Spotify for iOS has just received a massive overhaul, bringing the UI in line with the look that Android's been sporting for a while. iOS users now get access to features like the swiping method for accessing different areas of the Spotify app (similar to what you can do in the Facebook iOS app.) The "Now Playing" area shows you the artist and track name no matter where you are navigating in the app, right above the play controls. You can swipe here to go to the next or previous track with ease. You also get bug fixes and overall improvements to stability, as well as the Ford SYNC AppLink Spotify feature that we mentioned yesterday. You can grab the update now from the App Store, and peep the full changelog after the break.
Read More | Spotify
Facebook 5.5 for iOS has just been released, and with it comes free voice calling for North American users over Wi-Fi and cellular networks. The feature came to Facebook's separate messaging app a couple of weeks ago, and is now baked in to the full-fledged Facebook iOS experience for users across the US and Canada. After updating, simply open your chat pane by tapping the icon on the upper-right, select a friend, and then select "Free Call." As you'd expect, the person on the other end also needs to be located in North America, and also needs to have the latest Facebook app installed. It's a nice way to make voice calls without tapping into your voice minutes--just make sure to keep an eye on your data plan when you're away from Wi-Fi, no need to try to save on voice minutes, only to rack up massive data usage fees, you feel me?
We've often wondered by a site like Kickstarter lacked an official iOS app, but that ends today with the release of Kickstarter for iPhone. The crowdsourcing site's new app allows you to view campaigns, watch the pitch videos that go along with them, and pledge your cash towards one of the reward levels offered. If you've created a campaign, you can track your progress in the app as well. The app is not yet iPad-native, but it does support iPhone 3GS and later, including support for the iPhone 5 4-inch display. Grab Kickstarter for iPhone for free.
Read More | Kickstarter for iPhone
YouTube, the baked-in but soon-to-be-exiled from iOS 6 app, is back in the form of a Google-submitted app in Apple's App Store. The timing couldn't be more perfect since the public release of iOS 6 is just eight days away. Apple is slowly but surely detoxifying itself from Google. So, if you're thinking of updating your hardware to iOS 6 next week, and can't live without watching your precious cat videos, be sure to download this app. An iPad-optimized version will be released "shortly." Also, be sure to subscribe to Gear Live on Youtube.
Read More | YouTube for iPhone
Today Amazon has released its long-awaited Instant Video iPad app on Apple's App Store. If you're an Amazon Prime member, this means that you have access to the entire Prime Instant Video catalog, but anyone can access purchased content on-demand as well. We've been playing with it this morning, and it works just as you'd expect it to, with badges indicating which pieces of content are available for free to Prime members.
One nice bonus is that the app supports AirPlay, essentially bringing Amazon Instant Video to your Apple TV. Sure, it's not built-in like Netflix or the newly-added Hulu Plus, but it still allows you to enjoy Amazon's streaming catalog on your television if you own an Apple TV. You can download the free Amazon Instant Video app now.
Today Twitter for iPhone 4.3 was released on the App Store, a major update to the official Twitter client that brings with it the ability to view enhanced and expended tweets right in the app. Here's a rundown of the features:
- Expanded Tweets -- when you view Tweet details containing links to partner websites, you can now see content previews, view images, play videos, and more (rolling out gradually)
- Enhanced experience around selected events with the bets Tweets and photos from those involved
- Push notifications for Tweets -- choose to receive notifications from people you follow any time they tweet or retweet
- Ambient notifications -- enables you to see brief non-interruptive notifications in the status bar while you're using the app
- Improvements to search autocomplete for users
- Discover -- now indicates when new stories are available for you to view
- Tappable avatars take you directly to user profiles
- Performance improvements
- Support for password entry in app when experiencing authentication issues
- Support for the Hungarian language
- Icon (image at right) features the new Twitter bird!
You can download the new Twitter for iPhone and iPad now, completely free.
Foursquare has released a major revision and revamp of its iOS and Android apps, introducing a brand new user interface. Foursquare 5.0 aims to make it easier to find places to go and activities to do, as it now takes into account the time of day, the local weather, and your location before recommending something to do. It also now incorporates a Like button on venues, which it will then use to find more places that it thinks you'll like when you are using the Explore function. You can grab Foursquare 5.0 now from the App Store and Google Play.
MAD Magazine is now available on an iPad near you. The iPad app will allow users to interact with the standard magazine content, as well as access to exclusive stuff specific to the app. The app is free to download, and has free teaser content from the current issue.
MAD Editor John Ficarra jokingly stated, “We’re delighted to bring MAD to the iPad. We think the MAD app may be just the thing to turn the struggling iPad around and make it successful –though most experts think it may be just the thing that kills it altogether.”
The MAD app will feature interactive and animated versions of all currently issues, along with a library of back issues and books. Prices of the content will range from $1.99 for back issues to $4.99 for the current issue--however, if you subscribe to the magazine, the price drops to $1.99 per issue, or $9.99 for a full year (six issues.) Aside from the actual magazine, the app will allow users to access MAD’s blog “Idiotical.”
Read More | MAD Magazine
After a rather rough start, Twitter on Thursday said it will remove the Quick Bar from its iOS app, which provided users with updates on trending topics.
Though the Quick Bar - referred to by some as the "Dick Bar" after CEO Dick Costolo - had "incredibly high usage metrics," Twitter has opted to remove it from the app rather than continually update it.
"Rather than continue to make changes to the QuickBar as it exists, we removed the bar from the update appearing in the App Store today," Twitter creative director Doug Bowman wrote in a blog post. "We believe there are still significant benefits to increasing awareness of what's happening outside the home timeline."
The Quick Bar was added to the app earlier earlier this month as part of an upgrade that also made it easier to access features like photos, trends, and links. It sat above a user's Twitter feed and displayed one of the days' current trending topics. Tapping the word would take you to a list of recent mentions.
Fred Wilson, a known venture capitalist, put up a post this week arguing that magazine and newspaper apps are not a viable strategy for content publishers. It's no secret that the print industry has been in decline, with print companies shutting down. As information moves to the web, some of the core principles they could rely on before, exclusivity and scarcity, are no longer available to them as anyone can easily blog about everything in this link economy. The arrival of the iPad made many magazines and newspapers jump on board, because with apps, there's an illusion that these core principles exist again.
Whereas it soon became clear that most people were not willing to pay to have access to a web site, they thought that it would be easier to get these same people to pay to download an app which has basically the same content, with some 'pretty' layer on top of it. With recent figures showing that sales of those types of apps have been declining recently however, Wilson argues that this is only temporary. Instead, he sees the mobile space heading more towards the web model, where information want to be free, and with billions of devices accessing mostly free content.
Read More | AVC
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