Apple updates GarageBand for iOS with new RED Loop Pack

By Cody Lee on Nov 23, 2014

Apple pushed out an update for the iOS version of GarageBand on Sunday, bringing the popular music-making app to version 2.0.5. The update adds the option to purchase the RED Loop Pack, a limited-time in-app purchase that features an exclusive collection of 300 guitar, bass, synth and drum loops in a variety of genres.

The pack will only be available until December 7, via a $0.99 in-app purchase, but of course once paid for it will be permanently accessible from the GarageBand loop browser. Apple says 100% of the proceeds will go to the RED foundation, a charity that raises money for a global fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Read More

 

New Microsoft ad says iPhone 6 Plus only makes Siri bigger, not smarter

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 21, 2014

Friday, Windows giant Microsoft published a new Apple-bashing ad on its YouTube channel.

The 30-second television commercial shows off the latest version of Cortana, Microsoft’s Siri-like personal assistant, running on the Lumia 830 and interacting with a bunch of built-in applications.

Cortana amusingly brags to Siri about being able to perform functions Apple’s personal assistant can’t, like alert users to leave early for an appointment using traffic alerts, remind them of things based on who calls or texts and more. Read More

 

Certify your English proficiency using Duolingo Test Center for iOS

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 21, 2014

The language certification industry commands some surprisingly insane fees so how about fair language certification for all?

Your prayers have been heard: the free learning platform Duolingo on Friday released an iOS app which allows anyone to certify their English proficiency right on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

Not only can Duolingo Test Center certify your language skills right on an iOS device, but does so at a significant lower price, too.

And because there’s no need to travel long distances to examination facilities available only in select major cities, you can get certified in the comfort of your home, in under half an hour. Read More

 

Disney Store app updated with support for Apple Pay

By Cody Lee on Nov 21, 2014

The Disney Store app has received an update, bringing it to version 3.2.1. Just in time for the holidays, the update includes support for Apple Pay, allowing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users to pay for their purchases using Apple’s new payment method.

While in-app Apple Pay is supported by the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, it doesn’t appear the iPad version of the Disney Store app takes advantage of it yet. It also looks like folks utilizing Apple Pay will still have to enter all of their shipping info. Read More

 

EA Mobile teases upcoming game “Need for Speed No Limits”

By Cody Lee on Nov 21, 2014

EA Mobile has posted a new teaser trailer for its upcoming game “Need for Speed No Limits.” The game is being built by Firemonkeys, the combined teams of Firemint and IronMonkey Studios, who both have racing backgrounds.

The video features professional rally driver Ken Block, of the Hoonigan Racing Division, playing the new Need for Speed on his iPhone 6. The gameplay footage shown is fairly impressive, flaunting sharp graphics and intense gameplay. Read More

 

Vimeo gains finely graded notification settings, more informative layouts

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2014

Following up on its August update which brought out uploading functionality in addition to some interesting private sharing options, Vimeo on Thursday issued a brand new version of its iPhone and iPad client.

Now at version 5.1.1, Vimeo’s video pages have gained more informative layouts with the title, creator, play count and other information.

Active Vimeo users often complained about an avalanche of notifications from the site. Feeling their pain, the video sharing site has finally made it possible to cherry-pick notifications to receive in the Vimeo app.

Jump past the fold for other Vimeo 5.1.1 highlights. Read More

 

Telltale posts first trailer of upcoming ‘Game of Thrones’ game

By Cody Lee on Nov 20, 2014

After dropping some details regarding its upcoming ‘Game of Thrones’ game last week, Telltale Games today released its first trailer. The video sets the stage for what could be Telltale’s biggest releases, given how popular HBO’s GOT franchise has become.

The game will tell the story of the House Forrester, a noble family from the north of Westerns, loyal to the Starks Winterfell. Players will take on the role of different members of the Forrester household, and determine their fates. Here’s the new trailer. Read More

 

Evernote for Mac rewritten for speed and energy performance, iOS app gets Work Chat and more

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2014

Evernote, the popular note-taking and productivity platform, on Thursday issued a major refresh to its Mac app while adding a new Work Chat for sharing and collaborating to the iPhone and iPad client, among other items.

After a complete rewrite, Evernote 6.0 for Mac is now significantly faster, more reliable and consumes less energy than ever before.

As if that weren’t enough, the new Mac app comes with half a dozen new features, including sleek new look optimized for OS X Yosemite, search improvements, the ability to resize images and tables, to mention just a few.

iOS and OS X editions of Evernote are available free of charge. Read More

 

You can now privately share tweets in DMs

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2014

After previewing future platform enhancements and features during its Analyst’s Day event, the popular social service Twitter on Thursday began rolling out one of the mentioned new features: the ability to private share a tweet through Twitter’s direct messaging function.

Think about sharing tweets privately with any of your followers in terms of discussing public content in private conversations, the micro-blogging platform suggested.

To do this from Twitter’s main iPhone client, long-press the tweet in your timeline and choose the new “Share via Direct Message” option. The person you share a tweet with will get a push notification, said the company.

Moreover, the tweet will display directly in the conversation. Read More

 

Sega’s Football Manager Handheld 2015 hits iOS

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2014

Japanese games maker Sega on Thursday rolled out Football Manager Handheld 2015 to the App Store. Featuring improved look and feel, a brand new match engine, a Scouting Agency feature and new world rankings with dynamic league reputation, the latest installment in the award-winning Football Manager series lets smartphone and tablet gamers live out the dream of managing their favorite real-life club.

And with enhancements such as richer club stats and a Manager Achievements page to get a run-down on all trophies, awards and achievements won, Football Manager Handheld 2015 should be an insta-buy for anyone in the market for a football manager.

The iPhone and iPad download will set you back ten bucks a pop. Additional features such as challenges and an in-game editor are available through In-App Purchases. Read More

 

You can now adjust focus and lighting of photos in Facebook Messenger

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2014

Facebook on Thursday issued a small update to its Messenger app for the iPhone and iPad, bringing out additional features to touch up the photos you take within the software using the built-in camera feature.

Now available in the App Store at no cost, Facebook Messenger 16.0 fixed an issue with sending messages while introducing a pair of new controls to adjust the focus and lighting of photos you take in the app. Read More

 

Carousel by Dropbox gains native iPad UI, sharing to Instagram and WhatsApp and web app

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2014

Released in April of 2014Carousel is a great app to enjoy all your photos stored in Dropbox, but I’ve always resented that it didn’t have a native interface on the iPad. The Dropbox-owned software has received a refresh Thursday, at last adding the native interface on Apple’s tablets.

In addition, Carousel now lets you share images from your Dropbox to Facebook-owner Instagram mobile photography service and WhatsApp mobile messaging platform. And as a nice bonus, the team has thrown in a compelling Carousel web app.

Carousel is available free in the App Store. Read More

 

Download Things for iPhone and iPad, Apple’s latest Free App of the Week

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2014

Things for the iPhone and iPad, the popular task management application by Cultured Code, is now available at no cost in the App Store until next Thursday, courtesy of Apple’s ongoing Free App of the Week promotion.

You’re looking at a cool combined savings of $30 on both the iPhone and iPad edition of Things which normally sell for $9.99 and $19.99, respectively.

Things for Mac has received a nice discount to celebrate the promotion and can be now downloaded for $34.99 in the Mac App Store, 30 percent off its full price of $49.99.

Download Things for iPhone and iPad at no cost until next Thursday, November 28. Read More

 

iPhone 6 Plus downsampling artifacts explained

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2014

With the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple took the unusual route of rendering apps at 3× scale into a backing store of 1,242-by-2,208 “logical” pixels which the GPU then scales down to the device’s native full HD screen resolution of 1,920-by-1,080 pixels.

This is different from every other iOS device to date and required to simplify app development as developers must simply create two times crisper graphics assets for standard Retina screens and three times denser images to account for the new “Retina HD” screens of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

On the downside, the system down samples everything by approximately 13 percent to the native resolution so some unwanted artifacts do appear which degrade image quality slightly in certain situations. Read More

 

iPhone cover glass maker Corning unveils two times tougher Gorilla Glass 4

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2014

Corning, a company that supplies Apple and many other device vendors with its chemically strengthened glass, on Thursday announced the fourth-generation Gorilla Glass which it says has been designed to be up to two times tougher against drops on rough surfaces than “any competitive cover glass design now in the market.”

The announcement comes at an interesting time for Apple in light of its failed experiment with sapphire maker GT Advanced Technology which led to GT’s unexpected bankruptcy and an unused $1 billion manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona.

Although the California firm planned on protecting the 4.7 and 5.5-inch screens on the latest iPhone 6 devices with ultra-thin sheets of sapphire, the plan was scrapped following GT’s failed attempts to ramp up production and meet Apple’s exacting standards in terms of volume and yields. Read More

 

Badland, Blek and other popular iOS games on sale for $1

By Cody Lee on Nov 19, 2014

With Thanksgiving coming up, it appears that a number of developers have decided to begin their holiday app sales. As noted by TouchArcade, several popular iOS games have been discounted from their original prices down to a $1.

The games participating in the promotion span across several genres, so no matter what you’re into, chances are you’ll come across something you like. There’s Badland, Blek, Gameloft’s 9mm, Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders, and more. Read More

 

New ‘Sync Solver’ app sends Fitbit data to Apple’s Health app

By Cody Lee on Nov 19, 2014

In October, Fitbit announced that it had no plans of integrating its activity trackers or software with Apple’s Health app. This means that if you have a Fitbit Flex or other device, the data it gathers will not be shared with Health, crippling its attempt to be your fitness data dashboard.

But a new app launched this week in the App Store that aims to change this. It’s called Sync Solver, and it allows Fitbit wearers to track all of the important data collected by their wearables within the Health app, without ever having to use the standalone, dedicated Fitbit application. Read More

 

Pocket updated with support for 1Password extension, Dynamic Type and more

By Cody Lee on Nov 19, 2014

Popular read-it-later service Pocket pushed out a notable update for its iOS client today, bringing the app to version 5.6.2. The update includes a number of improvements, including support for Dynamic Type and the 1Password extension.

The addition of Dynamic Type support means that text in Pocket will now reflect whatever you have set as your system font size preference. And of course 1Password extension support means users can now login to Pocket with Touch ID. Read More

 

Google buys iOS app prototyping startup RelativeWave, makes Mac app free

By Cody Lee on Nov 19, 2014

Google has acquired RelativeWave, the team responsible for the popular iOS app prototyping software Form. Form is available for Mac and iOS, and allows designers and developers to create rich interactive app prototypes and run them on their iPhone or iPad.

In a note on its website today, RelativeWave announced that they would be joining Google to continue their work on the software, saying they “want to get Form in the hands of as many people as possible, and this is [their] first step in accomplishing that goal.” Read More

 

Tapping iOS 8 Extensions to offload Apple Watch app processing to iPhone is a smart move

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 19, 2014

In conceiving a feasible solution to running third-party apps in the extremely constrained power environment of the Apple Watch, Apple has come up with a rather peculiar yet familiar idea.

Initially, any third-party app processing will be offloaded to an iPhone in your pocket until the Cupertino firm begins accepting fully native Watch apps late next year.

Such an approach leaves only the app’s storyboards and user interface resources running directly on the Watch, with everything else happening on an iPhone.

The only exception that proves the rule are Apple’s stock apps which get executed on the Watch itself. In addition to acting as a viewport for third-party apps running on na iPhone, the Watch also manages Notifications and Glances and performs other lightweight housekeeping operations that don’t tax the battery much.

To accomplish this feat, Apple is leveraging App Extensions in iOS 8 to run third-party Watch apps in a split mode. Read More