-to-learn controls and the ability to run, hover and fly at will. You’ll also have the chance to jump into the Mark IV, Mark VI, Stealth and underwater suits. Whether you prefer to pound your foes in melee combat with your fists or to lay down the destruction from a far with your weapons, you can upgrade your suit after each stage with improved weaponry and abilities to devastate your foes.

Iron Man 2 Gameloft, Iron Man 2 – $6.99 (iPhone and iPod touch)

Iron Man 2 Gameloft, Iron Man 2 – $9.99 (iPad)

Piccies, viddy and more after the gap:

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Debut: GetOlympus: Gallery & Photography Tips

Louis is the Olympus guy, not me. But anything at the App Store from a professional camera maker gets me hot’n bothered. GetOlympus is a social networking app where users in USA and Canada can share their photos, tips, and photography stories. For students of photography, it is a virtual lesson. Thankfully, Olympus released GetOlympus for free (a good bit of advertising wuffie if you ask me), so anyone with a camera can benefit from their benevolence. The only catch is that you need to be connected to the internet to enjoy the content…

GetOlympus: Gallery & Photography Tips Olympus Imaging America Inc., GetOlympus: Gallery & Photography Tips – Free

Piccies and more after the gap:

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Glamour Ask A Stylist – for those ‘stripes or plaid?’ moments

If you are still unsure how to get dressed in the morning (cue FaithlessShe’s My Baby), Glamour and Like.com have an app that’ll help you clue in. Evidently, a number of full-time stylists are waiting in the wings to help you get a clue. Thankfully, their time is cheap and the app is free. WSJ has a cute plus/minus look at the app which may get me into iPhone fashion shape.

Glamour Ask A Stylist Like.com, Glamour Ask A Stylist – Free

Debut: Opera Mini Web browser – The fat lady has sung

My wager: Apple will never let a competitor’s web browser into the App Store, cost me a particularly good horse. I may be the only one not happy about the debut of Opera Mini Web Browser. Had you met Hillie, the pony-horse, you’d be equally upset.

It’s small consolation that in her place is the only current alternative to Apple’s one-horse webkit monopoly lead by iPhone Safari. Opera Mini is cute; it has all the pertinent functions in easy-to-reach places and better in-app settings than iPhone Safari. It also generally handles website formatting better than good ol’ WebKit and has a lovely implementation of tabbed browsing. Overall, it’s a ‘good’ experience which would bring in a TouchMyApps rating of Grab. In some cases, it loads slower than Safari and iPhone OS controls are substituted for blocky, oddly-placed alternatives _almost_ as if Opera Software ASA wanted nothing more than to spite Apple for its two-year boycott of NIMBY* software. But it is worthwhile, especially if you find yourself at the mercy of mobile browsers more often than not. Feel free to discuss Opera Mini Web browser VS Safari in our forums.

Opera Mini Web browser Opera Software ASA, Opera Mini Web browser – Free

Piccies and more in-action deductions (whew!) after the gap:

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iPad photography made possible with Camera-A and Camera-B

While the iPad has no camera, it CAN take pictures via an external camera, i.e., the iPhone. Camera-A (iPad: 1$) and Camera-B (iPhone: FREE) are two clever apps designed by developer Yusuke Sekikawa which mate Apple’s devices for wireless photography over WiFi or Bluetooth. The iPad controls the photography through the iPhone’s lens. Right, so why not just take the photos with your iPhone? The answer is here: because the iPad has no camera…

If that does it for you, be sure to check out Sekikawa’s apps here:

CAMERA-B Yusuke sekikawa, CAMERA-A – $0.99 (iPad)

CAMERA-B Yusuke sekikawa, CAMERA-B – Free (iPhone)

Thanks CultofMac