iBooks 1.2 has just been released by Apple, and with it comes a bunch of new features. You get support for full illustrations, AirPrint functionality for printing PDFs and notes in books, and more text fits on the page in iOS 4.2 and higher with auto-hyphenation. iBooks 1.2 also brings a new feature called Collections. These allow you to group your books similarly to how you can group apps into folders.
You can download iBooks 1.2 now for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
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Google has been in the location game for years now, but services like Foursquare and Facebook Places have been producing buzz faster, in part based on their mobile apps. Google has had their service, Google Latitude, integrated in Android handsets for some time now, and they've finally released an iPhone app to compete with the other already established players. With 9 million active users, mostly because it's baked into their Google Maps product, they have a somewhat credible offering. So far, Latitude has been mostly a passive service that people use when looking for local search results, or browsing a map. This is a model that's much different than Foursquare, Gowalla, and Facebook Place, which are all about checking in to a specific place rather than just showing a physical location.
The Latitude iPhone app keeps using that passive model, where the app shares your location automatically with your friends, even in the background, as long as you allowed them to view where you are. You can also browse the map and see where they are in real time. It can be argued that such a passive system is the wave of the future, as people tire of constantly checking into a location app, but it sure doesn't produce the same amount of hype for the service, so it remains to be seen which service people will decide to share their locations with.
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Richard Branson and Virgin have released Project, which is now available in the App Store for iPad devices running the latest version of iOS. Managing to beat News Corp and their upcoming periodical The Daily, Virgin promotes their magazine as "a revolutionary multimedia magazine built specially for your iPad – packed with international culture, entertainment, design, business and travel." While the app itself is free, each magazine will cost you $2.99, and comes out once a month.
The magazine itself looks similar to other magazines available for the iPad, with multiple navigation options that take advantage of the device, although it includes more multimedia components. Each section starts with a video presentation, there's interactive images, sounds, and other little extras. Note that the magazine also has ads in it. Techcrunch made a video overview for it which shows it off pretty well. The app does come with a preview by itself, so check it out in the App Store.
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Google Voice is a popular service within the US, providing a single phone number to anyone which can then connect to land lines or cellphones, offers visual voice mail, forwarding, SMS, and more. Up until now, it's been easily integrated only on Android devices, while people wanting to access the service on the iPhone were left out in the cold, until a few third-party apps started appearing last month. In fact, Apple famously denied (or rather, "didn't approve") the Google Voice app back in 2009, and it's been sitting there in the App Store review queue for 16 months. However, things changed today when the official Google Voice app was finally made available in the App Store. From it, you can make free calls using the service, access your voicemail, send and receive SMS for free, and more. Of course since this service is only available in the US, so is the app. You need to setup a Google Voice account to use it, but both that and the app itself, are free.
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This week, the Washington Post is the latest of the big, well known newspapers to add itself to the growing list of digital apps available on the iPad, alongside other well known names like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Globe and Mail, The Times and more. But are these worth your time? Do they replace their paper versions, and do they deliver a good value for the price?
This week Capcom, the popular publisher behind Street Fighter IV and Resident Evil 4, has released their latest title: The Smurf's Village. This title follows the tried and true model of Farmville and the countless other similar games out there. It's a free game, where the player has to build his or her town and maintain it. You build farms and plant various food types, build houses, and other various buildings. Then you have to harvest your crops, and level up as you get coins and experience. You can also use real life money to speed things up, as usual.
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Chillingo, the publisher of Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, recently released My Kingdom. This MMORPG features a vast fantasy world where players can build settlements, trade, socialize, and compete. This is similar to most other games of this type out there. The innovative part however is that this world is based on your current location in the real world. For example, if you're in New York, the part of the virtual world you see around you will correspond to your physical location.
Amazon just updated their Amazon Mobile app for iPhone to now include barcode scanning. Basically, while you are out and about shopping, you can use your iPhone to scan the barcode of whatever you are thinking of buying, and Amazon will give you their price on the item. From there, you can purchase it and choose all your shipping options. Seriously, we have no idea what took Amazon so long to implement this, but it’ll definitely be a money saver. You can download the Amazon Mobile app for free.
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One of our favorite social sharing and blog sites, Posterous, just released their official iPhone app today. Focusing on being the only app you’ll need to share everyone online to all your favorite sites (think Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and the like,) you can download the Posterous app now for free.
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If you’ve been waiting for push notifications to become a part of Twitter for iPhone, it looks like that day is finally coming. Twitter is currently testing push notifications in anticipation of rolling it out to the masses in their next update, which should be available when iOS 4.1 gets released next week.