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New Version of Google Maps Available for iPhone
Google has made an updated version of Google Maps available to iOS devices, including the Apple iPhone. The update, which has already been released to Android devices, makes a number of changes to the app. It offers improved navigation features thanks to live traffic updates and real-time re-routing when problems occur on a navigation path. It also adds a new tool called Explore, which can be used to perform searches for nearby places without typing, and builds in reviews for places such as restaurants and other businesses. Last, it populates maps with Google Offers that are nearby. Google Maps 2.0 for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Sony Adds Offline Playback to iOS Music App
Sony today announced that a new version of its Music Unlimited application is available to iOS devices, such as the Apple iPhone. The new version of Sony's music app adds support for offline playback, higher quality audio streams (320Kbps), and a new menu system. The application itself is free to download and install, but the service requires a monthly fee.
Microsoft Brings Office to the iPhone, But Not for Free
Microsoft today released Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers. The software allows iPhone owners to create Microsoft Office Word and Excel documents, as well as open and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, but it requires a subscription to Microsoft's Office 365 service. Office Mobile allows iPhone owners to open Office documents embedded in emails, and syncs documents changes back to SkyDrive or SharePoint automatically. It also supports collaboration tools, such as adding and viewing comments, and sharing documents with others via email or SharePoint. The application supports more than two dozen languages. Office Mobile for Office 365 is optimized for the iPhone 5, but also works with older iPhones, the iPod Touch, and the iPad. It requires iOS 6.1 and up.
Google+ for iOS Updated with New Photo Tools
Google today made a new version of Google+ available to iOS devices, such as the Apple iPhone. Many of the new features are carried over from the recently-revised Android version of the Google+ app. Google+ 4.4.0 for iOS includes a number of improvements to the photos portion of the service. It offers a new auto-enhance tool for improving uploaded images. Google+ will assemble collections of photo highlights and the app is now better at sharing GIFs and panoramas. It is easier to find content through the use of hashtags, and Google+ now lets users adjust more facets of their profile from within the app. Google+ adds support for strikethrough text and the ability to edit comments. Last, the Hangouts feature is no longer available within the app (Hangouts is available separately). Google+ 4.4.0 for iOS is a free download from the iTunes App Store.
Verizon Cloud Now Available to Apple iPhone
Verizon Wireless today made Verizon Cloud, its backup and storage service, available to the Apple iPhone. Verizon Cloud lets customers sync their smartphones and tablets to Verizon's servers. It offers 500MB of storage for free, and up to 125GB of storage for $9.99 per month. Verizon says the free option should be enough to backup settings, calls, messages, and contacts. Verizon Cloud was made available to Android devices last month. The application is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
iOS Devs Can Now Add Google's Chrome Browser to their Apps
Google's Chrome development team is offering iOS application developers a new tool that lets them stick Chrome into their iPhone apps. The idea is to allow developers to control how web content is displayed within their own application. In many apps, clicking a web link forces iOS users out of the app they are using and into Safari. By using the new OpenInChromeController class with x-callback, clicking such links will instead open a Chrome window within the app, which also lets users go back to the main app by hitting the back button. In order for this feature to work, the Chrome browser must be installed on the iPhone in question.
U.S. Cellular to Sell Apple Products this Year
U.S. Cellular may soon offer its customers the Apple iPhone, according to CEO Mary Dillon. Dillon was coy about actually naming the iPhone, but said the company will sell "Apple products later this year." U.S. Cellular is one of the few major carriers that doesn't offer the iPhone. "By further strengthening our device portfolio, we'll give consumers another great reason to switch to U.S. Cellular, and enable our existing customers to choose from an even wider variety of iconic smartphones, and enjoy the outstanding U.S. Cellular customer experiences they deserve," said Dillon. Dillon did not provide any more specifics about its plans. U.S. Cellular offers CDMA-based 3G service and has its own LTE 4G network in the 700 and 1700MHz bands. The company also reported earnings today and outlined its network plans moving forward. It expects to cover 87% of its existing 3G base with LTE 4G by the end of the year, which will include some 3,800 cities and towns in Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The company lost 51,000 customers during the most recent quarter and now claims to have 5.73 million subscribers.
Vine Update Adds Support for User-Facing Camera
Vine today pushed out version 1.1 of its iPhone application. The most significant new feature is the ability to toggle between the front and rear cameras, making self-Vines easier to capture. The update also makes it easier to search for and mention other Vine users in posts, and fixes several bugs. Vine 1.1 for the iPhone is a free download from the iTunes App Store.
Yahoo's New iOS App Adds Summly Engine
Yahoo today made available a new version of its main Yahoo application for iOS devices. First and foremost, the application now includes Summly's recommendation technology, which Yahoo purchased just last month. The app features news and other content, and learns from user behavior over time to recommend more appealing stories. Other new features included more controls over personalized content, easier sharing with social networks, improved web search, and article summaries written by Yahoo. The app has also been given a visual overhaul. Yahoo for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Yahoo has been revising many of its Android and iOS apps in recent weeks, while at the same time cutting services, such as Yahoo Mail and Messenger for Java phones, that it feels distract from its core strengths.
Cricket Intros New Family Plan, Revamps iPhone Plans
Cricket Wireless today announced two new sets of plans, one for multiple lines and another for iPhones. The new family plan offers two smartphone lines for $40 per line per month. The plan includes unlimited voice minutes and text messages, 1GB of full-speed data (throttled thereafter), and Cricket's Muve Music service. Cricket also altered its iPhone service plans to match those it offers with Android smartphones. The base iPhone plan costs $50 per month and includes unlimited talk and text (domestic), 1GB of full-speed data, and Muve Music. iPhone customers can also choose a $60 plan to get 2.5GB of full-seed data and unlimited international messaging, or a $70 plan to get 5GB of full-speed data and unlimited international messaging. All three of these plans include mobile hotspot. The new plans, which went into effect April 21, are available at Cricket stores and select retailers.
Twitter Launching Music Discovery Service Today
Twitter announced on Good Morning America this morning that its new music service will become available to all users on the web beginning today. The service is meant to help Twitter users discover new music and is available online and through a dedicated iPhone application. The service works similar to Twitter.com, and is organized into tabs that offer different functions. The first two tabs focus on trends across Twitter as a whole: the Popular tab shows music that's trending across Twitter; and the Emerging tab reveals "hidden talent" that might otherwise be buried in Twitter. The second two tabs focus on the user's individual tastes: the Suggested tab recommends artists that are similar to those the user already follows on Twitter; and the #NowPlaying tab shows the songs that the user's friends are listening to or tweeting about. According to ABCNews' Joanna Stern, the iPhone application is integrated with Rdio, Spotify, and iTunes, and allows users to listen to songs without leaving the app or web page. Songs are shown in a grid, which the user can tap and then listen to complete with animated CDs spinning in circles. Rdio and Spotify users can listen to the entire song, while iTunes users can only hear a 90-second preview. Twitter is still working to forge relationships with other streaming music services to expand Twitter Music's catalog and reach. The iPhone application will reach the App Store later today; there is no Twitter Music application for Android devices.
Mailbox Cans Wait List, Makes App Available to All
Mailbox today got rid of the reservation system it had in place to control the number of people who downloaded its email application. There is no longer a wait list for the app, which is free and can be downloaded immediately by anyone who wants to try it. Mailbox is an iOS application that makes managing Gmail easier. In addition to the dropped wait list, Mailbox updated the app with several new features, including more granular control over "snoozes" based on the time of day; faster swiping gestures; user interface improvements, such as double-tapping to see an email address; and general bug fixes. Mailbox is available to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Foursquare 6.0 for iPhone Focuses on Search
Foursquare today released a new version of its iPhone application that makes big changes to the way it recommends nearby places. According to Foursquare, it is taking better advantage of the data created by billions of user check-ins to offer instant, personalized recommendations when the app is opened. Foursquare 6.0 prioritizes search by placing the Explore function prominently in the app. The Explore search tool works directly with venue names, as well as with various types of key words to help find nearby places. Further, Foursquare will automatically provide lists of top attractions in any given area as soon as the app is opened. Foursquare 6.0 for iOS is a free download from the iTunes App Store. Foursquare did not indicate if similar updates will be made available to its Android and Windows Phone apps.
T-Mobile Announces iPhone Trade-In Deal
T-Mobile USA today announced a new program that's meant to further entice potential iPhone customers. Beginning April 12, and running through June 16, T-Mobile will offer new customers the iPhone 5 for $0 down when they trade in an old iPhone 4S or iPhone 4. The program offers additional account credits of up to $120 depending on the final value of the traded-in iPhone. Customers will still be responsible for making monthly payments on the remaining value of the iPhone 5. The T-Mobile iPhone 5 supports T-Mobile's brand new LTE network, in addition to HSPA+ in the 1700MHz AWS and 1900MHz spectrum bands. It also offers HD Voice calling. Customers who do not have an old iPhone to trade can still purchase the iPhone 5 for $99 down and then make 24 monthly payments of $20 on top of the cost of T-Mobile's new Simple Choice plans.
Google's iOS Search App Is Better at Listening
Google today updated its Google Search application for iPhones and iPads. The revised app makes significant improvements to the voice recognition feature, and now streams words on the fly as they are spoken. Google then performs web searches based on the spoken words. Google Search for iOS is free to download from iTunes.
Google Drive Adds Landscape Editing for iPhone
Google has updated its Drive application for the iOS platform. The revised app now lets iPhone users edit documents and spreadsheets in landscape orientation. It also opens faster, and received minor bug fixes. The update is free to download from iTunes.
Vine Makes Sharing Easier By Enabling Web Embeds
Vine today pushed out a minor update to its iPhone video application that should make it easier to share Vine videos across the web. Vine videos can now be embedded within Tweets, in Facebook posts, and on the web with new sharing tools in the app. The update also resolves several small bugs. Vine allows iPhone owners to piece together short video clips, or use a single clip, to create and publish six-second videos. It works similar to Instagram in that people follow other users to see their Vines.
TeleNav's Scout App for iPhone Gains Calendar Sync
TeleNav today provided an update to its Scout navigation app for the iPhone. Among the several new features added is the ability to sync Scout with the native iPhone calendar. The device owner can then go straight from calendar appointments to voice-guided navigation to the appointment from their current location. Scout also adds a feature called OnMyWay, which can be used to automatically send messages to family/friends with an estimated time of arrival when the user is navigating. The updated version of Scout also has a new dashboard for in-app navigation and more free car icons. Scout for iPhone is free to download and use.
Flipboard 2.0 Brings Editing Powers to iPhone
Flipboard has overhauled its application for the iOS platform, and the app is chock full of new features. Flipboard 2.0 offers Etsy integration, which means when users perform searches, the app will use the results to create a digital magazine on the fly. The new app also lets users collect content that's interesting to them from various sources, such as articles, videos, and photos, and create their own, unique magazine in which to view them. The individually created magazines can then be shared with others. Other features of Flipboard 2.0 include a new content guide, more interactive commenting, more personalized recommended reading, easier navigation within specific sources, and integration with Facebook Open Graph search. Flipboard 2.0 is available to the iPhone and iPad. A revised version will be available for Android in the near future.
THX Sues Apple Over iPhone and iPad Speaker Design
THX has filed a lawsuit against Apple that claims the iPhone maker is violating its intellectual property. According to the complaint, THX holds a patent granted in 2008 for "narrow profile speaker configuration and systems" that pertains to boosting audio output in small speaker designs. THX says the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5, as well as all iPads and newer iMacs violate this patent. THX is seeking damages for lost royalties/sales and a fair licensing agreement for its technology moving forward. THX Ltd. was formerly part of Lucasfilm, founded by George Lucas of Star Wars fame. The company was spun off as an independent entity in 2002.
Alltel Adds Apple iPhone 5, 4S, and 4 to Lineup
Alltel recently announced that the Apple iPhone 5, 4S, and 4 will be available beginning March 15. The iPhone 5 costs $149, $249, and $349 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB variants, respectively. The 4S costs $49 and the 4 costs $0.99.
Google Maps for iOS Gains Contact Search and More
Google today provided an update to the iPhone version of Google Maps. Google Maps version 1.1 now lets users search through their Google Contact list from within the Maps app, as well as see saved addresses on the map when signed in. The new version also makes it easier to find local points of interest, such as restaurants, cafes, or gas stations, with a new category search tool. Last, Google Maps for iPhone now lets users choose between miles and kilometers. Google Maps is a free download from the iTunes App Store.
YouTube for iOS Updated with 'Send to TV' Feature
Google has rolled out a new version of its YouTube application for the Apple iPhone and iPad. The revised video app now lets iPhone and iPad owners send the YouTube video from their phone or tablet to Google TV-compatible gear, such as an XBox or PS3. The new feature mimics that of Apple's AirPlay, which can push on-device media to the Apple TV (and TV to which the Apple TV is connected). The new YouTube app also improves stability of streams over Wi-Fi and makes a number of small performance improvements. YouTube for the iPhone and iPad is a free download from the iTunes App Store.
Skype Rolls Out New iPhone and iPad Apps
Skype today released Skype 4.5 for both the iPhone and iPad. The revised application adds several features, including automatic call recovery for dropped calls and the ability to opt in/out of marketing. The new app also fixes a bug related to the ordering of instant messaging conversations. The iPhone app will now route emergency calls to the native dialer. Changes specific to the iPad include a revised user interface and other minor tweaks. Skype for the iPhone and iPad is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Facebook for iOS Adds Video Recording
Facebook today made version 5.4 of its iOS application available to iPhones, iPods, and iPads. Facebook 5.4 for iOS adds the ability to record and share videos directly from within the app, voice messaging, and an improved Nearby tab, which shows users what businesses and landmarks are nearby. The update is a free download from iTunes.
iOS 6.1, Available Today, Adds Features to Siri
Apple today made iOS 6.1 available to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The system update adds LTE support for more carriers worldwide, as well as makes it possible to purchase Fandango movie tickets via Siri and download individual songs from iCloud in iTunes Match. The new system software also makes it easier to reset advertising preferences. The update may be installed over the air, or via iTunes.
Virgin and C Spire Trialling Handset Payment Plans
Virgin Mobile and C Spire Wireless are both testing handset financing plans, reports Fierce Wireless. According to Virgin Mobile rep Jayne Wallace, Virgin is testing a financing option in just one market, and the trial will end in the coming weeks. Wallace said the company has no immediate plans to expand or continue the trial. C Spire Wireless is also testing a phone payment plan, but its trials are more widespread and will last longer. "We're in the early stages of the trial program and are still analyzing data and results," said C Spire representative Dave Miller. "BillFloat fills a need, primarily in the advance pay market, by providing a quick, easy and convenient way for consumers in our footprint to own a smartphone with payment terms that fit their budget." Prepaid carriers generally charge full retail price for their handsets. In order to compete with national post-paid carriers, however, they've begun to offer premium devices such as the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy Note II. Handsets such as these often command prices in excess of $500 or $600. Many prepaid customers cannot afford to pay the full retail price of those devices, so financing plans are an enticing option to potential Virgin and C Spire customers.
Amazon MP3 Store Hits iOS Devices
Amazon today announced that iPhone users can now purchase Amazon MP3 tracks from their iPhones. iPhone users will need to browse through Amazon's MP3 Store via the Safari browser. The mobile web site has been optimized with HTML5 to allow track purchases. The site then communications with the separate Amazon Cloud Player application, which iPhone owners can use to either stream or download their new songs. According to Amazon, the newly optimized web store includes all the features of the full site, such as $5 albums, personalized recommendations, and access to 22 million tracks. The Amazon Cloud Player app is free to download and use.
Facebook Enables Free VoIP Calling from iPhones
Facebook has quietly made a VoIP-based calling service available to iPhone users in the U.S. Earlier this month, Facebook pushed out updates to its Android and iOS Messenger apps with voice messaging and other new features. At the time, Facebook said it was trialling the VoIP calling service in Canada, but it provided no information about if or when that feature would reach U.S. users. Phone Scoop was able to confirm that the feature is now live and available in the U.S. via the Facebook Messenger application for iPhones. It lets iPhone users make free calls to other iPhone Facebook Messenger users over both 3G and Wi-Fi. The app itself does not need to be updated. The calls are initiated via on-screen controls from within individual Messenger conversation threads.
Skifta Brings DLNA Streaming to iPhone
Qualcomm Atheros recently made a version of its Skifta media-sharing app available to the Apple iPhone and iPad. Skifta, which has been available to Android devices for some time, uses the DLNA protocol to enable devices such as smartphones and tablets push media content from their device to their DLNA-capable TV or stereo. The iPhone does not natively support DLNA. Instead, Skifta for iOS uses Apple's own AirPlay technology. Using Skifta, iPhone and iPad owners can connect their devices to other DLNA equipment and share their media. The iPhone and iPad can already do this through the AppleTV, but not directly to TV sets. Skifta fills in the gap for iOS owners.
Walmart's StraightTalk to Sell iPhone with $45 Unlimited Plan
Walmart today announced that its StraightTalk prepaid brand will offer the Apple iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 with its no-contract service plans. The iPhone 5 will be available in black and white, but only with 16GB of storage, for $649.99. The iPhone 4 will be available in black and white, but only with 8GB of storage, for $449.99. StraightTalk offers unlimited voice, messaging, and data for $45 per month. Walmart is also offering to finance the purchase price of the iPhone through the Walmart credit card. The iPhone for StraightTalk goes on sale beginning January 11.
Truphone Intros Nano SIM for iPhones and iPads
Truphone today announced the availability of a nano SIM card for Apple's cellular-equipped iOS devices. Truphone offers wireless service only via SIM cards. It already has full-sized and micro-sized SIM cards for other devices. The new nano SIM cards will fit into the small trays used by Apple in its latest iPhones and iPads. Truphone pitches its service as one that's ideal for business travelers, as it lets them tie multiple international phone numbers to a single SIM card/device. It also has roaming agreements in place in more than 200 countries.
'Do Not Disturb' Bug to Resolve Automatically Jan 7
Apple today indicated via its support forums that a bug currently keeping the iPhone's Do Not Disturb feature on indefinitely will resolve itself January 7. Until then, Apple said the feature will need to be turned on/off manually.
Rockmelt Browser Returns to the iPhone
Rockmelt today announced that its socially-aware browser is once again available to the iPhone as a brand-new application. According to Rockmelt, the browser was rewritten to support thumb-based usage. It presents information in an infinitely long set of tiles that are easy to scan when scrolling up and down with the thumb. The app syncs with Facebook and Twitter for easy sharing, and will sync browsing sessions between the iPhone and Apple iPad. Rockmelt is still working on a version of the browser for Android devices. Rockmelt was originally made available to the iPhone in early 2011, but was later discontinued. It is free to download and use.
iOS 6.0.2 for iPhone and iPad Resolves Wi-Fi Bug
Apple has issued a minor system update to its iOS platform. iOS 6.0.2 is available for iPhones and iPads and helps fix a bug related to Wi-Fi connectivity. Apple also recent seeded a fourth beta of iOS 6.1 to developers, though there's no word on when it will be available.
Google Releases YouTube Video Recording App for iPhone
Google today announced a new application for the Apple iPhone called YouTube Capture. The application is a dedicated video recording app that is ready to record as soon as the app is opened. Once done recording, the app can then be used to immediately share the recorded video to whatever social networks the user might wish. Uploaded videos can be set to private or public, as well as unpublished altogether if need be. It can run in the background for quick multitasking. It offers some minor editing features, such as trimming the length of the video, stabilizing it, and correcting for color. Last, the application will remind users to orient their phones sideways to avoid what it calls "Vertical Video Syndrome." YouTube Capture is a free download from the iTunes App Store. According to Google, the feature will be added to Android smartphones soon.
Dropbox Redesigned for iPhone with Save-to-Folder
Dropbox today announced a significant update of its iOS application. Among the new features includes the ability to save uploads directly to existing or new folders. The application also now treats photos differently with a new photos tab. The tab lets users browser through their photo uploads in chronological order, as well as see uploads from other devices. Last, Dropbox for iOS has been given a visual overhaul. Dropbox replaced many of the text labels in favor of icons, which are cleaner in terms of design. Dropbox for iOS is a free download from the iPhone App Store. It is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Toucn.
Cricket and MetroPCS Offering Handset Financing
Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS have both begun offering handset financing programs that allow customers to pay off cell phone purchases over time. Both companies are working with a firm called Progressive Finance, which pays the carrier for the handset and then collects payments from the subscriber for their phone. According to Cricket Wireless, its financing program will cover up to 90% of the cost of a handset and then allow customers to pay for it over a maximum of nine months. Leap's Tyler Wallis, senior vice president of marketing and product development said, "We're really excited about it. Consumers are really excited about our rate plans, but they're struggling with the fact that an iPhone 5 is $500 upfront." MetroPCS did not provide details concerning its financing plan. In either case, the financing company does not perform a credit check. Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS do not require contracts. T-Mobile USA recently announced the end of device subsidies. Its program works differently in that customers make a downpayment on the cost of their cell phone up front and then make a monthly payment for it to T-Mobile throughout the life of their service contract.
Amazon Offers Instant Video to Apple iPhone
Amazon today announced that its Instant Video service is available to the Apple iPhone for the first time in the form of a new application. Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video customers will now be able to stream or download content (movies and TV shows) from Amazon's online video service to their iPhone or iPod Touch for no extra cost. According to Amazon, iOS device users can surf for content in the Safari browser, purchase or rent it, and it will then automatically appear in their Amazon Instant Video application. The application is free, but the streaming services require a subscription payable to Amazon.
Google Maps Returns to iPhone with Turn-by-Turn Navigation
Google today published a brand new Maps application for Apple's iPhone. The new Google Maps has 2D and 3D vector-based graphics, Street View, business photos, and, for the first time, free voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation. Google Maps for iPhone also includes live traffic updates, public transportation routes and schedules, and 80 million searchable points of interest. According to Google, Maps is constantly updated with user-supplied feedback concerning accuracy. For example, Google suggests that iPhone users shake their phone when they see something in Maps that's incorrect. Doing so will let users send corrections to Google. Last, Google also released Google Maps SDK for iOS so developers can build Google Maps directly into their own iOS applications. Google Maps for iOS works on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, though Google says it is optimized for the iPhone 5. It is free to download and use. Apple removed the native Google Maps app from iOS earlier this year, substituting it with its own, in-house mapping program.