Apple

In a World of Check-Ins and Social Discovery Apps, EchoEcho Keeps it Simple (and Useful)

Just like last year, this year's edition of SXSW is once again heavily focused on location-based application. While the genre is slowly moving away from check-ins and virtual badges and more towards "social discovery," though, it's still rather debatable how useful apps like Highlight or Glancee are outside of the conference and Silicon Valley bubble….

Apple

Apple Launches iTunes Match: You Can Now Get Your Piracy Amnesty for Just $25/Year

Apple just launched iTunes Match, its cloud-based music backup and streaming service for iOS, Mac and PC. With iTunes Match, users can store up to 25,000 of their own songs from iTunes in the cloud. Unlike others music locker services (including Google Music and Amazon’s music locker), Apple managed to get a license from the music labels that allows it to just check whether it offers a certain song you have in your library in its store and then make that copy available for you

Apple

Instapaper 4.0 Brings Redesigned Interface, Wikipedia Support and Search to its iPhone and iPad Apps

Instapaper, the popular distraction-free offline reading app for iOS, was probably among the first few apps I installed on both my iPhone and iPad and it has never left their respective homescreens since. Today, its developer Marco Arment launched version 4 of the app. It’s available in iTunes now and brings numerous new features that both new and existing users will appreciate. Among these are a redesigned interface , the ability to multi-select articles to archive, delete or move them in bulk, the ability to look up words in Wikipedia and support for footnotes from most websites.

News

One Company’s Way to 5-Star App Store Reviews: Paying Users in Virtual Currency

I was browsing Apple’s App Store yesterday, looking for some interesting new games to play during a very long flight I have coming up later this week. One of the apps that stood out as I was browsing the role-playing games section was GAMEVIL’s Destinia (iTunes link). It’s the #1 role-playing game in the U.S. store, has almost 5,000 reviews and a 5-star rating. There are not too many 5-star games out there for $0.99, so I took the plunge. Sadly, the game is a major disappointment. The graphics aren’t optimized for the iPhone 4’s display, the controls are bad, the music repetitive and it’s just plain boring as a game. So how did it get a 5-star rating?

Apple

iOS 5 Beta: So Widely Available Already, Users Leave Negative iTunes Reviews When Apps Crash

The first beta version of iOS 5 has only been out for about a week, but it’s already clear that no other pre-release version of iOS has ever seen a wider release than this one. It’s hard to pinpoint why this is the case, but there are clearly enough users who either paid $99 per year to become part of Apple’s developer program or who paid a rogue activation service a few dollars to get access to the beta that way. As iOS developer Malcom Barclay notes, this wide release has some interesting consequences for developers: some users are now leaving negative iTunes reviews for apps that don’t work on iOS 5 yet.

News

Push 4.0: The Fastest iOS Push Notifications App Yet?

All the way back in 2009, I reviewed the Notifications app for ReadWriteWeb and wondered if it was going to be the best push notifications service for the iPhone yet. At that time, it had more features than Boxcar, which was still in its infancy. It was also one of the first apps of its kind to use PubSubHubbub to speed up notifications of updated news feeds. over time, Boxcar ended up trumping Notifications in terms of features and the difference in speed became negligible. Now, however, Notifications is is back as Push 4.0 for both the iPhone and iPad ($0.99 – iTunes link) and while its feature set hasn’t changed much from the early days (Twitter, email, RSS), the developer Fabien Penso has worked hard on making it the fastest push app out there – and, I’m happy to say, he succeeded.