Apple reportedly acquired search startup Ottocat in 2013 to improve App Store discovery

By Cody Lee on Apr 6, 2015

Apple has quietly acquired Ottocat, reports TechCrunch, a little-known startup with some interesting search tech. The deal went down a few years ago—sometime in 2013—but its impact is still being felt today. The site believes the company’s tech is behind the App Store’s fairly new ‘Explore’ section.

There’s little evidence of the acquisition, except for a patent granted to Apple that lists Ottocat co-founder Edwin Cooper as an inventor. The patent is titled “System and Method for Divisive Textual Clustering by Label Selection Using Variant-Weighted TFIDF,” and clearly incorporates Ottocat’s tech. Read More


Hotel reviews from Trip Advisor, come to Apple Maps

By Jake Smith on Apr 5, 2015

Next time you’re driving through Chicago looking for a nice place to stay – Apple has you covered. Over the last several days, the Cupertino company has added more hotel review data to its Apple Maps app on iOS, as it works to continue bolstering Maps to compete with the king, Google Maps.

The new data for hotel reviews isn’t being served up by Apple itself, outsourcing the work courtesy of Trip Advisor and, along with reviews from Yelp that have been there for quite sometime.  Read More


Apple launches new App Store section promoting World Autism Awareness Day

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 2, 2015

Apple on Thursday launched a new educational section in the App Store which highlights apps that have been specifically designed for autistic individuals in celebration of the eighth annual World Autism Awareness Day.

More than two dozen paid and free apps for kids and adults are being featured, including two highly specialized apps that cost more than a hundred bucks. Read More


Facebook launches Riff app to make videos with friends

By Jake Smith on Apr 1, 2015

Facebook has launched yet another standalone app, called Riff, that will give you and your friends the chance to go viral.

Riff, available to download on the iTunes App Store and what was born as a side project, is an app that allows you to create videos with friends. The goal is to see how far your video can spread, with your friends’ help.  Read More


Apple seeds OS X 10.10.3 beta 6 to developers, public testers

By Jake Smith on Mar 30, 2015

Apple seeded another beta of OS X 10.10.3 on Monday for both members of the Mac Developer Center and public beta testers. The new build, available to download through the Mac App Store’s Software Update mechanism, carries the build number 14D127 – compared to the previous build number of 14D113 that was released one week ago. Read More


Periscope shows the future of news with stream of NYC explosion aftermath

By Jake Smith on Mar 26, 2015

I’m watching a building burn down with firefighters rushing to save people inside- as it’s happening.

The Periscope app launched by Twitter this morning is already showing its stripes. People have often turned to Twitter (and the Internet) for news in the past – this is nothing new – but Periscope has already shown in its few hours of availability how it could reshape breaking news on the Internet. Read More


2K’s best iOS games are on sale, starting with BioShock at $3 and more

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 25, 2015

Publisher 2K Games is having a killer Spring Sale deal on its premium 2014 releases in the App Store, reports TouchArcade. Avid gamers can now grab triple-As at a sharp discount, for a limited time. iPhone and iPad titles like BioShock, NBA 2K15, NHL 2K and others are now available starting at just three bucks each.

BioShock for iOS, for example, can be now yours in exchange for $2.99, down sharply from its usual asking price of $10.99. This is actually the first time BioShock has been discounted below five bucks since its release on the App Store. Read More


Users reporting problems accessing App Store and iTunes (update: back up again)

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 25, 2015

A growing number of users are taking to Twitter this morning to complain of yet another outage affecting Apple’s App Store and the iTunes Store. Several folks around the world have reported problems purchasing new applications, with the App Store and iTunes returning a “The item you’ve requested is not currently available” error message.

Others complain about not being able to conduct searches for content on the iTunes Store and App Store and download apps and other content.

UPDATE 11:35am ET: all systems seem to have become operational again following a brief outage that lasted about an hour or so. Read More


Apple acquires database company FoundationDB to bolster web services

By Jake Smith on Mar 24, 2015

As it looks to build out its web services, Apple has acquired FoundationDB, a company that specializes in speedy, durable NoSQL databases, Apple essentially confirmed to iDownloadBlog after TechCrunch first reported the news.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” the company said in a boiler plate statement it gives when it acquires smaller companies.  Read More


Twitter testing autoplay ads on iPhone, iPad apps for some users

By Jake Smith on Mar 23, 2015

Taking a page out of Facebook’s playbook, Twitter has begun testing autoplaying videos on the timelines of a small group of users, AdAge first spotted. With the test, you may see videos playing without tapping a play button – and this means ads, too.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the test that’s occurring on Twitter’s iPhone and iPad apps. The autoplay test applies to Promoted Video ads, along with videos uploaded through Twitter’s mobile app through its new video service.  Read More


Apple rumored to unveil slimmer Apple TV with App Store and Siri in June

By Jake Smith on Mar 20, 2015

John Paczowski of BuzzFeed reports Apple plans to show the rumored, redesigned, Apple TV this June at the World Wide Developers Conference, notably featuring an App Store and Siri. Read More


iPhoto for Mac updated before dying at hands of new Photos app

By Jake Smith on Mar 19, 2015

Apple has released an update for the iPhoto for Mac app on Thursday, updating the software that’s on its death bed before Apple transitions users to the new Photos app.

The update, available through the Mac App Store’s software update tool, will help users transition their photo libraries to Apple’s new software when it’s eventually made available to the public.  Read More


8bit Doves is Apple’s new Free App of the Week

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 12, 2015

Today is the day Apple’s editorial team gets to cherry-pick a new iOS app to feature as the App Store’s Free App of the Week. Are you ready for something completely different this time around? Good, because this week’s gem of a game is 8bit Doves (regularly $2.99).

The charming retro title incorporates a Gameboy like color scheme and pixelated graphics which evokes pleasant memories of the golden age of 8-bit gaming.

Spread across three worlds (Sweet Dreams, Deep Sleep and Nightmare), 8bit Doves employs simple mechanics in the form of an intuitive two button gameplay. Your goal is simple: you must fly through each stage and reach the exit. Those who manage to get doves to follow them along the way will earn some extra bonus bragging rights on Game Center. Read More


Apple issues an apology for iTunes/iCloud downtime, blames outage on internal DNS error

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 11, 2015

Chances are you’ve by now realized that Apple’s content stores and other iCloud services are experiencing widespread downtime.

Earlier this morning, Twitter lit up with complaints from users around the world who reported being unable to download apps, music, movies, TV shows and books, as well as buy in-app content, with some even unable to sign in to online service like iCloud Mail.

In an official statement issued to CNBC, Apple’s apologized for inconveniencing customers and said the multi-hour outage is caused by “an internal DNS error” at the firm. As you could imagine, they’re scrambling to produce a fix.

UPDATE: following what became an eleven-hour long outage, the App Store and iTunes services are now back online. Read More


App Store, Mac App Store iTunes/iBooks Store and other iCloud services experiencing outage

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 11, 2015

If you’re unable to update your apps or buy books and music on Apple’s content stores, you’re not alone — there’s trouble in iCloud. Apple’s App Store, Mac App Store, iTunes Store and iBooks Store services have been experiencing widespread outage for straight six hours now.

At first, the company’s iCloud Status Page would not acknowledge the downtime. Earlier this morning, the company refreshed the dashboard which now shows the App Store, Mac App Store, iTunes Store and iBooks Store as being unavailable “for all users”.

UPDATE: following what became an eleven-hour long outage, the App Store and iTunes services are now back online. Read More


Apple names Temple Run: Oz its new Free App of the Week

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 5, 2015

The exhilarating sequel to the classic endless runner with a Disney movie tie-in throw in for good measure, Temple Run: Oz is now available at no cost until next Thursday as part of Apple’s ongoing Free App of the Week promotion.

Released precisely on this day a year ago, this marks the first time Temple Run: Oz has been marked down to zero bucks on the App Store (regularly $1.99).

The game is based on the 2013 film ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ and features the same great gameplay as the original infinite runner, with an Oz twist to it. Read More


Android devs earned $7 billion in past 12 months, paid search ads coming to Play store

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 26, 2015

Google’s Play store has paid about seven billion dollars in revenue to Android app makers over the past 12 months, the company said Thursday. By comparison, Apple paid out ten billion dollars in 2014 App Store revenue to iPhone and iPad devs.

With more than 100 billion searches every month on, the company has now kicked off a pilot program designed to inject sponsored search results into the Play store apps. Read More


Tweetbot for iPhone gains Twitter video support, improved GIFs

By Jake Smith on Feb 23, 2015

Tapbots has updated its Tweetbot app with new features on Monday with the release of version 3.5.2, most notably bringing support for Twitter’s native video. Read More


Google releases Inbox app for iPad

By Jake Smith on Feb 19, 2015

Google has released an iPad version of its Inbox app, its new service that allows “a completely different type of inbox”. The app strives to surface the most relevant stuff that often gets buried and forgotten due to an avalanche of unwanted emails we get bombarded with. Read More


NBC now streams content live to iOS thanks to app update

By Jake Smith on Feb 17, 2015

NBC has updated its iPhone and iPad apps on Wednesday to include live streaming television, following in the paths of ABC and CBS. NBC had originally rolled out its “TV Everywhere” product on the web, but now it’s available on iOS, bringing the content to your iPhone and iPad. Read More