Archive for the ‘News’ Category
We’re proud to announce that The Plateau has made it to the list of best iPhone games, curated by MakeUseOf. According to the page:
Unravel holographic structures of orbs in this “untangling” puzzler featuring atmospheric ambient music and gorgeous artwork.
Well, I suppose we couldn’t agree more! Head to MakeUseOf to check out the whole list.
Apparently we have just released a new app for iPad. I swear, these days you can’t be sure of anything.
Anyway! It’s called Cardboard, it essentially is a piece of cardboard and it has the potential to give you a ton of fun! Basically it lets you write and display funny hobo signs — whenever you have something really important to say and you ran out of actual cardboard. We have three beautiful, realistic backgrounds, flexible text controls and even a library of funny lines. You can also share your hobo signs with your Facebook friends, Twitter followers or via email!
As a designer, I’d like to add an additional word about graphics: they’re all fully optimized for the gorgeous Retina Display of the new iPad. The way we do it, optimization goes from top to bottom — unlike most designers out there. What does it mean? Well, we simply design for Retina first, which allows us to pack in a TON of addition details and touches, which contribute to the awesomeness of the look and feel. When we’re done, we scale design down (using Bicubic Sharper resampling of course) and we review every single piece of the artwork, to make sure stuff sticks to 1px grid or isn’t blurred in any other way. I know it’s more time consuming than the traditional “design-vectors-upscale-later-and-hope-for-the-best” strategy, but in the case of Spoonjuice’s process — quality comes before convenience.
Anyway! Cardboard: The Original Hobo Sign™ — our new iPad app, hot off the press and for free. Grab it now and let us know what you think.
We have observed a very interesting phenomenon in the App Store today: seems like our Daily Deeds iPhone app has duplicated itself. Would it be the first-ever case of software applications mating with each other and producing offspring? Who knows. I’m looking forward to seeing a growing interest from cyber-biologists into this matter.
Okay, let’s get to the point: we are shifting our virtual offices, which is why Daily Deeds appears twice on the App Store. We are simply re-releasing our apps into the new Spoonjuice account. The old Daily Deeds will disappear from App Store within a couple of weeks. And now is the time to get new Daily Deeds! It comes with a few important bug fixes and what is more importantly —
And will remain so for the next week. So if you are an existing user, this is how we are giving you a “free” update. If you’re not — we invite you to jump on the bandwagon and discover this lovely GTD app. Just to remind you:
Daily Deeds is a simple and fun way to motivate yourself to perform the things you need to do every day. Whether it’s grocery shopping, dish washing, orchid watering, taking care of grandma or fragging friends in cyberspace, Daily Deeds helps you organize your everyday life.
Keeping constant tabs on your everyday tasks can be a pain in the neck, but not with Daily Deeds. Create a new habit, then each day as you complete it, just tick it off of your deeds list. It’s easy and satisfying to manage your everyday tasks with Daily Deeds.
There is a good chance that even Aztecs know that Apple recently released iOS 5. According to a study conducted by advertising network Chitika a month ago, 38% of iPhone users have updated their devices to the newest OS. Let’s add 30% of iPad users and 12% of iPod touch users. Can we say that combined it gives us 80%? Well not really but I certainly hope adoption rate reaches this amount very soon.
The reason: Night Stand HD 2. I’m sorry guys, but it’s fully optimized for iOS 5. It will work on iOS 4 but believe me — it will growl on iOS5. Let’s see what we have in the bag!
Night Stand HD’s alarm notification system was carved in a new shape to support system-wide notifications in iOS 5. You can customize how alarms display on your screen: as banners or alerts, or you can turn them off (which sort of defeats the purpose of an alarm but if you’re that kind of guy…)
Plain and simple: no. Our alarms were rewritten from scratch (in the process we killed that pesky bug which has been bugging you for months) and we are so proud of the current alarms implementation that we don’t feel like cutting down and using Apple’s solution. Ours is tailored for your needs, dear user. Custom alarm sounds, songs as alarms, customizable snooze and the new stellar feature…well. I don’t want to spill the beans just yet. I will write about it in the next post. Let me just say one thing: this feature is fully integrated with
Game Center? In a clock app? You what? Exactly. We are like Luke from Modern Family: we don’t ask “why”, we ask “why not?” What had started as a twisted idea in the mind of a madman has turned into one of the coolest, most unique features ever. Certainly on the iOS clock app market, that is! We have leaderboards, achievements, tweeting and facebooking your awesome accomplishments…it’s a lot of fun for sure. More in the next post.
If you have Night Stand HD 2 installed on multiple iOS devices and all of them are connected to an iCloud account, all your settings and alarms are synchronized. You switch between devices and you feel at home: all your stuff is exactly as you left it on the other device. That’s what iCloud is all about, right? In the background, silently, transparently, flawlessly. It’s like a ninja of syncing, isn’t it?
That’s it for tonight. Thanks for reading. Next episode: what happens if you bake in Game Center into a clock app. Stay tuned! And in the meantime, go follow Night Stand HD 2 on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter. A lot of cool stuff is coming!
Any questions? Concerns? Ask in comments!
Ladies and gentlemen,
I’m happy to officially announce that our flagship app — Night Stand HD — is going through the final stages of polish and we will be uploading it to App Store very soon. This is the biggest update to Night Stand yet: it is fully optimized for iOS 4+, sports new and utterly mesmerizing themes and has a few other features which I’m sure you will fall in love with. We poured a lot of sweat in design and implementation and we think this is the best version of Night Stand HD ever.
We will post more information about new features in a series of blog posts over the next few days, so subscribe to our RSS feed to keep yourself up to speed.
Have a great weekend everyone!
If you’ve been on the fence for whatever reason about buying Night Stand HD then now’s the time to stop procrastinating and go for it! We’re happy to announce that from Fri, Nov 25 through Mon, Nov 28 all versions of Night Stand will be marked down to $0.99. That’s our lowest price ever for the world’s number one alarm clock app, so now’s the perfect time to buy. Look, the download link is right here, we couldn’t possibly make this any easier!
Rumor has it that Sprint and Apple have teamed up to create a version of the iPad which is compatible with Sprint’s data network. According to the folks at 9to5Mac the new iPad is ready and raring to go and will likely be released sometime this Fall. It’s also being reported that the iPad won’t run on the same CDMA technology that powers the Verizon model, but rather something else entirely. Many wonder what this means for Sprint’s 4G on the iPad.
The larger story here is that this move all but confirms that the iPhone will be coming to Sprint when the next model launches, which is expected to be early next month. As of right now Sprint is the only major US carrier still offering unlimited data plans, a fact the company has been trumpeting in recent advertisements. Of course, it’s hard to know if that policy will continue once the company starts selling the iPhone to legions of data-hungry customers all too happy to take advantage of uncapped plans. It’s also believed that Sprint jumping into the fray might force AT&T and Verizon to reevaluate their plans and pricing in order to retain customers who may be eyeballing a new carrier.
Assuming the iPhone makes the jump to Sprint will you be going with it? Or are you happy with your current plan? Also, considering the mumbles that the new iPhone isn’t a major redesign but rather a 3GS-style refresh are you even considering upgrading at all?
As we stand in the midst of the smartphone wars many armchair analysts like to sit back and proclaim one side or the other is “winning.” Technology enthusiasts are very familiar with this behavior, as we have seen it in everything from visual media (VHS vs. DVD) to game consoles (Xbox 360 vs. PS3 vs. Wii). On the smartphone front the arguments typically fall along the lines of “There are more Android phones available than any other,” or “Apple is the company leading the pack in innovation.” Now Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins is adding his voice to the fray, claiming that while Apple has seen great success over the past several years, the company is poised for a downfall.
“I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s an amazing thing what he (Steve Jobs) has done with Apple, but if you want to be objective, it’s very close to peaking right now,” said Hawkins. “If you look at any institution in history – look at the Roman Empire – anything in history, and what it looks like when it’s peaking. Look at Apple, and how can you say it’s not peaking? The CEO is still alive, let’s start there. They invented this tablet thing that’s going to be really big. They’ve done really well by reinventing the phone. They breathed new life into the Mac. They’ve got this super-high marketing. All these things are about as good as they ever can be – how much better can it really get?”
Hawkins had several other things to say about the company in general and Jobs in particular, and we definitely encourage you to read the entire interview over at Edge, but for right now let’s focus on this specific statement. His basic premise seems to be that because Apple is doing so well and has had such great success recently, there’s nowhere for them to go but down. It’s an interesting approach, and one which can be argued for nearly any company experiencing good fortune. It wasn’t that long ago that Apple was a footnote, a niche company that built expensive computers which only the super-obsessive owned. “Mac people” would defend their machines to the death, but the majority of the population barely knew Apple still existed. Then, the sudden emergence of the iPhone put the company back on the map and in the span of about five years it’s become an extremely powerful entity once more.
Thus Hawkins’ supposition is that the ride can’t last forever, and eventually, just like the Romans, Apple will crumble under the weight of the empire it has built for itself. At some point, Apple will stretch itself too thin, and some barbarian horde, be it Microsoft, Google or some as-yet-unnamed foe, will charge the gates and sack Cupertino. But is it an apt metaphor?
There’s no doubt that Android has made some inroads against Apple in the world of phones, and more and more tablets are released every month. Still, no threat thus far seems to be seriously eroding Apple’s market share. Though Android phones are popular, the operating system is dispersed and scattered, so the various handset manufacturers and carriers are still competing against one another. The iPhone and its companion iOS is limited, meaning that Apple is competing with no one but themselves. This allows them to build a simple base system and then focus all their energies on improving iOS. When you don’t have to worry about compatibility, that frees you to really focus on innovation and new ideas. Will we ever see an Android version of iCloud? Maybe, but it will be immensely more complicated than what Apple has built.
On the tablet front Apple’s biggest advantage is the fact that it was the first-mover in the field, and it got things right the first time. Every other tablet released has to measure up to the iPad, and since it’s all we’ve ever truly known the iPad still seems like the absolute best option. Also, Apple’s commitment to annual product refreshes means that anytime there are even hints the iPad is falling behind the competition new features can be added to put it right back at the front of the pack. With their dedication to being first off the blocks with a great product, Apple has set themselves up in an absolutely ideal position.
So while Hawkins may be correct in comparing Apple to Rome, it would seem the company has more in common with the empire at its peak than it does with its decline. Will Apple’s dominance last forever? No way, but for now at least they seem to be doing just fine. Jobs won’t fiddle while 1 Infinite Loop burns, but he will likely sit back and smile as his army of products take over greater and greater chunks of the world.
It’s been quite a week for all us lovers of technology, and both E3 and WWDC brought some exciting news and big announcements. Nintendo debuted the Wii U, Sony named their new handheld the PS Vita and Apple dropped the details of iOS 5 as well as iCloud. To celebrate all this fun and excitement Spoonjuice has been giving away practically our entire catalog of apps completely free, but now the end is upon us. Today is the LAST DAY to pick up Climate, Daily Deeds, Fun Booth 2, Night Stand, the Plateau and Valentines completely and totally free, so if there are any apps you haven’t snatched up yet this is the time. This really is an unprecedented offer, and there’s no telling if we’ll ever do something similar again. If you don’t have these apps yet then go get them right now, lest you put it off another day and have to pay for them tomorrow!
We also want to thank everyone who’s supported us and picked up one or more of our apps this week. We hope you enjoy what you’ve seen and promise that there’s more great stuff to come in the future. We look forward to continuing to create the juiciest apps money can buy!
Yesterday we gave you the low-down on Apple’s new iCloud service, so today we’re continuing our rundown of WWDC announcements with analysis of iOS 5. Though the company is planning some nice new features for this latest operating system, it doesn’t seem to be quite as revolutionary or awe-inspiring as the iOS 4 update. Even so, there’s still plenty to get excited about, so let’s dive in.
First up on the list of new features is a brand new Notification Center. Steve Jobs admitted onstage that the old notification method, which saw popup boxes interrupting whatever software you were running at the time in order to tell you that you had a new Twitter @reply or that Groupon announced a new sale, was intrusive and annoying. Now, notifications from all apps will be grouped in one place and nested in a bar at the top of the screen. Whenever you want to check your messages you just tap the Notification Center and they’ll all appear. Furthermore, should you want to follow up on something all you need to do is tap on the corresponding notice and you’ll be taken directly to the app that sent the alert. Finally, immersion will no longer be broken by those annoying blue box popups.
Another impressive addition to iOS 5 is the inclusion of iMessage across all iOS devices. While iPhone users previously enjoyed simple, streamlined text messaging, no such feature was in place for the iPad or iPod. Now the service will be available across all devices, so you can easily chat with friends via either WiFi or 3G with minimal fuss. Given that the era of unlimited data plans is now a thing of the past, this particular feature is going to be warmly greeted by wallets everywhere.
Last of the big new additions is the full integration of Twitter into the iOS operating system. This move is a bit of a shock because Apple has never been a company which lets third-party software into the very fabric of their operating systems, and yet the micro-blogging service is now going to be woven intrinsically into iOS 5. The move makes sense though, considering how ubiquitous Twitter has become to modern social media it seems kind of fitting that it would make its way into mobile operating systems. The same could also be said for Facebook, but the relationship between Apple and Mark Zuckerberg is a bit more prickly, so that’s the sort of thing which may not happen for a little while longer, if ever.
Other new features of iOS 5 included a PC Free update system where new devices can be synced and updated via WiFi and delta updates, meaning you’ll never have to plug your iPhone or iPad into a PC again if you don’t want. Also, Newsstand will gather all the various digital magazines and newspapers spread around the App Store into one place, allowing users streamlined browsing and the ability to open purchased items in the new iBooks-like News Rack interface.
On top of all this Apple has made several smaller updates to Mail, Mobile Safari, Game Center and the built-in camera that comes in most newer devices. So all-in-all, what we have is the addition of a handful of neat new features and some nice upgrades to existing favorites. We’re particularly excited about the new iMessage system, and we’re very pleased to see that Apple finally got the hint about notifications and bumped them someplace where they wouldn’t be quite so annoying. We also love the PC Free updates which, coupled with iCloud, will allow us to keep our devices updated and synced without having to plug them in.
So what do you think about iOS 5? Are you chomping at the bit to update this Fall, or do you plan to wait a while?
With WWDC and E3 both taking place in California this is a big week for the tech world. Yesterday at Apple’s WWDC keynote Steve Jobs and friends made several bombshell announcements regarding the future of Mac and iOS. Throughout the course of the week we’re going to dig into each of these new announcements in detail, and first on the podium is the brand new iCloud service. This new way to store videos, music, photos and more promises to revolutionize the way our devices communicate with one another, all without taking up a single byte of local memory or storage space.
The first thing you need to know about iCloud is that it is meant as a total replacement for MobileMe. Apple’s original attempt at interconnectivity never quite caught on, and Jobs himself admitted that the company made a lot of mistakes with the service. iCloud is designed to completely revamp the original MobileMe features, allowing for wireless syncing of your Mail, Contacts and Calendars across all devices without any need to connect one device to another. The example Jobs used to show this new functionality was that when you save a new contact to your iPhone, it’s now automatically synced to your iPad, Mac, or any other device linked to your specific Cloud. The whole concept is to make everything work together in the simplest way possible, taking the onus off the users and putting it squarely on the technology.
This same sharing concept is also being applied to the iWork suite, as documents, presentations and more can now be saved to the cloud and uploaded on any device. Need to edit a Pages document on your iPad when you’re away from the office? Now you can pull it up on your iPhone without having to worry about multiple versions. Maybe you want to show someone a presentation but only have an iPad with you; no sweat, just load it on Keynote and you’re all set. This same feature is also available for Numbers, so now you can also share spreadsheets across devices. Now it’s going to be impossible to say that you’re not being productive simply because you’re away from your computer!
The iCloud features don’t stop at business though, as it will also extend to apps and even music. With iCloud all your previous app purchases are tied to your Apple ID and you can easily move purchases from one device to another. This way, next time you upgrade your iPhone or buy a new iPod all you have to do is sync up with the cloud and all your apps will migrate over. In a similar fashion, iTunes on the Cloud allows users to sync existing music libraries and newly purchased tracks across all devices without having to plug anything in. The whole thing is incredibly simple and you would have thought Apple would have nailed it down long ago, but nonetheless we’re excited it’s finally here.
While all this is very exciting indeed, there is some area for concern in the realm of security and reliability. Cloud data storage may indeed be the future, but by moving information off of local hard drives and onto remote servers there are always questions about what happens if the servers go offline or if someone hacks into the cloud and begins snatching personal data. As the recent PlayStation Network hack proves, no online space is completely safe, and folks with bad intentions are always looking for ways to gain the upper hand. Also, recently Amazon’s cloud service went down, leaving thousands unable to access critical data for an extended period of time. While we would hope that no such misfortune would befall iCloud, we’d also be foolish to think that there’s no chance the service could ever fail. Hopefully Apple has planned extensive backups and redundancies in preparation for worst-case scenarios.
iCloud will launch this Fall alongside iOS 5, but users eager to try it out can check out the iTunes on the Cloud feature right now. Perhaps the best news of all, iCloud is totally free and will provide every user with 5GB of free storage, and music, apps and photos don’t count toward the storage limit. And so, Apple marches boldly toward a cloud-y future, are you ready to follow them?
Next week is an incredibly exciting one, as it will feature two huge tech and gaming events at the same time. Over in San Francisco, Steve Jobs and friends are getting ready to show off the latest Apple goodness at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Meanwhile, a few hours south in LA the gaming world will gather for E3, the industry’s biggest annual event. It’s like some sort of super-eclipse, and in celebration of both this momentous occasion Sourcebits and Spoonjuice have decided to make a number of their most popular apps free on iOS devices for a limited time. Users will be able to download Climate, Daily Deeds, Fun Booth 2, Night Stand, the Plateau and Valentines all for gratis from June 6-10.
Last week we picked up word that Apple had something special in store to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the opening of the very first Apple Retail Store. While we could only guess at what the company had planned we’re now seeing the surprise firsthand, as Apple has brought us the Apple Store 2.0.
The major showcase of the newly revamped stores is that they’ve done away with paper product sheets and instead every single computer and iOS device is explained with a handy-dandy iPad mounted right next to every machine. Each iPad is designed to run special demo software so you can tap around to compare the features of different MacBooks, check out the storage specs on iPods or even call an Apple Store attendant over to help you out further. The demo iPads have also all had their Home buttons disabled so they can only perform the specific task for which they were designed. Not a terribly exciting life, but not a stressful one either.
This move is befitting the Apple ethos, in that they’re likely the only company out there who believes paper is too inelegant and product info would better be displayed by a $600 device. Still, it’s definitely a unique situation and one which will garner buzz if nothing else.
So, are you satisfied with the big reveal or were you hoping Apple would show us something more grandiose? I was personally pulling for a surprise iPhone 5 reveal, but I may have set my sights a little high. At least now I can easily compare all sorts of information about older model iPhones I’m not going to buy because I’m waiting on the new one!
May 19th marks the tenth anniversary of the opening of the very first Apple retail store, and it seems the company may have something special in store to celebrate the occasion. According to reports the retailer is making some pretty strange requests of its store staff. Among the rumored requirements:
- There’s an overnight shift planned for around 10-15 individuals at each Apple Store to work from late Saturday all the way through mid-Sunday.
- During the overnight shift, employees must lock cell phones in the main office and to sign an NDA with Apple.
- There are a wide variety of roles for the overnight shift including, visuals staff, a manager, a business team member, a few Genius team members, one back-of-house employee, and a few generic Apple specialists.
- Apple stores have apparently already received hardware to install, and are expecting more hardware to come on Friday or Saturday. All materials that Apple stores have received have been instructed to be under lock and key until after close on Saturday night.
- Apple employees will be putting up black curtains at all stores so that people walking outside cannot see inside.
- Employees have had to download gigabytes of data from Apple corporate labeled, “training” in a password-protected zipped folder that won’t accessible to anyone until Saturday afternoon.
- All Apple retail stores have mandatory meetings on Sunday, May 22nd. Most meeting are scheduled for the morning, but there are evening meetings as well.
What on earth could all this secrecy be about? If the rumors are true it would seem that Apple is poised to launch some form of new hardware, but but there have been absolutely no indications of what it might be. With the new iPads and MacBook Pro’s already on the market it’s unlikely they’re getting refreshed, and all signs point to the new iPhone not arriving until sometime this fall. Is the company prepping a refresh of its home computer line, or are they about to show the world something completely new?
We’re genuinely excited to see what they have up their sleeve, but we’re totally at a loss for what’s coming. The lack of general buildup suggests that this will be some sort of product refresh, but the overwhelming amount of secrecy seems to hint that something much bigger is in store. We’re on pins and needles, who else is planning on lining up at the local Apple Store on Sun morning just in case the big reveal is something awesome?
One of the hottest debates in mobile right now is whether Apple or Android is in a stronger position in the marketplace. Just a coupe weeks ago we covered a story about how Android is scheduled to come to dominate the mobile space, but now a conflicting report says Apple may still be sitting in the catbird seat. According to a survey by comScore, Apple’s iOS products actually outpace Android by 59 percent of the current userbase, and that number doesn’t look like it’ll be coming down by much.
The reason comScore is so bullish is on Apple is because their study looks at all iOS devices, rather than just the iPhone. While Android phones may be burning up the charts, the iPad is still king of the tablet roost, and there seem to be no immediate, credible threats to its dominance. The study also includes the various models of iPod Touch, which continues to be the go-to mp3 and handheld media device for many consumers. When the numbers are crunched it turns out that Apple’s iOS is being used by 37.9 million people; a truly staggering number. By comparison, Android boasts 23.8 million users. Not too shabby, but still a far cry from what Apple is pulling in.
“These data clearly illustrate the Apple ecosystem extends far beyond the iPhone,” said comScore senior vice president of mobile Mark Donovan. “Though it’s frequently assumed that the Apple user base is composed of dedicated Apple ‘fanboys’, there’s not a tremendous amount of overlapping mobile device access among these users. This of course has significant implications for the developer community as they consider the market potential in developing applications for different mobile platforms.”
It’s tough to know what’s going to happen down the line, but Apple has made it clear they have no interest in slowing down. The company recently launched the iPad 2, and it’s only a matter of time before the new models of iPhones and iPods are made public. The company is also hitting back against competitors, suing Samsung over claims that the company’s phone and tablet designs are basically rip-offs of Apple products. so does the future belong to Apple or to Android? We can’t know for sure, but it’s still fun to watch them both jockey for position.
One of the more fun games to play in this industry is trying to guess which smartphones are going to be the most ubiquitous over the next couple years. Recently, research firm Gartner conducted a study to gauge the current trends and see which type of phone will stand atop the heap in the near future. Their prediction? Android will be the clear winner, powering nearly 50 percent of all smartphones by 2015.
On the one hand, it feels like a surprisingly high number as it’s hard to imagine any company really holding down half the mobile marketplace. Conversely, Android powers a lot of phones and the fairly open nature of the OS means that it can easily be adapted to any number of handsets. A large part of the smartphone population using Android right now probably doesn’t even realize it. In many respects, the greatest advantage Android has is just the fact it’s so ubiquitous.
What may be more surprising than the number one spot is who’s going to hold down the number two position. Everyone just assumes that the list will go Android and then Apple, but according to Gartner Microsoft may very well pass Apple over the course of the next few years. By 2015 the company projects Microsoft will control 19.5 percent of the market, while Apple trails at 17.2. What puts Microsoft in such a plum position? Nokia. The agreement between the companies allowing Microsoft to install its Windows 7 operating system into Nokia smartphones means a great deal considering just how popular Nokia handsets are worldwide. Even though Win 7 might be the new kid on the block it may gain enough momentum over the next few years to land solidly in second place.
Of course, projections like these have to be taken with the largest grain of salt you can find, particularly since we have no idea what may be around the corner. Will a future edition of iOS blow the competition out of the water? Will Microsoft make a play to snatch away some of Android’s business? Or, could another competitor be waiting in the wings, prepared to swoop in and take charge? Half the fun of this game is in guessing and predictions, so what are yours?
If you happen to be a Windows 7 phone owner looking for a great app then we have good news, The Plateau has officially launched on Win 7! The app is one of the first Sourcebits has ever launched on the Microsoft-OS powered phones but we’re sure it’s going to be far from the last. The Win 7 edition showcases all the game’s greatest features, including the deviously tricky Challenge mode, pulse-pounding Arcade mode and gorgeous animated backgrounds. Furthermore, the title retains its absolutely stunning visual design and mood-setting musical score.
“We’re very pleased to be able to offer this terrific game to Win 7 users,” said Project Lead Abin Thomas. “We’ve taken all the best aspects of other versions of the title and created something we think users are really going to enjoy.”
Those interested in picking up The Plateau can find it in the new apps section of the Zune Marketplace, showcased right at the top of the page. The Plateau is available for $2.99, so grab it now and prepare to immerse yourself in this mysterious corridor between worlds. If you make it through then we’ll see you on the other side.
We’re just a few months from Apple’s expected hardware refresh on the iPod/iPhone, so what’s the latest scuttlebutt? Well, rumor has it the device will feature a number of hardware changes while ultimately retaining the same form we’ve grown accustomed to in the iPhone 4. New features are said to include a metal back rather than glass, a 4 inch touchscreen and an improved antenna. The reports also say that Apple is sticking with the flat-backed phone design, rather than returning to the curved back that dominated earlier models.
One of the first items to jump out at us is Apple’s apparent decision to offer a metal back rather than the glass used on the current cases. There was some concern last fall that slide-on cases were causing scratching, cracking and even breaking of iPhones, so there’s a very real possibility Apple is trying to nip a potential issue in the bud when the new phones come out. We’re also pleased to hear about a potentially redesigned antenna, given the well-documented issues the iPhone 4 has with dropping calls and the dreaded “death-touch.” Rounding out the rumors is word of NFC (near field communications)and dual GSM/CDMA support, all of which are welcome.
The rumors aren’t all rosy though, as there also appears to be a distinct possibility that the iPhone won’t refresh this summer as normal, but the new model will be landing closer to the holidays. Production of the new devices isn’t expected to begin until at least July, which would likely keep us waiting until the Fall for the phones to go on sale. If true, this would be heartbreaking news to folks whose current cell phone contracts expire in June, as they’ll be unable to upgrade their phones to Apple’s latest and greatest. However, with rumors of yet another iPad refresh landing this Fall, it could be that Jobs and Co. are considering realigning their mobile devices so that they all refresh together from now on.
Obviously at this point it’s too early to really know anything but sometimes it’s just fun to speculate about what may be coming down the road. Ultimately we won’t know anything for sure about the iPhone until Apple decides to tell us (or until a prototype is left in a bar), but in the meantime what do you think of the rumored new features and launch window? Will you be upgrading (or jumping in if you don’t have an iPhone), or are you planning to sit this one out?
It’s been clear for years now that the traditional printed newspaper is a dying institution, so venerable dailies have been hard at work attempting to cope with a digital world. The New York Times announced in January 2010 that it would eventually be devising a paywall which would balance the public’s right to know about major world events with the need to generate profit and keep the revered reporting organization running. Today the details on the digital version of the Times has been officially unveiled, and they manage to be both forward-thinking and reasonable while also showing hints of utter stupidity.
First up, online subscriptions will be free to print subscribers, so if you already get the Times delivered to your door every morning you now also have access to its digital counterpart. For those who don’t, subscriptions start at $15 a month for web and smartphone-enabled versions, and $20 for the web and table option. The Times is also providing a bit of free content as well, with users only being charged after they have accessed 20 articles in a single month. Thus, if you’re simply following a link sent to you by a friend or there’s a particular event you wish to keep tabs on you won’t have to wander into the world of paid content. The Top News section of the site will also remain free, so if you only care about the major headlines you won’t have to pony up for those articles either. Finally, if you come to a Times article through a link to another site you won’t be asked to pay, so those interested in an article with the Times as the original source will be be able to see the full article without paying.
This is all well and good but things start getting shady when you decide you want to enjoy the Times on both your tablet and smartphone. Instead of the tablet subscription also covering smartphones for $20 a month, you’ll have to opt for a $35 plan if you want access on all devices. That’s not even a discount for the bundle, you have to pay full price for both packages to get full access. The first defense of actions such as these is to say “Well, plenty of apps have iPhone and iPad versions you have to buy separately, so this is no different.” That’s not true though, as one-time purchases are a much different beast than recurring subscriptions, and asking users to pay $420 a year for the privilege to read the paper on mobile devices and tablets may prove to be too bitter a pill to swallow. While most of the Times’ paywall plan seems fair and just this is one area where they really dropped the ball. Here’s hoping they come to their senses and devise a better option, lest their efforts fizzle entirely.
A bunch of us around the company just finished watching Apple’s press event regarding the launch of the iPad 2 and we’re pretty excited about what we’ve seen. The new features both in the hardware as well as the enhancements in iOS 4.3 are pretty impressive, and we can’t wait to get our hands on the new tech. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s new and what we hope to see in the next model of iPad.
The New A5 Processor
We’ve been waiting for a while for Apple to begin integrating their new A5 chip into their products, and now the wait is finally over. This new chip offers a CPU which is twice as fast as the old model, and a nine-fold enhancement in graphics. It’s definitely nothing to sneeze at, and we’re hoping to see the processor find its home in the next generation of iPhones and iPods as well.
Since both the iPhone and iPod have front and rear-facing cameras it was never a stretch to believe the new iPad would finally get the hardware as well. While the device may not be used as often as a digital camera replacement as the iPhone is, the inclusion of iPhoto as well as FaceTime means that there will be opportunities to take advantage of the new hardware. More importantly, apps and games which previously relied on cameras as a required feature can now potentially be ported to the iPad 2. Now the ball is in the publishers’ and developers’ court to decide what needs to make the transition.
The HDMI Dock
Another cool new feature is the inclusion of an HDMI dock which will allow users to transmit the image from their iPad right to their TV or other HDMI-enabled device quickly and easily. Basically all you have to do is pick an app and start it up and it will be immediately displayed on your big screen. The dock also features an additional 30-pin docking port so you can still charge your device even as you use the HDMI features. Not too shabby.
Cosmetic Enhancements and New Cases
Though you couldn’t really call the original iPad bulky, the new model is even slimmer and sleeker than its older brother. The new model is only 8.8 mm thick, 33 percent thinner than the previous iPad. The more slender profile also comes with a drop in weight, as the iPad 2 weighs only 1.3 lbs as opposed to the old version’s 1.5. And, because it’s a big deal when it comes to Apple products, it also comes in white.
The company also unveiled a totally redesigned case, which is actually more screen-protector than anything. The new case slips over the front of the iPad, using magnets to automatically align it and hold it in place. It will also auto-wake or sleep the device based on whether or not it’s open, and the case can be easily folded up into a stand, which is pretty handy indeed. The cases come in polyurethane or leather, so you can dress up your iPad just as fancy as you’d like.
Popular Apps, Now on Your iPad
Finally, as if everything else weren’t enough we also learned that popular OS X apps Photo Booth, iMovie and Garage Band are all making their iPad debut. Mac users have long enjoyed these various programs and their suite of features, and now they come to the world’s favorite tablet. While we won’t bore you with a ton of technical specs here, we will say that each app is being lovingly ported to the iPad, getting some great new features and tailor-made to take advantage of the device’s special attributes.
What We Still Want to See
While we were very impressed by Apple’s offerings, there are still a few features we wish would have made the cut. First up is a new, high-def screen akin to the iPhone’s Retina Center display. While the iPad screen certainly doesn’t look bad, and even sharper display would have been amazing. Also, given the inclusion of Thunderbolt on the new MacBooks we’re a bit surprised that a similar port wasn’t introduced on the iPad. There aren’t a lot of devices currently supporting Thunderbolt, so you’d think Apple would be leading the charge with their tablet. We also wished for more substantive updates in iOS 4.3, but it’s highly likely Apple is saving the major makeover for the anticipated summer launch of the iPhone 5.
In any case, we’re very pleased with what Apple showed us today and can’t wait to play with this new and improved machine. Also, we can now begin the speculation as to when the iPad 3 will appear. Who wants to start the predicting?
Despite rumors to the contrary, it would seem that Apple’s newest iPhone and iPad are right on schedule to hit their anticipated release dates, whenever that may be. The rumblings concerning delays cropped up this morning when Bloomberg reported that manufacturing issues at Hon Hai Precision would force Apple to push back the anticipated Spring launch of the iPad 2. The questions raised about the iPhone’s availability sprung from a report by FBR Capital Markets analyst Craig Berger, who claimed that the phones hadn’t even gone into mass production, and that a Fall launch was more likely.
The fallout of these rumors was so severe that Apple stock actually briefly fell today based on sheer speculation that the iPad had been pushed back. Fortunately for everyone a source close to Apple has said that the allegations are “simply not true,” and that both machines are right on track to get their scheduled updates this year. It’s a good thing too, as the recent medical leave taken by Steve Jobs, coupled with a potential delay in two major products would have been a heavy one-two blow for the hardware manufacturer.
Of course, the real question here is what made these rumors take off in the first place. First off, neither the iPad nor the iPhone even have official release dates at this point, as we all are merely speculating that they’ll be arriving soon. Apple is notoriously silent about the launches of their products in advance of the actual event, so it’s not even like the company is missing any sort of deadline. Furthermore, analysts are basically the digital age’s version of fortunetellers, only instead of peering into crystal balls and pretending to conjure up spirits they instead pore over spreadsheets and financial projections and basically make educated guesses about the industry they cover. It’s a lot like visiting the Oracle at Delphi only instead of sacrificing an animal and praying to the gods you have to hand over $100,000 and pray your check clears.
So if you saw the stories this morning and panicked you can now take a deep breath and relax. When your iPhone contract expires in June there will likely be a brand new version of the phone waiting for you, and everyone looking forward to an iPad with cameras and other fun new features probably won’t have to wait long. Repeat after me, “Everything is fine in the world of Apple.”
Rumors are swirling, starting with the Wall Street Journal, that Apple is on the cusp of releasing a tinier, less-expensive iPhone in the hopes of further dominating the marketplace. The alleged prototype of the new phone has a smaller screen and possibly other tech cuts as well, and Apple is apparently considering offering the phones at about half price to carriers, a savings which would then theoretically be passed on to consumers. The move would allow Apple to bring the price of at least one model of their smartphone down to the level of the competition, potentially making the phone more attractive.
Forbes reports that such a move could potentially up Apple’s sales by 60 percent, giving them a further stranglehold in the marketplace.
“Beyond helping address a potential saturation challenge, we believe that the possible introduction of a lower-priced iPhone is strategically important for Apple, and we are surprised the company hasn’t introduced a lower priced offering previously,” said Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi. “We believe that Apple’s ultimate intention is to be the dominant smartphone vendor globally, and that the company has market share aspirations that are akin to its iPod business (rather that its Mac business, where it faces a sticky Wintel platform). Given these aspirations, we are surprised that Apple hasn’t moved sooner to introduce a lower priced offering that could help secure a more dominant installed base. After all, the smart phone world is a platform war, where first mover advantage and scale matter.”
So what might a smaller, cheaper iPhone look like? One option is to keep the same basic device as is available right now, but just shrink it. A smaller screen would potentially inhibit ability to browse the Internet and read on the device though, as well as potentially adversely affect some apps. Still, for consumers who just want a fancy phone at a reduced price it may be a fair option.
Another possibility raised by Sacconaghi is a move to what he calls the “iPhone Touch”. This version of the device would be the same size as a regular iPhone, but would cut out data features so that those who don’t do much texting or otherwise consume a lot of data wouldn’t have to spend the money on that plan. Basically the new model would be an iPod Touch that can make phone calls, which sounds like a very attractive option for non-data users.
The last great unknown with this new phone is timing, as it’s hard to tell when Apple would unveil the device. Considering the fact that most people expect the iPhone 5 to launch in June, it would be unwise to unveil the new phone now. At this point it would stand to reason that the best option would be a holiday launch, but that’s nothing more than pure speculation. We’re also interested to learn how interested the public may be for such a phone.
Night Stand HD has always been one of the most popular apps created by SpoonJuice, and now it adds another feather in it’s cap as it has been named by Gizmodo as one of the best Lifestyle apps for iPad.
We’re really proud of this achievment and would like to thanks the Gizmodo staff for including Night Stand HD in this list.
Night Stand HD is loved by users throughout the globe for several features that make the application stand apart from the rest. It has been widely acclaimed for its gorgeously designed clocks and easy to use functionality.
You can find numerous clock apps on the app store, but it’s the beautiful UI and equally brilliant UX of Night Stand HD that makes it stand apart from the crowd.
Are you so busy that sometimes day to day tasks just slip through the cracks? If so then take heart, we made Daily Deeds just for you. Now, our simple, beautiful app is getting even better, with tons of new features in the 1.3 update. What’s new, you wonder? Well I’m glad you asked.
Dropbox Integration – Your daily tasks are now backed up and can be easily restored at any time. Unfortunately you can’t hide from that honey-do list anymore, we’ve got it covered.
User Interface Enhancements – You can now tag your various deeds with a number of vibrant colors, which makes it easier to sort at a glance. Also, we’ve created a special tag for deeds left undone which we hope will help make sure you’re more vigilant in the future…
Japanese Localization – It’s no secret that Daily Deeds is huge in Japan, and now we’re further enhancing the experience for our Japanese audience with native language support. It’s just our way of saying thanks for being such great supporters of our app.
You can go pick up this free update right now in the App Store, so go ahead and check that off your Daily Deeds to-do list. We’re really proud of making this already terrific productivity app even better, and we hope you enjoy all the great new features!
Sourcebits Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is thrilled to announce the second version of its groundbreaking Facebook application for Android – AndroidBook – out now on the Android Market!
AndroidBook delivers the complete Facebook experience in a vastly superior mobile interface optimized specifically for the legion of Android-based handsets and hardware configs.
Speed, reliability, and best-in-class user interface are the AndroidBook keywords. Switch seamlessly between status updates, viewing video in the News Feed, uploading and browsing photos, and posting comments on friends’ Walls. You’re never more than a tap or two from where you’re going next.
Version 2.0 also brings some crucial new features and updates to the table:
1. Intelligent notifications
2. Improved Friend Finder
3. Upload and caption photos direct from camera or gallery
4. Easy password retrieval
5. Watch videos without ever leaving the app
AndroidBook boasts powerful functionality and hands down the best user experience for Facebook on Android – far better than even the ‘official’ app. For Android-toting Facebook mavens, AndroidBook is the clear choice.
Learn more about AndroidBook at the following URL:
For all the tasks you’ll tackle today, tomorrow and everyday, we built Daily Deeds.
Daily Deeds is the simple, self-motivating way to keep tabs on your daily routine. From the mundane to the major, plug all the things you do each and every day into Daily Deeds to stay on top of everything. This is the ultimate productivity tool. And the latest update to v1.2 brings some crucial new features you’re going to love.
v1.2 rolls out gorgeous new graphics optimized for the ultra high-end displays on iPhone 4 and the new iPod touch. With screen resolution approaching the quality of glossy magazine paper, we’ve redrawn every corner and curve of Daily Deeds so it’s razor sharp on every generation of device. The next big thing is the addition of background support. This means that dates in the app will automatically update, so you can stop manually launching the app to keep current. Of course we’re also introducing ‘state saving’ as well, so next time you start up Daily Deeds you’ll pick up exactly where you left off. No more shuffling back and forth through the calendar to find your last spot.
Along with the new features, this update also brings some much-requested bug fixing, too. In particular, we’ve squished the nasty iOS 4.x bug where the list view and the calendar view would go out of sync. And as of this version, the PDFs generated from export will now work on Windows machines as well.
Version 1.2 is already live on the App Store, so it should automatically show up for existing customers. And if you haven’t bought it yet, it’s just $1.99. Incredible value for such a useful, well thought out application.
Not that you could tell from the blog, but the working-class heroes at SpoonJuice have been clocking massive overtime lately. Earlier this month we dropped the latest version of Night Stand for iOS, celebrating with our first ever giveaway promotion via Twitter & Facebook – for a 64gb 3G iPAD, which of course none of us could enter to win… *cough cough* … but I digress. Of the thousands who actually did enter, the congrats belong to Nick Snyder. So, CONGRATS, Nick!!! No man, YOU RULE! ^_^y
So the new Night Stand is entirely, erm… NEW, and reborn as a universal app so you buy it once and if you have, say, iPad and iPhone, that one purchase will sync to both. Now that alone is some pretty fab news and for a lot of app houses that’s a worthy point release on its own, but we pulled out all the stops with the new version and you know what? It’s an absolute gem. And no, it’s not just our moms who love it. Every tech blog that’s covered it, and a loooot of customers on the App Store are just raving. Ahem… #1 in HOW many countries? Try 30.
With that, let’s close this post with some wooly bear hugs from all of us at SpoonJuice to everyone who’s already purchased Night Stand. If you’re lovin’ it, do drop a line in the forums! And if you haven’t downloaded it yet, feast yer eyes on the reviews below and see if you don’t change your mind. (And here’s a link to the App Store, just in case.)
Night Stand HD makes the iPad useful even when you aren’t using it. It’s good to look at, easy to use, minimalist in its design and great for what it does. – 148apps.com
This is one great looking app. – thenextweb.com
an incredible app… not only gives you a choice of clocks, but you also have a world clock, multiple alarms, limited weather info right on the clock fake, and a stopwatch — the unofficial Apple weblog
a beautiful looking app that will make your friends and family drool – smokingapples.com
if you plan on doing a lot of traveling with your iPad… this is a must — engadget.com
What!? Still here? Stay tuned, massive updates in the works for our other titles, too!
Sporting nirvana – aka the 2010 FIFA World Cup – is already underway in South Africa and people around the globe are going crazy supporting their team. Stadiums are filled with face-painted people, people with team flags, in team jerseys, waving scarves, the works.
So naturally you want in on the action, right? All right, that’s doable.
On the Mac, FunBooth is like PhotoBooth’s deranged second cousin. Just start up FunBooth and off you go, kitting out with an amazing set of World Cup team props.
Climate, our long-in-the-works landscape/soundscape/relaxation app has finally seen the light of the day! Click here to grab it from App Store now for just $0.99. Read on to learn more.
With Climate, we’ve designed a unique new tool that renders the standard cookie cutter weather app completely obsolete. Climate offers tap-free access to current time and weather conditions — including a weekly forecast powered by WeatherBug — and subtle natural acoustics with gorgeous scenery illustrated by professional graphics designers.
The first time you open Climate, simply set your location and the app will reveal its stunning default view: a natural landscape in tune with your current season and local weather.
You can decorate your view with 4 beautifully rendered potted plants that subtly grow and blossom throughout the day, and they’ll even animate with a light touch. Or if you prefer an uncluttered space, you can always opt for minimal.
Climate displays the current time and season, complete with up to the moment solar and lunar positions, plus the lunar phase. All day and throughout the night Climate will auto-update its data and refresh the onscreen graphics with actual local conditions.
This is a good day. Yes. We have finished polishing NS 2.7 and we finally are satisfied with it enough to give it to you. We had submitted the new version to App Store around two weeks ago and today (finally!) it went live.
(Of course if you have Night Stand installed already — if you don’t, I suggest go grab it now as big things are coming in the following paragraphs)
The best alarm clock in App Store just got massively better. We answered the biggest questions of our users, provided solutions you all wanted and threw in a couple surprises. Here’s the list of new features then:
Beautiful, animated analog clock theme: Glow.
It comes as in-app purchase for just $0.99. Which is nothing considering how cool this theme is. I can show you a screenshot:
But believe me — it’s nothing. There is nothing like seeing this clock slowly fire up before your eyes in the night. It pulsates when alarm goes off and delicately fades away when you dim the screen. I think we have managed to capture a very soothing, futuristic experience here. You have to try it!
Next is a big one. Everyone wanted to
Set any song, album or playlist as your alarm and now it’s finally possible!
iPhone OS 3.0 brought a set of updates which allowed us (developers) to make you (users) even more happy with apps which make wider use of your devices. So rejoice! Go to Alarm settings, tap Sound, iPod Music and pick away!
Night Stand is helping to save your device’s battery and screen.
Set the alarm, lock the screen with lock button on top of your device and the alarm will play when it’s time. Don’t quit the app before locking the screen though — it has to be running “in the background” for the alarm to go off. Saves screen and battery — you don’t have to fiddle with cables and power blocks or docks before going to bed!
Alarm now sets off on time which is displayed on the screen.
How does it work? Quite intuitive really:
- Let’s say you live in Cupertino, CA
- you set your alarm to 7:00 AM
- you swipe the screen to show away time zone, which is set to Tokyo, Japan
- the alarm won’t go off on 7:00 AM your local time, but on 7:00 AM Tokyo time
So be wary of this rule: alarm goes off in whatever time zone which is currently displayed on the screen. In Glow theme, which displays both clocks simultaneously, alarm always plays in home time zone.
You can customize snooze now.
You can set it to activate after 5, 10, 15, 30 minutes or — if you’re confident enough — never. We suggest to have it enabled though. Combined with our powerful math puzzles, Night Stand proves to be very effective waking you up.
Improved time zone support.
We listened to your feedback and changed the way Night Stand handles time zones. It should be faster and more accurate now.
And as always — many bug fixes and performance improvements!
We’re sorry that it took a bit long but we wanted to make sure we provide the best product possible. We polished it like maniacs, seriously. We didn’t want to rush out with a quick update, instead we played down iPhone OS 3.0 initial excitement and implemented what it offers peacefully and carefully. We hope you will like it — let us know if you do or don’t!